The Anderson Story

The Anderson surname is the eleventh most common in the United States. Most people in the United States with Anderson as a last name can trace the name to Scottish or Nordic country ancestors. This page documents one Scottish immigrant who was responsible for multiple family lines influential in the westward settlement of the United States. 

As I grew up I knew very little about the history of those who passed me my last name. The Civil War took the lives of both my 3rd great grandfather (Alexander Anderson) and my 2nd great grandfather (Robert Anderson). Willis Eugene Anderson, my great grandfather, was only 5 years old when his father and grandfather died from injuries and illness associated with Civil War and the Vicksburg campaign. For reasons not well understood very little information was passed down through the generations about the Anderson family’s history as my ancestors worked their way West across American. Several years ago I began researching our family name yeilding the information that follows. When I started this search in 2010 the only information passed to me about the Anderson’s of Cottonville was that I had a great great grandfather, named Robert, who died in the Civil War and he had a brother who was a steamboat captain on the Mississippi River. I have Lt Robert Anderson’s sword, portrait and his commissioning certificate as an officer in the Union Army from 1862. That was the entirety of the information available to me when I started this research in 2010. No information was passed down about the Anderson’s of Cottonville that started in 1846 and ended in 1885.

Three generations of Robert Andersons now live on the west coast of the United States. The story of the Andersons who settled the Iowa frontier and fought in the Civil War represent a compelling story of the American spirit. All that follows was discovered in the the years since 2010 almost entirely using the resources on and the internet.