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The James A. Andrews, Sr. Family of Montgomery County, Texas

James A. Andrews, Sr. was born in Laurens, Laurens, South Carolina in about 1794. After the 1810 census United States census in South Carolina, little is known about his early life until he appears in the 1830 United States census in Greene County, Alabama. It is not known whether he served in the War of 1812. He is believed to have married a Martha Formby (09 Jul 1802 - 16 Nov 1883) in Wilkes County, Georgia on 05 Feb 1822.

(It should be noted that throughout the time period of James' life the spelling of the Andrews name frequently bounces back and forth between Andrews and Anders. This is seen for James, for his father John who died in Alabama, and for some of his children. The name finally settles down to Anders around 1900 after the death of James A. Anders, Jr.)

The next we see of James he is arriving in the Republic of Texas from Alabama on 29 Dec 1839. On this date the Sabine County Board of Land Commissioners issues James a conditional land grant of 320 acres. This indicates he initially came without his family. A subsequent augmentation land grant of 320 acres awarded to James on 07 Oct 1845 indicates his family arrived in Nov 1841. (But, his son John states his arrival as Dec 1840, so likely the family came to Texas in at least 3 batches.)

The Andrews/Anders family never lived on their land grants (one grant was sold and the other was placed in Cass County). They purchased and lived on land in Montgomery County, Texas. James can be seen on the county tax rolls from 1841 until before his death in 1854. They are living near the Landrum, Rankin, and Worsham families who also came from Alabama. It is quite possible the Anders knew these families and followed them to the Republic of Texas after independence (note that two of the Anders sons married Rankin daughters). Their arrival coincides with the arrival of the John N. Womack, Jr. family from Alabama as well.

The end of James' life is quite sad. On 09 Mar 1855 James A. Andrews, Sr. committed suicide after a drinking spree. He is thought to have pulled the trigger on a gun with his big toe, shooting himself in the throat (Texas State Times newspaper, 24 Mar 1855, citing the Huntsville Item). The location of his grave is unknown. We can only speculate that maybe he was buried in an unmarked grave because of the circumstances of his death.

His wife Martha died in Montgomery County, Texas on 16 Nov 1883. She (and a few of their children) are buried in Mt. Pleasant cemetery.

Some of the ancestry of James Sr. is known. His father John Andrews died in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama in 1844. He was born in Surrey County, Virginia in about 1769. His probate mentions "son James Anders of Texas". From this point, the Andrews family is documented, but the exact relationships (which children belong to which ancestor) are not clear.

The Thompson's have James A. Andrews, Sr. as an ancestor twice. This is because of an cousin marriage in the late 1800s. Robert Lee Anders, grandson of James Sr. through son James Jr., married Jenny Adda Anders, great-granddaughter of James Sr. through son John and grandson James W., on 10 Jan 1893. (Incidentally, there is another Anders cousin marriage - Robert Lee's brother William Henry Anders married Susan Catherine Anders in about 1892. Seems like there must be a story behind these two cousin marriages so close together.)