COLONEL GEORGE C. ANDERSON. How rapidly time is thinning the ranks of the brave "boys in blue" who went forth in defense of the nation's integrity during the dark and stormy epoch of the civil war is evident to even the superficial observer, and the silvered heads of those who appear in the ranks of the veterans at the various encampments of the Grand Army of the Republic show whither the line of march is tending. The younger generation may well look with admiration and honor upon these valiant sons of the republic who saved to the world a grand and united country, and though time has thrown its beneficent influence over the story of the great conflict and the animosities of the past have been softened and chastened, yet never can there be aught but appreciation of the services of the men who followed the stars and stripes over the sanguinary battle fields of the south. One of the honored veterans of the war of the rebellion is Colonel Anderson, to whom this brief tribute is dedicated and who has long been numbered among the prominent business men and influential citizens of Latrobe, Westmoreland county, where he has maintained his home for nearly two score of years.
Colonel Anderson was born in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania, September 8, 1836, a son of Thomas and Mary (Rutherford) Anderson, both of whom continued to reside in the old Keystone state until their death. The father was born and reared in England, whence he came to the United States in 1820, settling in what is now the city of Pittsburg, and having been for many years identified with the mining industry in that section of the state. George C. Anderson received limited educational advantages in his youth, his privileges having been those afforded in the common schools of the locality in which he was born, while he early initiated his services as one of the world's workers. At the age of fifteen years entered upon an apprenticeship of the trade of brick laying, in which he became a thoroughly competent artisan, having received his instructions under the direction of Thomas Simmons, of Pittsburg, with whom he worked five years, after which he found employment as a journeyman at his trade, traveling throughout the south and west, and gaining valuable experience .and knowledge in the connection. He thus continued until there came the call to higher duty, as the unity of the nation was thrown into jeopardy through armed rebellion. Colonel Anderson was among those who responded to President Lincoln's first call for volunteers, and it was his privilege also to go forth as a representative of his native state. He enlisted, April 20, 1861, as a private in Company K, Eleventh Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, for a term of three months, his regiment being commanded by Colonel Jarrett. In July, 1861, at the expiration of his term, he received his honorable discharge, but immediately re-enlisted in the same company, of which he was made orderly sergeant at that time, while in September, 1861, he was elected second lieutenant of this company, which was then known as Company K, Fifty-third Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, commanded by Colonel John R. Brooke. The regiment left Camp Curtin and proceeded to the front, November 7, 1861, and it was the fortune of the command to thereafter participate in many of the memorable engagements which marked the progress of the great conflict. December 22, 1862, while in the field, Colonel Anderson re-enlisted, his second term having expired, and this time he tendered his services for three years or during the entire period of the war. He was promoted first lieutenant, September 17, 1862, and recognition of his faithful and valiant service was thereafter accorded in his further promotion, as follows: Captain, April 23, 1864; major, September 1, 1864; and lieutenant-colonel, November 10, 1864. His regiment was assigned to the Army of the Potomac, (Second Army Corps) with which he served during the greater portion of his time, which covered practically the entire period of the war. In the engagement at Spottsylvania Court House, Colonel Anderson received wounds in the right side of the head and in the left breast, but aside from these injuries his fortune was so propitious as to enable him to remain constantly at the point of duty in the various official positions of which he was in turn incumbent. He was present at the surrender of General Lee, and also took part in the Grand Review in the city of Washington, while he was mustered out June 30, 1865, receiving his pay and his honorable discharge, at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, July 9, 1865.
After the close of his long and faithful service as a loyal soldier of the Republic, Colonel Anderson returned to Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, to which section of the state he had moved in 1855-56. He did not resume his trade, but engaged in contracting and building. He followed general construction for about a third of a century. During these years he operated a lumber and planing mill at Latrobe. As he advanced in age he wished to lead a more retired life, so in January, 1902, he chartered his extensive business into a company, retaining a controlling interest in the stock himself, and dividing the balance among his three sons, who have since then been the active operators, with their father as president of the company. The firm is styled George C. Anderson & Sons. They do an immense business, amounting at this date (1905) to about one thousand dollars per day, in the erection of scores of residences and office buildings throughout the state. The Sons who are connected with the business are William R., Thomas B. (general manager), and George E., secretary and treasurer. Colonel Anderson is one of the best known and most honored citizens of Latrobe, and has ever been prominent in the furtherance of enterprises and undertakings for the general good of the community, his public spirit being exemplified in no uncertain way, while to him has been given the unequivocal confidence and regard of the community in which he has so long made his home. In politics he is an uncompromising advocate of the principles and policies of the Republican party, with which he has been identified from practically the time of its inception, and fraternally he is a valued member of the Grand Army of the Republic. The following tribute to him is found on page 59 of the "Soldiers' Register," kept in the register's office of Westmoreland county: "George C. Anderson, Lieutenant-Colonel, Fifty-third regiment, Veteran Volunteer Infantry, enrolled September 9, 1861; discharged June 22, 1865." "NOTE: Colonel George C. Anderson was one of the bravest and best officers of the regiment. There was no battle in which he bore a part in which he did not distinguish himself."
(Signed) JOHN R. BROOKE,
Colonel Anderson married, October 16, 1867, Eliza J. Belford, born in 1845, in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, reared in Youngstown, Pennsylvania, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Belford. Their children are: William R., born July 26, 1868; Thomas B., August 26, 1870; Charles S., April 14, 1873; James Howard, November 6, 1875; George E., January 2, 1878: John W., February 22, 1880; Mary Jane, July 9, 1882; and Robert W., July 9, 1885. James Howard died February 25, 1878, and John W. passed away September 15, 1881. The other children are living and all still remain residents of Latrobe, where the family is one of distinctive prominence in business, civic and social life. Thomas Belford Anderson, the second son of Colonel Anderson, maintained the family reputation for patriotism by serving with fidelity as a soldier of the United State army in the Philippines, where he remained two years. He is now the business manger of the firm of George C. Anderson and Sons, (Incorporated). He married Ruth Keener, and they have one child, Julia B., born in 1901. Colonel Anderson and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church at Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
Source: History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Volume II, by John N. Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906, Page 270-1.
Transcribed by Carol C. Eddleman for the Westmoreland County History Project.
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)
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