Among the substantial and influential members of the agricultural community in Greene County, the name of James R. ANDERSON holds a front rank. His home is a fine farm of one hundred and one acres, three miles northeast of the town of Spring Valley, being a part of the parental homestead on which he was born. He is of Southern descent and possesses the agreeable and courteous manners which are a heritage of the better class of Southerners, together with the intelligent and well-stored mind and good character which win respect.
The paternal grandfather of Mr. ANDERSON came to this county from South Carolina very early in the present century, dying here and being buried on the farm where our subject now lives. He had but two children, James and Horney, the latter of whom lived for some time in Fayette County, but died in Jay County, Ind. His widow and children then removed to Iowa.
James ANDERSON first saw the light of day in South Carolina, November 3, 1796. On coming to this county with his parents in 1802, settlement was made on two hundred and one acres in Spring Valley Township, where he lived until after the death of his wife. This worthy woman was born in Virginia, July 23, 1793, and bore the maiden name of Priscilla COLLIN. She breathed her last May 25, 1852, her bereaved husband surviving until September 25, 1858. Four of five years after her death he spent at his daughter’s. Both were members of the Society of Friends, Mrs. ANDERSON being one of the active members. Mr. ANDERSON served in the War of 1812; in politics he was first a Whig and later a Republican.
To James and Priscilla ANDERSON nine children were born, eight being reared to years of maturity. William is now living in Greene County, Iowa; Rhoda is the widow of Nathan MENDENHALL; John is deceased, having left a family of five sons and one daughter; Joseph died, leaving a widow, six sons and two daughters; Preston, died in Greene County, Iowa, leaving a widow, two sons and two daughters; Harmon, who died in Iowa left three sons and four daughters; Abijah is living in Greene County Iowa, and has one son and three daughters; the youngest member of the family is James R., the subject of this notice.
The natal day of the subject of this sketch was April 10, 182?. He was reared on the farm, receiving a common-school education, and began life for himself while but in his twentieth year, being married November 7, 1852, to Catherine JAY. This lady was born at New Burlington, Clinton County, July 5, 1834, to Alexander and Margaret (IRVIN) JAY, her father being a farmer. Mrs. ANDERSON belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church and during her married life of over forty years was devoted to the interests of her companion and the two sons who were born to them. Her death took place June 25, 1877. Her two sons are Ambrose and William A., the latter now living in Colorado.
Our subject contracted a second matrimonial alliance, the wedding ceremony being performed January 3, 1878, and the bride being Miss Anna, daughter of Jesse P. and Cassandra (BELL) SANDERS. She was born in Bellbrook, April 23, 1839, is intelligent, enterprising, and possessed of an estimable character.
About the year 1855 Mr. ANDERSON embarked in the sale of groceries in Spring Valley, continuing in that business two years, and then engaging in farming for nine years. He next embarked in the lumber business, sawing hard lumber and dealing in the soft woods, and also taking building contracts, occupying himself in that manner eight years, after which he returned to agricultural life. In November, 1864, he enlisted in Company F., One hundred and Fifty-fourth Ohio Infantry the only battle in which he was engaged being that at New Creek. Previous to his enlistment he had been serving as an enrolling officer of his township, having been appointed to the position in 1862 by Governor Brough. He also served as Constable and Assessor, and in 1882 was appointed Superintendent of the County Infirmary, a position which he filled with credit and honor until his resignation. He desired to withdraw from the position and therefore sent in a resignation February 1, 1890, to take effect March 1. In politics Mr. ANDERSON is a Republican. He belongs to the social order of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and is a prominent member of the Methodist Protestant Church and also a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.
Portrait and Biographical Album of Clark and Greene Counties, Chapman Bros., Chicago, published 1890