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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Sanders

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 50-55 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The family name of Sanders is to be found in English records earlier than the year 1500, where it is also frequently spelled Saunders; but those who have taken special interest in following the history of the branch of the family which came among the early settlers to America, declare that it is an alteration or abbreviation by the Hollanders for the Scottish name Alexander, whence they originally emigrated, going first to Holland at the time of religious persecution. The name is derived from the Greek, and signifies an aider or benefactor of men, from the words meaning "to aid" and "man." It betokens a powerful auxiliary. If derived from the somewhat similar surname, Sand or Sands, it would then signify sense, or wit. The Sanders Arms — Shield: Sable, a chevron ermine, between three bull's heads, cabossed, argent. Crest: A demi-bull erased, gules.

The family occupied a prominent position before coming to this country, and the records show that the men were not alone thoroughly educated, but possessed a determination of character which could lead them to suffer death for a cause in which they believed themselves to be in the right. Laurence Sanders, who died a martyr, was the son of Thomas Sanders, of Harrington, Siebertoft, Northamptonshire, England, by his wife, Margaret Carr, daughter of Richard Carr. He was elected in 1538 from Eaton, Scholar of King's College, Cambridge, and graduated B.A. in 1541; M.A., in 1544, and later, it is said, became B.D.

Laurence Sanders was cited to appear before the vicar-general for having married March, 1553-54. He was born in Oxfordshire, where his father owned considerable land. He entered holy orders toward the end of the reign of Edward VI, and became one of the famous preachers of the earliest Reformation period. While fearless in denouncing the corruption of the men who professed to represent the pure principles of the ancient Christian church, he was not one of the class of preachers who disgust the thoughtful by violence and religious hysteria. He was summoned before the crown authorities on trumped-up charges, and when it was found that he fearlessly continued his work and preached for reformation, he was imprisoned and finally burned in Coventry in 1555. His widow and his son and daughter escaped to Holland. Reliance is placed in this line of descent because the coat-of-arms on an ancient tablet in Allhallows Church in London is identical with that on old pieces of silver and other family heirlooms handed down in the Sanders family in this country.

(I) Thomas Sanders was the progenitor of this family in America. He was a silversmith in Amsterdam, Holland, and it is on record that he was in this country in 1640, for he married Sarah Cornelise Van Gorcum in New Amsterdam (New York City) in December, 1639. He received a patent from Kieft, the Dutch governor, for a house and twenty-five morgens of land on Manhattan Island; but in 1654 removed to Beverwyck, where he bought a house and lot, which he sold later on to Jan Van Aecken. It is probable that he returned to New Amsterdam. Children:

  1. Robert, baptized in New Amsterdam, November 10, 1641, see forward; Cornelis, baptized in New Amsterdam, November 25, 1643;
  2. Cornelis, baptized in New Amsterdam, November 17, 1644;
  3. Thomas, baptized in New Amsterdam, July 14, 1647, was a bolter of New York, and his children were born there, namely:
    1. Robert, October 4, 1696;
    2. Styntje, December 26, 1697;
    3. Robert, January 1, 1700;
    4. Jacob, October 19, 1701;
    5. Elsie, October 27, 1703;
    6. Anneke, January 30, 1706;
    7. Maritje, May 13, 1708;
    8. Jacob, June 9, 1712;
    9. Beatrix, September 25, 1715.

(II) Robert, son of Thomas and Sarah Cornelise (Van Gorcum) Sanders, was baptized in New Amsterdam, November 10, 1641. He attained considerable prominence as a man of wealth and through his dealings with the Indians in public matters. He was a great land owner before his death. He came to Beverwyck, (Albany, New York), before 1654, with his father. In 1667 he was a silversmith, as his father was before him, probably serving apprenticeship under his guidance, and in 1692 was a merchant. He was admitted a "Freeman" in 1698.

Robert Sanders acted an invaluable part in the colonists' dealings with the Indians, and the Dutch settlers always gave him a most prominent part because they realized his ability to transact matters amicably. Whenever there was a disturbance the inhabitants relied on him to take a major share in bringing peace out of threatening trouble. When, on July 1, 1689, authentic news reached Albany that William and Mary had succeeded to the throne of England, Mayor Pieter Schuyler called a meeting of the council, and it was voted to proclaim their majesties without delay. The proclamation was made at the fort in English and Dutch, amid the firing of cannon. All went well for the space of nearly a month, when there was a rumor that Jacob Leisler intended to establish authority over the city, and to turn out the officials. War was proclaimed between England and France, and a convention was held m Albany on August 1, to consider the situation so as to prepare. Fifty persons were required, each to hang a gun, powder and balls in the church, and new palisades were erected to keep out the enemy expected to come from Canada, where the French had their strongholds. There was great excitement. Men were sent out to procure fighters, and Robert Sanders was selected to enlist Indians along the Hudson river and at Esopus to serve as scouts, knowing the trail to the north. A subscription provided pay for one hundred men, and only three hundred and sixty-seven pounds, English money, was pledged. A few months later it was announced that "ambassadors from Onondaga and Oneida" were on their way to Albany, desiring to be heard in convention so as to determine on which side the Five Nations were to be allied, and at the Indian council to be held it was necessary for somebody of ability to come and represent the province. It was decided that some of the wisest Mohawks should represent the city in conjunction with Robert Sanders, because he understood the language and could act as a fair interpreter.

In 1690, Robert Sanders and Colonel Pieter Schuyler were commissioned to attend another important council of the Five Nations, which should decide about the return of all prisoners taken to France. On February 8, 1693, Albany was startled by the report that the French had fallen on the Mohawk castles, and Lieutenant Johannes Schuyler was despatched to Schenectady with a troop of cavalry; but Albany could not spare any quantity of its soldiers as it feared attack from the French who designed to take the city as part of the program to capture the province for France. Lieutenant Sanders was sent out with Lieutenant Schuyler to locate the enemy and reported that they had occupied the two lower villages. Major Ingoldesby sent several hundred men to Albany, who proceeded to Schenectady, and Governor Fletcher arrived there with two hundred and eighty men from New York. In this campaign the French lost thirty-three, with twenty-six wounded, and were driven back to Montreal.

Robert Sanders acquired land a mile square in Dutchess county, the tract including the site of Poughkeepsie. Governor Thomas Dongan on June 2, 1688, issued a patent of confirmation to Colonel Pieter Schuyler, the first mayor of Albany, for two tracts on the east side of the Hudson river, for which a patent had been previously granted by Governor Lovelace, the first being just south of the Livingston Manor; the second, a long reach on the Hudson bounded on the south and east by Wappinger creek, and Colonel Schuyler sold the tract on the long reach, August 30, 1699, to Robert Sanders and Myndert Harmense (Van der Bogert), who owned the tract adjoining north, on which site the city of Poughkeepsie now stands.

That Robert Sanders also acquired other important tracts at other localities in New Netherland is shown by the following peculiar record signed by Harmen Vedder at Albany, August 21, 1670:

"Appeared before me, Ludovicus Cobes, Secretary of Albany, etc., in the presence of the honorable Heeren commissaries, etc., Mr. Jan Verbeeck and Mr. Abraham Staats, Herman Vedder, who declares that in true right, free ownership, he grants, conveys and by these presents makes over, to and for the behoof of Robert Sanders, the half of the land called Stone Arabia with all his title thereto, free and unencumbered, with no claims standing or issuing against the same, save the lord's right, without the grantor's making the least pretension thereto any more, also acknowledging that he is fully paid and satisfied therefor, the first penny with the last, by the hands of Robert Sanders, and therefore giving plenam actionem cessam and full powers to said Robert Sanders, his heirs and successors or assigns to do with and dispose of said portion of land as he might do with his patrimonial estate and effects."

Robert Sanders married Elsie Barentse. Children:

  1. Helena, born June 23, 1674; married, September 20, 1704, Johannes Lansing, born January 1, 1675, died August 10, 1771, son of Gerrit and Elsje (Van Wythorst) Lansing.
  2. Barent, born May 8, 1678; see forward.
  3. Maria, married, November 24, 1689, Gerrit Roseboom, son of Hendrick Janse Roseboom, who was sexton of the Dutch church before 1674.
  4. Sara, married Hendrick Greefraadt.
  5. Elsie, baptized July 13, 1683; buried December 31, 1732; married Evert Wendell, Jr., born in 1660, son of Evert Janse Wendell, who came from Emden, Holland.

(III) Barent, son of Robert and Elsje (Barentse) Sanders, was born May 8, 1678, buried in the old Dutch church, June 22, 1738. It was during his lifetime that the ancient Glen-Sanders house at Scotia, Schenectady county, New York, was built, which became the Sanders homestead for six generations, in fact, it was erected when he was thirty-five years old, in 1713. This house but replaced the older, almost upon or near the same site and of the self-same material, but half a century later. It is, in 1910, in admirable condition throughout, and attracts visitors daily to it despite the fact that it is at least a mile from the city of Schenectady. The original mansion was built about 1659 by Alexander Lindsey Glen, founder of that family in America, who was one of the original "Fifteen Proprietors" of Schenectady. He was born about 1610, near Inverness, Scotland, and when he crossed to Holland because of religious persecution, the Dutchmen called him Sander Leendertse. He was a partisan in the days of Charles I, and had to flee to Holland to protect himself, where he was warmly received. He later emigrated with his wife, Catherine Dongan (Catalyn Doncassen), and the early Dutch settlers to New Netherland. He was a man of liberal education, which he received in Scotland, and possessed a large fortune; was typical in physique and temperament of his native heath, and was known as a strong man. He was the agent of the Dutch West India Company at Fort Nassau on the Delaware river, in 1643, and in 1646 was granted land at Graves End on Long Island. In 1658 he removed to Schenectady, where he commenced building his stone mansion.

This was the first house built upon the north bank of the Mohawk river for the entire one hundred and thirty-five miles of its length. It was constructed close to the water's edge and against the side of a steep slope leading to the broad, sandy plateau on which the village of Scotia stands. It was located about three-quarters of a mile west of the old Glenville bridge leading across the Mohawk to Schenectady. Herein for generations were deposited important colonial documents. It stood about one hundred feet south of the present Sanders edifice, and had to be taken down because each spring the high water was an inconvenience and a serious menace, so in 1713 much of the same material was used in the construction of the one now occupied by the Sanders family, and the inroads of the river have obliterated even the outline of where stood the foundations, filling the same in with silt. Between the two sites was the place where the Indians enjoyed burning their white victims at the stake. On the flats to the east the savages grew their corn, as set forth in the title as their "cornfield." He named the place Scotia in memory of the land of his birth. The title was from the Mohawk Indians from 1658 to 1665, and then he obtained a patent from the crown. He was a religious man, and finding it irksome to drive the seventeen miles to Albany every Sabbath morn, in 1682 built the Dutch Church which was also used as the town hall. Mr. Glen also owned a town lot in Schenectady with two hundred feet frontage on Washington avenue, the residence thereon occupied by his descendants until burned in 1819. He died in 1685, and was buried under the church beside his wife, who had died the previous year.

The reason why the house was neither attacked nor burned during the great massacre of 1690 is interesting. It was Major John Alexander Glen, son of the former, who built the present mansion in 1713, and who was alive at the time of the massacre. The Glens were very friendly with the Indians, alive also to rescue a white captive from the savages. One day a party of Mohawks brought to the original house a Jesuit priest who had come down from Canada, where were the French, intending to have him locked up by Major Glen until the following day, when they proposed to torture him before taking his life. Glen pretended to fear the magical powers of the priest, and having two keys to his cellar door told the Indians that they might lock the priest in there, and on handing one key to the redskins remarked that he would have nothing to do with the matter, for he did not believe a key would hold a priest confined so long as there was a keyhole through which he was doubtless able to send his spirit and body likewise. Early the next morning, Major Glen placed the priest in a cask and despatched it in his cart for Albany. This act had its important bearing. It gratified the French of Canada, so when Schenectady was attacked on the bitterly cold night of February 8, 1690, by the French and their savage allies under Seignior Le Moyne de Sainte Helene, it was ordered that no harm be done to the house of the Glens or to any relative. Glen undertook to persuade the Indians that he had many relatives in Schenectady, whom he wished spared; but the number increased so extensively that he had to desist or the Redmen, perceiving the ruse, would spare none, as they began to have doubts. In this massacre, now a feature in colonial history, about eighty houses were burned to the ground and some three hundred souls were slain.

The present house is charming in its colonial quaintness. The walls are unusually thick and the timbers massive. The latter were cut from trees so large that they were first cut into lengths, and these split into four timbers each two feet square. They are wonderfully dovetailed together and fastened with wooden pins. The doors are wide, and what is peculiar they are made of one mammoth piece of wood, while those leading out are divided in the middle, the upper portion set with small lights of glass. Across the exterior, beneath the eaves, are to be seen the large iron letters and numerals, "A O 1 7 1 3." The furniture, silverware and crockery in this house have been in use for generations, and attract much attention by their beauty. In the attic were stored countless documents from which a history might be written; but unfortunately at the time of the civil war, when paper was in great demand, about a ton was sold as junk. By the marriage of Debora Glen to Johannes Sanders, the house passed into the Sanders family, as will be shown.

Barent Sanders married, September 19, 1704, Maria Wendell, born August 16, 1677, in Albany, buried in the Dutch Church, as was the custom, November 21, 1757. She was the daughter of Evert Janse and Maritje Abrahamse (Vosburgh) Wendell. Children:

  1. Robert, born July 15, 1705; was a merchant; married (first) December 6, 1740, Maria Lansing, daughter of Johannes and Geertry (Schuyler) Lansing, who was baptized December 4, 1717, buried in the Dutch Church February 15, 1743; married (second) January 11, 1747, Elizabeth Schuyler, who died about 1763; he died May 24, 1765.
  2. Maria, born November 30, 1707; married, February 24, 1760, Philip Van Rensselaer.
  3. Johannes, born July 12, 1714, see forward.

(IV) Johannes, son of Barent and (Wendell) Sanders, was born at Albany, New York, July 12, 1714, died September 13, 1782. In 1765, by the purchase of the interest of John Glen, of Albany, and John Glen, Jr., of Schenectady, for $20,000, he and his wife became sole owners of the Glen estate in Glenville. In his will (made January 27, 1779, proved February 11, 1783), he mentions his only son, Johannes, and wife, Debora, as living. Johannes Sanders married, at Scotia, New York, September 6, 1739, Debora, only child of Colonel Jacob Glen, of Scotia, New York, who died March 8, 1786. All their children were born at Scotia, Schenectady county. Children:

  1. Maria, born May 21, 1740, baptized June 14, 1740; married November 22, 1759, Johannes J. Beekman, of Albany, born August 8, 1733, son of Jacob and Debora Hansen Beekman.
  2. Sarah, baptized February 20, 1743; married, October, 1762, John Sanderse Glen, of Scotia.
  3. Barent, born August 6, 1744, died November 21, 1746.
  4. Elisabeth, born September 19, 1746, died September 19, 1747.
  5. Elisabeth, born December 5, 1747-48, died February 5, 1776.
  6. Barent, born December 22, 1750, died September 5, 1758.
  7. Elsje, born March 14, baptized April 5, 1752; married Schuyler Ten Eyck, of Schenectady.
  8. Jacob Glen, born April 5, 1755, died September 18, 1765.
  9. Johannes, baptized October 23, 1757, see forward.
  10. Barent, born December 26, 1759, died December 30-31, 1759.
  11. Margaret, born January 20, baptized June 24, 1764; married, February, 1791, Killiaan K. Van Rensselaer, of Claverack, Columbia county, New York.

(V) Johannes (2), son of Johannes (1) (or John, as commonly mentioned) and Debora (Glen) Sanders, was born October 2, 1757, at Scotia, Schenectady county, New York, baptized October 23, 1757, died March 30, 1834. He inherited his father's valual property, including the Sanders homestead on the Mohawk and the city lot in Schenectady, and resided in the old mansion, leading a life which brought him prominence in affairs of the county. He married (first) February 24, 1777, his cousin, Debora Sanders, baptized February 9, 1758, died November 28, 1793, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth (Schuyler) Sanders. He married (second) November 30, 1801, Albertina Ten Broeck, born November 23, 1760, died July 23, 1840, daughter of Dirck Wessels and Catharine (Conyn) Ten Broeck, of Clermont, Columbia county, New York. Children:

  1. Elizabeth, born December 20, 1777, died June 21, 1850; married Dr. William Anderson.
  2. Barent, born January 12, 1779, died June 5, 1854; married, in 1810, Catalina Bleecker, of Albany.
  3. Robert, born September 8, 1781, died October 25, 1783.
  4. Sarah, born August 28, 1783, died August 13, 1869; married Peter S. Van Rensselaer, of Albany.
  5. Catherine, born October 10, 1785; married April 9, 1810, Gerard Beekman, of New York.
  6. Robert, born July 18, 1787, died November 5, 1840.
  7. Jacob Glen, born April 22, 1789, died March, 1867; married Catherine Mary Cox, of New York City.
  8. Peter, born February 17, 1792, died May 12, 1850; married Maria Elmendorf, of Albany.
  9. John, born, Scotia, New York, December 27, 1802, died May 21, 1883; married, October 2, 1826, Jane Livingston, born September 4, 1804, died October 27, 1871, daughter of Walter Tryon Livingston and his second wife, Elizabeth McKinstry.
  10. Theodore Wessels, see forward.

(VI) Theodore Wessels, son of John and Albertina (Ten Broeck) Sanders, born at Scotia, Schenectady county, New York, October 20, 1804, died at Albany, New York September 20, 1884. He was a farmer by occupation. He moved to Albany about 1852 and later went west, remaining in Iowa for about six or seven years, where he followed farming, returning to Albany after the death of his first wife. He was a colonel in the state militia. He was loyal to the Union cause during the civil war, giving freely of his time and influence, drilling the troops in Iowa and was offered the commission of colonel; which he was forced to decline. He was a prominent member of the Scotia Dutch Church, and was a Whig and later a Republican in politics. He served in the state legislature and was sheriff of Saratoga county. He was a man of honor, holding fine principles of right, and was liberal and public-spirited. He married (first) at Bethlehem, Albany county, New York, January 20, 1829, Margaret Nicoll, born July 5, 1809, died October 18, 1862, daughter of Judge William Nicoll and Margaret (Mather) Sill, of Bethlehem, New York. He married (second) January 9 (or 29) 1867, Rachel B. Winne, daughter of Gerrit Van Sant and Jane ((Shepard) Bleecker. Children:

  1. Elizabeth Nicoll Sill, born December 22, 1829, died February 7, 1831.
  2. Catharine Mary, born December 7, 1831; married, June 17, 1854, William J. Mott, of Great Neck, Long Island, born February 22, 1825, died May 13, 1894, son of James W. and Abigail (Jones) Mott, and they had:
    1. James Willis Mott, born August 23, 1855, married Jane McKay;
    2. William Sanders Mott, born February 19, 1864, married Annie Moore, children,
      1. Ellen Kounslar Mott, born February 12, 1896;
      2. James Willis Mott, born March 31, 1898;
      3. Catherine Sanders Mott, born March 6, 1900;
      4. Elizabeth St. Clair Mott, born September, 1902.
  3. Margaret Mather, born February 5, 1834, died April 16, 1839.
  4. Albertina, born April 26, 1836.
  5. William Nicoll Sill, born August 24, 1838, see forward.
  6. Alexander Glen, born October 29, 1840, died September 29, 1842.
  7. Lydia Mather, born December 19, 1842.
  8. Lindsay Glen, born February 23, 1853, died April 15, 1853.

(VII) William Nicoll Sill, son of Theodore Wessels and Margaret Nicoll (Sill) Sanders, was born at Scotia, Schenectady county, New York, August 24, 1838. He attended the excellent grammar school in Albany, to which place he came in 1852, when fourteen years of age. He entered the employ of the Merchants' Bank, where he remained engaged throughout the fifties. He served two years in the civil war, enlisting April 16, 1861, in Company F, Third Regiment, New York Volunteers, as first lieutenant, and was honorably discharged, with rank of captain at the close of the second year of active service. He then returned to Albany and reentered the Merchants' Bank. He was appointed city chamberlain by Mayor George Hornell Thacher, and held that office through two terms, or four years. President Hayes appointed him collector of the port of Albany, serving as such 1879-82. Congress had passed the act, March 2, 1867, making Albany a port of entry, and he was the fourth official to fill the position. For a while he was engaged in the wholesale and retail lumber business, with an office in the celebrated "Lumber District," the firm known as Babbitt & Sanders. This was at a time when that business was flourishing. He entered the Albany County Bank as cashier in the year 1890, and became a trustee and treasurer of the Albany County Savings Bank in the same year, holding those offices for over twenty years. He was also made a director of the Union Trust Company, of Albany. He was a trustee and the treasurer of the First Reformed Church for a number of years. In politics he has always been a Republican of pronounced convictions, interested in party welfare and active on occasions of importance. He joined the Albany Club, the Albany Camera Club, and the Albany Institute and Historical and Art Society. His residence for many years has been at No. 235 State street, Albany. Mr. Sanders married, at Albany, February 3, 1864, Catherine Van Rensselaer Osborn, born in Albany, February 17, 1843, daughter of James H. and Christina Schuyler (Van Rensselaer) Osborn. The last named was a daughter of Robert S. Van Rensselaer, who married, October, 1801, Catherine Nicholas Bogart, and he was the son of Philip and Maria (Sanders) Van Rensselaer, son of Kiliaen and Ariaantje (Schuyler) Van Rensselaer, the youngest son of Hendrick, son of Jeremiah, son of Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, the first patroon of Rensselaerwyck. Children:

  1. Henry Osborn, born at Albany, October 23, 1864, married, October 30, 1899, Mary H. L., daughter of General William B. and Sarah (Lyons) Taliaferro, of Gloucester county, Virginia.
  2. Francis Nicoll, born at Albany, October 1, 1870.
  3. Eugene Livingston, born at Albany, September 3, 1878, died at Albany, October 12, 1895.

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