history-genealogy site

This is a site where I will discuss my family genealogy research and related history. When a blog deals with a particular family group, I will try to include it in the title so uninterested people can skip it without skimming it. It is my hope to get feedback on research methods, family members and historical context from other historians, genealogists, and researchers. (c) Barbara L. de Mare 2006, 2007

Location: Englewood, New Jersey, United States

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Mystery of the Parentage of John Sanderson: Part I (Camilla Sanderson, Sarah Stratton Carpenter, Mary Howell Washburn, Louis Washburn Fish)

John Sanderson, one of my 3G grandfathers, is one of those interesting characters of whom Gen. Louis Henry Carpenter wrote extensively, and I always assumed his history was correct. That is, until this past Christmas vacation when I was working on DAR applications, and looked to see if he had Revolutionary War antecedents. Not only was that question not answered, but the identity of his parentage was called into question. I am setting forth this story in instaments in the hopes that someone out there can shed some light on the subject. I do intend to go to Philadelphia this week, and hopefully can get there in time to do some Sanderson research. If I am so lucky, you, fortunate readers, will have the advantage of already knowing the question. I will start at the beginning, with what Carpenter said in his book:

Ancestry according to Samuel Carpenter book[1]:

[1] Edward Carpenter and General Louis Henry Carpenter, compilers, Samuel Carpenter and his Descendants, (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1912), pp. 98-99.


"Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, was organized in 1750 from a part of Lancaster County, and it was settled by Scotch and English, who began in 1740-42 to take up lands to which the Indians' title had not been fully extinguished. Among these were ALEXANDER SANDERSON and his family, who located about 1744 near the present town of Carlisle in Middleton Township, Cumberland County.

"The tradition is that they emigrated from Carlisle, County of Cumberland, England, and were connected with an ancient line of the name belonging to Durham. A seal handed down in the family had engraved upon it a coat of arms, and is said to have originally belonged to Robert Sanderson, Bishop of Lincoln, 1587-1663, who was an intimate friend of Charles I. He was descended from Alexander de Bidduc alias Sanderson, of County Durham, England, who lived about 1330, the arms being the same as those displayed on the seal.

"Arms--paly of six, argent and azure, on a bend sable or three armlets. Crest-On a mont vert a talbot sable eared or spotted of the last. Motto: Sans dieu rien.

"The records in Pennsylvania show, under the head of Warrantees of Land, in Lancaster County, Penna., ALEXANDER SANDERSON, 200 acres, date of survey September 19, 1746; GEORGE SANDERSON (son) , 200 acres, date of survey April 30, 1745. In the first list of taxables in Middleton Township, Cumberland County, for 1751 (Pa. Archives, 3rd Series, vol. 24, pp. 527, 529), appear the names of ALEXANDER SANDERSON and GEORGE SANDERSON.

"ALEXANDER SANDERSON had a wife named JEAN and a number of children. He died in 1760. His will was signed February 20, 1760, and proved December 11, 1760.

"In the list of taxables in Middleton Township in 1762 we find the names of George Sanderson, Sr., Robert Sanderson, JEAN SANDERSON (the widow of ALEXANDER, who is taxed for 200 acres), George Sanderson, Jr., Alexander Sanderson, Jr. The letters of Rev. Thomas Barton show that the Indians were very troublesome in this section after 1755, and many atrocities were committed by them on the scattered and practically unprotected settlers.

"GEORGE SANDERSON was the eldest son of ALEXANDER, and his wife was JANE. They had two sons and four daughters. George died in 1797, his will being signed Nov. 11, 1795, proved May 22, 1797. ROBERT, the eldest son, was born in England in 1736, died 1803, will signed Oct. 16, 1802, proved March 10, 1803. His wife was named MARY. They had three sons, George, Alexander and WILLIAM, who was married and had children, and two daughters, Martha McClain, with three children, and Jane Hawling. The Sanderson family must have held considerable property, as nineteen of them are on the list as warrantees of land taken up from 1745 to 1797.

"During the Revolution ROBERT SANDERSON and his son WILLIAM held commissions in the Cumberland County Militia and saw service. They must have been men of good standing and reputation, or they would not have been placed as captains in command of companies raised in the neighborhood. ROBERT SANDERSON was captain of the 8th Company, 3d Battalion, Cumberland County Militia, commissioned July 31, 1777. He was also in active service May 1778, and July, 1778. (Pennsylvania Archives, 2d Series, vol. 14, p. 427; vol. 15, pp. 602, 607, 624). WILLIAM SANDERSON, son of ROBERT SANDERSON, was captain of the 3rd Company, 7th Battalion, Cumberland County Associators, commissioned July 31, 1777, again in May, 1778, and in April, 1779. (Penn. Archives, 2d series, vol. 14, pp. 412, 436, 438, 451, also vol. 15, pp. 578, 624). He was commissioned May 10, 1780, major of the 5th Battalion (vol. 14, p. 461).

"WILLIAM SANDERSON appears in a list for the levying of State taxes in 1799, in Tyrone Township, as having 400 acres of land, 5 horses, 10 cattle and 1 negro. He married AGNES McCLELLAN, whose mother was a Buchanan, and she is said to be descended from the Douglas of Scotland, a very intellectual and well-educated woman. The latter part of her life was spent in Alabama, with an only daughter, Matilda, who married Dr. May, of that section. Her sons were JOHN, James H., and Joseph McClellan. The latter married and had issue, among whom was a son Robert McClellan and a daughter Emma Sanderson. James H. assisted his brother JOHN in writing "The Signers."

"JOHN SANDERSON, through whom our descent comes, was born in 1783, near Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania; died in Philadelphia April 5, 1844; educated by a private tutor; studied law, but devoted himself finally to literature, and became an associate instructor in the Clermont Seminary, the principal being JOHN THOMAS CARRE. JOHN SANDERSON married Carre's daughter SOPHIE CARRE in 1805, and they had 10 children. Sanderson went abroad in 1835 on account of his health, and when he returned was made a professor of Latin and Greek in the Philadelphia High school, where he remained until his death. In 1820 he published the first two volumes of "The Signers of the Declaration of Independence," a work requiring much research, being assisted by his brother James H. Sanderson. Afterwards published in seven volumes by Robert Waln, Jr., it has passed through several editions. In 1833 he published "Sketches in Paris," republished in London under the title "The American in Paris" (1838), and other works. He was considered an authority in classic literature. SANDERSON was brilliant in his conversation, most interesting in his writings, remarkable for his genial manners, and loved by his associates. He is buried in the Presbyterian cemetery in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

“. . .

“JOHN SANDERSON married SOPHIE CARRE and had ten children. Of these:

VIRGINIA married Edward York Farquhar, and had George, Sophie, Matilda and Edward.

“MATILDA married Joseph Price, of Delaware, and had John, Sophie, Margaret, James, Joseph, Matilda, Jennie, Camilla, Alfred, Harry, Cornelia, and Marion.

“CORNELIA married James Musgrave; no issue.

“CAMILLA married Dr. James S. Carpenter of Pottsville, Pa.

“JAMES, unmarried

“SUSAN, unmarried.

“FITZALLEN, married Sarah Mills, and had John, James, Sophie, Susan, Mary, Charles, and Virginia.”

Thus the Sanderson family as reported by Carpenter looks like this:

Alexander1 Sanderson (--1760) and Jean ?

George2 Sanderson and Jane ?

Robert3 Sanderson (1738-1803) and Mary ?

William4 Sanderson and Agnes McClelland

John5 Sanderson and Sophie Carre

So far this looks sensible--BUT we have only dealt with secondary sources, i.e. the Carpenter book. No other secondary sources have been perused, and no primary sources consulted. Part II of this Sanderson saga will start to show where the mystery arises.


Blogger Watcher said...

You start with the second Alexander (in the line discussed) who is the grandson of the first one through the first Alexander's son, Robert. Does that mean that the mystery starts with him ?

8:45 PM  
Blogger his gene, esq. said...

iIs that in the little I wrote myself, or the quote from Carpenter? I will have to figure it tomorrow --too tired now. If Carpenter has an error he really messed this one up.

I spent all night working on citation templates, so nothing interesting to report. I will post the templates here when finished, but for now I will continue the Sanderson saga in tomorrow's post.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sandies Regalis
Alexander Sandison/Sandiland
Father: Alexander Armstrong brn c1313 White House Whithorn Dumfries


2:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading about your study of
the Sanderson family.I am attempting
to find information
on the children of
an Alexander who
moved from Pa. to Mason Co., Ky.
1780s or 90s and then
moved to Ohio and
was by 1798 in
Fairfield Co. near
Lancester, I think
this Alexander may
have been married to
Elizabeth or Margaret
They were the parents
of Gen. George Sanderson. He was a
Soldier in the War of
1812 and later owned
a newspaper in Lancaster, Ohio.
He married Nancy Abrams around 1820.
I think the Alexander I mentioned is from the same family as the one you are researching. Have you
found additional
information on this

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Barbara de Mare said...

Hi Sandy,

It is probably the same family. If you send me your e-mail address I can see what I can find. Mine is BarbaradeMare@yahoo.com

I am finding this a difficult family to trace. The names are all the same, so the generations are totally confused. Yesterday I found references to Sandersons who went from the Scottish lowlands (where ours originated) to County Tyrone, Ireland. The ones who went to Ireland were named Alexander, George, William--all the usual ones. The move was 18th century, just after ours came to Pennsylvania.


10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your site in my
saved Favorites and I
have been so busy I don't
even know when I saved it,
except it had to be a few
months ago when I was busy
working on the Sanderson
family. I am not actually
a Sanderson, (that I know
of), even though I am related to the Alexander
Sandersons children, who came from Pa., though
Ky and had married a
Robeson/Robinson and
I am a descendent of the
Robesons through a Sister
of Andrews wife, who married a Joseph Shafer
and had my ancestor Margaret Shafer/Schaeffer,
etc., who married Henry
Heck abt 1820 and they had
Elizabeth Heck, in 1823, she married Jacob Sanderson
in Perry or Fairfield Co.,
Ohio and had Henry and
William, her husband Jacob Sanderson died and
she remarried to my GrGr
Father Jacob Sinift abt
1861, she was abt 38, he
a widower abt 62 and they
had 2 sons David, b abt
1863 and James Milton B
abt 1865, David died when
a baby and James Milton
was my Grandfather.
After reading over some
of your wonderfully posted information, I wanted to
let you know Jacob Sinift
org. spelling was Senft was born in Washington Co., Md. in 1799, he first
married Nancy Gothrop and
joined the Methodist Church. When Jacob Sinift
was a very young child his
parents along with several
other families came as a
group to Perry County, Ohio. Some names on your
posts caught my eye as
Jacob and Nancy Gothrop
Sinift had 11 children
and a daughter Lucretia
married Christopher Barker
and a I am fairly certain
another daughter married
a Carpenter, these marriages would have probably taken place in
Perry or Fairfield Cos
in the Ohio during the
1840s. Also my Grandfather
James Milton Sinift married
Mary Catherine Musser B
abt 1871 who was the Grand-daughter of Daniel Musser
and Mary McClellan, B abt
1799 daughter of a Robert McClellan. We certainly
have several surnames in
common!! To make matters
even more confusing one
child each of Jacob and Elizabeth Heck Sandersons
Sinifts first marriages married each other, so my
Dad had several Sanderson
first cousins and also
Henry Heck B abt 179?
lost his Father when he
was a child and was raised
by an Uncle John Heck and
his wife who was Margaret
"Peggy" Sanderson, a daughter of Alexander and
a Sister of General George
Sanderson, who was given
the honorary title of
General after his service
in the War of 1812. This
General George Sanderson
had a Newspaper in Fairfield Co., Ohio and
on an online site wrote
a brief biography of
his Sanderson family,
telling how they had come
from Ky. to Ohio, they
were in Fairfield Co.,
before 1800. It may be
of interest to you to
know both of Elizabeth
Heck Sandersons sons left
the Fairfield Perry Co
area after they married,
Henry moving to Darke Co.
ohio and William to Paulding Co., Ohio.
There were many Sanderson
families already living
there, family lore in
many of these families
indicates they came
from Kentucky.
Now to the Jacob Sanderson
who married Elizabeth Heck,
I will have to look up
his parentage.
With all the cousins marrying cousins in my
family I may very well
be a Sanderson on the
Shaffer side.
My name is Sandra Firek
I live in Wyandotte, Mi.
I am 62 and have been doing genealogy for several years, my email is IvyLee@Webtv.net and I
would enjoy corresponding
with you. I know how busy
you must be and don't know
how you do it all!!
I am in the process of
getting my paperwork to
gether to join the DAR
as I have several Patriarchs and need to take
the time to join!
Thank You for all the
great information you
have posted!!

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to mention that
within the Heck or Sanderson family there is
unusual spelling of the
name Maria, something
like Mahrea, you will notice it if you come
across it within your
lines. I am very interested
in Alexander, who was
born in Pa. about 1760-70
and married Margaret or
Elizabeth Robeson/Robinson.
It is possible he was related to Joseph Shaeffers
prior to each of them marrying a Sister. Do twins
run in any of your lines??
There are several sets,
within the lines I have
written you about and
when I wrote Patriarchs
in the last post, I meant
I have several Patriarchs
in my family who were
Patroits. I think the
lady I am working with
in Wyandotte, Mi also
went to a DAR event in
Washington DC last year,
Her name is Nancy Chaska,
(spelling may be off)and
she is a Retired High
School Teacher. She is
such a help and is working
with myself and two other
women who wish to join
the DAR.
Sandy Firek

9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The book by Samuel Carpenter states that William Sanderson married Agnes McClelland. Well, I believe that William Sanderson married Rebecca Randolph on 26 Dec 1786. There is a Revolutionary Pension file for them on Heritage Quest.

12:50 AM  
Blogger his gene, esq. said...

You are absolutely correct--William did marry Rebecca Randolph. Footnote.com has the entire pension file, not justn the abbreviated version on HeritageQuest. I think if you read Parts 2 and 3 you will see quotes from the pension file and my conclusion that William Sanderson is NOT his father. I think I have finally determined who was.

1:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll bite: You said William is definately not his father and that you finally figured out who is father is! Who?

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A newspaper line stating marriage of John Sanderson and Sophie Carre says that John was son of James Sanderson of Mifflin Co. PA:
Bedford County and Huntingdon County newspapers (Ancestry.com)
2 Nov 1809; Huntington Gazette
Huntingdon gazette newspaper, Sept. 11, 1806 to Dec. 27, 1810.
Married on the 9th ult. John Sanderson, son of James Sanderson of Mifflin Co to Sophia Carre daughter of John Thomas Carre, President of Clairmont College near philadelphia.
(to me, that proves that he is not the son of William)

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was interested to read about the Heck and Sanderson lines. I happen to be working on locating several of my great uncles how were born between 1782 and 1786.
Frederick, Samuel and John.
Samuel was named as executor on his fathers will, Johannes Hage/Heck/Hoke/Hake(1811) and in the court records of 1846 he asked to be released from that duty as he was now 62 yrs old and has lived in KY for many years. I believe he is the Samuel Hock. Found in census records for Jefferson Co , KY
Frederick is found in Campbell Co , KY in 1850 he is shown to be 64 yrs old and born in PA. He also appears in the US Fed. slave records as being a slave owner and a confederate soldier.
So its very possible that John Heck born abt 1786 also moved to KY.
Beside these three sons there were also two daughters Maria married Heorge Ilges here in York Co PA. Elizabeth born somehwere between them all is not yet accounted for.
IF any of this seems to match yours email me at MyRootz2@aol.com

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara, I have a ggggg grandfather, James Sanderson, born around 1758 and died in 1842 in Fayette County, Ohio. His wife has always been listed as having been a Sarah Barbara Newman, however, I am not certain that that was her maiden name, however, her first name was definately Barbara. The name of Alexander is very common in my Sanderson line. I have no actual proof of this at the present time but I am thinking that my James Sanderson may have been the minor son of the Alexander Sanderson who died in 1760 in Cumberland County, PA. Also, there was an Alexander Sanderson who died in 1805 in New Market, Highland County, Ohio. I believe that he may have been a brother to my James Sanderson as both had lived in Pennsylvania and both migrated to Kentucky prior to arriving in Ohio in the very early 1800s. I would appreciate any thoughts you may have on this. It has been said that my James Sanderson was born in Ireland but I don't believe that to be the case. His grandchildren who were living in 1880 stated that their parents (James' children) were born in Pennsylvania. Karen Conley karenconley@wowway.com

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

California, Death Index, 1940-1997

child:Sophie Carre Gring

NameSophie Carre Gring
Event TypeDeath
Event Date25 Mar 1949
Event PlaceLos Angeles, California, United States
Birth Date26 Jan 1855
Father's NameSanderson
Mother's NameMills
California, Death Index, 1940-1997

child:Anna Virginia Wentworth

NameAnna Virginia Wentworth
Event TypeDeath
Event Date22 Mar 1956
Event PlaceLos Angeles, California, United States
Birth Date30 Aug 1867
Father's NameSanderson
Mother's NameMills


child:Emma Gertz

California, Death Index, 1940-1997

child:Mary Emerson Stephenson

NameMary Emerson Stephenson
Event TypeDeath
Event Date08 Oct 1958
Event PlaceLos Angeles, California, United States
Birth Date10 Jul 1865
Father's NameSanderson
Mother's NameMills

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe Agness (Nancy) McClellan(d) married James Sanderson and had several children including a daughter, Matilda Louisa. Her brother, John McClellan(d) died in Quebec in 1775 and his wife died in 1787 leaving a 13 yr old daughter Priscilla who was taken in by the Sandersons. Her grandaughter's name was Matilda Sanderson MCCrum and one of Matilda's daughters was Fannie Sanderson so the Sanderson name was passed down through that part of the McClellan line .

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Additional info shows James Sanderson!s whole name was William James Sanderson and he went by James which May account for some of the confusion598339874

3:15 PM  

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