William Anderson, the fourth child of John and Catherine Anderson, was born in 1799. He was my third great grandfather, and quite a bold fellow he was! In 1819 at the age of 20, William Anderson fathered a child out of wedlock by Elizabeth Hixenbough who was 10 years his senior. Elizabeth Hixenbough was born around 1789, the daughter of Jacob and Mary Ann Hixenbough of Hunterdon.
Pregnancy outside of marriage was not uncommon in the 19th century, especially out on the frontier where a justice of the peace or clergyman was not always readily available, and where children were welcome as future laborers. But I would have thought that in relatively settled New Jersey, William and Elizabeth’s situation would be considered shocking and shameful! I wonder why they were not … strongly encouraged … to marry. The Hixenboughs and the Andersons were neighbors! And there was certainly no mystery regarding Elizabeth’s son’s parentage — although born out of wedlock, the son carried his father’s name: William Anderson, Jr. And they all sound pretty cozy.
Elizabeth Hixenbough’s father, Jacob Hixenbough died intestate about 1823 and her mother willed her property to her unmarried children specifying that if any should predecease her, the survivors would receive that share for their lifetimes, and then it was to pass to “William Anderson, son of my daughter Elizabeth.” Curiously, one of the executors of this will was John Anderson, Sr., the grandfather of William Anderson’s illegitimate son. And one of the witnesses was David Biggs, brother in law of William Anderson. Similarly, the will of William, Jr.’s aunt, who bequeathed her estate to her nephew, was witnessed by David Biggs.
William Anderson, Jr., somehow, seemed to escape the stigma of illegitimacy. He became a wheelwright, married twice, had seven children and was throughout his lifetime one of the well-to-do members of the Lebanon Township Community.
In 1824, just a few years after the birth of his illegitimate son, my third great grandfather William Anderson married Elizabeth Castner. He was 25 and she was 19. They had three children: Daniel Castner Anderson, born in 1826; Mary Ann Anderson, born in 1828; and Elizabeth Catherine Anderson, born in 1829.
A Hunterdon County deed from 1829 indicates that William owed his father in law, Daniel Castner $436.12, as well as owing money to 11 other men. Commissioners were appointed by the court to settle his affairs, and in 1831 his farm was auctioned off. William’s father in law, Daniel Castner was the high bidder! And in 1836, William Anderson, Sr. deserted his family in New Jersey to homestead in Stoney Creek Township, Madison County, Indiana.
I don’t know what became of Elizabeth Castner Anderson, but apparently her young children grew up in the home of or at least around, their grandfather, John Anderson. Elizabeth and William’s daughter Mary Ann died quite young, but his other children seemed to have fared pretty well. Okay, now –stay with me — this is really complicated: On November 18, 1849, in a double wedding ceremony, Daniel Castner Anderson married Mary Ann Anthony (the niece of his grandfather’s second wife, Anna Rosina Anthony) and his sister Elizabeth Catherine Anderson married Peter Tiger (undoubtedly a relative of my third great grandfather’s sister’s husband). No fool Daniel, shortly before his marriage, he entered into a property agreement that guaranteed that he would eventually become the owner of John Anderson’s extensive farms. Daniel and his wife had one son and six daughters.
So let’s catch up with my third great grandfather, William Anderson. Having seemingly escaped his family obligations in New Jersey, my third great grandfather started a second family (or third depending on whether or not you count Miss Hixenbough and her son) in Indiana with Sarah Corzatt, his common law wife. Sarah Corzatt was my third great grandmother.
Madison County is located to the east of Indianapolis. A text entitled The History of Madison County from 1820 – 1874 lists a John Anderson among the first settlers of the region. Could this be “our” John Anderson, the brother of my third great grandfather? We do know that John Anderson preceded his brothers William and Henry on the journey from New Jersey to the Indiana frontier.
I can’t figure out where, when or how William and Sarah Corzatt became acquainted. Sarah was born in Warren, Ohio, the daughter of George Corzatt and Phebe Cregar, both born in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Curiously, George and Phebe were married in Hunterdon, New Jersey in 1919. By 1820 when Sarah was born, the Corzatts had made their way to Warren, Ohio.
I don’t believe that William Anderson and Sarah Corzatt were formally married. They had, however, 13 children, the eldest born when William was around 40 years of age and Sarah was 20.
- Andrew Anderson was born in Madison County, Indiana in 1839. He was drafted to serve in the 30th Indiana Infantry. He died in 1864 at the age of 25, undoubtedly of wounds or illness related to the Civil War, and is buried in the Woodward Quinn Cemetery in Madison County Indiana.
- Elizabeth Anderson was born in Stony Creek, Madison County, around 1842. She married Nathan Young in 1859 at the age of 17. He was 26, and they had at least one child. She died in 1968 at the age of 26. A few years later, her younger sister married her widower.
- Mary Jane Anderson was born in 1844. She married Joshua Teeters in 1865 at the age of 21 – he was 30 years old — and they had six children. I don’t know when Mary Jane died – her husband Joshua died in 1905.
- Julia Ann Anderson born around 1847 in Hamilton County. She married Levi DeLawter in 1870 and they had at least five children. Levi died in 1904 and Julia died in 1909.
- Louisa Anderson was born in 1848. In 1868, at the age of 20, married her older sister’s widower, Nathan Young, age 35, and they had at least three children. Nathan died in 1922 at the age of 89, and Louisa died in 1926 at the age of 77.
- Henrietta was born in 1851 in Hamilton County. In 1872, at the age of 21, she married Charles Rohler.
- William Anderson and Sarah Corzatt’s seventh child, Lucinda, was born in 1853. Lucinda! She was my great great grandmother, and she will get a post all to herself!
- Rachel was born in 1854. In 1875, at the age of 21, she married 23 year old William Rhoads. They had two children. I don’t know when William Rhoads died, but in 1885 Rachel married William H. Stearn and they had two more children. Rachel died in 1933 at the age of 79. William Stern died in 1943 at the age of 86.
- John, the ninth Anderson child, was born 1857. He was married to Margaret I. Smith in 1877 and they had five children.
- Cassius Anderson born in 1860 and in 1885, he married 24 year old Mathilde Passwater. Cassius’ skull was fractured when he was struck by and automobile in 1930. He was 70 years old at the time of his death.
- Sarah Mariah, twin sister of Cassius, married Joseph Crooks and they had four children. Sarah died in 1932 at the age of 72.
- And finally, William and Sarah may have had a son named Samuel A. Anderson. Several of my fellow researchers on Ancestry.com name a son born in either 1858 or 1863. I have never been able to track down any support for this.
Among the things that interest me about these folks — the siblings of my great great grandmother and their spouses – are:
* the motivations behind the various relocations. By the 1850 U.S. Census, the entire family was living in Wayne Township, Hamilton County, Indiana, so it seems that William and Sarah’s first three children of were born in Madison County, while the rest followed in Hamilton County. Having been settled in Wayne County for a number of years, one wonders what made them pick up and move again. (Hamilton County is located just north of Indianapolis.)
* the ages of the marriages and childbearing. Imagine having your first child at the age of 19 and your final child more than 20 years later! Imagine having borne nine children and then having twins! And all these children lived, in a time rife with death from disease and accidents, not to mention war.
*and their often impressive longevity. With the exception of William and Sarah’s eldest son, Andrew, the males of appropriate age to fight in the Civil War seemed to have survived. I am curious to explore what each of them did in 1860s.