Anderson Ancestor immigrated from Sweden in 1881

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 21, 2019

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John Frank Anderson, a Swedish immigrant, came ashore in Mobile, Ala., in 1881. He was born on July 22, 1855, in Stockholm, Sweden. At age 15, he left his family home and began working as a seaman, a work he would do for the next 11 years. That is the time he chose to leave that line of work to become a farmer in his newly adopted land. After a year of farming in the Mobile area, he made his way to the Community of Brooklyn in Conecuh County, Ala.

Upon arriving in Brooklyn, John Anderson secured employment with J.M. Robinson, a reputable businessman of the area. Sometime later, he moved to Covington County where he sought a job with Buck and Nap Dixon in the Rome community, a small, country crossroads. About this time, he received his naturalization papers from the State of Alabama making him a citizen of the United States. 

Circa 1883, John Anderson, a skilled carpenter, came into the area of Fairfield located on the road from Andalusia to Brooklyn. He began to build very structurally sound houses in that community. He knew how to treat the lumber so that it fit together perfectly in the walls and floors, and some are most likely still standing. One of the prominent houses he constructed was that of Napoleon Bonapart Dixon’s home. His reputation grew rapidly because of his outstanding craftsmanship, and many began to seek his services.

One of those was Cornelius Starr Thomasson who admired Anderson’s work. He contracted for Anderson to build a new house for his family in the Fairfield community. It was most likely during the time he was working there that he met one of the Thomasson daughters, Tempie Caroline. They began “courting” and soon her father gave his approval for the 22-year-old young lady to marry John Anderson. They were married in December 1884, probably at Hopewell Baptist Church were the Thomasson family worshipped for many years. They were blessed to enjoy 66 years of marriage before their deaths.

As a newly married couple, the Andersons settled in the Fairfield community. John built them a house on Tempie’s father’s land. They reared their four sons there before moving to Andalusia in December 1919 where they purchased a house at 910 River Falls Street from John Cawthon. John farmed, contracted and worked in the timber industry enabling him to provide a comfortable living for his family. He became a “jack of all trades” and even built buggies and contracted to build chimneys.

The property on River Falls Street included a large, five-acre pecan grove. Unfortunately, during the early 1920s, the house caught fire and burned completely for a total loss. With John’s skills, he immediately constructed another house on the same site, and the couple resided there for the remainder of their lives.

John Anderson never lost his winsome Swedish accent nor his ties to his family members in Sweden. He had three brothers and a sister: Andrew, Charlie, Karl and Charlotte. His brother, Charlie, along with another brother immigrated to the United States also, but Charlie was later drowned off the coast of New York.

John Frank and Tempie Anderson reared their sons in the Hopewell community. They were the parents of the following children: Andrew Erastus, b. 1886, d. 1963, m. 1972 Mattie Delores Williams; John Houston, b. 1889, d. 1952, m. (1) 1915 Beulah Stephens (2) Gladys ?; Craston Cornelius, b. 1891, d. 1980, m. Minnie Lee Rainer; Infant, b. ca 1893, d. before 1900; and Virtue (Virgil), b. 1896, d. 1979, m. Kathleen Sims. The sons were grown when their parents moved to Andalusia, and the oldest, Andrew Erastus, is the only one who remained in Covington County. The others moved to different states. The three older sons served during World War II, Swenson and William, in the U.S. Marines, and Lucine, in the U.S. Army.

Andrew Erastus was trained in the construction business by his father and became a contractor with a reputation equal to his father’s.  While living in the Hopewell community, he married Mattie Delores Williams, daughter of William Henry Williams and Mary Elizabeth Bass. In 1919, the couple followed his parents in their move to Andalusia. They purchased a house next to his parents which was separated by the five-acre pecan orchard. Andrew eventually bought his father’s property since his brothers had moved to other states. He and his wife, Mattie Delores, were the parents of the following children: Swenson Edward, b. 1914, d. 1977, m. Vera Tisdale; Lucine Daulton, b. 1916, m. 1933 Mirtis D. Brunson; William Frank “Bill,” b. 1922, d. 1974, m. 1947 Vivian Lucille McCain; and Eleanor Faye, b. 1925, single.

The second son, John Houston Anderson, was first married to Beulah Stephens. They met when they were both employed at Berman Department Store in Andalusia. He was later married to Gladys whose maiden name is not known. They resided in Eldorado, Ark., and were the parents of two children, Joe and Susan.

The third son, Craston Cornelius Anderson, was married to Minnie Lee Rainer of Opp. They moved to West Palm Beach, Fla., where Craston operated a drug store and sold real estate. They were the parents of two children: Craston Cornelius Jr.; and Blyndia, m. Charles Vidak. 

The youngest son, Virture Lee Anderson, later changed his name to Virgil Lee. He and his wife, Kathleen, had three children: Dickerson S., Virtue Lee Jr., and Kathleen, m. ? Owens.

Andrew Erastus’s oldest son, Swenson Edward Anderson, was about five years old when his family moved to Andalusia.  He attended the Andalusia City Schools, and on Christmas Day, 1932, he married Vera Tisdale, daughter of W. Robert and Georgia Tisdale of Andalusia. Vera was also a graduate of the Andalusia High School. Swenson and Vera had one son, Robert Swenson Anderson.

Robert Anderson was graduated from Andalusia High School and the University of Alabama. His career has been in marketing and insurance in Tennessee and in his hometown of Andalusia. In 1964, he married Patricia Ann Fleming, daughter of Bob and Margaret Fleming of Atlanta. Patricia had a career in education and at one time taught at Andalusia High. They have four children: Georgia Catherine, m. James Mitchell Byrd; Robert Phillip, Michael Sean; and Andrew Patrick. In 2000, Robert married Mary Ann Louise Byrd who retired from teaching math at Andalusia High. They reside in Andalusia in his mother’s former home.

The second son, Lucine “Lukie” Daulton Anderson was graduated from Andalusia High and immediately married his sweetheart, Mirtis D. Brunson, daughter of Jim D. Brunson and Rosa Lee Everage who were residing in Milton, Fla. The couple, both only 16 years old, settled in Brewton, but later moved to Atmore where Lukie established the Anderson Department Store. He had a distinguished military service during WW II before returning to civilian life. He was very active in community affairs where he served as mayor pro tem for Atmore City Council. He was elected for two terms on the Democratic Executive Committee from the Second Congressional District. In 1978, and he was appointed by Gov. George C. Wallace as Tax Assessor of Escambia County to fill an unexpired term.

Lucine and Mirtis Anderson were the parents of two sons: William Daulton, b. 1942, m. Brenda Margaret Ford; and James Foster, b. 1945, d. 2016, m. Dyanne Elmore. Daulton and wife make their home in Atmore where he operated Anderson’s Radio Shack. They were the parents of four children: Jeffery Paul, Richard David, Amanda Lynn, and Kristen Ann. James Foster worked for the State of Alabama where he managed several different state parks. He and Dyanne are the parents of one son, James Foster Anderson, Jr.

The third son, William Frank “Bill” Anderson, was a student at Auburn University when WW II erupted. He spent about three years as a member of the U.S. Marines where he endured serious conflicts. When the war ended, he returned to his studies and met his future wife, Vivian Lucille McCain. After a year in Auburn, they moved to Foley where Bill opened Anderson Department Store. He was later appointed by Governor Wallace to serve as Director of Alabama Marine Resources for the State of Alabama. Bill and Vivian were the parents of two daughters: Vicky Lane; and Donna Kay, m. Cody Lamar Dawson.

The fourth child and only daughter, Eleanor Faye Anderson, was an outstanding educator. She resided in Atmore and remained unmarried. Her mother lived with her during her last years.

The source for today’s story was Thomasson Traces—Narrative, Vol. II, which was written by Margie Malloy and Curtis Thomasson. Anyone who has a question regarding it is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: