What’s in a Name? Anderson Road

File photo    George Anderson and his wife, Josephine, lived on Bay Farm Island. In this portrait, George wears his Grand Army of the Republic medal.

Civil War veteran lived on Bay Farm Island near road that bears his name

George Anderson was among the second wave of settlers, many of them Portuguese, who began settling on Bay Farm Island in the 1870s. Other men who came to farm the rich soil with their families included: Adrian Hamlin, J.E. Ellis, Daniel Swett, John Titlow and Thomas Jose Miranda. 

Strangely, George Anderson and Thomas Miranda were brothers, Portuguese immigrants from the Azores who arrived in this country in June 1860. For some reason George decided to abandon his family name and take the last name of the captain whose ship he and Thomas had sailed on to America. 

George settled in Edgartown, Mass., on Martha’s Vineyard. He joined the United States Navy at the outbreak of the Civil War and served as quartermaster aboard six ships: USS Vandalia, USS J.C. Brandywine, USS Bienville, USS Governor Buckingham, USS Ohio and USS Tacony. 

George saw his share of action during the war. For example, while serving aboard USS Vandalia in 1861, he participated in blockade duty off Charleston and Bull’s Bay, South Carolina. He also witnessed the capture of the Confederate schooner Henry Middleton and its eight crew members. George assisted in the capture of the Confederate barkentine Thomas Watson. He was also aboard USS Vandalia when the ship participated in the successful amphibious assault upon Roanoke Island, N.C., as 1861 drew to a close. 

George married Louiza Sylvia in Edgartown in 1864. They had a son, Henry. George lost Louiza in 1869. After Louiza’s death, George met Maine native Josephine Douglas. They married in Edgartown in 1874. He was 33, she was just 16. The couple had three sons: John, William and Alfred and five daughters: Elizabeth, Anne, Blanche, Mary and Josephine. 

Their daughter Josephine married Joseph R. Marshall and lived out her life on Martha’s Vineyard. She and George did not get along, something made evident in a terse sentence in George’s last will and testament. After enumerating all his other children and mentioning they would share in his estate, George wrote, “To Josephine L. Marshall, I bequeath nothing.” 

In 1880, six years after their marriage, the federal census lists George and Josephine living on Bay Farm Island. The census lists George’s occupation as “farmer.”  George was among the first of a growing community of Portuguese who lived on Bay Farm. In 1891, The Alameda Semi-Weekly Argus was reporting the abundance of asparagus. By then, the list of Portuguese settlers on Bay Farm had grown to include the Duarte, Flores, de Souza and Silva families.  

About that time, George sat for a photograph with Josephine. He is proudly wearing his Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) medal to show that he had served his newly adopted country during the Civil War. He was a member of GAR’s Joseph Hooker Post No. 11 in Alameda. 

In 1895, the couple’s daughter Mary wed Frank Martin. Like her mother, Mary had married young. She was just 15. She gave Frank a daughter, Emma. Tragedy cut the marriage short. Frank drowned in San Leandro Bay on May 17, 1903. George had already passed. He died on Aug. 2, 1902, and rests at Oakland’s Mountain View Cemetery. Josephine moved to 3234 Encinal Ave., where she passed on Nov. 27, 1928. She was 70 years old. It is unclear whether she rests with George at Mountain View. The grave remains unmarked.

Today, the street Anderson Road remembers George and his family who once tilled the soil in its vicinity.

Wikipedia    George Anderson served aboard USS Vandalia during the U.S. Civil War.