Biography of Peyton Tooke Anderson
Eugene, William Thomas, and Peyton Tooke Anderson and their seven sisters are claimed as sons and daughters of Pulaski County. The three men are publishing the Macon Telegraph and the Macon News, while their sisters have married and are, with three exceptions, living; in Macon.
In 1878 Christopher Cohen Anderson and his wife, Laura Tooke Anderson, decided that schooling advantages were too poor at Houston Factory, and their children should get a better showing in life. Mr. Anderson had gone to the Factory from Hayneville to look after the office work of the big enterprise that Joseph Tooke had developed there before the War Between the States. Farming as a sideline was also a part of the program. But Hawkinsville held a lure for Mr. Anderson, who had studied law and thought he would like to practice.
The sisters are: Mrs. Leila Anderson Key, with G. S. C. W. at Milledgeville; Marie Louise (Mrs. Harry A. Gibson), Macon; Alma (Mrs. Orren Massey), Macon; Julia Mason (Mrs. W. N. Northrop), Minneapolis, Minn.; Myrta (Mrs. Walter Massey), Macon; Louise, Macon; and Katherine, Washington, D. C.
But at Hawkinsville the family circle continued to increase, money was scarce, panics were constant, and the three boys went to work in the printing office of the Hawkinsville Dispatch under George P. Woods. Eugene, the eldest, was only fourteen, and he was the first one apprenticed to learn the printing trade. His salary was fixed at seven dollars a month for the first year, eight the next year, and possibly ten dollars beyond that. “That’s all right,” said father Anderson. “I grew up with the idea that a college education was the sine qua non in life, but this is a practical age, and I want my boys to have a trade.” The other boys were soon at work in the same office; and the schooling sought in Hawkinsville seemed to be still out of reach. They carried their dinner and supper to the office and worked early and late. To encourage them, Mr. Woods agreed to pay them “by the piece,” meaning for what they did instead of by the month; and the question of wages settled itself. They made a great deal more than the apprentice pay.
They had studied in the Institute of Mark Hodge, under such teachers as Mr. Hodge’s sister, “Miss Lizzie,” who afterwards married Dr. A. A. Smith; William A. Jelks, and others; and later they attended a private school conducted by Miss Julia Mason; and still later, Mrs. Nora Parsons took them in charge in her school. Later on, Eugene and William T. found employment on The Telegraph at Macon, and they pooled their funds and sent Peyton to the private school conducted by Major E. H. Ezell at Byron.
Peyton later joined his two brothers on The Telegraph, and together they continued their studies at night after getting home from work at 3 o’clock in the mornings.
At the commencement of Mercer University in 1935, the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred on W. T. “by virtue of his achievements as a faithful student and fearless patron of education,” as the certificate states. The 1935 Georgia Senate passed formal resolutions naming him also Georgia’s outstanding leader, fearlessly battling for the right and condemning the wrong.
In 1932 P. T. was voted “Macon’s most useful citizen.” In a contest for the postmastership, sixteen outstanding citizens were examined for their qualifications, and P. T. was rated the “best educated, and the best equipped for managing men and affairs.”