George Holmes Anderson
State Senator George Holmes Anderson was born October 1832, the son of John and Elizabeth Anderson of Allegheny County He trained in the Pittsburgh tanning business and in 1854 married Nancy Darsie, the daughter of former Speaker of the Senate, George Darsie. The successful leather merchant and tanner became a prominent figure in Pittsburgh’s commercial growth, building a flourishing business through 1873, the year he reached the pinnacle of his political career.
A Stalwart member of the Pittsburgh Republican organization, Anderson represented Allegheny County in the Pennsylvania Senate from 1871 to 1876, elected Speaker during the session of 1873. The senator supported the 1872-73 Constitutional Convention and condemned “special legislation,” noting the unfair privileges granted to big business. Anderson backed the 1872 Bituminous Miners Health and Safety Bill, femme sole trader reform, home-rule determination in temperance matters, and introduced an 1872 petition, advocating woman’s suffrage. He supported President Grant’s 1872 Force Act, authorizing military intervention in the South and the enforcement of Fifteenth Amendment voting provisions. He cast the Quay line against formation of the George O. Evans “Treasury Ring Scandal” investigating committee. Anderson chaired the Corporations Committee (1872), Compare Bills (1872), and Education (1875 and 1876).
Senator Anderson received an appointment as Pittsburgh Postmaster in 1877, a position he held through 1881. He retired from the post office and resumed his business career as a principal partner and president of the Bolivar (New York) Coal and Coke Company and its Pittsburgh subsidiary, the Bolivar Fire Brick Company of Hazlewood Station. The senator moved to Sewickley in the mid-1880s, occupying “a prominent place in the growth and the development of the (Sewickley) valley.” The successful entrepreneur became secretary and president of the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce through 1901, served as a three-time burgess of Pittsburgh, attained the same position in Sewickley, and deliberated on the latter city’s borough council.
After the 1918 Allegheny County influenza epidemic, Senator Anderson’s health declined and he entered Pittsburgh’s Butler Street Protestant Home for Incurables. The Honorable George Holmes Anderson died there on January 16, 1920, age-88.