Allison-Antrim Museum

Part 4 - Timothy Anderson Jr.

 

Moses Anderson was born October 18, 1829 and was the eldest of ten children, of Timothy Sr. and Mary “Polly” Anderson.   Much is expected from the first born – responsibility, leadership, being a surrogate parent, achievement of expectations or even overachievement, to name a few.  Moses fulfilled all expectations as he eventually took over his father’s business of farming and running a lumber yard, where former slaves were employed.

 

We know from Moses’ younger brother, Matthew, that their father had within the household, “anti-slavery books, (news)papers and speeches, which were being daily read in my family,” to which all the children had access, in addition to listening to the daily prayers of Timothy Sr. for the colored race.  The children also grew up hearing the harrowing, first-hand stories of the escaped slaves, who Timothy Sr. hid in the “secret enclosure” in the basement of his home.  Although the Andersons of Antrim Township had been free blacks for generations each of the children understood that the yoke of slavery was not just on the backs of the enslaved but also carried by free blacks.  It was their civic duty to speak out against the enslavement of their brothers and sisters and to be proactive in the anti-slavery movement.  Moses, being the eldest, had a head start on the rest of his siblings.

 

The newspaper The Christian Herald was the precursor of The Christian Recorder, which “is the oldest existing black periodical in America.”   The Christian Herald was established in 1848.  It was published weekly and cost the subscriber $1.50 per year for a subscription.  The name was changed to The Christian Recorder in 1852 and in 1865 became “the newspaper” of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League.  This author believes that The Christian Herald and then The Christian Recorder were most likely two of the newspapers that were bought and read within the Anderson household.  From The Christian Recorder’s “History Page” on its Web site, “The Christian Recorder was a strong and vocal opponent to slavery.  It repeatedly addressed the biblical and moral issues of slavery and encouraged and nurtured black consciousness.”  The Christian Recorder was the source through which the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League disseminated its news and lobbying efforts, such as voting rights for black men.  In 2015, The Christian Recorder is still published and has a Facebook page, blog, and Web site at www.the-christian-recorder.org.  This newspaper is also the source for the following information about Moses Anderson and his membership and activity within the League.

 

Moses Anderson was an activist.  He was a member of The Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League and travelled to Pittsburgh in 1866 to attend the 2nd annual meeting on August 8, 9, and 10.  Moses, from Greencastle, and James Lewis, from Chambersburg, represented Franklin County at the annual state convention.  There were 55 dues-paying members (which included Moses and James Lewis) and 23 honorary members in attendance.  In 1865 the annual dues were $2 per man.  At the 1866 annual meeting, Moses was appointed to the Business Committee, which consisted of one person from each county (17) represented at the meeting.

 

There were two nationally-known men among the League’s membership with who Moses associated – William Nesbit, one of the co-founders of the League on February 8, 9, and 10, 1865, who served as its first president, and Octavius V. Catto, also a co-founder, who became a martyr for Civil Rights on Election Day, October 10, 1871.   Catto was one of a number of African Americans who were shot dead in Philadelphia, by native Irishmen (Democrats) who opposed black voting rights, established under the Republican Reconstruction Acts.  Nesbit was also the League’s primary lobbyist and worked closely with Pennsylvania’s US Representative Thaddeus Stevens, as well as Charles Sumner and William Kelley.

 

Just two years after the end of the Civil War, at a meeting of the Equal Rights League in May 1867, a message from Moses Anderson, not in attendance, was read to those assembled, by William Nesbit, president of the organization.  In part it read, “Moses Anderson, who speaks of himself a "an humble citizen of prescribed race," sends us "An address to Leagues and other Associations auxiliary to the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League, and to the colored people of the State of Pennsylvania.  He anticipates that “the day is not far distant when the colored man will enjoy all the rights that belong to American citizens…”

 

The object of the League is “to unite the entire colored people of our State into one common brotherhood, for the promotion of morality, education, temperance, frugality, industry and the encouragement of everything that pertains to a well ordered and dignified life, and to obtain by appeals to the minds and consciences of the American people, or by legal process, a recognition of the rights of the colored people of the United States.”

 

Moses appealed “to the colored people to rise above their surroundings, and, by their own merits, close defamation and detraction. They must not depend solely on the philanthropist or statesman. They must plead their own cause. As they are now American citizens, they must cultivate such virtues as will not shame that honored title. Education is their surest passport to respectability, and industry and frugality will silence their enemies.”

 

These are the identical thoughts and beliefs that Moses’ younger brother, Matthew, would propose and live by 22 years later, when he arrived in northwest Philadelphia.

 

Moses was a benevolent man.  In the July 20, 1867 issue of The Christian Recorder, Moses was among 40 men and women who made donations toward the establishment the First Colored Church, formerly located at 11th and Pearl Streets, Philadelphia, PA.  Again, this was 22 years before his brother, Matthew, arrived in Philadelphia.

 

The State Journal (Harrisburg) was another African American newspaper.  In one issue The Journal printed the following:  Mrs. (Julia B.) Moses Anderson of Greencastle, Pa, is home on a visit to her relations and friends.”  In the August 19, 1884 issue of The State Journal, the Chambersburg correspondent reported, “Your correspondent had the pleasure of meeting Rev. Matthew and Mrs. Doctress Anderson, of Philadelphia; Mrs. (Julia B.) Moses and Mrs. (Nanie) Timothy Anderson, of Greencastle, while paying a flying visit to our town on August 12th.”

 

Moses Anderson, the eldest of ten children, did, indeed, live up to and exceeded the expectations of being the firstborn.

 

In the summer of 1863, all men between the ages of 20 and 45 were required to register for the draft.  In Provost Officer Captain George Eyster’s draft registration book for the 16th Congressional District, three Anderson brothers – Moses (34 and married), Timothy Jr.  (25), and John (23), were recorded on Page 7, under Antrim Township.

There was a loophole in the 1863 Enrollment Act that allowed draftees, if their name was drawn, to pay $300, so that a substitute would serve in their place.  The Pilot printed the list of Antrim men who were drafted on July 19, 1864.  Fourteen men were drafted, among which were four blacks.  Timothy Anderson Jr.’s name was among the four blacks.  The July draft only required seven men but an additional seven names were drawn to make up for Antrim Township’s June deficit.

 

The Timothy Anderson Sr. family was considered a middle-class family.  In 1860, he owned 58 acres of land, 12 animals, and raised 663 bushels of grain in 1860, according to the U.S. Agricultural Census.  His real estate was valued at $4,000 or $114,280 in 2014.

 

Today, because of inflation, the equivalent value of one dollar in 1864 would be worth about $15.15.  In other words, the $300 commutation fee in 1864 would be about $4,545.  Whether in 1864 or 2015, the commutation fee was a lot of money.  Moses wrote that Timothy paid the $300 commutation fee in 1864, when he was drafted.  It is not known whether it came out of his pocket from wages earned working on the family farm or if it was paid by the Anderson family.  It has not yet been uncovered who fought in the Civil War as a substitute for Timothy Anderson.  Whether in 1864 or 2015, the commutation fee was a lot of money.

 

Eight months later in February 1865, Timothy Anderson Jr.’s name was drawn yet again for the draft from Antrim Township.  Timothy was registered and mustered in on February 22, 1865, in Chambersburg.  He was given the rank of sergeant in Co. M, 2nd US Colored Cavalry.  Timothy was 26 years old, 5’10” in height, with black hair, hazel eyes, and yellow skin.  Under “Remarks” it lists him as a substitute for someone in Antrim Township but does not give the name.  So off Timothy Anderson went to serve in the Civil War.

 

Another African American from the Greencastle area, George Young, was also mustered in to Co. L, 2nd USCC on February 27, 1865.  Both men were members of a detachment of U.S. Colored substitutes for enrolled white men.  While George and Timothy were enlisted in the 2nd USCC, it was ordered to eastern Virginia in the Norfolk area where they stayed until May 1865.  After being ordered to City Point (now Hopewell), Virginia, the regiment set sail for Texas on June 10.  Duty time was spent at various places in Texas, including in the Rio Grande and Brazos Santiago, an island at the tip of Texas with a strategic harbor, across the Brazos Santiago Pass.

 

Considering the fact that a $300 commutation fee had been paid so that Timothy Jr. would not have to actively serve, his big brother Moses, surrogate parent and proactive, decided to write a letter directly to the Adjutant General of the US Army.  The front page of this very rare letter was found in Timothy’s Civil War service records (No. 47918837).

 

The letter is dated June 26, 1865.  Respected Sir  My Brother Timothy Anderson was drafted into the United State service on 22nd February last from the 16th district of Pennsylvania.  And he had also been drafted in May 1864 and paid the $300 commutation.  He is now in the 2nd United States Colored Cavalry enroute for Texas.  And as most if not all the white men from this Township have Either been discharged or are getting their money back, I mean those that paid $300 commutant I respectfully submit his case to your consideration.  I hope if you decide not to discharge him, Page 2: you will order his money to be refunded.  For any official Records I would refer you to Cap. G. W. Eyster Provost Marshall of the 16th District of Penn.  I do not ask that he be discharged if you do not think but I hope at least that you will have his money Refunded.  Please let me know your decision.  Very Respectfully submitted, Your Obedient Servant, Moses Anderson.  PS Moses Anderson Greencastle Franklin Co Penn

 

The second page was not in Timothy’s records because whoever first scanned and digitized his records did not turn the letter over and scan the back of the letter.  This situation was remedied by contacting the National Archives.  Someone had to go into the storage “vaults” to find Timothy’s records, retrieve the letter and “copy” the back page.  Several weeks later a photocopy was received in the US Mail.

 

When the Adjutant General’s office received Moses’ letter, they responded within 11 days.  Service record No. 47918836 says, “War Department A.G.O., Washington D.C. July 6, 1865, Respectfully returned to Mr. Moses Anderson (Colored) Greencastle Pa. with the information that a Special Order was issued from this office May 30th 1865 directing the discharge from service of Private Timothy Anderson Co. M. 2nd US Colored Cavalry. By order of the Secretary of War.  C. W. Foster, Assistant-Adjutant General of Volunteers

 

Two of Timothy’s service records, No. 47918826 and 47918827 say that Special Order No. 265 was dated May 30, 1865, which predates Moses’ letter by almost a month.  This leads one to believe that someone, most likely Timothy, had been working on correcting the fact that he was drafted in 1865, in spite of paying the $300 commutation fee in 1864.

 

Special Order No. 265: War Department, Adjutant General’s Office, Washington, May 30th, 1865. Private Timothy Anderson, Company “M,” 2nd U.S. Colored Cavalry, a drafted man, will be discharged the service of the United States, on the receipt of this Order at the place where he may be serving. By order of the Secretary of War: E. D. Townsend, Assistant Adjutant General.

 

Two of Timothy’s war records (No. 47918820 and 47918828) say that he was discharged July 10, 1865, per Special Order No. 265, Adjutant’s Office of the War Department.  It was July 2, 1865 before the hardcopy, paper records, discharging Timothy, were received in the regimental headquarters in Texas.  Record No. 47918834 is a letter to Lt. Edwin Hughes, from the Headquarters of the 2nd USCC, Brazos Santiago, Texas, written by Edward R. Wilson, Capt. 2nd USCC, Commanding Regiment.  “Lieutenant, I have the honor to enclose discharge of Private Timothy Anderson Co M 2nd USCC also muster and descriptive ---.  Any information you have relative to the man please forward to the Hd  Quarters.”

 

Questions remain.  Timothy was discharged seven months before the rest of his regiment.  How did he get back home to Antrim Township from Brazos Santiago?  Did the Army give him enough money to make his way back home or did he have to pay his own way?  Was Timothy ever paid for the five months of duty that he performed in the 2nd USCC?

 

Moses died on October 5, 1893, aged 63 years, 11 months, and 17 days old - 13 days shy of 64.  He was revered enough that The Christian Recorder (Philadelphia) reprinted, in its October 26, 1893 issue, the following, which was initially published in The Pilot: “My father (Moses Anderson ) died today (Thursday, October 5) at 1.15. Funeral Saturday at 2 p.m. (Saturday, October 7, 1893)   JNO. M. ANDERSON.”

 

Timothy Anderson Jr. was born January 13, 1838, the fourth child of Timothy Sr. and Polly Anderson.  He died November 30, 1895, aged 57 years, 10 months, and 17 days.   Timothy Anderson Jr. is buried in the Anderson family plot, in the white section of the cemetery, in Section I, Lot 14, Cedar Hill Cemetery, Antrim Township, Franklin County, PA.

 

June 5, 1867

Address of Penna. State Equal Rights League

(Column 2)

Summary: The editorial endorses the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League, a "colored" organization promoting racial uplift. Its goal, the piece relates, is to "'unite the entire colored people of our State into one common brotherhood.'" To achieve this goal, the group promotes the importance of "morality, education, temperance, frugality industry, and everything that pertains to a well ordered and dignified life."

 

Full Text of Article:

Moses Anderson, who speaks of himself a "an humble citizen of prescribed race," sends us "An address to Leagues and other Associations auxiliary to the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League, and to the colored people of the State of Pennsylvania, signed by William Nesbit, President of Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League, and he asks us to give place to his address, or at least to a synopsis of it. He anticipates that "the day is not far distant when the colored man will enjoy all the rights that belong to American citizens," and deems it important that the race is prepared for their coming privileges. The aforementioned League is said to be a thorough organization of the colored people, looking to this end.

 

The address opens by announcing that it is fitting and proper that the persons to whom it is directed should take note of their progress, and counsel together as to their condition and prospects; and, it congratulates them that they have more to encourage them now, than they had in all the long years since their race has inhabited this continent. The true principles of the government, as enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, are asserted to be for the first time understood and practiced, and the policy everywhere recognized that it is not safe to trample on human rights. Their brethren in the rebel States, being invested with their God-given rights, it is assumed that they will be a judicious use of their power reflect back power upon the colored residents of the North. The lively hope is expressed that the National Congress will secure their rights, or that the Supreme Court will decide against discriminations on account of race or color. But if no shorter or juster course be possible, the question of enfranchisement will be before the people at the general election in 1869. It is therefore proposed to secure the tribunal of the people in their favor. To effect this purpose, the address counsels a combination of effort.

 

The objects of the League are "to unite the entire colored people of our State into one common brotherhood, for the promotion of morality, education, temperance, frugality, industry and the encouragement of everything that pertains to a well ordered and dignified life, and to obtain by appeals to the minds and consciences of the American people, or by legal process, a recognition of the rights of the colored people of the United States," and to arouse these people to labor until they have arrived at the full stature of enfranchised manhood. The address denies that they are, under all circumstances, especially lax in morals, intelligence or understanding. Outraged and oppressed as they have been, it is a wonder that they have preserved even a show of regard for law and order. It points proudly to the fact that they have kept pace with the spirit of the age in the amenities and refinements of civilization, and that they present an unbroken front of loyalty to the government.

 

Each one can do something to raise their standard still higher; and by uniting their energies in a common cause will reap the reward that comes to a just cause guided by intelligent combination of efforts. If they suffer themselves to be distracted and divided, they will show themselves a race of idiots, of whom their friends now, and their children hereafter, will be ashamed. They have already realized the blessings of union. They did all possible to influence Congress in the direction it has taken, have poured in petitions; sent their agents to Washington; have personally solicited the champions of their cause, and know their organization is approved. The victory most satisfactory and practical which they have achieved, is in removing the discrimination against them in public conveyances. The address claims that the committee of the League, Messrs. Foster, Catto and Bowser, prepared, word for word, as it now stands on the statute books, the act passed by the legislature of Pennsylvania forbidding discrimination against passengers by railroad and railway corporations, and then ably assisted in securing its passage and approval. It appeals to the colored people to rise above their surroundings, and, by their own merits, close defamation and detraction. They must not depend solely on the philanthropist or statesman. They must plead their own cause. As they are now American citizens, they must cultivate such virtues as will not shame that honored title. Education is their surest passport to respectability, and industry and frugality will silence their enemies. Their plain duties are organization, education, industry and frugality. The League is the only organization universally adapted to their needs, and the colored person who opposes it is false to his interests. The next annual meeting sits at Reading, Pa., on the second Wednesday of August. The address closes with a glowing appeal to the colored men of Pennsylvania to unite, organize, do their full duty, and rely upon God, who has brought them through the wilderness of slavery, almost within view of the promised land of equality before the law.

 

We have condensed the address, nearly in its own words. It is written skillfully, earnestly, and forcibly. All good citizens, of whatever race or party, will rejoice at any effective efforts to promote the personal welfare of the race; and intelligence, sobriety, frugality and industry are powers that will elevate any people, however degraded by oppression and wrong. The colored people have now inducements to progress, morally and intellectually, before them, and it is wonderful how they are pressing forward in self-improvement. We bid them God speed in their "longings, strivings, yearnings," and we have enough faith in "God and Nature" to believe that they will be "lifted up and strengthened."

 

 

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