Cottonville, Iowa

The Anderson’s of Kilsyth, Scotland Help Start a Town in Iowa.

Iowa became a territory of the United States in 1838 and a state in 1846. Cottonville, Iowa was formed sometime around 1850 with a post office in service from 1851 to 1900. Cottonville was always a small town with two trading stores and a blacksmith’s shop at it’s peak. Cottonville became a ghost town when the railroad moved through a LaMotte, Iowa, a nearby town around 1890. In the 1830’s and 1840’s numerous issues involving the American Indians made living in Eastern Iowa somewhat dangerous for the early settlers. The land was mostly forested as the first settler farmers arrived in Jackson County, Iowa where Cottonville is located. So the first issue for the settlers in Cottonville was to clear the land for farming and defend themselves from the American Indians who had been bought out of their land with treaties. The only remaining part of Cottonville today is the Cottonville Cemetery located at southwest corner of the junction of Bellevue Cascade Rd and 250th Avenue in Richland Township, Jackson County, Iowa.

Anderson Family of Cottonville 1846 to 1882

Alexander Anderson had his family located in Cottonville around beginning in 1846 the year Iowa became a state. The very first documentated evidence of the Alexander Anderson family in America can be found in the 1850 US Census. There is a suggestion Alexander may have precedent his family to the area, then had the family join him later. Alexander and Jane Anderson are listed with their seven children (William, Robert, John, James, Edwin, Peter and Phebe) along with two borders (Isabella and Robert McGilvary) who were in the household. Isabella was Alexander and Jane’s first child. Real estate holdings were listed at $300 which would be about $10,000 today. The census takers normally moved from farm to farm to record census by hand. The entry before the Alexander Anderson family entry in the census record was the Alexander Jameson family which most likely was the farm next door. In that family was Lydia Jameson who ultimately married one of Alexander’s sons, Robert, in 1856.

1850 Census Anderson Household Cottonville, Iowa
Lt Robert Anderson
Lydia Jameson Anderson

The first documented evidence of Robert Anderson (my 2nd great grandfather) appeared on the 1850 US Census living with his father and mother in Cottonville, IA. Records indicate he married Lydia Jane Jameson in 1856. Lydia Jameson came from the Jameson family which is well detailed in the book Jameson’s of AmericaAlexander D Jameson arrived with his family from Cherry Valley, New York in Cottonville in 1849 buying 400 acres of farmland situated near Alexander Anderson. The Anderson and Jameson family owned several tracts of farm land in the Cottonville area as detailed in the 1867 platt map below. There is a 160 acre farm on either side of the Bellevue Cascade Road West of Cottonville carrying the name of “Wm Anderson” in 1867. It is assumed this was his father’s farm (Alexander Anderson) who died on his farm in 1863 from lung disease associated with the Battle of Vicksburg. Lydia Anderson (Lt Robert Anderson’s widow) has an 80 acre section of land labelled “L.J. Anderson” just East of Wm Anderson’s land in the 1867 map.

Anderson Family (red border) and Jamison Family (blue border) Farm holdings 1867

Alexander Jameson (Lydia’s father) died in 1853. His monument is located in the Cottonville Cemetery. Alexander Jameson’s wife, Helen Mars Warriner Anderson died in 1874 in Oakfield, Iowa. The US Census of 1860 shows a new Jameson household headed by Porter Butler Jameson in Cottonville. Porter Butler Jameson arrived in Cottonville sometime after 1850 and apparently took over the farm of his dead brother Alexander D Jameson. Robert and Lydia Anderson are listed along with their two year old son Edwin Eugene Anderson (my great grandfather) on the farm with P. B. Jameson in the 1860 census. Robert Anderson is listed as a 27 year old “laborer” in the 1860 Census on the farm of P. B. Jameson.

There was a Non-Population Census in 1860 which detailed the farm of Alexander Anderson on that date. His farm was comprised of 80 improved acres and 80 unimproved acres with a valuation of $3,000. He had 7 horses, 4 milk cows, 15 head of cattle and 5 pigs on the farm. He produced 662 bushels of wheat, 400 bushels of corn and 500 bushels of oats during the year.

William R Anderson

William Anderson, Robert Anderson’s brother is missing from the 1860 Census. He was married to E. Jane Phillips in 1856, next showing up on the 1870 US Census in Bellevue, Iowa which is located on the Mississippi about nine miles east of Cottonville, Iowa. A biography in the 1879 History of Jackson County Iowa says the following about William Anderson. 

“Willaim Anderson was a steam boat captain, later reported to have owned a couple of steam boats. Near the end of his life he ran his own company in Bellevue, Iowa (Anderson and Company) which was a frieght forwarder of grain and hogs as an agent for the Keokuk Northern Line Packet Company.”

William Anderson died in 1884 in Yazoo City, MS of Yellow Fever. William had eight children, Geneva (born 1858), Etta(born 1860), Isadore (born 1865, died 1876), Selina (born 1867), William (born 1869), Robert W Anderson (born 1871), Walter (born 1876) and Maro (born 1879). William Anderson’s Life Story

In the late 1800’s the railroad was located through the town of LaMotte, Iowa just to the north of Cottonville. This event moved the center of life to LaMotte for the area farmers at which point Cottonville declined to a ghost town with only the cemetery surviving. The Cottonville post office was closed in 1900. The only remaining evidence of the town today is the Cottonville Cemetery where largely composed of Anderson and Jameson family members before and after the Civil War.