The name "Anderson" appears in several northern European countries, but our family happens to come from Scotland, by way of Ireland. Our research so far is inconclusive, but according to our cousin Betty Lankford's DAR application, our immigrant ancestor in this line was William Anderson, born in Belfast, Ireland in 1747. He was an engineer and iron founder, and was involved as a contractor in the construction of the original White House in Washington, D.C. (the one the British burned in the War of 1812). He later built the first steam-driven grist mill in Pittsburg, PA. During the American Revolution he is said to have built cannons for Washington's army, for which service he was given a land grant in Allegheny, PA (now Pittsburg).
In 1781 in Shippensburg, PA, William married Mary Ann Carn (or Cann, or Conn), who was born (we think) in Wales in 1763. She died in Pittsburg in 1816, and William died in Mercer Co., PA in 1821.
One of William and Mary Ann Carn Anderson's sons was James Anderson, who started a school in Pittsburg for apprentices in the iron trade, which he endowed with 1000 volumes from his personal library. One of the students in this school was a young man named Andrew Carnegie, who later was a highly successful iron tycoon, and who himself endowed many free libraries across the United States. For his second library, in Allegheny City, he commissioned a statue by Daniel Chester French which had an inscription dedicated to his mentor, Col. James Anderson.
Other children were Sarah, Paul, William (our ancestor), Letitia, Mary Ann and Clarissa. James was the 4th child.
William Anderson, Jr. was born in Shippensburg in 1783, and died in Pittsburg in 1855. His was Mary "Polly" (surname unknown). William and Polly had two children, Mary (b. ca. 1803, d. 1851) and James Anderson, b. 1806, d. 1872. James was a carriage maker. He married Margaret "Peggy" McCoy, daughter of John and Mary Ackelson McCoy, before 1830. They had seven children: Catherine, John, Mary, James, Margaret, Julia and Richard.
James Anderson, Jr. married Mary Jane Scott, daughter of David Scott and Elizabeth Ickes, in 1858. They had nine children, Julia, George Lankford, Laura, James M., Annie Amelia, Harry Melvin, William, Luella May, and Westley. Around 1884-1885, George, James, Harry and William moved to Birmingham, Alabama, which was at that time a new center for iron working. However, eventually all the brothers except George returned to Pennsylvania.
© 2000 Katherine Cochrane