J. B. Anderson, farmer, slaveholder, and Confederate military officer, was born about 1815 in Kentucky. He was possibly John Bailey Anderson, the son of Crawford and Ginsey (Cunningham) Anderson of Graves County, Kentucky. According to the 1860 census, Anderson and his family resided in Honey Grove, Fannin County, Texas, where he worked as a farmer and estimated his real property to be worth $1,500 and his personal property $4,000, including the ownership of ten slaves. The census listed his wife as “A. A.,” also from Kentucky, and seven children. It is not clear when Anderson and his family arrived in Texas, but it was most likely between 1858 and 1860 as his youngest child was born in 1858 in Kentucky.
Probably due to his age, Anderson did not immediately enlist for service in the Civil War. However, in late 1863 he helped organize a battalion of infantry known as the Texas First Infantry Battalion, State Troops. He was appointed the rank of major in this unit which served in the District of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, Trans-Mississippi Department, from October 1863 to January 1864. After their six months of service, Anderson and his unit were mustered out. He was elected sheriff of Fannin County twice and served from August 1864 to August 1865 and from June 1866 to April 1867. Anderson may have eventually moved to The Grove in Coryell County, but information on the remainder of his life cannot be confirmed.