Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Anderson-Seton family tree

This is a partial list of the children of Dr. James Anderson and Margaret Seton, and their children. This list of notable siblings and cousins explains why Alexander Caulfield Anderson felt so much pressure to succeed in his career and life, and why he was so devastated when he felt he had failed his family.

Alexander Anderson-Seton (1769-1850), DP, JP, FLS, FHS. Dr. James Anderson's eldest son assumed the name Seton by deed poll in 1812; he was a businessman and Laird of Mounie. It was Alexander Seton who, as Treasurer of the Royal Horticultural Society, wrote the letter(s) that advised the Hudson's Bay Company directors the Society would no longer pay the botanist David Douglas' bills. Alexander Caulfield Anderson's uncle Alex had nine children, who include:
1. Lt. Colonel Alexander Seton (1814-1852) of the 74th Highlanders (British Army), who drowned in the sinking of the ship Birkenhead off South Africa. As his name lives on in Seton Lake and Birkenhead (now Seton) Portage, his story will later be told in this blog.
2. Major George Seton (1819-1905) of the 93rd Highlanders and the Royal Canadian Rifles (British Army). Seton came to Lower Fort Garry (Red River) in advance of his troops and, in July 1857, met John Palliser of the Palliser Expedition there.

Captain William Anderson (1771-1806), commanded cargo vessels based in Calcutta which sailed to the Dutch East Indies, China, Australia, and all over the far east. As the East India Company at this time secretly shipped opium to China in exchange for tea, it is possible opium was sometimes the cargo he carried. William died at Malacca, Dutch East Indies, on his return from China, in 1806.

John Anderson (1775-1807), who was apprenticed as engraver to Thomas Bewick, abandoned that career to take up land in Botany Bay, Australia. He jumped ship in Rio de Janeiro and died in Africa.

James Anderson, J.P. [Justice of Peace], of Bridgend, Brechin (1776-1864), was also a corn merchant whose publication on wheat pricing is in the British Library. Other corn merchants followed a second career in brewing, but our British researcher has no evidence that James was a brewer. He had 14 children, including:
1. James Anderson (1814-1874), called James Anderson (B) of the Hudson's Bay Company. James followed his cousins into the Hudson's Bay Company and served his apprenticeship in Montreal and St. Maurice Districts. Between 1837-1845 he served at Kibocock on Esquimaux Bay (northern Quebec). A few years later he returned to the north and managed Governor Simpson's experimental whaling operations at Eastmain and on the Great Whale River. James Anderson made Chief Factor in 1860, and retired from service in 1871.
2. Lieutenant William Andrew Anderson (1820-1848) of the 1st (Bombay) European Regiment (HEIC Army, I think). As Assistant to the Resident at Lahore, Lieutenant Anderson was ordered to accompany Mr. Patrick Vans Agnew to Mooltan (Pakistan) to receive the resignation of the Dewan Mulraj. Anderson's and Vans Agnew's brutal massacre by Goodhur Singh at that place brought on the 2nd Sikh War.
3. Lt. Col. John Cumming Anderson (1825-1870) of the Madras Engineers (HEIC Army), responsible for planning the British defences in India, and designer of the water supply for the city of Madras. He was engineer at the Residency of Lucknow when the Indian Mutiny broke out, and because of the death by war or disease of all his senior officers, became the engineer-in-charge of the defences of Lucknow Residency.

Margaret Anderson (1778-1863) married Benjamin Outram of Alfreton and later of Butterley Hall. Outram was a distinguished canal engineer and was involved in the planning of railways around England.
1. James Outram (1803-1863) who became General Sir James Outram, Bayard of India. As his name is preserved in British Columbia in Outram Lake (supposedly now buried under the Hope Slide) and forms a part of Alexander Caulfield Anderson's story, his life-story will be told in full in this blog.

Robert Anderson (1781-1840), officer in the New South Wales Corps (British Army), London merchant, and emigrant to Upper Canada. His children include:
1. Henry Anderson (1810-1845), ship captain and trader who owned his own boat. He died in a mutiny in Calcutta.
2. James Anderson (1812-1867), who joined the Hudson's Bay Company at the same time as his younger brother, Alexander Caulfield Anderson. This is James Anderson (A) of the Hudson's Bay Company, and his story will be told later.
3. Alexander Caulfield Anderson (1814-1884), whose story is told in this blog and the manuscript this blog supports.
4. Margaret Anderson (1817-1867) joined her brother Alexander at Cathlamet, and married the American artist, William Henry Tappan. Her story will be told as we pass through the Okanagan (in July-August 2010 posts).
5. George Anderson (1820-1905), joined the Hudson's Bay Company about 1840 and served at Fort Chimo on Ungava Bay. George worked well only if properly directed, and from early days had a reputation for heavy drinking. In 1847 George was in charge of seal oil extraction at Kibocock but could not explain how so little oil was processed that year (the oil stood in pools on the ground beneath the processing shed). He gave notice of retirement to avoid being fired, and while he waited for the ship at Rigolet, he drank his way through the Kibocock liquor supplies at the rate of two or more bottles of cognac or wine a day. George emigrated to Australia by way of the California gold fields, and died at Tibooburra in 1908. Tibooburra is a place of burning sun and red rocks where miners live underground to escape the heat and dig for gold and opals.
6. William Anderson (1823-1905). William came from Cathlamet to Victoria with his brother, Alexander Caulfield Anderson, in 1858, where he served as purser on his brother's steamships. William returned to Ontario and later served under Edgar Dewdney, Indian Commissioner of the Northwest Territories (and builder of the Dewdney Trail) as Indian agent at Regina and Edmonton.
7. Thomas Anderson (1830-1861), joined the Hudson's Bay Company in 1849 and had a lack-luster career in King's Posts. He died by drowning at Trois Riviere in 1861.

Captain Henry Anderson (1784-1810). Henry joined the East India Company's Army, and his journals record his active service during the infamous Monson's Retreat of 1804, the siege of Dieg, and assault at Bhurtpore. He contracted tuberculosis and, despite a sea trip to Ceylon for his health, died at his brother Robert's house near Kinshinagar, in what is now West Bangladesh.

There are many other interesting and important descendents of this family -- for example, Elton Alexander Anderson was grandson of Alexander Caulfield Anderson and his story will later be included in this blog. He was a historian like his grandfather, an explorer, and a naturalist, and I think he would have written Alexander Caulfield Anderson's story had he lived long enough. You will find Elton Anderson online -- the Federation of B.C. Naturalists still hands out the Elton Anderson award, though no member of the Federation now remembers who he was. That will change; the Federation is publishing a book for their 40th anniversary, and Elton's story will be included in that publication.


  1. This blog-post has been updated and is found at

  2. I think would be of interest to you and your readers. 29 coats of arms with the surname Seton: