Andersons of Colonial N. Carolina

meant what they said, said what they meant

American Spirit… Indeed

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George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill

American Spirit

George Washington was known first and foremost as commander in chief of the Continental Army and our nation’s first president. But Washington was also a successful business entrepreneur and innovative farmer.

Washington erected a large stone gristmill in 1771 to increase production of flour and cornmeal, and to be able to export high quality flour to the West Indies, England, and Europe. In 1797, Washington’s Scottish farm manager James Anderson encouraged him to build a whiskey distillery adjacent to the gristmill. The distillery was the largest in America, producing 11,000 gallons of whiskey in 1799, making it one of the most successful economic enterprises at Mount Vernon.


“My grandfather was a Scotch country farmer, who came out from Scotland to take charge of General Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon, Va. He died there, and my father, Alexander Anderson, then moved to North Carolina and was a successful merchant, business man, Railroad President and Bank President for many years.”

Biographical and historical record of the class of 1835 in Yale college




Edwin Alexander Anderson writes from Wilmington, N. C., on the 8th of December, 1880: My Dear Thacher :

I was very much pleased to receive your friendly letter of the 4th inst., and am pleased to think that the student still remembers his classmate after an interval of nearly fifty years.

I was born in the city of Wilmington, North Carolina, on the 17th of June, 1816, and am consequently now sixty four years old. My mother’s name was Mary Howard, a native of Virginia, the daughter of Colonel Thomas Howard, who fought all through the Revolution, and was present at the head of his regiment at the final surrender of Lord Cornwallis, 19th Oct., 1781, at Yorktown, Va. My grandfather was a Scotch country farmer, who came out from Scotland to take charge of General Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon, Va. He died there, and my father, Alexander Anderson, then moved to North Carolina and was a successful merchant, business man, Railroad President and Bank President for many years.

I was fitted for college at Hillsboro, N. C., by Mr. Wm. Bingham, a noted and capital teacher, who educated most of the prominent men of this and other States. I entered Yale College in the year 1831; graduated in 1835; in Medicine at Yale in 1837 ! took my second degree of Master of Arts in 1838. I received an “appointment” at graduation, was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa and Chi Delta Theta societies, and the Calliopean. After graduating in Medicine I went to Philadelphia, obtained the position of district physician and surgeon to the southeastern district of the city of Philadelphia, served in that capacity for one year, then entered the Pennsylvania Hospital as a substitute for Doctor Wallace, then traveling in Europe. I served one year in that institution as resident surgeon and physician, and finally was employed as house surgeon and physician in the Blockley Alms House Hospital for one year, the largest hospital in the world. It holds 3500 patients, took five years to build it and cost $950,000. It has four fronts, each 400 feet long ; is four stories high and 50 feet deep; so in walking my rounds I made 1600 feet in a straight line, and counting going up and down stairs and around the sick bed, I made 5000 feet each visit, or two miles a day, not counting extra visits, and all this under cover. After leaving Philadelphia I went to Louisville, Kentucky, and spent one year there practicing medicine. Returned in 1842 to Wilmington, N. C., and have been, with the exception of a short time, in the active practice of my profession. In this I acquired a competence and reputation. I have been President of the North Carolina Medical Society, President of the New Hanover Medical Society, offered a Professorship of Surgery in the college of Physicians and Surgeons of this State, but declined. I have written many articles for different medical journals, among others a history of the yellow fever as it occurred here during the year 1862. I have lived, I trust, a useful life, and done credit to my college, my name and people. The late civil war ruined me, as it has done thousands of others throughout the south ; but I still have a competence, and am waiting (now 64 years of age) calmly until it shall please the Master of life to call me home.

I married Mary Lillington in 1842—the grand-daughter of Major General Alexander Lillington, who gained the battle of Mowry Creek, the second battle of the war after Lexington and only a few months subsequent to it, and of no less importance to the colonies (see Lossing’s Pictorial history of the Revolution), and have five children, three daughters (one married) and two sons. My eldest is a druggist, my youngest a cadet midshipman in the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, and now near graduating. Last summer, during the cruise of the Constellation, his ship, he, as a midshipman, stood on the famed battle field of Yorktown, on the very spot trod by his gallant ancestor, Colonel Thomas Howard, at the head of his regiment, one hundred years ago.

You ask me about my married life. It has been an uniformly happy one for nearly fifty years. It cannot be better described than in the text cited by you, viz: Proverbs xxxi, 28.

My future life will be as the past. I expect to practice my profession as long as I live and have the physical and mental ability to do so.

And now my dear classmate, adieu. If you ever come South, come and see me. I hope your life has been as happy as mine. I know it has been more useful. With much regard, yours truly,

E. A. Anderson.


His son?

Rear Admiral Edwin A. Anderson, USN, (1860-1933)

Edwin Alexander Anderson was born on 16 July 1860 in Wilmington, North Carolina. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1882. Two years’ sea duty on the sloop of war Kearsarge and the gunboat Alliance was followed by promotion to Ensign in 1884 and service on USS Quinnebaug in European waters. From 1888 to 1896 he had survey and hydrographic assignments, among them a tour on the research steamer Albatross. Anderson attained the rank of Lieutenant (Junior Grade) in September 1894. In early 1897, he reported on board the cruiser Marblehead and was promoted to Lieutenant in March 1898. On 11 May 1898, during the Spanish-American War, he led the Marblehead boat parties that helped cut the communication cables off Cienfugos, Cuba. Later in the war Anderson delivered the Spanish vessel Adula to Savannah, Georgia, and in late 1898 and early 1899 commanded captured Spanish gunboats.

Lieutenant Anderson was next assigned to the Naval Torpedo Station at Newport, Rhode Island, and in 1901-1902 commanded USS Nashan. In 1903 he served in the Far East, commanding the former Spanish gunboats Don Juan de Austria and Isla de Cuba as well as reaching the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Tours at the Washington Navy Yard and on USS Pennsylvania followed. In 1906-1907 he led the Second Torpedo Flotilla and received promotion to Commander. After recruiting duty at Cincinnati, Ohio, service at the Mare Island Navy Yard, California, and command of the gunboat Yorktown, in July 1911 Anderson was promoted to Captain. He then commanded the battleships Iowa and New Hampshire. While in the latter ship, he participated the intervention at Vera Cruz, Mexico, leading the Second Seaman Regiment in combat ashore in April 1914. For his “extraordinary heroism in battle” at that time, he was awarded Medal of Honor.

Captain Anderson attended the Naval War College in 1915-1916 and was Supervisor of Naval Auxiliaries at Norfolk, Virgina from late 1916 into the first months of World War I. Temporarily promoted to Rear Admiral in May 1917, his performance as Commander, Patrol Squadron ONE was recognized with the award of the Distinguished Service Medal. His flag rank became permanent in November 1918 and was followed by assignments as commander of an Atlantic Fleet cruiser division and, from November 1919 to May 1922, as Commandant, Sixth Naval District, headquartered at Charleston, South Carolina. He became Commander in Chief, Asiatic Fleet in August 1922, with the temporary rank of Admiral. When a severe earthquake rocked Japan in September 1923, Anderson acted quickly, sending ships to help the devastated cities of Tokyo and Yokohama. A month later, Anderson returned to the United States and served in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations until his retirement, as a Rear Admiral, in March 1924. Edwin A. Anderson died on 23 September 1933 at his home at Masonboro Sound, Wilmington, North Carolina and is buried at Arlington National Cemetary, Arlington, Virginia.

USS Anderson (DD-411), 1939-1946, was named in honor of Rear Admiral Edwin A. Anderson.

Written by anderson1951

March 5, 2010 at 1:13 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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