THOMAS O. ANDERSON, a successful real estate dealer of Abilene, who has negotiated important realty transfers, has been one of the sources of the city’s upbuilding and improvement, becoming a resident of this portion of the state in 1878. Taylor county being organized the same year. He is a native of Pontotoc, Mississippi, born August 14, 1849, and is a son of Benjamin D. Anderson, a native of Virginia. His mother, who born the maiden name of Sarah Lindley, was a native of Ohio and the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, the Rev. Jacob Lindley. They were married in Athens, Alabama, and became the parents of seven children — three sons and four daughters.
Because of the progress of the war, which so greatly broke up the educational system of the south, Thomas O. Anderson received but limited school privileges, hostilities beginning between the north and south when he was about twelve years of age. Not long afterward he began to earn his own living and he made his home with his father until twenty years of age, his mother having died when he was between five and six years of age. Immediately after the war he removed to Memphis, Tennessee, where he resided until coming to Texas in 1878.
In the meantime Mr. Anderson was married in November, 1872, to Miss Madge E. Anderson, of Memphis, Tennessee, a daughter of Judge J. A. Anderson, an attorney of that city, who, though of the same name as our subject, was not a relative. Following his marriage Thomas Anderson gave his attention to the stock business and continued in the same line subsequent to his removal to Texas. He represented the stock industry of this state until January, 1881, when the Texas & Pacific Railroad was built. He then took up his abode upon the present site of the city of Abilene, where he has since conducted varied business interests. He first engaged in buying bleached buffalo bones, which were thickly strewn over the prairies. These he shipped to New Orleans, Chicago, and East St. Louis for the purpose of being utilized for sugar refining and fertilizing. At a later day he turned his attention to the grain business, which he conducted for a few years. He was then elected county treasurer of Taylor county and held that position for six years, or for three successive terms, proving most capable, and retired from office in 1890 as he had entered it—with the confidence and good will of all concerned. When his official duties were over he began dealing in real estate. The town of Abilene was founded in 1881 and on the 15th of March of that year lots were sold. Mr. Anderson was one of the first to embark in the real estate business here and has since conducted operations along this line. In 1892 he formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, J. T. Anderson, which connection was continued until 1900, and since that time Thomas O. Anderson has been alone, buying and selling property in Abilene and the surrounding districts. He has a large clientage and is thoroughly familiar with property values in this portion of the state, so that he is enabled to advise his patrons how to best invest their money for the purposes desired.
Mr. Anderson’s home is pleasantly located two and a half miles southeast of Abilene, near the Lytle Lake, which supplies the city of Abilene with water. He has taken considerable interest in political affairs, and his allegiance has always been given to the Democracy. In July, 1904, he was made county commissioner of precinct No. 2, to fill an unexpired term and was elected to the same office in the fall election of that year. He belongs to the Knights of Honor, and Knights of Pythias fraternities, and to the Masonic lodge, and he has also attained the Knight Templar degree in Masonry. He is regarded as one of the prominent citizens of Abilene and is a strong man viewed from any standpoint. He is strong in his personality, in his honor and good name, and in possession of those business traits which constitute the best prosperity.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 372-373.