John Anderson was the father of Mary Jane Anderson, who married Moses Stewart, one of my paternal great-great-grandfathers. The death certificate of one of Moses Stewart’s children, Ida Mae Stewart, lists her parents as Moses Stewart and Mary Jane Anderson. It is clear from other records that they are the same couple who married near Dayton in Montgomery County, Ohio on 26 October 1845.1
The 1850 census shows John Anderson, age 54 and a Justice of the Peace in Dayton’s Ward 6, with both Moses and Mary Jane “Stuart” in his household along with several children and a wife named Rachel.2 John Anderson’s birthplace is listed as Pennsylvania and Rachel’s as Kentucky.
We know very little of John Anderson’s background beyond the fact that his death record indicates a birth about 1795 in Philadelphia.
The first sighting of him is his arrival in Chillicothe, Ohio “sometime in the fall or winter of 1814” according to a letter he wrote in 1836 to the editor of the Dayton newspaper.3 In that letter he referred to “the father and mother of my wife, Mr. John Munday and Mrs. Mary Munday, now dead…” He also wrote that he was employed there “for some length of time as a bookbinder” for a Mr. James Munroe.
His letter was accompanied by a statement by the editor of the Chillicothe Advertiser that John Anderson Esq. “is a highly respectable man – was last year the mayor of the town of Dayton and is now a Justice of the Peace in that place.”4
John Anderson married Rachel Munday in Ross County, Ohio on 20 March 1817.5 He appears in the 1820 census of Huntingdon, Ross County with a household that exactly matches his household ten years later in the 1830 census of Dayton, Montgomery County.6 7 He apparently moved to Dayton by 1822 and started a newspaper there.
On August 29, 1822, the first number of the Gridiron appeared, with the motto: Burn, roast meat, burn; Boil o’er, ye pots; ye spits, forget to turn. This was the first newspaper published in Dayton, though actually more like a magazine. The paper was published weekly, at a cost of one dollar a year by John Anderson, who endeavored by “roasting” people to correct manners and customs that he thought defective; but the paper was not a success, and in eighteen months was discontinued. Only a few issues survive in the Dayton Public Library.8
In March 1835 John Anderson was elected mayor of Dayton, for a term of one year. He was enumerated in Montgomery County in 1840 with a total of six sons and three daughters.9 In 1850, he was listed as a Justice of the Peace (age 54), with Rachael (50), Jackson (18), Thomas (10), Lewis (23), and Martin (14) in the household along with his daughter Mary Jane Stewart, Moses Stewart, and their children.
John Anderson died intestate on 4 August 1858. His widow Rachel was granted administration of the estate on 21 October 1858; the inventory of his estate was taken on 10 November 1858 and recorded on 1 December 1858 by Rachel Anderson.10 Unfortunately, the estate records that still exist do not identify the children. Rachel was enumerated in 1860 in the household of her son Henry Anderson. I did not find her in the 1870 census, but she was listed in the 1871 through 1877 Dayton city directories as a widow residing in different locations near the intersection of Clay and Van Buren streets.
The records of the Woodland Cemetery in Dayton identify John Anderson’s death date as 4 August 1858, his age as 64, and his birthplace as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rachel is buried in the same section of the cemetery, her date of death given as 13 November 1877 at age 78. Her birthplace is given as Ross County, Ohio (although it was not yet Ohio when she was born). The deaths of several infant children are also listed in the same section.
Although John Anderson did not leave a will, his widow Rachel did. Rachel’s will was dated 5 September 1877 and proved a week after her death, on 20 November 1877.11 She instructed that “my beloved sister Emily Lozier shall be paid a just compensation for taking care of me”, and that one of her executors, Henry H. Laubach, place $100 in trust with the Woodland Cemetery Association, the interest of which was to be used for “the expenses of taking care of my plot”. She also gave her bed and bedding to “my grandson William Anderson”. The remaining estate was given “to my dear son Thomas B. F. Anderson in trust for the benefit of my three little grandchildren, the children of Thomas B. F. Anderson and his present wife Maggie”. Thomas was to have the use of the money until the grandchildren (whose names were not mentioned) reached the age of eighteen. Executors were “my brother Benjamin Munday and my nephew-in-law Henry H. Laubach”. Rachel signed by her mark. The 1840 census suggests that there were six sons and three daughters, but only six children were in the 1850 household. Not all the children are identifiable.
I find it curious that there was no mention in the will of her daughter Mary Jane or her children, though Rachel or her husband may have settled with them years earlier. We can only identify two children who were alive when Rachel died: Thomas who lived nearby and Mary Jane, wife of the peripatetic Moses Stewart, who was in Tennessee when Rachel wrote her will.
- William Anderson (c1825 – 20 October 1856) He was probably a son, as he is buried in the same section and lot of the Woodland Cemetery as John and Rachel and their infant children. He apparently died unmarried.
- Henry Anderson (c1829 – 20 December 1868) In 1850 he was enumerated in Dayton as a tobacconist (age 31) with a wife named Mary A. (32) and a son Daniel W. Anderson (4). She must have been a second wife, as local marriage records show that he had married Mary Ann Van Fleet just a year earlier on 2 May 1849. Two unidentified women, Nancy A. Cross (23) and her daughter Mary M. Cross (2), were also in the household. In 1860 he was enumerated as a carriage maker (41) with Margaret (32), Daniel Anderson (14) and Emma (10 months) in the household along with his mother Rachel Anderson (60). He is also buried in the Woodland Cemetery.
- Mary Jane Anderson (c1832 – c1910) See Moses Stewart paper.
- Martin Anderson (c1835 – 18 October 1857) He was in John Anderson’s 1850 household, and is buried in Woodland Cemetery in the same section and lot as John and Rachel and their infant children. He evidently died unmarried.
- Thomas B. F. Anderson (c1840 – ?) He appears to be in the 1880 census of Chattanooga, Tennessee (Hamilton County) listed as a 39-year old lawyer with wife Margaret (22) and four daughters named Rachel Anderson (8), Mary J. Anderson (7), Henrietta Anderson (4), and Emma Anderson (1). Hannah Hale, his mother-in-law was also in the household. All the children were born in Tennessee.
- Montgomery County, Ohio, Marriage Register. Also abstracted in Montgomery County, Ohio Marriages 1803 – 1851, Lindsay M. Brien (Typewritten manuscript, 1940), page 120. [↩]
- 1850 census, Dayton Ward 6, household 3543: John Anderson 54, Rachael (sic) Anderson 50, Jackson Anderson 18, Moses Stuart 24, Mary J. Stuart 23, John Stewart 4, Zacharia (sic) Stuart 2, Thos. Anderson 10, Amelia Stewart 1, Mary J. Stewart 5/12, Lewis Anderson 28, Martin Anderson 14. “Stuart” appears to be written as “Stout” and that is how the name is indexed in online census records. [↩]
- The Extra Globe, Francis Preston Blair & Amos Kendall, Volume 6, No. 5 (8 July 1840), page 69. [↩]
- Ibid, page 69. [↩]
- Ross County, Ohio Marriage Records. (Fort Wayne Public Library, 1975), page 1-4 and page 2-122. [↩]
- 1820 Ross County (page 1 of 5 for Huntington): John Anderson 3000100-10100 [↩]
- 1830 Montgomery County, Dayton: John Anderson 121001-10101 [↩]
- Early Printing in Dayton, Ohio, Douglas C. McMurtrie (1935) and History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio, Augustus Waldo Drury (1899), Vol. 1, page 407. [↩]
- 1840 Montgomery County: John Anderson 0212101-1110001 [↩]
- Montgomery County, Ohio, Probate Records B-1, page 316. [↩]
- Montgomery County, Ohio, Will Book J, page 201. [↩]