Civil War & Stephens County, OK (24)


John M. Anderson (1844-1926)

John M. Anderson was born to James & Mary Rose Anderson in Indiana on Wed., Oct. 20, 1844. John was a single man, a nineteen year-old resident of Warren County, Iowa at the time of his enlistment in the Union Army on Feb. 25, 1864. He served as a Private in Company H of the USA, 1st Iowa Cavalry Regiment until he was mustered out of service on Aug. 14, 1865 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. John’s name does not appear in N. Dale Talkington’s fine work The Long Blue Line, a listing of the Union soldiers buried in Oklahoma.

The First Iowa Cavalry was no stranger to hard times during the war. It saw plenty of action and was by no means spared the ravages of disease. Official records tell that fifty-eight members of the First Iowa Cavalry were killed or mortally wounded during the war with another two hundred and thirty-five succumbing to death due to disease.

Though John entered the First Iowa Cavalry relatively late in the war (late Feb. 1864), the regiment was anything but idle during that period of the conflict. The battles of Marks Mills and Jenkins Ferry (April 1864) are just two examples of battle in which the First Iowa was engaged during John’s time in service. Those well-versed in Civil War history may recall that a third of the men personally executed by “Bloody Bill” Anderson at the Massacre of Centralia (Sept. 27, 1864) were members of the First Iowa Cavalry, although none of the victims were member’s of John Anderson’s company (Co. H). Jesse James was also one of those present at this massacre and played a prominent role in the Battle of Centralia that followed later that same day. The victims of the Centralia Massacre who served with the First Iowa were: Joseph H. Arnold (Co. E), Charges G. Carpenter (Co. G), George W. Dilley (Co. B), Owen P. Gore (Co. A), Charles E. Madera (Co. C), John Russell (Co. C), and Oscar G. Williams (Co. B).

Regular readers of this series of posts may recall that at least one other Civil War veteran buried in Stephens County, Oklahoma served in the First Iowa Cavalry, namely Hiram Thomas Brown (Co. C).

One final note should be made regarding the First Iowa Cavalry:

“Unusually for a Union cavalry regiment, the members of the regiment provided their own horses and equipment. The First Iowa was the first three year cavalry regiment accepted for Federal service during the war.”

Some years after the conclusion of the war, John married Emma E. Saurbaugh (b. Jan. 2, 1850 in Pennsylvania to John & Mary Emeline [“Nell”] Trimmer Saurbaugh; d. May 26, 1920). This marriage was Emma’s second marriage, her first (to John Burgard on April 5, 1868) having ended in divorce. John Burgard and Emma had four children, the last being born in 1877, and John Anderson and Emma had four children: three daughters (Ida Mildred, Alice and Dollie) and a son (Albert Allen Anderson; b. 1886).

John survived Emma by almost six years, dying of “carsonoma” (sic) on Wed., May 12, 1926. Both John and Emma are buried in the Duncan city cemetery in Stephens County, Oklahoma ; however, John’s grave is unmarked (block 2, lot 11, space 2).