James Monroe Anderson, legislator and Confederate soldier, was born in Lawrence County, Alabama, on July 30, 1824, the son of Edmond P. and Adaline A. (Derchard) Anderson. The family moved to Winchester, Tennessee, in 1827, and at the age of twelve Anderson became a clerk. He graduated from Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1848 and for two years thereafter taught school at Winchester Academy. During his spare time he read law in the office of Judge Nathan Green, chief justice of Tennessee and father of Gen. Thomas Green. Anderson was admitted to the bar at Winchester in 1849. He moved to Rusk, Texas, in 1850 and established a partnership with Judge Stockton P. Donley. At age thirty-five Anderson was elected to represent Cherokee County in the Secession Convention, January 28 through February 4, 1861. On September 29, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Capt. John F. F. Dottery's Company H of Col. James Reily's Fourth Texas Mounted Volunteers but was discharged the following month. Later in the Civil War he served briefly as a Confederate private during the Red River campaign.
In 1866 Anderson moved to Waco and there reestablished his practice in partnership with Richard Coke. In 1873 he was elected to the Thirteenth Legislature as a Democrat. He was twice married, first on September 18, 1849, to Jane Buchanan, who died in March 1850, and then on November 26, 1851, to Winifred Polk of Rusk. He was a Baptist. He died at his home in Waco on June 3, 1889.