BENJAMIN H. ANDERSON. Among the men of Pulaski county, Illinois, who are singled out for their success as business men for their public spirit and enterprise as citizens Benjamin H. Anderson, of Ullin, stands well to the fore, a representative of a family that has been established in that vicinity for over three-quarters of a century and whose members have ever been known as steady, energetic and progressive citizens. He became a resident of Ullin in 1894, and that town and adjacent community have since been the scene of his business activities and the recipients of his influence and efforts in promoting its material progress and prosperity.
Mr. Anderson was born in Union county, Illinois, February, 10, 1865, and was reared on a farm five miles east of Anna. Though Illinois was then well beyond its pioneer period, the proverbial log house still obtained and entered into the personal experience of Mr. Anderson. He was educated in the district schools and passed the years of his minority a country youth assisting with the duties of the home farm. His father, the venerable Harrison Anderson, of Ullin, was born near Jonesboro, Illinois, October 28, 1836, and with the exception of a period in early manhood spent as a merchant's clerk and later on as a deputy sheriff of Union county he gave the whole of his active and vigorous life to the basic industry of agriculture and ranked as one of the successful farmers of Union county. Harrison Anderson married Miss Rosann "Worley a daughter of Jackson Worley, who came into Union county from Johnson county, Illinois, where Mrs. Anderson was born March 31, 1841. To this union were born: Thomas J. of Anna, Illinois; Alice, the wife of William Goddard, of Carbondale, Illinois; Benjamin H., the subject of this review; Adolphus, who died as a youth; Ollie, the widow of George Peeler and now a resident of Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Homer, of Los Angeles, California; and Warren, who died before mature years.
Presley Anderson, the paternal grandfather of our subject, settled near Jonesboro, Illinois, early enough to be reckoned among the state's pioneers. He was a Missionary Baptist preacher. He was from Tennessee, and in that state was wedded to Miss Lucinda Williams, who bore him eleven children, namely: Harrison; Polly, who married John Conner a soldier in the Mexican war; Benjamin, who was numbered among the brave defenders of our national life during the Civil war, his service having been as a member of the One Hundred and Ninth Illinois Infantry; Emily, who became the wife of Peter Hinkle and died in Union county, Illinois; Joseph, a sacrifice to the Union cause, who died in the infamous Andersonville prison as a prisoner of war; Jane, now a resident of Arkansas, who became the wife of a Mr. Crutcher and subsequently married a Mr. Palmer; Matthew, of Piggott, Arkansas; Elizabeth, who became Mrs. John Apple and died in Union county, Illinois; La Gayette. buried in the same county; Belle, who died at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, as Mrs. Edward Cover; and Walter a resident of Hot Springs, Arkansas. After the death of his first wife Presley Anderson married a Miss Davis. To this union were born a daughter. Dell, who married William Campbell; George and Frank, of Balcom. Illinois; and Jeff who died unmarried. Presley Anderson spent his sixty years of life as a farmer and died in the '70s. In political affiliations he was a Democrat, but was a stanch advocate of the preservation of the Union, in support of which two of his sons entered the Union army and one of them gave up his life. In the local politics of his county he was chosen twice as county coroner.
When Benjamin H. Anderson left the farm as a young man he spent a few years as a clerk in the employ of H. J. Neibauer and Reck Chule at Dongola. Having acquired some capital, he engaged in the retail liquor business in Ullin and followed it about eleven years. During this period he acquired title to farm lands and began their improvement and cultivation, and at the expiration of the period noted he turned his attention actively to farming and to buying and shipping stock to market. His career as a stock dealer covered a number of years, was successful and established him a reputation over a wide area adjacent to his home town. Upon retiring from the stock business as a shipper he entered the livery business as a member of the firm of Anderson & Rhymer and is also engaged in the implement business, as well as in livery and farming.
He was one of the active participants in the movement for the incorporation of Ullin, has served as a trustee of the town, and in community affairs gives his hearty co-operation to those movements for the general good. He is a member of the Ullin board of education, and as a home developer in a general way he has contributed materially toward village growth in the erection of buildings. While he was reared under Democratic influences in politics, he is not dominated by partisanship and acts rather for the good of the public than for that of a political party by supporting that candidate who stands for the best government and the cleanest administration of affairs.
In Dongola, Illinois, on April 3, 1890, Mr. Anderson was united in marriage to Miss Lydia Henley, a daughter of Thomas Henley, an old settler from Tennessee and a miller by trade. Mrs. Henley was formerly Mary Hurt and Mrs. Anderson is the second child of six. To Mr. and Mrs. Anderson have been born two sons, Russell, who died in childhood, and Ralph. Mr. Anderson affiliates fraternally with the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and sustains his membership in the order at Murphysboro, Illinois.
Extracted from A History of Southern Illinois, 1912, Volume 2, page 902-903