Typhoid Fever Strikes William Anderson Home in 1853

The house of William Anderson (1802-1853) and his wife Martha Faucett (1805-1853) is probably the log cabin located on Gene Anderson's property in the community of Pleasant Grove, North Carolina. It may date from their wedding in 1825. That would be there typhoid fever struck during the summer of 1853, killing both parents and one son.

William Anderson Home. Log cabin covered with panel veneer.

Original hewn logs and chimney. Newer roof and chimney extension.

On 18 July 1853, mother Martha Faucett (1805–1853) died of typhoid fever at age 47. On 1 September 1853, typhoid fever took both father William Anderson (1802–1853), age 50, and son John Stanford Anderson (1839–1853), age 13. The household was left with daughter Margaret Caroline, age 23, son William James, age 20, and son Robert Sidney, age 15. The eldest daughter Martha Adaline, age 25, was already married. On 10 October, William’s sister Margaret Anderson’s husband John Scott wrote his nephew John Mebane Allen in Arkansas, “Dear Nephew, … We have just lost some of our kin by death this summer. William Anderson, his wife and son. All died of fever, and others of the family were sick but got well…”(Scott 1853 in Furman 1974, 39) Apparently, neither parent had written a will. So the default legal procedure was applied. The eldest daughter Martha Adaline’s husband James Green Tate became will executor. Within a month, the property was inventoried and publicly sold, probably to settle debts. Children Margaret Caroline and William James had to bid for their parent’s property. The shock of these sudden deaths may have contributed to grandmother’s Martha Jane Murray (Anderson)’s (1776–1853) death on 15 October 1853. Eldest daughter Margaret Adaline Anderson (1827–1854) died the following summer on 24 June 1854 at age 26 with no known offspring. Nine years later, son Robert Sidney Anderson (1837–1862) died at age 24. It is not known if his death was Civil War related. Daughter Margaret Caroline Anderson (1829–1866) married a Tate after 1853. His first name is not known, nor if they had offspring. She died at age 36. Only William James (1832–1902) lived a full life.

William James Anderson (1832-1902)

In 1856, he married Elizabeth Wilkins Holt (1833-1891). He inherited his father’s land and was a prosperous farmer. Sometime around 1870–1880, he built a new house that is still standing.

William James Anderson House

He died at age 69.

All these individuals, except Robert Sidney, were buried in Cross Roads Cemetery. Grandmother Martha Jane Murray (1776-1853) is buried at Hawfields Cemetery.


Furman, Elizabeth White. Grandfather's Letters: Letters written to John Mebane Allen by relatives and friends of the Hawfields from 1852 to 1889. privately published, 1974.