Thomas Sidney Anderson, son of James B. and Mary Ann Martin (Robertson) Anderson, was born in Daviess County, that part known as the “Beech Woods,” six miles east of Owensboro, Kentucky, July 8, 1842.
James B. Anderson (father) was born in Lexington, Kentucky, June 1, 1808; first engaged in business with Thomas Anderson & Company, commission merchants of Louisville, as a clerk, and after a few years he acquired an interest in the business. His health failing, he removed to Brandenburg, Kentucky, and was engaged in mercantile business there for several years, but returned to Louisville and engaged in the wholesale dry-goods business as senior member of the firm of Anderson & Evans.
A few years later he removed to Daviess County and bought a farm, upon which he lived until January 1, 1850, when he moved into Owensboro, having been in 1849 elected cashier of the branch of the Southern Bank of Kentucky there. He held that position until 1864, when he organized the Planters’ Bank of Kentucky—now the First National Bank of Owensboro—of which he was cashier until his death, which occurred October 17, 1864. He was a very decided Union man before and during the Civil war, and expressed his convictions openly; was an ardent advocate of the cause of temperance, and was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, he and his wife having been charter members of the first Presbyterian congregation that was organized in the county of Daviess.
John Anderson (grandfather) was a native of County Tyrone, Ireland. He came to America in his youth and settled in Lexington. His father was a sea captain; his wife was Sallie Quicksall, a native of New Jersey.
Mary Ann Anderson (mother) was born near Frankfort, Kentucky, January 2, 181 1. Her marriage to James B. Anderson was celebrated in Louisville, December 30, 1828. She survived her husband nearly fourteen years and died in Owensboro, September 18, 1878.
The children of James B. and Mary A. Anderson, two sons and two daughters, were: Matilda Robertson, who married Charles R. Tyler of Owensboro; Thomas Sidney, the subject of this sketch; Sallie Quicksall, who married Thomas S. Venable of Owensboro; William Kyle, who married Cornelia Cook of Detroit, Michigan.
Thomas Anderson (mentioned in the early part of this sketch) and James B. Anderson were not relatives. They became very warm friends, and the latter named his first son for his friend and his wife, whose name was Sidney.
Isaac Robertson (maternal grandfather) was educated at Princeton College, New Jersey. He was a lawyer in Frankfort, an upright, honorable gentleman; married Matilda Taylor, daughter of Commodore Richard Taylor of Revolutionary fame; and met an untimely death at the hands of a portrait painter named Dearborn, who was arrested and imprisoned, but made his escape.
Donald Robertson (maternal great-grandfather) was an educator, mentioned in “Fisk’s American Revolution” as “that most excellent Scotch school master,” who numbered among his pupils President James Madison.
T. Sidney Anderson, the principal subject of this sketch, attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, but while in his junior year his longer attendance was prevented by the death of his father, who named him executor of his will, and by the fact that he was elected cashier of the Planters’ Bank of Kentucky, to succeed his father. This position he held from October, 1864, to September, 1871. He and his brother then organized the Owensboro Savings Bank, of which he was at first vice president and then president until 1887. In 1883 he removed to Detroit, Michigan, where he was the principal mover in organizing the State Savings Bank, of which bank he was vice president and manager till 1887, and then president until December 9, 1889, when he resigned voluntarily. While living in Owensboro, and president and principal owner of the Owensboro Savings Bank, his conscientious business policy was to lend no money to, or aid in any way, the liquor and tobacco trades, or any other business detrimental, in his judgment, to man’s good. The same policy was pursued by the State Savings Bank at Detroit from its organization, and during his management. In December, 1889, the board of directors desired to change the policy of the bank, and lend the money to anyone who offered good paper, financially, regardless of a moral consideration; and also wished to hire a special police force to patrol the bank premises on Sundays and Sunday nights, the same as on week day nights. To neither of these changes was he willing to be a party, preferring to sever his connection with the institution which he had founded, had managed successfully, and of which he was by far the largest individual stockholder.
He remained in Detroit until March, 1893, dealt in real estate successfully, and then moved back with his family to his old home, Owensboro, Kentucky, since which time he has been attending to his private business only.
Mr. Anderson is an elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Owensboro, and is superintendent of its Sabbath school. He is an ardent temperance man in principle and in practice, and since about 1885 has voted with the national Prohibition party. Previous to that time he voted the Republican ticket.
Mr. Anderson was married May 29, 1867, to Susan Elizabeth Harris, daughter of Giles Harris of Petersburg, Virginia. They have three children, daughters : Mary Ann, wife of William A. Underbill, a native of Brooklyn, New York ; Pattie Bransford and Susan Harris.
Giles Harris, Mrs. Anderson’s father, was born in Prince Edward County, Virginia, September 19, 1805; married Martha Williamson Bransford, December 24, 1828; died Sunday, March 15, 1874, in Owensboro. He was a prominent planter and tobacconist and was one of the leading citizens of his city.
Martha Williamson Bransford (Mrs. Anderson’s mother) was born in Cumberland County, Virginia, February 15, 1807.
John Claibourn Harris (Mrs. Anderson’s paternal grandfather) was a prominent planter in Prince Edward County, Virginia; married Polly Ganaway. Mrs. Anderson’s maternal grandfather was Benjamin Bransford, who was born in Cumberland County, Virginia, December 15, 1769; was a planter; married Lucy Hatcher of the same county. He was a son of John Bransford and Judith Amonette Bransford, who had ten children ; he was a grandson of John Bransford, who was the father of three daughters and two sons.
Source: Biographical Cyclopedia of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. John M. Gresham Company, Chicago, Philadelphia, 1896.