Anderson’s Bottom

The other major named property of William Anderson was Anderson’s Bottom. So far, two of the deeds we have seem to refer to it: the first William Anderson property we have that we have documentation for in Virginia, granted to a William Anderson in 1762, and the first Thomas Anderson property in 1793.

According to Iona Burrows Jones: Thomas sold Anderson’s Bottom in 1806 and moved the family to Ohio.

William Anderson, Hampshire Co, 1762

Fig 1: William Anderson, Hampshire Co, 1762
Bounds from deed
N 30° E 30 poles
N 3° W 32 poles
N 66° E 80 poles
N 44° E 60 poles
E 144 poles
S 132 poles
W 275 poles

The western boundary of this property runs northward, down the north branch of the Potomac. The northern bounds runs east into an unnamed mountain and then south.

The only place where the North Branch runs from south to north for any major distance is along the western boundary of his Lordship's land, south of Cumberland, Maryland. This is the area that J. H. Anderson says that Anderson’s Bottom was in a letter to his son dated March 19, 1896, so this could be it, or at least a part of it.

You will see by reading the life of Washington by Washington Irving that the Anderson Bottom was near the head quarters of the frontiersmen - Ft. Cumberland - in the French and Indian wars. It was five miles distant.

Thomas Anderson, Hampshire Co., 1793

Fig 2: Thomas Anderson, Hampshire Co., 1793
Bounds from deed
S 87° W 8 poles
S 14° W 12 poles
S 33° W 13 poles
S 43.5° W 32 poles
S 62° W 20 poles
S 57.5° W 26 poles
S 51° W 28 poles
S 60° W 29 poles
S 10° E 16 poles
S 30° E 30 poles
S 11° W 12 poles
S 32° W 26.5 poles
N 88° E 148 poles
N 32° E 220 poles
S 88° W 144 poles
Like the Wm Anderson 1762 property, this one is bordered on west by the North Branch. On the east by mountain. This is slightly different from the earlier deed. The older deed says that the northern boundary runs into the mountain, thus presumably the eastern bounds which comes next in the list runs out of, along or through the mountain. This deed has the eastern border running along the mountain, but doesn't mention it on the northern border.

The name of the mountain in this deed is given: Knobley Mountain. There is a Knobly Mountain near the Potomac, about 5 or 10 miles south of Cumberland, where the 1762 property lies. On the opposite side of the river from Knobly mount lies Cresaptown, Maryland.

The outlines of the two properties are rather similar, especially along the western boundary, along the Potomac.

The Search for Anderson’s Bottom

Armed with the location and a fairly good outline of the property, I went to MapQuest to find a topological map of the area. After a little searching I found a map that fit my outline perfectly:

Fig 3: Thomas Anderson 1793 plat superimposed on a modern topographical map

Here's an aerial photo of Anderson’s Bottom, again built from bits taken from MSN's TerraServer:

Anderson’s Bottom Aerial Photo
Fig 4: Thomas Anderson 1793 plat superimposed on TerraServer aerial photo,

The pink scale in the picture above shows a distance of 60 poles from the railway and is positioned to help gauge the location of the Anderson burying ground according to a map John Phillips has in his possession.

Fig 5: 1890s butcher paper map redrawn

The map is drawn in pencil on brown butcher paper in the 1890s by either his great grandfather James House Anderson or J.H.'s son James Thomas Anderson (John's great uncle). It was drawn at a time when J.H. was contemplating reacquiring Anderson’s Bottom. We don't know the exact sources used for creating the map, but it shows the location of the Anderson house and burial grounds as well as the Seymour and Cresap houses and Seymour and Brady railway stations.

I'm hoping that this information will help me locate the house and graves when I travel to Anderson’s bottom in 2002, but it cannot be entirely relied on as it appears to show the house as located outside the boundaries of the property as shown in the various plats and deeds.

The map is shown here is a color tracing I did of a scan of it in Photoshop. The actual map can be seen here. I also have a xerographic copy and higher resolution scans of it.

2002 Update

Well, it's now June 2002, and I have seen Anderson’s Bottom, although not the foundations of the old house nor the graveyard. The full bottom land property, has been divided between the Liller and Miller families. Mr. and Mrs. Miller have both died, but their daughter now owns it. Her portion contains the whole of the property surveyed above including the old Seymour house, and is farmed by a man named Bob Scaffer who has lived on the property since the 1930s.

Fig 6: Anderson’s Bottom, June 19, 2002
The picture to the left (click on it to enlarge) is looking south from the mountain road across the bottom toward the old Anderson house, according to JH Anderson’s map and Thomas Bryan Martin's deed (see below). It was taken in late afternoon as a storm approached off the mountains to the west, beyond Cresaptown.

Thomas Bryan Martin, Frederick Co, 1754

While the earliest deed we have for Anderson’s Bottom is dated 1762, a good 3 decades later than family tradition would have William Anderson settling there, we do have evidence that he was living there before the deed was granted. Specifically, there is deed from Lord Farfax granting his nephew Thomas Bryan Martin a lot — identified as “Lot No 11” — on the Potomac in 1754, which cites William Anderson’s house as a landmark.

The survey of this property reads:

Beginning at a black Walnut standing on the banks of the said River at the foot of a Mountain and extending down the said Branch No 45° Et Sixty poles thence No 80° W 74 poles to a Red Oak and a forked poplar upon the banks of said River where it makes a vert short Turn Extending still down the said Branch No 1° Et 186 poles thence No 24° Et Sixty six poles thence Et One hundred poles Near the House that William Anderson now Lives. Still the same Course Et One hundred and forty poles Into the Mountain thence So three hundred poles thence Wt One hundred and fifty poles to the Beginning.
Unfortunately, when plotted, this description comes nowhere near closing, but if we change the “No 45° Et Sixty poles” to “N 45° W 60 poles”, the boundary closes well.

Once more we have the Potomac running north, just west of a mountain, although it is not mentioned which branch we are dealing with. However, if we place it just south of Anderson’s Bottom, the plat fits quite well. Not only that, but it places Anderson’s house just about where the 1890 map shows it.

Lot 13, 1754
N 5° W 56 poles
N 24° E 130 poles
S 86° E 100 poles
S 42° E 88 poles
S 100 poles
W 205 poles
Thomas Bryan Martin's Lot #11 Wm Anderson’s 1762 Grant Thomas Bryan Martin's Lot #13
Fig 7: 1754 plats on a moder topo map
Lot 11, 1754
N 45° W 60 poles
N 80° W 74 poles
N 1° E 186 poles
N 24° E 66 poles
E 100 poles
E 140 poles
S 300 poles
W 150 poles
On the same day as Lot #11, Martin was also awarded a deed for Lot #13, again on the Potomac, and presumably close to Lot #11. Its survey reads:
Beginning at a Sugar Tree standing on the Side of a Mountain near the sd River and extending down the said River No 5° Wt fifty six poles thence No 24° Et One hundred and thirty poles thence So 86° Et One hundred poles thence So 42° Et 88 poles thence into the Mountain So One hundred poles thence Wt two hundred and five poles to the Beginning.

This lot fits well onto the area just north of Anderson’s Bottom, which gives a whole new interpretation for the opening phrase of William Anderson’s 1762 deed, which reads:

Beginning at a white oak in his Lordship’s line & near the said Branch & extending down the said branch

I had taken "in his Lordship’s line" to refer to the fact that the Potomac was Lord Fairfax’s property line — he was granted all the land between the Potomac and the Rappahannock. But, there is a note at the bottom of both of Martin’s deeds reading "Conveyed to his Lordship and now his Property", making Lot 13 his property and the line separating it and Anderson’s Bottom "his Lordship's line".

Moreover, by 1791, when the resurvey of Anderson’s Bottom mentioned in Thomas’s 1793 grant, the adjoining property was owned by a "Col Martin", possibly another relative of Thomas Bryan Martin and Lord Fairfax. The plat reads:

adjoining the land of Col Martin and bounded as followeth (to wit) beginning at a sugar tree corner to said Martin
Notice that it places a sugar tree on the corner of Col. Martin’s land. If the lots are placed as I've showed, that corner is the beginning of Thomas Bryan Martin's Lot #13, which in fact starts at a sugar tree.

Fig 8: Guy Boroadwater's Survey
Figure #7 shows the plats for Martin's lots #11 and #13 and William Anderson’s 1762 plat for Anderson’s Bottom as well as the position of William Anderson’s house from the Lot #11 plat. They don't fit perfectly, but as we have seen from comparing the 1762 and 1793 Anderson Bottom plats, Guy Broadwater's early survey was rather crude and with the proper scaling, they would fit better.

I recently came across an image of a page from Broadwater's 1749 field notes that includes his drawing of the plats for lots 11, 12 and 13, showing that William Anderson’s property is, indeed, lot #12. Figure #8 shows that section of the page. The image is part of a Library of Virginia page about an exhibition entitled "From Williamsburg to Wills's Creek: The Fry-Jefferson Map of Virginia" that is running at the library from August 18, 2008 to Mat 23, 2009. It appears in a page discussing "the Surveyors".

Fig 9: The 1790s plats on a modern topo map.
If we rely on plats from the 1790s, we get a much better fit. By 1790, Lot 13 is owned by one Othnial Sands, and lot 11, at least the northern portion, by a John Baker. Plotting them and the 1793 Thomas Anderson deed, we get the map here to the right.

All of this suggests that Anderson’s Bottom should be Lot #12 in Guy Broadwater’s survey, and that he was living on the property well before he was granted his 1762 deed, certainly as early as 1754, and probably in 1749-1751 when the actual survey quoted in the deed was made. This still doesn't get us documentation back to 1733 when Thomas was supposedly born on the property, but it is a start.

View Larger Map
Fig 10: Anderson’s Bottom on Google Maps

Figure #10 (assuming that your browser supports the iframe tag), shows my Anderson’s Bottom map in Google Maps. As you can see, it is a compromise between the 1854 and 1790 maps above. It is also based upon the 19th century butcher paper map and my own exploration of the area. Given the usage I recently encountered in the Monnett genealogy, I suspect that the whole area covered by the map was known as Anderson’s Bottom, and not just William Anderson’s lot.

Andersons' Departure - Census records

The census records from the turn of the nineteenth century tell us something about the departure of the Andersons and also shed light on a question that has interested some of us: were the Anderson’s slave holders? (The evidence suggests "no".)

Table 1: Upper District Andersons 1800-1807
(taxable whites-horses-slaves)

William Thomas James James Jacob
1800 1-2 3-6
1801 1-1 3-6

1802 1-2 3-7

3-8 1-1 1-2
3-6 1-2 1-1

1 1-1