WILLIAM G. ANDERSON. A native of Kansas, a member of a prominent old family of Dickinson County, William Gibson Anderson has had a varied experience but early found his real work and vocation in the newspaper profession, and has been actively identified with a number of papers in Southern Kansas. He is now editor and proprietor of the Evening Free Press at Winfield.
He was born on a farm near Abilene, Kansas, July 30, 1874, attended the public schools of Abilene, graduating from high school in 1894, and his college alma mater is Baker University at Baldwin. He was graduated from Baker in 1898, with the degree Ph. B. While in university he became a member of the Alpha Omega, which subsequently was amalgamated with the Delta Tau Delta, the best known and oldest among the college fraternities.
On leaving college Mr. Anderson taught science in the Dickinson County High School at Chapman, Kansas, two years. In 1900 he went to Las Vegas, New Mexico, and became a reporter on the Las Vegas Daily Optic, owned by his cousins, the Allen Brothers. In August, 1902, Mr. Anderson bought a half interest in the Traveler at Arkansas City, and was connected with the news and business department of that paper for five years. Selling out in 1907 he went with the Iola Daily Record at Iola, which subsequently was sold to the Iola Register. In the fall of 1910 Mr. Anderson became connected with the Wichita Star, but in the spring of 1911 returned to Arkansas City and was one of the staff of the News until the next fall. In the fall of 1911 Mr. Anderson bought the Evening Free Press at Winfield and has since continued as its active proprietor and editorial manager.
The Evening Free Press was first published for a number of years as a weekly at Dexter, Kansas. In 1889 it was removed to Winfield and since then has been published as a daily. The Free Press while exercising a large influence in politics is independent and progressive in its attitude. It has a large circulation of readers in Cowley, Chautauqua, Butler, Sumner and other counties. The paper is one of the live ones in Southern Kansas, and Mr. Anderson owns a complete printing plant, located at 111 East Tenth Avenue in Winfield.
His interest extends to all the movements for the betterment of his home city and state. He is a member of the Winfield Commercial Club, is a steward in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is affiliated with Crescent Lodge No. 133, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Arkansas City.
He was married at Barnes, Kansas, December 21, 1900, to Miss Katherine Underwood, daughter of Rev. W. H. and Juliet (Plank) Underwood. Her father, now deceased, was a well known Methodist minister in Kansas, did some of the pioneer work of his church in this state, and was at one time presiding elder. Mrs. Anderson's mother now lives at Clay Center, Kansas. Mrs. Anderson was born in Irving, this state.
William G. Anderson is a son of Judge William Stadden Anderson, long prominent in the affairs of Dickinson County and now a resident of Abilene. Judge Anderson was born February 17, 1842, in La Salle County, Illinois, only son of William F. and Anna (Stadden) Anderson. William F. Anderson was born in Loudoun County, Virginia, in 1807, of native Virginia parentage. Anna Stadden was born in Licking County, Ohio, March 19, 1808, her father being a native of Pennsylvania and her mother of Maryland. William F. Anderson located on a farm in La Salle County, Illinois, in 1835 and lived there until his death on February 1, 1846. His wife died in the same county October 10, 1898. Of their six children all were daughters except Judge Anderson. The daughters were: Samantha, born in 1830, now the widow of J. P. Browning and a resident of Henry County, Illinois; Catherine Elizabeth, born in 1833, has been three times married and is now a widow; Amanda, born in 1835, died in 1894, the wife of T. J. McHenry; Mary Jane, born in 1839, is the widow of John F. Gibson, who died in 1905; and Lucy Ann, born March 24, 1845, is the wife of J. D. Lawrence.
William S. Anderson had a country school education and also attended the Rock River Seminary at Mount Morris, Illinois. In 1862 he enlisted as a private in Company G of the One Hundred and Thirteenth Illinois Infantry and was soon promoted to corporal. On November 6, 1862, the regiment was ordered to Memphis, Tennessee, to join General Sherman. It took part in the movement known as the Tallahatchie expedition, was in the battles of Chickasaw Bluffs and was then sent to Arkansas Post. The regiment arrived in the rear of Vicksburg in May, 1863, and participated in the assault of the 19th and 22d of that month. During this attempt to take Vicksburg from the rear Mr. Anderson was seriously wounded in the right shoulder, was totally disabled by his wound, and was given his honorable discharge at St. Louis December 1, 1863.
For a time he lived in Illinois, but in 1865 went to Chillicothe, Missouri, and for six years was in the real estate business there. In 1871 he came as a pioneer to Dickinson County, Kansas, and homesteaded a quarter section twelve miles south of Abilene. The final proof on this homestead was made in 1876. In the meantime he had taught school two years, and in 1873 was elected county surveyor and re-elected four times, serving altogether for ten years. He kept his home on the farm, but was always troubled by his old wound and finally removed to Abilene. In 1888 he was elected clerk of the district court, but was defeated in 1890 by the populist upheaval of that year. For twelve years Judge Anderson was in the ice and coal business at Abilene. In 1908 he was nominated and elected probate judge of Dickinson County and was re-elected in 1910. Since leaving that office he has looked after his private affairs and has led rather a retired life.
Judge Anderson has always been a loyal and stalwart republican. He is one of the charter members of Abilene Post No. 63, Grand Army of the Republic, was its commander in 1867, has filled all the other offices, and was a member of the State Council of Administration of the Grand Army in 1908. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and for six years was treasurer of the Abilene school board.
Judge Anderson was married at Chillicothe, Missouri, December 13, 1866, to Miss Jennie B. Gibson, daughter of John Gibson, a native Virginian and a farmer who died at Carrollton, Missouri, in 1880. Judge and Mrs. Anderson had seven children. Jessie D., born at Chillicothe, Missouri, October 25, 1867, was married in 1891 to R. A. Baker, a Dickinson County farmer, and at her death in January, 1901, she was survived by two children. Elizabeth, born October 25, 1869, is the widow of A. S. Hill, a lumberman of Tacoma, Washington, who died in 1903. Kate Gertrude, born September 15, 1872, married J. E. Nickels, a merchant at Talmage, Kansas. The next in age is William Gibson Anderson, editor of the Evening Free Press at Winfield. Edna, born November 5, 1876, is the wife of Horace Johnson, a sugar chemist at Honolulu in the Hawaiian Islands. Fred Q., born December 24, 1880, died at Tacoma, Washington, June 1, 1908, and Anna, born June 8, 1886, died March 21, 1888.
A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Jeremiah Heck, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, March 15, 1999.
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