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Anderson Family Site:

Anderson Narrative History

Our Anderson Story in Narrative:


Many of us ask “Who are we?” “Where did we come from?” In this narrative it is my intent to begin to answer these questions – What kind of people do we descend from? How and when did we get to the places we and our ancestors have lived? My interest in genealogy begins with the little book, The Anderson Story I received from Granddad Anderson (Haramont Nathaniel Anderson) in 1969 or so. Granddad Anderson helped Cora May Boots and Mrs C. J. Davis of Xenia, Ohio fill in information on the branch of the Anderson family that had migrated from Ohio to Iowa: his father Harmon Anderson and uncle, William Anderson, and their descendants.

An Overview

Our story of the Anderson family begins in the Delaware/Maryland area in the mid-1700s, before the Revolutionary War. This is a rich agricultural land and one that was settled by Englishmen seeking refuge from the ravages of the English Civil War and unrest surrounding the battles among Oliver Cromwell, the landed gentry and the royalty of England and Scotland.

Our family history parallels the early history of the country. James Anderson and Elizabeth Brown, born in the first decade of the 18th Century, lived and farmed in Delaware. Their son, James married Ann Clifton and continued to live in Kent County of Delaware, James was probably too old to participate in the revolution (he was born about 1733 and would have been 43 when independence was declared). James and Ann were reputed to have belonged to the Nicholites, a Quaker-like religious community located in that part of Delaware. Their son John was born in 1755 in Kent County, Delaware. John married Elizabeth Horney of Talbot County, located just to the west in Maryland. Some chroniclers of the family claim that John fought in the Revolutionary War (see the Ohio historical records), but there is no solid evidence this is true.

John, Elizabeth and their children left Delaware about 1801 and moved westward down the Ohio river valley then possibly up the Little Miami River, settling in the the Ceasar Creek area of what later became Greene County, Ohio. Their children were raised there, including James, born in 1786 in Delaware. In 1809 James married a Quaker girl, Priscilla Coffin who had come north with her family from North Carolina in the early 1800s. Her grandfather, William Coffin had sheltered and cared for wounded revolutionary soldiers during the Revolutionary War. James and Priscilla raised their family in the Ceasar Creek area of Greene County, Ohio. Priscilla was also first cousin of Levi Coffin. Levi was known in Cincinati, Ohio as the local "President of the Underground Railway." Priscilla and James are buried in Ceasar Creek Quaker Cemetery.

James and Priscilla had eight children, four remained in Ohio (Rhoda, John, Joseph, and James Robinson); four moved on west to Iowa (William, Preston, Harmon and Abijah Coffin). The three youngest sons, Harmon, Abijah Coffin and James Robinson all served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Harmon was captured by the Confederates at the Second Battle of the Wilderness and spent several months at Camp Sumter, Andersonville, Georgia till being paroled with scurvy in September of 1864.

The four Anderson brothers who moved to Iowa settled in Greene County, near Scranton. William Anderson came first, arriving in Greene County after the 1850 Federal census. Preston Anderson left Ohio and settled in Iowa about 1851 (his daughter Julia was born that year in Iowa); Abijah Coffin Anderson came to Iowa in 1860; and Harmon settled in the Scranton area in 1865 after his service in the Army.

Great-grandfather Harmon married Margaret Horney in 1851. Harmon was working and living on his older brother William's farm in 1850. That farm was next to the one that Margaret's father owned. Margaret was 16 and Harmon was 26 when they married the next year. They had eight children: Melvin Leewood - 1852-1936; Catherine Alice - 1854-1858; Lillian Mae - 1856-1950; James Francis - 1860-1940; Anna Flora - 1862-~1950; Elizabeth Jane - 1866-1952; William Horney - 1867-1875; and Haramont Nathaniel - 1876-1971. The children who survived to adult-hood all lived into their eighties or nineties! We have descended from tough stock. Margaret Horney was second cousin of her husband Harmon, Margaret's grand-father and Harmon's grand-mother were brother and sister, respectively.

Haramont Nathaniel Anderson was born and raised in Scranton. He attended medical school and began the practice of medicine in Scranton in the early 1900s. He married Margaret Holmes in 1905 in Scranton. After the birth of their first child, Mary Holmes in 1906 they moved to Woodbine, Iowa where Dr. Anderson set up his permanent practice. Two more sons were born in Iowa: John Harmon in 1908 and Haramont Nathaniel, Jr in 1915.

Mary Holmes married Newton McKinney in 1931. They raised five children: John, David, Richard, Margaret and Mary Ann. All of these children eventually moved west: John to Vancouver, B.C and Seattle, Washington; David to New Mexico; Richard to Seaside, Oregon after teaching many years in Illinois; Margaret to the Tri-cities of Washington before retiring to Depoe Bay, Oregon; and Mary Anne from Bettendorf, Iowa to the Tacoma area of Washington.

John Harmon served in the Navy during WW II, in 1943 married Grace Thiles of Douglas, Iowa. The couple settled in the Seattle area where John worked for a bank. Later he moved to the Aberdeen- Hoquiam area of Washington. John and Grace had two daughters, Jonnel and Janis. Jonnel and her husband, Duane Fagergren still live in Washington; Janis married Douglas Scorrar, a Canadian and lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Haramont Nathaniel (Harry) married Frances Turner in 1935. Harry and Frances had four children: Richard Holmes (Holmes);Mary Lou and Margaret Louise; and William Arthur Bill). Margaret Louise died within two weeks of her birth the weaker of the twins. In 1940 Harry and Frances and their children left Iowa to settle in Oregon. William (Bill) and Mary Lou still live in Oregon, Holmes lives in Colorado.

The Anderson family gradually moved westward, eventually settling nearly as far west as one could go on the North American continent, somehow we missed getting to Alaska!

I will take up the family in more detail in the pages that follow.

Continuing Work

I expect to develop materials relating to the Horneys in Delaware and in North Carolina and their eventual move to Ohio in the 1800s. My research into the early roots in New England will be developed when I trace the Coffins and Paddocks from New England (Massachusetts and Nantucket Island) to North Carolina and finally to Ohio. Once the paternal family (Anderson, Horney, Coffin) has been completed I expect to work on my paternal grandmother's line (Holmes and Haacke). There are other surnames in our past, and these will be touched upon as part of tracing the main family lines

I hope you will find this work of interest and that you will feel free to contact me with any errors you discover and share branches that I have overlooked here. If you have details on any of the early ancestors, I would greatly appreciate hearing from you

Richard Holmes Anderson
January 2010
Denver, Colorado