Biography and History

Robert Anderson (1781-1859) was born in Gloucester County, Virginia, on October 22, 1781, to James Anderson (b. 1740) and Hannah Tyler (b. 1740). His father was a blacksmith in Williamsburg, Virginia, and served as Public Armorer and Captain of the Company of Artificers. Robert was the youngest of eight children born to the couple. In 1814 he married Helen Maxwell Macauley Southall, daughter of Alexander and Elizabeth Macauley and widow of Peyton Southall. She brought four children from her previous marriage.

Throughout his life, Anderson lived and owned property in various parts of Virginia, notably Williamsburg and Yorktown, and was involved in mercantile ventures throughout the state. He was secretary and later director of the James River Steamboat Company and an insurance agent for the Mutual Assurance Society (1811-1857) and the Aetna Insurance Company (1838-1857). He continually ran for various Virginia political offices and served three one-year terms as mayor of Williamsburg (1812, 1820, and 1828). He was very involved in both the personal and professional lives of his extended family and regularly financed living expenses, trips, and education for his children, nieces, and nephews until his death in Yorktown, Virginia, on January 25, 1859.

Source: From the finding aid for C1230