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Anderson, Robert Thompson 1880-1960
Anderson, Margaret “Greta” McPherson 1890-1979
Anderson, Malcolm Robert 1920-2007
Robert Thompson Anderson was born in Rapid City, Manitoba, on August 2, 1880 to William Anderson (1843- 1925) and Jane Struthers (1840-1907). William and Jane had four children: Clara Jane (1868- ), John (1873- ), Robert, and Walter (1883- ). In 1897, they moved west to Lemon Creek, in the Slocan Valley region of British Columbia. John also moved to the area to work as a druggist. By 1898, Robert had also moved to B.C. and was working in his brother's drug store. Robert became a prolific poet earning rave reviews and by 1900 The Slocan Drill was regularly publishing his poetry. One of his poems, titled The Message of Grief, on the death of Queen Victoria, was praised in both Toronto and Vancouver papers.
In 1905, Robert came to Edmonton and first worked at the W.H.Clark lumber company. By 1906, he joined the Edmonton Fire Department and became the Department's fourth staff member. In 1910, he married Isabella Edith McGhee (1888-1913) and they had one daughter, Clara Edith Anderson (1911-1933). Anderson continued to write poetry and his first book, The Old Timer & Other Poems, was published in 1909. Some of his poems were also published in the Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Bulletin.
Isabella McGhee Anderson died in 1913. Robert enlisted in 1914 with the Alberta Dragoons and served for the duration of the First World War. His attestation papers list his marital status as widower and according to the article, "The Kipling of the Kootenays," Robert's military pay cheques were sent to his sister Clara who was the guardian of his daughter Clara Edith. In 1916 Robert received a military medal for great gallantry when on reconnaissance patrol for pushing forward under sniper fire and when his horse was shot, he carried on dismounted and brought back reliable and valuable information as the enemy position. He was discharged on 20 Apr 1919.
Robert married Margaret ‘Greta’ McPherson Grant, a Scottish immigrant, in May 1919. He also took a position with the City of Edmonton's Health Department as Quarantine Officer. He remained in this position until his retirement in 1947. He then served with the Corps of Commissionaires for eight years.
Many of Robert Thompson Anderson poems were inspired from his work or reflect his activities, family and heritage: The Fire Laddie’s Call Three, De Health Inspector, and The High Hills of Scotland. Anderson had two more books of his work published, Canadian Born & Other Western Verse (October 1913) and Troopers in France (December 1932).
Robert and Margaret had two children, Malcolm Robert and Ailsa Theresa.
Robert Thomspon Anderson died 3 Apr 1960 and is buried at Edmonton’s Westlawn Cemetery.
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City of Edmonton Archives
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