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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Sanford

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[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 485-489 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.]

This is a New England family, that transplanted to New York, at once took root, flourished and prospered as if on parent soil. No name is more closely interwoven with the history and prosperity of the city of Amsterdam than that of Sanford. The Sanfords of Amsterdam descend from Thomas Sanford, born in England, perhaps from 1600 to 1610, as near as the date can be located. He is believed to have been the son of Anthony and Joane (Stratford) Sanford, and a grandson of Raulf Sanford, of Stowe, county of Gloucester, England. Thomas Sanford married about the time he left England, Dorothy, daughter of Henry Meadows, of Stowe. They came to Boston, Massachusetts, with the John Winthrop colony in 1631-33. We first find Thomas at Dorchester, where he received an allotment of land in 1634, and again in 1635. He became a freeman, March 8, 1637. In 1639 he removed with a colony from Dorchester and Watertown to Connecticut, and settled in Milford, New Haven county, where his name appears in the very earliest records. He was intimately associated in organizing the town with Governor Treat, Lieutenant-Governor Lette, Buckingham, Law, and other noted men. Stratford was probably named by him for his paternal grandfather, John Stratford, father of Joane. His grandson, Thomas Sanford, was an early settler there.

(I) Thomas Sanford, immigrant, was born in England, died in Milford, Connecticut, October, 1681, son of Anthony and Joane (Stratford) Sanford. He married, about 1630, Dorothy Meadows, by whom he had two children, born in Massachusetts: Ezekiel, see forward, and Sarah, wife of Richard Shute. Thomas Sanford married (second) Sarah ————, born in Milford, May 14, 1681, who bore him:

  1. Mary,
  2. Samuel,
  3. Thomas,
  4. Ephraim,
  5. Elizabeth, married Obadiah Allyne.

His will is dated September 23, 1681, and the estate was appraised at about seven hundred pounds.

(II) Ezekiel, eldest son of Thomas and Dorothy (Meadows) Sanford, settled in Fairfield, Connecticut, where he died in 1683. He was a large land owner, as the records show; a large part of this he gave to his children before his death. His widow administered upon the estate, but died before it was settled. He married, April 25, 1665, Rebecca Wickla (another authority says Rebecca Whelpley). Children: Sarah, Ezekiel, see forward, Mary, Rebecca, Thomas, Martha and Elizabeth.

(III) Ezekiel (2), son of Ezekiel (1) and Rebecca (Wickla) Sanford, was born March 6, 1668, in Fairfield, Connecticut, died in March, 1728-29, leaving a large estate, one-third of which real and personal he left to "my beloved wife Rebecca." His will was made January 29, 1728-29, and probated March 28, 1728-29. He married, 1696, Rebeckah Gregory. Children:

  1. Joseph,
  2. Lemuel,
  3. Zachariah,
  4. Ezekiel,
  5. Samuel,
  6. Ephraim, see forward;
  7. Rebeckah, married William Hill;
  8. Abigail, married James Bradley;
  9. Elnathan.

(IV) Ephraim, son of Ezekiel (2) and Rebeckah (Gregory) Sanford, was born in Fairfield, Connecticut, February 12, 1708-09, died in Redding, February 6, 1761-62. He settled in the village of Redding (the northern part of Fairfield), incorporated as a town in 1767. The part of the town in which he settled was called Sanfordtown. He became a very large land owner, as is shown by numerous deeds now in possession of his descendants, some dated as early as 1733. He was engaged in mercantile business, his first store being in Redding. He was very successful in all his ventures, and left an unusually large estate for his day. To his wife he left nine hundred and sixty-seven pounds; to each of his four sons, seven hundred and sixty pounds; to each of his seven daughters, two hundred and fifty-three pounds. The division was made May 26, 1763. He married, October 7, 1730, Elizabeth Mix. Children:

  1. Elizabeth, married Jonas Platt.
  2. Rachel, married Stephen Mead.
  3. Abigail, married Daniel Jackson.
  4. Hannah, married David Lyon.
  5. John, see forward.
  6. Oliver.
  7. Lois, married Joseph Lyon.
  8. Tabitha, married Thomas Rothwell.
  9. Hulda, married Thomas White.
  10. Ephraim.
  11. Augustus.
  12. Esther.

(V) John, son of Ephraim and Elizabeth (Mix) Sanford, was born in Fairfield, Connecticut, April 26, 1739, died April 18, 1784. He married, 1759, Anna Wheeler, who died in 1791. They were the parents, according to his will, of James, Elizabeth, John, Stephen, see forward, Huldah, Eli, Ephraim, Anne, Lois and Esther. With this generation the family began to scatter and spread the Sanford name and fame beyond the confines of New England. The descendants of John Sanford are very noted men in Canada, one in parliament, another the head of a college. The descendants of Stephen include: Henry Shelton Sanford, who held many high diplomatic offices, was the author of a work on International Maritime Law, prominent in Washington political circles, and within three days after his inauguration appointed by President Lincoln minister to Belgium. It would require an entire work to chronicle the official honors bestowed upon him and tell of his wonderful African exploring achievements. He was the only American who passed through all the grades of our consular service from attache to minister plenipotentiary. An intermarriage brings in the Morgan family and the Hon. Daniel Nash Morgan, who was treasurer of the United States from 1893 to 1897, selected by President Cleveland.

(VI) Stephen, son of John and Anna (Wheeler) Sanford, was born in Redding, Connecticut, November 24, 1769, died in Roxbury, Connecticut, October 20, 1848. He married Sarah Curtis, thus uniting with one of the families of the Rev. John Beach connection. She was born at Zoar, Connecticut, September 5, 1771, died at Roxbury, Connecticut, May 8, 1856. Children: Nehemiah C., Charlotte, Phoebe, John, see forward, Charles, Stephen and Nelson. Hon. Nehemiah C. was the father of Hon. Henry Shelton Sanford, the diplomat.

(VII) Hon. John (2), second son of Stephen and Sarah (Curtis) Sanford, was born in Roxbury, Connecticut, June 3, 1803, died in Amsterdam, New York, October 4, 1857. He was the founder in New York of the Amsterdam Sanford family. In 1821 he left New England, being then eighteen, and found employment at school teaching, for a few terms at Amsterdam and Mayfield, where he also had a mercantile business. He removed this business to Amsterdam, where he successfully conducted it until 1840. In that year he was elected to Congress, having so well demonstrated his fitness to his friends and neighbors. He served one term, returned to Amsterdam and built a mill for the manufacture of carpets. He is the father of that great Amsterdam industry that has done so much for the city and for the family fortunes. In 1842 he placed the first product of his mill on the market. He threw all his wonderful energy into the development of this industry until 1854, when the factory was burned and Mr. Sanford retired from active business life. Amsterdam owes much to John Sanford; he came to the town when it was little more than a hamlet, and aided materially in its development, not only by his investment of capital, but by his public spirit and stirring example. He married, August 3, 1822, at Amsterdam, New York, Mary, born March 2, 1803, died November 11, 1888, daughter of John and Rachel (Winche) Slack. She was born, reared, educated, died and buried in Amsterdam, New York. Children:

  1. Sarah Caroline, born March 27, 1824, died March 27, 1871; married John Stewart, November 19, 1845, and left a son, Nelson Sanford Stewart.
  2. Stephen, see forward.
  3. Nelson, born June 1, 1828, at Amsterdam, New York; was accidentally killed on the train between Amsterdam and Albany, August 15, 1848.
  4. David, May 4, 1830, died August 11, 1885; married, November 3, 1851, Carrie E. Pearl, and had a son Frank and daughter Mary Alidah.
  5. Aledah, March 8, 1833; married, December 29, 1856, James E. Waring, and has a son Charles Henry and a daughter Mary Sanford Waring.
  6. Harriette, 1836; married Henry Sacia, son of Judge David F. Sacia; children:
    1. Caroline Sanford Gardiner and
    2. Anna Sanford Sacia.

(VIII) Hon. Stephen (2), eldest son of Hon. John (2) and Mary (Slack) Sanford, was born in Mayfield, Montgomery county, New York, May 26, 1826. He received his primary education in the public schools, his academic at "The Academy" at Amsterdam. He was a student at Georgetown College, D.C., two and one-half years, leaving that institution to enter the United States Military Academy at West Point. In 1844 he returned to Amsterdam to share with his father the burden of his growing business. He entered the carpet mill and took up practical work from the beginning, so that when later he was admitted a partner, he was a thorough master of the details of carpet manufacturing. He was admitted to partnership in 1848. The mill burned in 1854, and his father retired. Stephen purchased his interest, which then consisted of little more than smoking ruins. But Mr. Sanford had become so well convinced of the profit-making possibilities of the business, that, with unbounded courage and enthusiasm, he rebuilt and resumed business in a small way. Under his skillful management the business, founded by his father, had grown to one that employs twenty-five hundred hands and produces an annual output valued at three millions of dollars. To accomplish this, required not only capital, but Mr. Sanford's particular mental equipment, industry, perseverance, integrity, self-reliance, the capacity to formulate great undertakings and see their consummation. He is a fine example of the clear-headed self-reliant, self-made American business man. With the cares of a growing business on his shoulders, it was to be supposed that politics would be neglected, but Mr. Sanford neglected none of the duties of a citizen. He was an unswerving, loyal Republican, but would accept for himself but one office. He was elected in 1868 a member of the forty-first Congress, served faithfully, but declined re-election. He was a member of the electoral college that cast the vote of New York for U. S. Grant and of the national convention of 1876.

Always interested in public affairs and having unusual opportunities, Mr. Sanford, in his long public and semi-public life, formed the personal acquaintance of many noted public men. He was a lifelong friend of Roscoe Conkling, and his chief lieutenant and adviser in many of his political campaigns. He was on terms of intimacy with President Grant, James G. Blaine, Zachary Chandler, and other famous statesmen. His reminiscences of these men, told in his most interesting manner, is a form of enjoyable entertainment with which he often favors his chosen circle of friends, and much unwritten history is then revealed. He has had manifold outside business interests. He was director of the Farmers' Bank, president of the Amsterdam Reservoir Association, which has supplied millions of horsepower to Amsterdam factories, president of the Gaslight Company, the Cemetery Association, founder and president of the Amsterdam City Bank, president of the Montgomery County Agricultural Society, Amsterdam Academy, and has other important interests beyond local limits. In the prosecution of all large public undertakings, he was appealed to, not alone for material aid, but for his wise counsel and sound judgment. Remarkable in many ways, he is particularly wonderful for his vast fund of information and his clear, comprehensive way of conveying it to others. As a deep thinker and public speaker, he has commanded and deserved favorable criticism. His career has been a wonderful one, and no man who casts a retrospective glance over his life work has greater cause for self-congratulation than he.

In his public benefactions he has been particularly kind and generous to the churches of Amsterdam, without regard to creed. Amsterdam Hospital owes its very existence to his timely help. When the trustees, wholly discouraged, felt they must surrender, his check for many thousands had lifted the load, and given them courage to continue. The Montgomery County Historical Society through his generous kindness, was enabled to purchase the valuable collection of aboriginal relics belonging to the late A. G. Richmond; also to publish the Minutes of Tryon County. His gift of fifteen thousand dollars to the "Old Fort Johnson," and an endowment fund, was the crowning act of generosity that endears him to the society. The Children's Home, in which Mrs. Sanford always was deeply interested, has also been a beneficiary of his charitable, generous nature. He renovated and rebuilt the "Home," improved the grounds and enclosed them with an iron fence, with pillared entrance gates. He bore the entire cost of the construction of the handsome "Home for Elderly Women," and presented it to the trustees as a memorial to his wife, as is stated on the bronze tablet over the main entrance. A high iron fence, with massive stone gateway and entrance, was placed around the grounds of Green Hill Cemetery as another memorial to her. The Grand Army of the Republic remembers with gratitude his repeated help in paying their entire expenses to the grand encampments for a number of years. St. Mary's Roman Catholic Hospital has also been favored with benefactions from Mr. Sanford. These are only a few of his beneficences. Many others are known only to the giver and the recipient.

Stephen Sanford married, December 12, 1849, Sarah Jane, daughter of Alexander Gifford and Sarah Dempster (Phillips) Cochrane. She was born in New York City, March 4, 1830, and died while on a winter visit to Aiken, South Carolina, March 22, 1901. Children, all born in Amsterdam:

  1. John, see forward.
  2. William C., see forward.
  3. Henry Curtis, July 30, 1859, died April 19, 1882.
  4. Charles Francis, September 21, 1864, died July 10, 1882.
  5. Stephen, October 19, 1868, died February 20, 1870.

The celebration of the golden wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Sanford, December 12, 1899, was an event still memorable in the social life of Amsterdam. She was one of the founders of "The Children's Home and The Home for Elderly Women," and was devoted to their welfare. Many beautiful testimonials to the character of Mrs. Stephen Sanford were offered at the time of her death by friends, by the pulpit, by the press, and in the records of the various societies, social, religious and benevolent, with which she had been connected.

(IX) John (4), eldest son of Hon. Stephen (2) and Sarah Jane (Cochrane) Sanford, was born January 18, 1851. He received his early and academic education in the public schools and at Amsterdam Academy. In 1865 he entered Poughkeepsie Military Institute, remaining three years. This preparatory training qualified him for college, and in 1868 he entered Yale, from which time-honored institution he was graduated A. B.; class of 1872. Returning to Amsterdam, he at once entered the employ of his father in the carpet mills, taking a subordinate position. He worked his way through the several departments, until, after several years of preparatory service, he was admitted a member of the firm, the business founded by his grandfather in 1840, developed by his father and himself, until it stands to-day one of the very greatest of the industries of the United States. Mr. Sanford has always been identified with the Republican party. In 1888 he was elected to congress from the "Saratoga" district. He took his seat at the opening of the fifty-first congress, December 2, 1889, and for four consecutive years served his district well, being re-elected in 1890. He served on the committee on manufactures and on civil service. He took an active part in framing the McKinley tariff bill, and rendered valuable service to the ways and means committee, by whom he was selected to reconcile the conflicting interests of the woolen manufacturers and the wool growers. He conducted the fight before the ways and means committee that gave the glovemakers of his district victory over the glove importers and made possible the manufacture in the United States of ladies' fine kid gloves. He took an active part in "Reciprocity" treaties, and in 1890 framed and presented resolutions to congress authorizing the president to enter into reciprocal trade arrangements with Spain and the Central and South American republics. He was an active and useful member. As a speaker on the floor of the house, he was earnest, able and impressive. His speech in support of the mail subsidy bill, advocating a national policy in the interest of American shipping and other American industries, was an eloquent plea for that important measure that afterward became a law. During the four years he was in congress, Mr. Sanford never failed to reply promptly and fully to every letter written him from his district, without regard to the politics or position of the writer. He was re-elected in 1890 at the election that swept from power so many Republican statesmen and changed the majority in the National house of representatives from nineteen Republican to 246 Democratic. Mr. Sanford served out his second term, positively declining a third, declaring his intention to devote his time to private business. Three successive generations of the Sanford family have represented the Montgomery county district in congress. John Sanford, grandfather, in 1840, the year of "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too," was elected to the twenty-seventh congress as a Democrat, and served one term. In 1868 his son, Stephen Sanford, was elected to the forty-first congress from the same district as a Republican. From 1888 to 1892 John Sanford, grandson, represented the same district, familiarly known as the "Saratoga" district. He sat in the fifty-first and fifty-second congresses. This is probably a case without a parallel in American politics. Mr. Sanford was a delegate to the National Republican convention in 1892, and a member of the electoral college that cast the vote of New York for President McKinley in 1897. He is a member of the state racing commission, appointed by the governor. He is a member of the following clubs: The Jockey, Metropolitan, University, Meadow Brook, Turf and Field, Brook, Racquet of New York and the Metropolitan of Washington.

Hon. John Sanford married at Sanford, Florida, February 17, 1892, Ethel, daughter of Hon. Henry Shelton and Gertrude Ellen (du Puy) Sanford. Hon. Henry Shelton Sanford was the accomplished diplomat and successful business man of previous mention. His wife, Gertrude Ellen du Puy, was a descendant of one of the early Italian families, del Paggio, afterwards du Puy - Huguenots. On the revocation of the edict of Nantes they fled to America, not, however, before several members of the family had suffered martyrdom. Hon. John and Ethel Sanford had three children:

  1. Stephen (4), born in Amsterdam, New York, September 15, 1899.
  2. Sarah Jane, born in Amsterdam, November 8, 1900.
  3. Gertrude E. du Puy, born in Aiken, South Carolina, March 21, 1902.

(IX) William Cochran, second son of Hon. Stephen (2) and Sarah Jane Sanford, was born July 14, 1854, died March 17, 1896. He received all the advantages of education, and was taught the value and dignity of individual effort. He was taken into the mills and became a valuable assistant. When his brother, John Sanford, was elected to congress, William C. was selected to succeed him in the sales department in the offices in New York City. Although a young man for such an important position, he met every demand made upon him, and more than justified the wisdom of his appointment. He had expert technical knowledge, unusual business ability, and with all his full share of the energy and keen business acumen of his honored father. His life promised to be one of great usefulness, not only to the Sanford business, but to the community at large. His early death was deeply regretted. He was unmarried.

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