Several years ago, I was fortunate to “meet” Laura Ackerman on Ancestry.com. Laura is an experienced researcher who noticed that I was researching my third great grandfather William Anderson. She was helping her husband’s cousin, also a descendent of William Anderson, and was kind enough to provide me with relevant portions from two books, Conrad Emery and Descendants and Stevensons and Andersons. So much information! Thanks Laura!
The Anderson branch of my family is rooted in Lebanon, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, which is located in the western part of the state, just east of Allentown, Pennsylvania. The name Anderson appears in historical records of West Jersey as early as 1733. And many Hunterdon County Andersons were soldiers during the American Revolution. (Hey! A bit more information and maybe I can become a member of the DAR!) Genealogical maps based on the examination of Hunterdon County deeds show in the 1790s, a Samuel Anderson as the owner of 60 acres located very close to 106 acres owned by Hendrick Henry, a second generation German whose name was later anglicized to Henry Emery. Samuel Anderson was likely the father of John Anderson, my fourth great grandfather, and Henry Emery was the father of my fourth great grandmother Catherine Emery.
“It is high time to quit wandering around in historical fog and to proceed to such solid facts about the Andersons as we have been able to turn up.”
John Anderson, my fourth great grandfather, was born in Hunterdon County in 1770. He was likely well educated, and as a justice of the peace was entitled to sign “esquire” after his name. Catherine Emery, my fourth great grandmother, was also born in Hunterdon County in 1769, the eldest of seven children of Henry Emery and Anna Lomason.
In 1792, both aged 23, Catherine and John married.
Catherine and John had six children:
- Anna was born in 1793 in Hunterdon County. She married a man with the rather wonderful name of Christopher Tiger. In 1850, the Tigers owned 169 acres of land. In 1855, Anna’s father deeded 78 acres of land in Lebanon Township to her. Anna was, in fact, the only one of John and Catherine’s children who remained in New Jersey and she and Christopher had 13 children. Anna died in 1870 and her husband died the next year.
- John and Catherine Anderson’s second child Samuel, was born around 1795. He injured both his legs was as a youth and walked with two canes. Samuel’s wife’s name was Sarah – they had four children. The family traveled went west to Goshen, Ohio, where Samuel owned land and taught school.
- The third Anderson child was Henry, born in 1797. He married Elizabeth Stevenson and they had nine children, some born in New Jersey and some born after they made their way to Indiana, where his property lay a short distance from property owned by his two younger brothers, William and John, Jr. Henry’s first wife died in 1840 and Henry married a young widow named Lydia Opdycke Fisher, his first cousin – their mothers were sisters — and they had five more children. The father of 14 children, Henry lived to the age of 91.
- John and Catherine’s fourth child was William Anderson, born in Lebanon in 1799. William was my third great grandfather – we will learn more about him later!
- Elizabeth Anderson, the fifth child of Catherine and John, was born in 1801. In 1819, Elizabeth married a neighbor, David G. Biggs and they had five children. Genealogical maps based on deeds on file in the Hunterdon County Hall of Records show that the Biggs’ property was located close to land owned by William Anderson, John Anderson, Sr., the Hixenbough heirs (more about them soon!) and the Tigers. The Biggs family eventually settled in Illinois.
- John and Catherine’s youngest child, John Anderson, Jr., was born in 1803. In 1824, John married Nancy Ann Stevenson, whose sister was married to his older brother Henry. The newlywed couple set out for Clermont County, Ohio where numerous Hunterdon County friends, neighbors and relatives had immigrated. John and Nancy Ann had four children before leaving Ohio for Indiana where they were joined by John’s brothers William and Henry, and where they had six more children. Apparently, Nancy Ann found frontier life difficult and missed the relative comfort and convenience of New Jersey.
Catherine Emery Anderson, my fourth great grandmother, died in 1806 at the age of 36 when her youngest child, John Jr., was just two years old. The next year, John Anderson Sr. married 21 year old Anna Rosina Anthony. It seems that John and Anna did not have any children. Shortly after John’s marriage to Anna Anthony, his sons were bound out to learn trades. This was, apparently, no indication of poverty or neglect on the part of the father or young step-mother, but rather evidence of the fact specialization in occupations was beginning. Anna died in 1860 at the age of 75, five years before her husband. She is buried at Spruce Run Cemetery in Glen Gardner, New Jersey.
John Anderson died in 1865 at the home of his daughter and son in law, Anna and Christopher Tiger. He achieved the age of 96 and joined his second wife in the Spruce Run Cemetery with an excellent inscription: “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.” (Genesis 25:8)