I cannot say much about the early life of Ambrose Anderson. he does not show up on any official record that I have found until September 28, 1864 when he enlisted in Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee into Company I, 15th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry. At the time he gave the information that he was twenty years of age, five feet and six inches tall, black complexion, black hair, black eyes, born in Trigg County, Kentucky, and was a farmer.
I did a bit of research and discovered that in 1840 and 1850, Philemon H Anderson was the only slave holding Anderson in Trigg County. Assuming that Ambrose took his surname from his owner (terrible word, huh?), as many former slaves did, we can infer that Philemon would have been said owner.
I don’t know what kind of a person Philemon H Anderson was, to either his family or his slaves. One would automatically assume that Ambrose may have run away, although there is no proof of that – no newspaper blurbs advertising money for capture, etc, that I have yet found. What I do know about Philemon is that he owned, prior to his death in 1866, the Cerulean Springs Hotel in Trigg County, Kentucky. According to an article published in the Cadiz Record back in 2013:
The reputation of the healing aspects of the waters at Cerulean Springs led to the building of the first hotel by Kinchen Kilebrew and his wife, Martha, who opened the health resort in 1817. The land on which it was located consisted of three hundred and seventy acres. “Kilebrew erected some crude long cabins on this land for the treatment of the ill.” In the next twenty years, the resort was operated by Joseph Caldwell, William C. Thompson, and Philipps Crow. These men made several additions to the resort, but it was not until Colonel Philemon H. Anderson bought the property for $2,200 in 1835 that the first large building was constructed. Development on the property was initially delayed due to a boundary dispute which if proven would have meant that the spring was not in the tract of land owned by Anderson. Although it required several years of legal wrangling the matter was ultimately settled in Anderson’s favor, and during his ownership, the Cerulean Springs Hotel became very well known. Anderson is thought to have accomplished more in the establishment of the resort’s notoriety than any other person, and his affinity for the property was evident in his desire to be buried on the grounds, near the ballroom so that he might be near the “sweet strains of music”. His request was fulfilled at his death in October, 1866, but his remains were moved to a cemetery in Hopkinsville in 1878.
Read more: Cadiz Record - Cerulean Springs Hotel part 1
Back to Ambrose.
Ambrose enlisted, as stated above, on September 28, 1864 in Clarksville, Montgomery County, Tennessee, for a term of three years (I guess at this point they weren’t adding on “or until the end of the war”, perhaps not expecting an end any time soon?). Claiming to be twenty years of age, that would place his birthdate around 1844.
Something interesting to note, on August 9, 1865 he has a transfer card stating that he was in the 9th Regiment Heavy Artillery, although his muster cards all have 15th Regiment Infantry.
I cannot find Ambrose in the 1870 census. I have searched and search, but to no avail (feel free to help me out if you wish!).
(side note: in 1870 Lucus was living with John DeWitt Clinton Atkins, most likely her former owner. According to the Henry County Historical Society (Henry County, Tennessee) Facebook page:John DeWitt Clinton Atkins (for whom Atkins-Porter School was named) was the only man to return to the U.S. Congress after serving in the Confederate Congress. He was chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations. During Reconstruction, Atkins was instrumental in removing federal troops from the South. He was appointed U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs by President Grover Cleveland. Atkins is buried in the Paris City Cemetery located at the end of Ruff Street.
ANYWAY, by 1880 Ambrose and Lucas had a daughter named Darling. They are found in the census living in Paris, Henry County, Tennessee. Although they are enumerated as a different family, they are actually living in the same house as another family and a boarder.Mahala Atkins, female, mulatto, age 62 years, head of household
Sadenia Atkins, female, mulatto, age 14 years, daughter
Mable Atkins, female, black, age 9 years, granddaughter
Ambrose Anderson, male, black, age 40 years, head of household, laborer
Lucas Anderson, female, mulatto, age 29 years, wife
Darling Anderson, female, black, age 10 years, daughter
Ambrose has now placed his birth around 1840, rather than 1844.
Sadly, sometime between 1880 and 1892 Lucas died. I do not know when, and I don’t know where she was interred.
Pennie Anderson, female, black, age 44 years, born March 1856, married 8 years, mother to 3 children (none living), wife
John Kendall, male, black, age 27 years, born February 1873, single, boarder
Now Ambrose is even older!
Again, sometime between 1900 and 1910 Ambrose lost his second wife. I do know know when, and I don not know where she is interred.
The last years of his life, Ambrose lived with the Peyton Family.
Alice Peyton, female, black, age 35 years, wife
Mary L Peyton, female, black, age 4 years, daughter
Carolina Johnson, female, black, age 55 years, stepmother
Ambrose Anderson, male, black, age 69 years, boarder
Mary Lee Peyton, female, mulatto, age 9 years, daughter
(Eloner?) Peyton, female, mulatto, age 3 1/2 years, daughter
Morris Peyton, male, mulatto, age 9 months, son
Ambrose Anderson, male, black, age 77 years, boarder
Interestingly, there is no death record for Ambrose that I have been able to find. I only know of his death place and location from his military records. He died on June 7, 1927 in Parish, Henry County, Tennessee. I do not know where he is interred.
I would love to know the circumstances of how he was able to make his way down to Clarksville to enlist. Was he given his freedom, or did he sneak off? Did anyone else go with him?