WILLIAM ANDERSON, president of the Gillespie Mutual Insurance Company and for many years a leading agriculturist of Macoupin county, whose farm is located on section 5, Cahokia township, is a native of Putnam county, Indiana. He was born February 14, 1832, a son of Thomas and Mary (Scott) Anderson. The grandfather of our subject on the paternal side was James Anderson, a native of Virginia, who moved to Tennessee and later took up his abode in Indiana. He had good fighting blood in his veins and was one of the active participants in the Black Hawk war. He lived to the advanced age of eighty years.
Thomas Anderson, the father of our subject, was the eldest son of James Anderson. He was born in Tennessee and removed with his parents to Indiana early in life, continuing there until 1834. Believing that more favorable opportunities lay westward, he came to Macoupin county, Illinois, and entered one hundred and sixty acres of land in Honey Point township. He died just as he was entering upon the prime of a useful career, at the age of thirty-five years. The maiden name of his wife was Mary Scott, and she came to Macoupin county in 1834. There were four children in their family, namely: William, of this review; James M., who was a resident of Terre Haute, Indiana, and is now deceased; Jesse F., of Portland, Oregon; and Joseph M., who was a resident of Missouri and is also deceased.
William Anderson has been a resident of Macoupin county since 1834, a period of seventy-seven years, and there are few men within its borders who can claim a better acquaintance with its development during the period named. He possessed very limited advantages of school training, and he was left an orphan in his boyhood, but he has been an apt student in the great school of experience. He early became acquainted with farm work and found employment on farms and in sawmills, working for nine years in mills on Honey creek. In the years when it was necessary he carefully saved his money and he was thus enabled to purchase eighty acres of land, later becoming the owner of one hundred acres on section 35, Brushy Mound township. He was diligent and enterprising in his business, as is proved by the fact that he now owns two hundred and forty acres in Cahokia township and forty acres on section 20, Honey Point township, he and his wife being also the owners of valuable properties in Gillespie. His place, known as the Walnut Lawn Farm, is highly improved with modern buildings and fruit, shade and ornamental trees and is one of the most pleasing features of the landscape in that part of the county. He has given considerable attention to breeding and raising high grade stock and his income from this source has added largely to his fortune. Although not actively engaged in farming for several years past, he takes a great interest in everything pertaining to agriculture and stock-raising and enjoys thoroughly the fruits of his wisely directed labors. He is president of the Gillespie Mutual Insurance Company, which carries two million, five hundred thousand dollars worth of written insurance and is one of the most firmly established organizations of the kind in this part of the country. Its success has been largely due to the good judgment and unquestioned business ability of its president.
In 1856 Mr. Anderson was married to Miss Lydia J. Huddleston, a native of Brushy Mound township. The following children were born to this union: John T., the eldest, lives at Terre Haute, Indiana, and has one child, Edna. Samuel F., a farmer of Cahokia township, has six children, Hazel, Audrey, George, Owen, Chester and Clarence. Clara is the wife of J. M. McGovern, of Bates county, Missouri. William Luther, who lives in Montgomery county, Illinois, has ten children. Ida married J. D. McReynolds, of Honey Point township, and they have three living children, William H., John M. and May, and two deceased. Charles, who married Tena Walschleger and is now in charge of the home farm, lost two children in infancy. The mother of these children died April 9, 1881, and in 1891 Mr. Anderson was married to Mrs. Sarah J. Miller, formerly Sarah J. Sanders and the widow of George Miller. By her first marriage she had three children, one of whom, Dora, still survives. This daughter is the wife of Samuel F. Anderson, one of the sons of Mr. Anderson of this review.
Politically Mr. Anderson for a number of years gave his support to the principles and candidates of the populist party, but he is governed in voting largely by the nature of the questions at issue and the character of the candidates. He served for twenty-five yeas as school director and has most acceptably discharged the duties of various township offices. At the time of the Grange movement he was prominent as one of its earnest advocates and occupied the chair as master of the local Grange. Religiously he is affiliated with the United Baptist church. A liberal contributor to worthy objects, he has also devoted much time and energy to promoting the interests of the community and is one of its most honored residents. He is today one of the leading citizens of Macoupin county and enjoys the confidence and esteem of all who know him.