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ANDERSON, KENNETH LEWIS

ANDERSON, KENNETH LEWIS (1805–1845). Kenneth Lewis Anderson, lawyer and vice president of the republic, son of Kennith and Nancy (Thompson) Anderson, was born on September 11, 1805, in Hillsborough, North Carolina. There he attended William Bingham's school. He worked as a shoemaker at an early age. By 1824 he was living in Bedford County, Tennessee, where he became deputy sheriff in 1826 and sheriff in 1830; he was a colonel in the militia by 1832. About 1825 Anderson married Patience Burditt; the couple had three children. Two sons, Theophiles and Malcolm, and a grandson, William, became judges in San Antonio.

In 1837 the family moved to San Augustine, Texas, where Mrs. Anderson's brother-in-law Joseph Rowe had lived for five years. In 1838 Anderson served successively as deputy sheriff and sheriff. It was probably after he arrived in Texas that he studied to become a lawyer. President Mirabeau B. Lamar appointed him collector of customs for the district of San Augustine, and he was confirmed on November 21, 1839. He served until he became a candidate from San Augustine County for the House of Representatives of the Sixth Congress in 1841; he won with the largest majority in the county's history at that time. As a partisan of Sam Houston, Anderson was elected speaker of the House on November 1, 1841. He immediately led an unsuccessful attempt to impeach Lamar and Vice President David G. Burnet. Anderson had for a time been considered for secretary of the treasury, a post that went to William Henry Daingerfield. In 1842 he helped convince Houston to veto the popular but dangerous war bill, which sought to force an invasion of Mexico.

After one term, and despite President Houston's pleas, Anderson retired in 1842 to practice law in San Augustine with Royal T. Wheeler; he eventually formed a partnership with J. Pinckney Henderson and Thomas J. Rusk.qqv In December 1842 Anderson became district attorney of the Fifth Judicial District. In 1844 Anderson was frequently mentioned as a candidate for president, but eventually he became the Houston party candidate for vice president, on a ticket headed by Anson Jones. Anderson's opponent, Patrick Jack, died before the election, and Anderson won nearly unanimously. He presided over the Senate at Washington-on-the-Brazos in June 1845, when the Texas Congress approved annexation. After adjournment he immediately left for home despite being sick. After only twenty miles, at the Fanthorp Inn, his fever flared. There he died on July 3, 1845, and was buried in the Fanthorp cemetery. The vice president had been considered the leading candidate to become the first governor of the state. His law partner, Pinckney Henderson, was instead elected governor in December. Anderson was a Mason. Fanthorp was renamed for him in 1846, and on March 24, 1846, Anderson County was established and named in his honor.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

James T. DeShields, They Sat in High Places: The Presidents and Governors of Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1940). John S. Ford, Rip Ford's Texas, ed. Stephen B. Oates (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1963). Thomas Clarence Richardson, East Texas: Its History and Its Makers (4 vols., New York: Lewis Historical Publishing, 1940). Leslie H. Southwick, "Kenneth L. Anderson, Last Vice President, Almost First Governor of Texas," East Texas Historical Journal 30 (Fall 1992).

Leslie H. Southwick

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Leslie H. Southwick, "ANDERSON, KENNETH LEWIS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fan08), accessed August 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.