This site was dedicated in honor of Joe Anderson, a man who was enslaved by Jesse Woodson Anderson, a founding trustee of Mars Hill University. The founding trustees of Mars Hill University, including Jesse Anderson, underestimated construction costs and were unable to make the final payment to the company. In response, they decided to use Joe as collateral for a lien against Mars Hill University shortly after it was founded. After the lien was paid, legal ownership of Joe Anderson returned to Jesse Anderson. Joe Anderson remained in bondage until the end of the American Civil War. Joe Lived the rest of his life quietly on Gabriel's Creek, which just outside of Mars Hill. The Anderson-Rosenwald School, a school for African American children in Madison County during the years of separate schools, was named in his honor and this marker was dedicated to preserving the memory of Joe Anderson and the connection between slavery and Mars Hill.
Anderson was an
African-American from Mars Hill,
North Carolina. Joe
was owned by
Jesse Woodson Anderson, a
founding trustees of Mars Hill College.
construction, the college's founders,
including Jesse Anderson, underestimated construction costs, and were
unable to make the final payment to the Asheville based contractor.
This resulted in a
placed against the building and
taken as collateral.
The trustees had five days to raise the money to make their payment
on the loan; if they failed, Joe would be sold to the highest bidder.
money for the payment was eventually raised, and Joe returned home.
the Civil War, Joe
Anderson's remained in Madison County,
In 1932 his remains were taken to the campus, where a marker still
Joe Anderson's legacy continued long after his death.
In the 1920s, the president of Sears, Roebuck and Co, Julius
Rosenwald started a fund to help build schools in the rural areas of
Southern states. These schools would allow African-American children
to get an education during the segregation era of the American South.
The schools were financed with matching grants from the Rosenwald Fund, local governments, and contributions from members of local African-American communities.
1930, one of these schools opened in the Long Ridge community of Mars
Hill, North Carolina, and it was called The Anderson Rosenwald
first African-American student, Oralene Graves Simmons who
is the great-great-granddaughter
of Joe Anderson, was admitted to Mars Hill University.
Southern Appalachian Archives at Mars Hill University