John Anderson was born in Keene, Ohio on October 29, 1863. He attended the local public schools and graduated in 1880. After attending the Iron City Business College, he took a position with the Morrison, Cass & Company, which subsequently became the Morrison & Cass Paper Company. In 1890 he moved to Tyrone as secretary and treasurer of the Morrison and Cass Paper Company and remained in this position until 1910 when the merger of the West Virginia Pulp & Paper company occurred. At this time he was appointed the General Manager of the Tyrone and Williamsburg facilities. During this period he was also the president of the Moshannon Coal Mining Company. His reputation as a highly effective operator of his facilities made him a leader of the nation’s paper industry.
Mr. Anderson was an active member of the Presbyterian Church and was deeply involved in the community. There are countless stories of his helping individuals around the town as they dealt with “the rough places in their lives.” He was known to have had many friends and was always willing to listen to anyone to cross his path. Kindness, wisdom, generosity and philanthropy were often used to describe him. He truly was a gentle soul.
There is no question that he was and remains one of the most influential people in the history of the Tyrone Area. His impacts are still felt today. For example, the First National Bank of Tyrone appointed him as their vice-president in 1917. During the 1st World War he was the chairman of the Liberty Loan campaigns. He was instrumental in the American Legion finding a home building and establishing itself as an important civic group in town. It was he who equipped and funded the famous Tyrone Drum Corp, which ran through the Legion. He was an active member of the Y. M. C. A. and helped on countless fundraising drives. And, he was a member of the Neptune Steam Fire Company.
On December 28, 1916, he married Ms. Margaret Hooker. The Anderson’s never had any children of their own, but you could say they adopted the youth of the Tyrone area because of the many youth related groups he was involved with over the years. He assisted with the Y.M.C.A., the Drum Corp, and he was the major financial supporter of the Tyrone Area Scouting program. It was his assistance that provided for the chief financial resources needed for their equipment, meetings, and other expenses. In 1925/1926 Mr. Anderson purchased a local farm just outside of Tyrone for the area Scouts to use as their official camp. That camp, our camp, proudly took his name as their benefactor and treasure this resource to this day.
Mr. Anderson died on January 24, 1927. At the age of 63 he succumbed to pneumonia and other complications that arose from an earlier surgery. His death/funeral was probably the largest such event in the history of Tyrone. Condolences poured in from around the country. Many of our state’s industrial, civic, political and religious leaders shared their heartfelt loss in local newspapers over that month. “All yesterday evening the people of Tyrone, old and young, rich and poor, strong and feeble, made their way to the great house on South Lincoln avenue where lay their first citizen, their greatest benefactor… Led by their scoutmasters, the Boy Scouts of Tyrone went to the home in a body, more than a hundred of them, to show their devotion to the man whose generosity has meant so much to them.” Thousands attended his funeral, town businesses closed for the day, and the streets filled with mourners as his procession took him from his home to the Grand View Cemetery where he was buried in a family mausoleum.
The Camp Anderson Corporation today owes our very existence to Mr. Anderson. Once the property was turned over to the Tyrone Scouts a corporation was formed to operate the camp. The Corporation was made up of many of community’s leaders in business, industry and civic concerns. This same corporation and its members are proud to continue serving in this same capacity today.
The information for this article was obtained from the family of John G Anderson.