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Anderson, George

Description

George Robert “Bob” Anderson (1847?-1886?) was an early settler in Southern Nevada. He is best known for being the business partner of James Bernard Wilson. On January 31, 1875, they filed the deed to 320 acres located twenty-four miles west of Las Vegas, Nevada at the base of Sand Mountain in Cottonwood Valley. The property formerly known as ‘Williams Ranch’ or ‘Williams Homestead’ was renamed Sandstone Ranch. There they established a working cattle ranch and a goods delivery service.

Anderson was born in England of a Scottish father and an English mother. Reportedly, he came to America when he jumped ship at San Pedro, California on January 16, 1864 to “test his luck in the gold fields”. According to the 1870 census records, he ended up living in Mohave City, Arizona, and was listed as a 23 year-old laborer from England.

Later, Anderson became a successful freight wagon driver from San Bernandino, California to Fort Mohave, Arizona and El Dorado Canyon, Nevada, as well as Las Vegas.

Anderson had a Paiute wife named Kayer, also known as “Annie”. She was from the Panamint Mountains on the western edge of Death Valley. She had previously given birth to a son named Jim, later known as James Wilson, Jr. on October 14, 1874. Anderson and his wife had a son named George Twison “Tweed” Anderson on October 28, 1976. It is believed Annie passed away within a few years of giving birth to her second son.

During this period, Anderson established business operations outside of the Sandstone Ranch, and ultimately left his sons behind. The 1880 census shows Robert Anderson at El Dorado Canyon (near Nelson, Nevada along the Colorado River). Later that year, it appears he operated a saloon. In late 1880 and early 1881, accounts with Poppet and Clark in the original town-site of Ivanpah, California show Anderson buying and making payments on 1800 cigars, 44 gallons of whiskey along with beer, wine, cider, and cards.

The Weekly Record of October 13, 1883 shows Anderson owning The Bobby Burns Saloon in El Dorado Canyon which was the chief pleasure resort of the mining area. The article goes on to describe Anderson’s pleasant and genial disposition. Under “El Dorado Canyon Items,” it mentions Anderson being open-handed and free-hearted and helping all those who land at El Dorado destitute.

Additionally, the 1881 Assessment Rolls show Anderson owning a lot in Eldorado Canyon with a man named Marsh and improvements being made to it. Anderson was last mentioned in family correspondence in 1886. In 1887, James Wilson hired a teacher to teach the two boys (James Jr. and Tweed) to read and write, and do math. At some point, James Wilson adopted the boys, and they both took his surname. Wilson deeded the ranch to them when he died in 1906.

Sandstone Ranch is now part of Spring Mountain Ranch State Park and the Red Rock Conservation Area, which was entered in the United States National Register of Historic Places on April 2, 1976.

Sources:

Williams, Chuck et al. Seekers, Saints & Scoundrels: The Colorful Characters of Red Rock Canyon Blue Diamond, Nevada: Friends of Red Rock Canyon, 2015.

Tax Assessment Rolls of Lincoln County, Nevada, 1881.

The Pioche Weekly Record, 1883 October 13.