CAPTAIN R. W. ANDERSON
By Lucy Anderson Hendley
No history of Pulaski County would be complete without a sketch of that prominent and beloved citizen, Captain Ruel W. Anderson, son of Robert S. and Sallie
Wooten Anderson, who was born near Hawkinsville, October 6, 1837, and died May 27, 1903. He was one of thirteen children, nine of whom reached the age of maturity – five girls and four boys. He was reared and educated in Pulaski County. He was married while on furlough, February 4, 1864, to Agnes Merritt, only daughter of Simon and Maria Merritt, of Stonington, Conn. She died September 2, 1900. Unwavering in her devotion to her Lord, and matchless in her never failing fidelity to her family was she. “No painter’s brush, nor poet’s pen, in justice to her name, has ever reached half high enough to write a Mother’s name.”
Captain Anderson often spoke of her as “The Planter’s Northern Bride.” He answered the call of the State in July, 1861, and organized a company of artillery known as Anderson’s Battery. He was soon elected captain, a rank in which he proved himself a skillful and able officer. His bride went with him to Tennessee, and from her carriage on Missionary Ridge saw Captain Anderson lead his men into the Battle of Lookout. He was wounded three times, but not seriously, at New Hope Church, at Chickamauga, and at Nickajack Ridge, but was seldom absent from his command. Captain Anderson and his battery took an active part in fighting with Sherman’s army through Georgia, having two horses shot from under him at Griswoldville. After the surrender, Anderson’s Battery was not far from Sherman’s headquarters. One morning Captain Anderson dressed in his best old Gray uniform, mounted his best horse, and rode up and sought an interview with General Sherman. “Sir,” he said, “I have four wagons and sixteen mules that belong to the United States Government. I have come to ask you for these for my men.” When he left, the mules and wagons were his. He then led his little company to the banks of the Ocmulgee River, and to the same spot where they were organized. The mules and wagons were sold at public outcry, each receiving his equal share, and then left for their homes.
Captain Anderson’s career after the war was equally distinguished in manly strength and generous public service. In 1880 he engaged in the warehouse business. He also conducted a mercantile business, was vice president of the Hawkinsville Bank& Trust Company, in addition to which he managed his extensive agricultural interests. He was a member of the State Constitutional Convention in 1877. He represented this country three terms in the Legislature, and was chairman of the board of county commissioners. He was a Baptist, devoted to his church, a teacher of the Bible Class, and deacon from the age of seventeen years until his death. He left a wonderful pattern set deep in the soil of life for other feet to follow on their long climb from the shadow to the sun of eternity. He was the father of thirteen children, ten living to be grown.
Ada married R. D. Brown in 1888, and died October 10, 1934. They had six children: Duncan, Agnes, Ada, Pope, Robert and Frank. Ada Anderson Brown was educated in Boston, Mass. She was a Baptist, a teacher in the Sunday school for years, was president of the Missionary Society, and president of the W. C. T. U. Serving her Lord and her family were the noble purposes of her life. Edwin N. was educated in Baltimore, Maryland. For a number of years he was active in the farming industry, and died December 23, 1925. Lizzie was married February 6, 1895, to G. W. Shipp, and died February 14, 1904. She was educated at Brenau College in Gainesville, Georgia. She was a Baptist, and was tireless in her Sunday school work. Her loving, gentle nature was blessed with fervent piety. Robert S. is one of the three sons who continues to carry on his father’s business as warehouseman and in the mercantile business, which is the oldest business in Pulaski County. He has been very successful in his extensive agricultural interests. His hobby is his stock farm, two miles from Hawkinsville, where you can see him each morning and late in the afternoon with his cows, sheep, hogs, and horses. He married Lavenia Cochran, of Tennille, Georgia, July 28, 1921. Simon M. was married to Rhoda Smith, February 6, 1907. They had six children: Merritt, Hazel, Mildred, William Hayes, Francis, and Ruel. Simon M. is a consistent and leading member of the Baptist Church, and was elected deacon at an early age. With faithful and efficient work he held this office until he was an ordained minister. He has served several churches in Pulaski County.
Stiles R. was one of the most distinguished musicians of the South, having a national reputation as a pianist and organist. He had traveled extensively in Europe and was a popular lecturer on European art and music. He was dean of Bessie Tift College, Forsyth, Georgia, for several years. He had been dean of Fine Arts at Simmons College in Abilene, Texas, for thirteen years at the time of his death. He was unmarried. Ruel A. is one of the three sons who entered the warehouse and mercantile business with his father. He entered at the early age of nineteen years, and is keenly interested in cotton, being one of the best cotton warehousemen in Georgia. He is a Baptist, and is active in all church life. He was elected deacon, serving his church with a deep devotion. He married Lucius Oliver, of Valdosta, Georgia, April 3, 1916.
Frank P. was married to Anna Mary Bailey, December 8, 1909, and died December 3, 1922. They had three children: Mary Agnes, Lucy Hendley, and Frank P. He was the third son to enter the business with his father, and was secretary and treasurer of the corporation. He was chairman of the City Board of Education for several years, and was considered one of the best trustees the public school ever had. He was a Baptist, and was elected deacon early in life, which office he held until the time of his death.
Lucy A. married W. C. Hendley, July 26, 1909. She was educated at Brenau College, Gainesville, Georgia, and at Bessie Tift College, Forsyth, Georgia. Dudley B. married Stella Reese, of Yadkinville, N. C., on January 14, 1914. They have three children: Stiles Thaddeus, Dudley Reece, and Ruth. He is a man of brilliant intellect and deep spirituality. He graduated with honors from the Hawkinsville public schools, and Mercer University, finishing his education at Oxford, England, as a Rhodes scholar. Winston-Salem is his home at present.
From The History of Pulaski County Georgia 1808 – 1935, published by the Hawkinsville Chapter
Daughters of the American Revolution, 1935, 1975, and 2002.