William D Anderson of Richmond, Virginia

Some people pass through your family's history like a shadow in a dream that turns toward you and waves, then walks across the stage and out the stage door. Such was Dudley Anderson for the longest time, a trace of a person and nothing more.

My grandmother's sister Mary Rodgers traveled with a theatrical company. She married Dudley Anderson in 1887 after her first husband died. Just finding their marriage record–in Oil City, Pennsylvania, of all places–was a surprise. See the article, Mary (Rodgers) Kelly Anderson, of Cleveland, Ohio.

So imagine how I felt the other day when I decided to throw his name into a search engine for the umpteenth time and out came a death record for "Dudley Anderson, or Bobby Carroll", an actor in the theatre, who died in Chicago on March 19, 1932, at the age of 64.1

His parents' names were listed as Henry Anderson and Mollie Clark, which did resemble the cryptic "H.T. Anderson, M.J. Morrow" that his marriage record called them. And he was born in Virginia, which was one of the three possibilities I had for his birthplace.

Dudley was married at the time of his death to a woman just named Lillie on the record. There is a record for a W. D. Anderson marrying Lillie Birchfield in Bell County, Texas, on September 22, 1901.2 This could be him–he was born William D Anderson. And there is a Beltonian Theatre that opened in Belton, Texas, in 1900.

So to sum it up:

William Dudley Anderson was born April 23, 1867, in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Henry T Anderson and Mary "Mollie" J. Clarke.1 Henry and Mollie had married on December 4, 1862, in Richmond, and in 1870 were living there with their children: William, age 4, Myrtle (2), and Anna (1 month).3,4 Mary is widowed in 1880 and is heading a household that includes a William D. Anderson, age 14.5

Some interesting links at findagrave.com say that Dudley Anderson's father's ancestral lines go way back in Virginia. They include one or two Revolutionary soldiers and a man named Major Willam Mayo who helped map out the Blue Ridge Mountains.6

Ancestry.com says that his mother's side went at least into the 1700s in Virginia–When you start finding people with a first name of "Obedience" you know you are running into the early colonists and descendants.

William Dudley Anderson, aka "Bobby Carroll", second husband of Mary Rodgers, is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Proviso, Illinois. If I'm ever out that way again I might go by and see where Dudley left this world's stage.


For more information and for the genealogy sources for Dudley Anderson, find Anderson in the Ohio Families section of this website.

Continued in Robert Carroll (Dudley Anderson), Actor, of Chicago, Illinois.


  1. Illinois, Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947, ancestry.com

2. Texas, Marriages, 1837-1973, familysearch.org

3. Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940, familysearch.org

4. 1870; Census Place: Richmond Monroe Ward, Henrico, Virginia; Roll: M593_1654; Page: 243A; Image: 489; Family History Library Film: 553153., ancestry.com

5. 1880; Census Place: Richmond, Henrico, Virginia; Roll: 1371; Family History Film: 1255371; Page: 399B; Enumeration District: 076.

6. Start with Dudley's father at findagrave.com, Henry T. Anderson, and work backward: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=anderson&GSfn=henry&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSst=48&GScntry=4&GSob=n&GSsr=41&GRid=106022191&df=all&