Anderson, Thomas (1789–1857)

By: Mrs. Harmon Watts

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: February 25, 2021

Thomas Anderson, physician and soldier, son of Maj. Richard and Frances Anderson, was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, on June 16, 1789. His father was a major of the Virginia line in the Revolutionary War. On December 21, 1815, Thomas married Chloe Glascock, daughter of William and Elizabeth Sanford Glascock. Two sons, John D. and Washington Anderson, were born to this couple before Chloe died on September 5, 1819. When Anderson's second wife, Sarah (Tunstell), died, he and his two young sons headed for Texas. They debarked at what is now Port Lavaca in February 1835 and stayed for a few days with Mrs. Martha Suttles. Then they went to Washington County, and when Thomas received title to a league of land in Benjamin R. Milam's colony, the trio settled there.

Anderson joined the revolutionary army near Gonzales and served until after the victory at San Jacinto. When Capt. Jesse Billingsley's company (later Company C of the First Regiment) joined them, Anderson found his two sons among Billingsley's men. He claimed he had left them at Mina (Bastrop) to protect the women from the Mexicans and American Indians.

During the battle of San Jacinto Anderson remained as a volunteer physician at Harrisburg in Captain Splane's company, which had been left at the upper encampment under the command of Maj. Robert McNutt to care for the ill and wounded. When Gen. Edward Burleson and others offered to obtain Thomas a compensation from the Texas government, he refused to receive any reward for his services. On May 22, 1838, he was, however, given a certificate for 640 acres for his services at Harrisburg. The land was located at Webber's Prairie (Webberville), where Anderson continued to practice medicine. He treated Josiah Wilbarger, who had been scalped by American Indians and left to die. Because of Anderson's skill Josiah's injury was reduced to the permanent inconvenience of wearing a skull cap. On December 6, 1837, Anderson was appointed medical censor, the physician elected in every senatorial district of the republic to grant either temporary or permanent licenses to those who practiced medicine, for Mina and Gonzales. He further served the republic as surgeon on the flagship Austin in December 1842. His salary of $100 a month was the second highest salary paid an officer under the command of Capt. Edwin W. Moore. By 1850 Anderson was living and boarding in Austin. He died in Round Rock, probably at the home of his son Washington, on April 26, 1857.

Jane H. DiGesualdo and Karen R. Thompson, Historical Round Rock, Texas (Austin: Eakin Press, 1985). William L. Mann, comp., The Andersons: A Father and Two Sons with General Sam Houston's Army (Corpus Christi: U.S. Naval Hospital, 1941; rev. ed., Georgetown, Texas, 1946). Noah Smithwick, The Evolution of a State, or Recollections of Old Texas Days (Austin: Gammel, 1900; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1983).

  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • General Practitioners
Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution

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

Mrs. Harmon Watts, “Anderson, Thomas,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 21, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994
February 25, 2021

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: