My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in the book, The History of Knox County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1887.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

Hon. Willis Anderson, one of Knox County’s oldest and most prominent citizens, is a native of Franklin County, Ky., born June 17, 1811, and is a son of Elijah and Rachel (Downing) Anderson. The former was born near Frankfort, Franklin Co., Ky., in 1787, and in September, 1824, immigrated to the wilds of Missouri, locating in Marion County, and removing to Knox County in the spring of 1836. He was a farmer, and a son of Joseph Anderson, a native of Virginia, who accompanied Lewis and Clark upon their expedition to Kentucky. He helped build the fort where Louisville now stands. He died in 1844, while on a visit to a daughter in Platte County, Mo. The family is of Scotch descent. The mother was of Welsh and Irish descent, and was born near Lancaster, Garrard Co., Ky., in 1789, and died in Marion County. Mo., March 31, 1834. Our subject, Hon. Willis Anderson, is the eldest of a family of five children, and the only son. Only two of the children are now living: Our subject, and his sister Nancy, widow of Lewis Burns, a noted politician and speculator, of Platte County, Mo. Our subject received a liberal education at Marion College, in Marion County, Mo., and then purchased a half interest in a steam ferry-boat, and a tract of land where Quincy now stands. This was the first steam ferry-boat at Quincy, and after eighteen months in the ferry business he sold out and moved to Knox County, where he pre-empted 100 acres of the land upon which he now lives. Since that time he has devoted his attention to farming and stock-raising, and has been extensively engaged in shipping all kinds of stock to eastern markets. At one time he owned 1,700 acres of land in Knox County, and is one of the oldest citizens of the county. In September, 1861, he enlisted in Green’s Regiment, Missouri State Guards, and served as commissary, and as aide of Gen. Green. When these troops disbanded he continued with Gen. Green up to the evacuation of Corinth; then went to Jonesboro, Tenn., intending to join Gen. Lee’s army, but failed to do so. During his service he fought in several battles and skirmishes, among them being Shelbina, Lexington, Pea Ridge, Mo., Corinth, Miss., and then returned home. He was the first judge of Knox County, and was one of three appointed to organize Scotland and Knox Counties. They met at Millport, and selected Sandhill as a temporary meeting place. In 1846 he was appointed director of the State Bank at Palmyra by the State Legislature, and served as such until the bank closed. In 1858 he was elected to the same position by the directors of the La Grange State Bank, and served until the war. In 1872 he became director of the Knox County Savings Bank, and was immediately elected president of that institution, which position he now holds. In 1874 he represented the people in the General Assembly. September 15, 1836, he married Miss Hettie W. Sadler, daughter of Jerry and Polly Sadler, and a native of Princeton, Gibson Co., Ind., born April 22, 1822. This marriage has been blessed with seven children: Mary Elizabeth, Nancy B., Lucretia, Susannah D., Hettie, Willis E. and Joseph S. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson are worthy members of the Missionary Baptist Church, and for more than half a century have borne each other’s burdens, and shared each other’s joys. Early in life Mr. Anderson was a poor man, but by industry and good management is now well possessed with this world’s goods. He is of a retiring disposition, and it was only upon the earnest and oft-repeated solicitations of his friends that he consented to be a candidate for political honors. He is a Democrat. His two sons share his political views and are well informed. They are greatly interested in blooded horses, and own some very fine stock. They are both unmarried.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 204 biographies included in the Knox County, Missouri portion of the book,  The History of Lewis, Clark, Knox and Scotland Counties, Missouri published in 1887.  For the complete description, click here: Knox County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Knox County, Missouri family biographies here: Knox County, Missouri Biographies

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.