- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SANDBORN, Ind. (AP) - For 180 years after his death, James Anderson’s grave in Sandborn Cemetery offered little clue of his service to his nation.

At 4 p.m. on July 26, that will change as several chapters of the Indiana Society of the Sons of the American Revolution unveil a monument at his gravesite identifying him as a veteran of the war that made this nation.

Dedication ceremonies like this one that pay tribute to American soldiers are representative of the work SAR chapters across the nation do to preserve the past.

“If we don’t do it now, all this history is going to be lost a few years down the road,” said Ed Hitchcock, a member of the Indiana Society of the Sons’ Daniel Guthrie Chapter in Bloomington.

Hitchcock, along with other Indiana Society of the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution members - many of whom will be dressed in period attire - will be on hand for the dedication.

And a direct descendant of James Anderson, David Anderson of Linton, will even be in attendance; Hitchcock tracked him down to help commemorate the service of his great-great-great-great-great grandfather, who was born in Scotland on Oct. 22, 1743.

According to an Anderson family history compiled and published by John Anderson in 1954, James Anderson left his homeland around 1765 and traveled to Cuba, where he married a woman named Inez Lavaro. They had four children together, but a few months after their youngest, Rachel, was born, his wife died.

He left his two older children in Cuba and took his younger kids, James Jr. and Rachel, with him to New York, where he joined the Revolutionary War forces.

A letter written in 1938, responding to an inquiry from a Mrs. O. L. Dunn in Vincennes that presumably requested information about his service, states that during the early part of the war, James served at various times guarding the country and “in pursuit of Tories” until sometime in 1780, when he and his children settled near the Falls of the Ohio in Kentucky.

James volunteered and served in Capt. Peter Sturgess’ company in Col. George Rogers Clark’s expedition and “destroyed many Indian villages” along the Little Miami River.

In 1782, he served as a sergeant in Capt. Peter Hines’s company, under Clark, and fought in a battle with the Indians on the Big Miami, assisting in the release of some white men and women who were being held prisoner.

Anderson himself was taken prisoner by the Shawnee near his Kentucky him in 1786. Months later, James was purchased by a French trader who granted him his freedom. James returned home 10 months after his capture.

His time as a soldier had ended by then, but the roots of the Anderson family were just about to take shape.

About the same time James left Scotland back in 1765, another Anderson of no relation named Thomas set sail from the same place. He headed directly to New York, where he became a boot and shoe merchant.

Around 1774, he married Lady Margaret Dewey, who had accompanied his older brother from her homeland of Scotland to New York about a year earlier.

Thomas later fought with Gen. George Washington and his troops during the winter of 1777 at Valley Forge and sometime after that, he died, leaving his wife and two kids, Katherine and Thomas Jr., behind. Margaret began traveling west across the Alleghenies with her children in tow.

At this point, Margaret and James crossed paths: Apparently, just by happenstance, she and her kids stayed with James and his kids for a short while in Kentucky before they eventually moved on to Vincennes.

During that brief stay, Margaret’s son Thomas Jr. fell in love with James’s daughter Rachel. The two got married and went to live in Vincennes before eventually settling in the Black Creek neighborhood, where they were later joined by Margaret and Katherine.

Meanwhile, Revolutionary War veteran James had been longing to see his daughter, so he journeyed up to Black Creek for an extended visit.

But that extended visit turned permanent when he and Margaret, two Andersons of no relation who hailed from the same homeland, “became very much interested in each other” and, with Rachel and Thomas Jr.’s blessing, were married in September 1822.

Eleven years later, on Sept. 3, 1833, James appeared in a Knox County court at the age of 90 to apply for a Revolutionary War pension, as outlined in an act of Congress that was passed a year earlier.

Copies of his deposition, included in a collection of historical records compiled by David Anderson’s niece, reveal an interesting detail about James, a detail that left David awe struck when he encountered it.

After his deposition in court, James had to sign the transcript of what he said. He marked a rather off-kilter “X” on the papers, which the transcriber labeled “James Anderson, his mark.”

“When I saw that, it just blew me away,” David said. “He couldn’t read or write, but he knew what he was willing to fight for.”

And at the July 26 ceremony at Sandborn Cemetery, Anderson will be honored at last for his patriotism.

There will be a presentation of colors by the INSSAR Color Guard, the unveiling of the grave marker, a salute by the Honor Guard and the playing of “Taps.”

The is welcome to attend.

David, a 76-year-old former Marine who sells bridges for E&H; Bridge and Grating Inc. in Bedford, said ceremonies like this are deeply significant.

“It’s important to remember those that gave,” David said. “Men like him suffered, but they were willing to fight for this country and they never questioned what they were fighting for.”

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Source: Vincennes Sun-Commercial, https://bit.ly/1fZpQAS

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Information from: Vincennes Sun-Commercial, https://www.vincennes.com


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