Old Pioneers of Van Zandt County Van Zandt County Genealogical Society
This page will be devoted to the Old Pioneers of Van Zandt County. These stories have come from a variety of sources, some from old newspapers, some from descendants and some have been previously published in the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society's quarterly publication, "Our Heritage." Our thanks to Sue Wilkinson, quarterly editor, for permission to reprint these stories. All biographies are welcomed and if you have one that you would like to submit, just write it in your own words and send it to Sibyl and we will be very happy to post it on this website.
Lewis Jasper (Jap) Anders
Lewis Jasper "Jap" Anders was born in Quachita Parish, Louisiana in 1848 to Taylor Anders and Eliot Roberson Anders. His grandparents, Jonathan and Nancy Anders, were some of the earliest settlers of Bienville Parish. Records show that they were there in 1827 and they were on the 1830 census. There are many records of this family in Bienville Parish.
With so much devastation in Louisiana after the Civil War, including the deaths of several family members and the loss of the family's land, the Anders started moving to Van Zandt County, Texas.
Jap married his first wife, Susan, in Louisiana. Susan died in 1875. She and Jap had four children to live to adulthood: Sidney, Nancy, Joann, and Lou. It is known from family history that one of these girls was called Lizzie, probably Nancy or Joann. Also, it is known that Jap had a daughter called Eller. Eller could have been Lou, which could have been short for Louella.
By the 1880 census, Jap was married to Mary Melvina Reddell. They had several children, but only five lived to adulthood: Susan m. B.W. Barrett, Katherine m. John Melton, Tony, Myrtle m. Ed Smith, and Tom. Mary died in 1896. On September 12, 1897, Jap married Docia Greer, and to this union nine children were born, including a set of twins: twins Jasper Jewell and Uel, Howard Esteray, Dolly, Jessie, Lewis, Fred, and Richard.
In Jap's older years, he was given big birthday parties. One cousin from Louisiana remembered the day that a girl from the first marriage met the youngest girl from the third marriage for the first time. What a family! In an article in the Grand Saline Sun in about 1925-26, there was a picture of six cousins with their ages totaling 428 years. They were J.W. Howard, 66; M.T. Anders, 76; Jap, 78; F.M. Fatheree, 72; J.H. Creagle, 74; and "Uncle Billy" Roberson, 72.
Jap was a county commissioner for Van Zandt County, and this presented some problems for him. As the 20th century approached, he didn't progress with it. The story goes that he had to go to Austin on county business and he rode the train. The train traumatized him so badly that the walked all the way back to Grand Saline. Neither did he like the automobile, and he refused to ride in one. When he died, the family decided to transport his body to the cemetery on an old flatbed truck. They thought that would be more to his wishes. Thus, he is remembered as our family character. He and his three wives are buried in Creagleville Cemetery.
An article in the Grand Saline Sun in 1934 stated that he was one of the last remaining veterans of the Civil War in that area, and he was 86 years old at the time of his death.
Submitted by Lois Melton Thompson
Previously published in the Van Zandt County Genealogical Society's Our Heritage
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