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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



REV. WILLIAM G. ANDERSON, of Colfax, is one of the foremost citizens of this county. He was born in Jefferson County, Ind., Oct. 12, 1818, and is the fourth in order of birth of his parents' family of nine children. The parents of our subject were William G. and Anna (Whitaker) Anderson, and the latter was a daughter of Aquilla Whitaker, who moved to Kentucky in an early day, and settled on Bullskin Creek, Shelby County. Mr. Whitaker was a particular friend of the famous hunter, Daniel Boone, and lived a close neighbor to him. Together they fought the redskins, and together they passed many a pleasant day hunting over the undeveloped portion of the State in which they were located. The Whitakers were of German extraction, and the Andersons of Irish lineage.

William G. Anderson, Sr., was an early settler in Shelby County, Ky., whence he removed to Jefferson County, Ind., and there engaged in farming. He continued to follow his calling in the latter county, meeting with varied, success until his demise. This occurred in November, 1862. Our subject's mother departed this life in the fall of the following year. The parental family comprised ten children, seven sons and three daughters, only five of the number surviving at this writing [1887]. Rev. William G. Anderson passed his boyhood days in Jefferson County, Ind., and there lived, engaged the while in farming until after he had attained the age of manhood. When in his twenty-second year, Mr. Anderson was united in marriage with Miss Jane Sheridan, the ceremony being performed in the county of his nativity. Miss Sheridan was the daughter of James and Phoebe (Ricketts) Sheridan, the former a native of Kentucky, and the latter of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Anderson was the second in order of birth of her parents' children, and after her marriage with our subject they located on a farm in Jefferson County, Ind., and he there successfully followed his calling until the fall of 1855.

It was in the fall of the latter year that Mr. Anderson, hoping to better his financial condition, brought his family to this State and located in this county. In the spring of 1858 he moved to his present location in Martin Township, on section 3, near the Mackinaw Creek. The fine productive farm on which he lives to day was then an unimproved tract of land, having upon it a small cabin, which is still permitted to stand as a relic of bygone days. Then he made his residence in it, but to-day he utilizes it as a stable. That our subject has been successful as an agriculturist is evident from the fine and well-improved farm on which he lives to-day, and which has been brought to its present high state of productiveness mainly through his own labor. Our subject has devoted considerable of his time to the feeding and raising of stock, and some years has fed as high as 100 head of cattle and 200 head of hogs. His farm consists of 320 acres, 160 being located on section 3, and 160 on section 2, and 170 acres of his land is inside the corporation of the thriving little village of Colfax. About fifty acres of this has been sold out in town lots.

Mr. and Mrs. Anderson have become the parents of five children, namely, William H., of Colfax; Francis M., now in Dakota; Mary, wife of B. F. Payne, of Dakota; Millard F., also of Dakota, and James M. The latter was a soldier in the late war, and a member of the 8th Illinois Infantry. He served his country faithfully and well, and lost his life while fighting in her defense, being killed at the battle of Ft. Blakesley. Mr. Anderson has served as Supervisor of Martin Township, being the incumbent of that office for two years, 1868-69. He was a candidate on the Prohibition ticket, at the election of 1886, for the Legislature, and while he was defeated he received a handsome vote, and in his own township ran away ahead of his ticket. He and his good wife are members of the Christian Church, and for twenty years our subject was engaged in preaching for that denomination. For five years he was a member of the State Missionary Board, of Illinois, and for one year acted as its Chairman. He acted as financial agent of Eureka College, of Woodford County, Ill., from the years 1873 to 1877, and raised more money for the time he occupied the position than any one who has succeeded him, having raised on an average of $1,000 per month while thus employed. Mr. Anderson is a self-made man in every sense of the word, and although his educational facilities in early years were exceedingly limited, he has improved each shining moment, and in addition to being a good Bible scholar, and posted upon the issues of Nation, State and county, he is likewise one of the best farmers and one of the most honored and respected citizens of the county. A lithographic portrait of Mr. Anderson appears on another page of this work.

FOOTNOTE: Personal papers of Daniel Boone at the Wisconsin Historical Society

[SOURCE: Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887). Transcribed and annotated by Judy Rosella Edwards.]


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