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Anderson, Henry L.
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Anderson, Henry L.
Contributed by Barbara
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Source: Past and Present of Pike County, Page 650-652


Various and important business interests have felt the stimulus, keen discernment and unflagging diligence ever manifested by Henry L. Anderson in his connection with the agricultural and commercial interests. He is to-day one of the large stockholders, and the manager of the Shaw Garner Company, owning and operating an elevator at Rockport. Moreover, he made a very creditable record as a soldier of the Civil war, valiantly defending the Union cause in the dark hours of our country's history. His life record began at South Windsor, Connecticut, on the 4th of September, 1841, and he attended school in his native town, where he received his primary education, after which he removed from that locality with his parents, Henry and Delcena E. (Elmore) Anderson, both of whom were natives of Connecticut. The father was a prominent farmer of South Windsor, and died at the comparatively early age of thirty-one years, his remains being interred in the Congregational cemetery in his home town. His widow, however, long survived him, her death occurring in East Hartford, Connecticut, in 1900, when her remains were placed beside her husband's grave in the Congregational cemetery.

Henry L. Anderson, leaving home in his fifteenth year, went to Hartford, Connecticut, where he was engaged in clerking in the mercantile establishment of James Ranney & Company, acting in that capacity for a year and a half. He was a youth of sixteen when he arrived in Pike county, Illinois, making his way to Summer Hill, where he resided with his uncle, Elijah Burnham, whom he assisted in farm duties from the time of early spring planting until crops were harvested in the autumn, after which he spent the winter months in attending school. He was thus engaged until August, 1862, when, putting aside all business and personal considerations, he responded to his country's call for aid, his patriotic spirit being aroused by the continued attempt of the south to overthrow the Union.

Joining the boys in blue of Company A, Ninety-ninth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, at Florence, Pike county, on the 23d of August, 1862, Mr. Anderson entered the army under the command of Captain George Edwards and Colonel George W. K. Bailey. The regiment proceeded to Benton Barricks, at St. Louis, Missouri, arriving there on the 24th of August, 1862, being the first regiment from Illinois under the call of that year. Mr. Anderson participated in the battle of Magnolia Hills, Mississippi, where thirty-seven were killed and wounded, and was also in the engagements at Black River, Mississippi, where the Confederate forces were routed from their works, the Union forces pursuing them across the river and capturing many prisoners with slight loss to the Ninety-ninth. On the 19th of May, 1863, he was engaged with the defenses of Vicksburg, and on the 22d of May the famous and ill-fated charge was made upon the works, in which three hundred men were killed and wounded. This left Captain A. C. Matthews in command of the Ninety-ninth Illinois Regiment, which held its position under a galling fire until nearly dark, when the men retired, being relieved by an Ohio regiment, which was driven back in great confusion. The Ninety-ninth then advanced and opened a heavy fire, causing the enemy to retreat and probably saving the entire division from a stampede. During the siege of Vicksburg the Ninety-ninth lost two hundred and fifty-three men in killed, wounded and missing. On the 3d of October, 1863, the regiment took part in several skirmishes in the campaign of the Tesche and detachments of the regiment were engaged in the battle of Grand Coteau. Afterward the regiment went from New Orleans to Texas and at Matagorda Island began the attack on Fort Esperanza, which soon surrendered. On the 16th of June, 1864, the Ninety-ninth Illinois evacuated the island, going to Algiers, Louisiana, and performed garrison duty on the Mississippi during the entire summer. In November, 1864, this regiment was consolidated into a battalion under Lieutenant-Colonel A. C. Matthews and on the 26th of March, 1865, took part in the siege of Spanish Fort and assisted in the investment and capture of Fort Blakely, Alabama. Eventually the regiment was ordered to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Mr. Anderson and his comrades were mustered out on the 31st of July, 1865, being honorably discharged at Springfield, Illinois, on the 9th of August, following.

When his military service was ended Mr. Anderson returned to Hartford, Connecticut, and pursued a course in Bryant & Stratton Business College. In the spring of 1866 he returned to his home in Summer Hill, Pike county, where he resumed farming. He taught school during the winter months until the spring of 1868, at which time he opened a general mercantile store in partnership with Carlisle Burbridge at Summer Hill under the firm name of Burbridge & Anderson, which was continued for five years, or until 1873. when Mr. Burbridge disposed of his interests to T. J. Corrill, the firm then continuing to carry on trade under the style of Anderson & Corrill, which name was maintained until about 1879. Mr. Anderson then purchased his partner's interest and conducted the business alone until 1885, when he disposed of his stock and rented the building. In 1886, however, he once more entered the field of general merchandising, forming a partnership with C. O. Marsh under the firm name of Anderson & Marsh. They remained together for about six years, after which Mr. Anderson purchased Mr. Marsh's interest and carried on the business in connection with his eldest son, Warren Anderson, under the firm name of H. L. Anderson & Son. During this time he was also associated in merchandising and in grain trade in Rockport with different people. In 1897 he disposed of his business interests in both Summer Hill and Rockport and since that time has given his attention to farming and to the grain trade. He is identified with Shaw Garner Company in the ownership and conduct of the elevator and in the grain business, and in addition to this he has good farm property, which he has placed under a high state of cultivation and which returns him a satisfactory financial reward.

Mr. Anderson was married May 5, 1870, to Miss Eliza D. Stebbins, a daughter of George and Orissa Stebbins. By this union nine children have been born: Warren, Ray N., Nora M., Guy S., Leslie L., Clair and Clyde, twins, and Alma E. There was also one child who died at birth unnamed, while Clyde died when four years of age and Alma at the age of thirteen years, all being laid to rest in Summer Hill cemetery.

Politically Mr. Anderson is a republican and has always affiliated with the party for its platform embodies his ideas of good government. He is actively interested in political questions of the county and state and has done all in his power to promote republican successes. He has represented Atlas township as supervisor for five years but has not sought office as a reward for party fealty. He belongs to Major Samuel Hays post. No. 477, and also to the Modern Woodmen camp of Summer Hill. In manner he is somewhat retiring but possesses that true worth which can not be hid and which is always recognized by people of superiority. He indeed deserves mention among the prominent merchants and representative citizens of Rockport and should find a place in the history of the western part of Pike county among the men whose force of character, sterling integrity, control of circumstances and success in establishing business enterprises have contributed in a large degree to the solidity and progress of the county.

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