Peyton T. Anderson Jr. Fund

Peyton Tooke Anderson Jr. was born in Macon, Georgia, on April 9, 1907, to Peyton Anderson and Nell Brown Griswold Anderson.

He graduated from Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville in 1924, then attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, for two years, before a sports injury forced him to leave school. In 1930 he married Katherine McClure, and they had two daughters, Katherine and Deyerle.

Anderson’s uncle, W. T. Anderson, was the editor and publisher of the Macon Telegraph and, later, the Macon News for more than 30 years. Peyton Anderson’s father, P. T. Anderson, was the vice president of the company. His uncle, Eugene Anderson, wrote a column for the Telegraph. After leaving the US Naval Academy, Peyton returned to Macon and worked in the Telegraph’s advertising department before becoming the circulation manager. His first job there had been at age nine, sweeping the floors.

Anderson served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as the Public Relations Officer for the Seventh Fleet in the southwest Pacific, earning the rank of Commander. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service.

After his discharge from the Navy in 1945, Anderson worked in Alabama as the publisher of the Gadsden Times until his return to the Macon Telegraph and News in 1947. Four years later he became the sole owner of the papers that his family had long published.

Dedicated to publishing the truth without any consideration for friendship or advertising dollars, Anderson hired the best editors he could find and then let them do their jobs without interference. Anderson, a strong supporter of Macon and middle Georgia, believed in giving back to the community. He was active in local civic and charitable organizations and often quietly helped people with whom he came into contact, paying a medical bill here or a mortgage there. His strong belief in the importance of education also led him to underwrite the college expenses of promising young employees with limited means.

In 1969 Anderson sold the Macon Telegraph and News to Knight Newspapers and retired to oversee his investments. Under his careful management the proceeds from the newspaper sale grew substantially.

Anderson’s wife, Katherine, died in 1983. The following year he married Evelyn McArver Matthews. At his death in 1988, the bulk of his fortune, approximately $35 million, was bequeathed to the Peyton Anderson Foundation. The Foundation continues his work to improve the lives of the citizens of the central Georgia area.

Anderson died on April 24, 1988, at age 81, and is buried in Riverside Cemetery in Macon. The Peyton Anderson Foundation established the Peyton T. Anderson Jr. Fund at the Georgia Historical Society in 2022, ensuring that his commitment to Georgia history will continue in perpetuity.