The Anderson Family

Mary Anderson Shroyer

In my last post, we learned a little bit more about Mary and Thomas Shroyer (you can read it here).  This round, we are going to discover a little more about Mary (as best as we can discover from the comfort of my couch)……

Mary Ellen Anderson was born on October 14, 1847 in Guernsey County, Ohio.  Her parents were John W. and Sarah (Hartup) Anderson.  John and Sarah had married the prior year, on August 23, 1846 in Guernsey County.  Mary was their only child, as Sarah passed away in 1849.  After the death of her mother, Mary and her father lived with his parents, John W. and Hannah Anderson, on their farm in Guernsey County.

Mary’s father remarried in 1851 to Hannah Riggs.  I’m not sure that Mary was raised by her father and new wife.  Mary is found still living with her paternal grandparents on their farm in 1860.

John, also a farmer, had at least seven more children with Hannah.  Unfortunately, several of the children died at a young age.  Known children of John W. and Hannah (Riggs) Anderson:

John W. Anderson (12/18/1824 – 10/12/1898)
Hannah Riggs Anderson (08/24/1832 – 08/26/1899)

  • Alexander L. Anderson (1852 – 1936)
  • Sarah E. Anderson (1854-1856)
  • John William Anderson (1856-1881)
  • Evan R. Anderson (1858-1865)
  • Catherine M. Anderson (1860-1945)
  • Martin L. Anderson (1863-1882)
  • Charles Anderson (1871-1957)

We know that Mary went back to Ohio several times to visit family and friends.  We also know that her youngest sister Catherine (known as Kate) visited Mary at her home in Guthrie Center, Iowa in 1914 as Mary was celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary.  Kate is identified as being in the large photo of the gathering.  My guess is that she is seated to the right of Mary in the photo.

At this time, I don’t know much more about Mary or her parents.  However, in the History of Guernsey County, Ohio published in 1911, we learn about her grandparents, John W. and Hannah (White) Anderson.  Under Mary’s uncle Matthias Anderson’s biography, we learn how her grandfather came from England to America, and of his eventual settlement in Ohio.

I love how this is written – with a sense of humor!

From This History of Guernsey County, Ohio:


…………….. He is the son of John and Hannah (White) Anderson.  The mother, who was born in Belmont county, was a daughter of John White and wife.  John Anderson was born near White Haven, England.  He worked in a canvas factory in boyhood in England, then became a sailor, and was in the English navy, and near the close of the war* he deserted the English warship off the shore at Charleston, South Carolina, with three companions, rowed ashore and ran away into Virginia, traveled at night and hid during the day, until convinced that they were safe.  He went on to Beaver county, Pennsylvania, where he got a place weaving with an old Irishman.  The runaway sailors had a novel way of choosing their route of travel.  They set up a stick at cross roads and which ever way it fell two out three times they went in that direction.  Mr. Anderson stayed in Beaver county several years, and then came down the Ohio river with people en route to Kentucky and left them at Wheeling.  He came to Belmont county, Ohio, and went to weaving with a man named James White, whose niece, Hannah White, he married.  He then set up an establishment of his own for weaving, had a loom, a swift and quill and wheel, along with the other things needed for the work.  Hannah White’s father was from Maryland and her mother was German.  Her wedding dress was calico at one dollar a yard.

Before the National pike** was built, Mr. Anderson and wife emmigrated to Guernsey county in wagons, driving his sheep.  Guernsey county was woods and swamps then.  A sheep got swamped, the father tied to get it out and fell back into the mud himself.  His wife had been so opposed to coming that she thoroughly enjoyed his discomfiture.  He bought a farm of eighty acres, in Richland township, a few years later, when it was all in woods, buying the land from Jack Barrett, an old hunter.  Deer and wild turkey were very plentiful then.  He counted eleven deer at one time in a wheat field.  John and Hannah Anderson had two children born in Belmont county, the others being born in Guernsey county.  One died in infancy, the others were: Sarah, James, Katherine, John, William, Thomas, Mary, Amanda and Matthias.  Mary is living on the old homestead and she and Matthias, of this review, are the only survivors of this large family.

John Anderson bought eighty acres of land and eventually had one hundred and sixty acres.  He kept on weaving, lived all the balance of his life on the farm in Guernsey county, and became a good farmer later in life, though ignorant of it in early life.

He and his wife belonged to the Methodist Episcopal church, he having been converted at Senecaville after he was married.  His mother belonged to the Church of England.

*The war in reference was the War of 1812.  The British Royal Navy set up blockades that stretched along the entire east coast of the United States.  It is possible that John Anderson was on one of the British ships forming the blockade.  The war ended in 1815. 

**The “National pike” or “National Road” was constructed through Guernsey County in 1828.

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