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Col. John Thomas Anderson

Col. John Thomas Anderson

Male 1804 - 1879  (75 years)

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  • Name Col. John Thomas Anderson  [1
    Prefix Col. 
    Born 5 Apr 1804  Botetourt Co., Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 27 Aug 1879  [2
    Buried Fincastle Presbyterian Church Cemetery Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Notes 
    • Col. John Thomas Anderson married Mrs. Cassie Morrison Shanks Patton and established his residence at Mount Joy, near Buchanan, where he died in 1879. He attained early eminence at the bar, and was active in the House of Delegates, then in the Senate, and in the Constitutional Convention of 1850-51; and was appointed on the Board of Visitors of West Point Military Academy. In addition to his professional and public life, he managed large business interests, being engaged in iron production in Botetourt County, as well as being a large land owner. Like his father, he was prominent in the Presbyterian Church, and a ruling elder for over twenty-five years.

      John Thomas Anderson, unlike his brothers William, Gen. Joseph and Judge Francis, lived and died in Botetourt county, close to the Botetourt mines and furnaces and the county courthouse.
      Many of these old stone charcoal burning stacks are still standing. In fact, Col. William Anderson's great-granddaughter, Ellen Glasgow, used the "vein of iron" that runs through Botetourt's mountains and through the characters of Botetourt's men and women, as both the title and the theme of one of her best-known Virginia novels.
      John is the only one of the brothers buried in Botetourt. His and his wife's graves, and that of their only son, are in the Presbyterian cemetery near those of his parents and his four grandparents, Robert and Margaret Neely Anderson, Francis and Grace Metcalfe Thomas.
      John represented his county in the Virginia House of Delegates, and in the state constitutional convention of 1849-50. He was a lawyer, practicing for 22 years in Fincastle where he was a moving spirit in many affairs such as the excellent Fincastle Academy and the Presbyterian church of which, like his father, he was a ruling elder for years. Appointed by President Andrew Jackson, he served on the board of the United States Military Academy so he evidently visited New York and other distant places from time to time.
      But getting the iron down to his brother, Joseph, in Richmond became his main concern, especially in his latter years after 1840. It was there that he moved to the handsome house, Mt. Joy just west of Buchanan which he had bought from the Harveys who had built it about 20 years earlier. His life there was described in my article, "The Burning of Mount Joy" in the winter issue 1964-1965 of this magazine. I shall therefore shorten the remainder of these family reminiscenses about this Anderson brother.
      He was married rather late in life to a charming widow, Cassandra Shanks Patton, who already had three sons. They also reared at least two Shanks nephews. Their only Anderson child to grow to maturity, Joseph Washington, married Miss Anna Morris of Louisa County and left descendants. But in 1863, Joseph's wife and his parents, John and Cassandra Anderson, had the anguish of having to send to Mississippi for his body, slain at Baker's Creek near Vicksburg.
      As attested by letters and family notes, their home, "Mt. Joy", which the Union General Hunter insisted on destroying by fire (he gave Mrs. Anderson one hour to get out) had high white columns, smaller than those of Montrose, with beautiful furnished large rooms and hand-carved woodwork, as remembered especially by my Aunt "Belle" Anderson Bruce. My cousin, Anna Morris Anderson Ely of Princeton, New Jersey, had some of her grandfather, John T. Anderson's portraits. They must have been sent to Buchanan or Fincastle before Hunter came. A granddaughter of Mrs. John T. Anderson, Mrs. Lily Patton Kearsley Rhodes, recalled seeing as a child the bas-reliefs of mythological characters in the cast iron backings of the ruined chimneys. (Cassandra and John lived on in the brick servant's house and kitchen after the masion was burned.)
      Some say "John T." had a violent temper, and attributed it to his Welsh Thomas blood. His memory is beloved to this day, however, among the descendants of the six boys he and his wife brought up in their home. More likely, his explosive ways came just as much from his strong Scottish inheritance of righteous self-respect, physical strength and upright, uncompromising character.
      On Sept. 4, 1879, the Botetourt Bar published resolutions of respect at his recent death along with sketches of deceased members.


      Children of John and Cassandra: Mary, John, Charles William. [3, 4]
    Person ID I28113  Mindrum
    Last Modified 4 Nov 2015 

    Father William Anderson,   b. 2 Jun 1764, Delaware Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Sep 1839, Walnut Hill, Botetourt, Virginia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years) 
    Mother Anne Thomas,   b. 29 Dec 1779,   d. 23 Jul 1848  (Age 68 years) 
    Married 15 May 1796  Frederick Co., Maryland Find all individuals with events at this location  [5, 6, 7
    Family ID F12640  Group Sheet

    Family Cassandra Morrisson Shanks,   b. 2 Jan 1807,   d. 1 Jan 1867  (Age 59 years) 
    Last Modified 7 Aug 2017 
    Family ID F19388  Group Sheet

  • Photos
    Anderson, John Thomas
    Anderson, John Thomas

  • Sources 
    1. [S8249] Robert D. Stoner, (The Roanoke Historical Society, 1963), p. 272.

    2. [S8249] Robert D. Stoner, (The Roanoke Historical Society, 1963), p. 272, 1879.

    3. [S8259] The Four Anderson Brothers, Ellen Graham Anderson.

    4. [S8249] Robert D. Stoner, (The Roanoke Historical Society, 1963).

    5. [S7877] William Anderson Sons of the American Revolution Membership Application, 27 Feb 1918.

    6. [S8056] Maryland Marriages.

    7. [S8249] Robert D. Stoner, (The Roanoke Historical Society, 1963), 1796.