Governor Charles Anderson
By Odell Walker
[Picture in this article: “Governor Anderson’s final resting place.” http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=21714 ]
The grave of Charles Anderson, located in the Kuttawa Cemetery, has a most unusual tombstone. It is made in the shape of a bed.
Charles Anderson, the youngest son of Richard Clough Anderson, was born June 1, 1814, at his father’s home, Soldier’s Retreat in Jefferson County, near Louisville. He attended Miami University of Oxford, Ohio, where he studied law. In 1834, he married Eliza Brown of Dayton, Ohio.
At the beginning of the War Between the States, he enlisted in the Union Army and was commissioned a Colonel. Anderson was wounded early in the war and resigned his commission.
He was Lt. Governor of Ohio in 1863. He became Governor a short time later upon the death of Governor Brough. After serving this term, Anderson retired from public life. Charles Anderson was Kentucky born and transplanted to Ohio where he had served as lawyer, politician, rancher, soldier, and finally Lt. Governor and Governor.
When his term in office ended, he had had enough of politics and was ready to return to private life. He learned that the furnace and land holdings of William Kelly were being sold to satisfy indebtedness. In 1866, most of the Kelly property was sold at public auction and Charles Anderson bought most of it.
Governor Anderson had a great appreciation and love for the natural beauties of nature. He was especially impressed by the forest, trees, wildflowers, hills, valleys, creeks, springs, rivers and rock formations.
Soon after his arrival in Lyon County, Governor Anderson began plans for his dream town. He personally supervised the surveying of the town.
Willis Hammond and Ambrose Martin were to young men who helped Governor Anderson lay out the town. A story is told that Hammond carried the surveyor’s chain and stopped at what he thought was sufficient for Oak Street. The Governor urged him on and when questioned about the extensive width, Anderson replied, “Young man, I don’t expect that people will always use horses and I want these streets wide enough for whatever type of transportation is used in the future”.
When the surveyors, engineers and draftsmen had finished their work and Charles Anderson had the plat before him, he named the town “Kuttawa”, which is an Indian name meaning “city in the woods”.
The town was chartered by the State Legislature in 1872.
Governor Anderson laid out five parks for his dream town. His pride and joy was Silver Cliff, 28 acres of grove on the bluff overlooking the river. In its prime, the park was neatly kept with flower beds, croquet greens, and a large expanse of well kept lawn. Governor and Mrs. Anderson had traveled extensively both at home and abroad, and brought back many trees not native to this area and planted them in Silver Cliff Park.
Governor and Mrs. Anderson spent the rest of their lives enjoying and promoting the town of Kuttawa.