Biography - John Sanders

JOHN W. SANDERS, a resident of Tunnel Hill Township, Johnson County, was born in Caroline County, Va., May 30, 1825. His father, James Sanders, was born in Scotland in 1790 and came to the United States a young man of twenty with an elder brother, and with but little capital. He served in the War of 1812, and married in 1815 Miss Mary Ann Orrell, who was of English parentage. Her father was in the Revolutionary War, serving in the ranks of the patriots five years. He was a successful and prosperous farmer, and by his two wives had eight children, of whom John W. was the second child born to the first wife. They lived in Virginia until 1835, when they removed to Middle Tennessee, where they lived three years, and then came to southern Illinois, bringing with them their family of four children, viz: Frances, who became the wife of William Hopkins; John W.; Adeline, Mrs. Risley Tilton, who died at Mt. Carmel, Ill., aged forty-six years; and Mary, now the widow of William Mahan, and living in Arkansas. The family removed to Illinois by means of their own horse team and covered wagon, in the same manner as the journey from Virginia to Tennessee was performed, when they were six weeks on the way. The journey to Illinois, which occupied one mouth, was made in October in company with the Cherokee Indians, who were then going to their home in Indian Territory.
The family first settled near where Reynoldsburgh was, on eighty acres of land, on which they lived two years. Mr. Sanders then sold his improvement and took up one hundred and sixty acres nearby, which he occupied six years. He again sold his improvements and bought one hundred and twenty-six and one-half acres of improved deeded land, upon which the family lived until the death of the father, who died in his fifty-sixth year, in February, 1847. The widow then sold this farm and went to the home of her only son, John W., who had received but about nine months' schooling, three of which were spent under Lawrence W. Fern and three under A. J. Kuykendall, then the best teachers in this part of the State.
Mr. Sanders was married at the age of twenty-one years, in January, 1846, to Miss Nancy Harper, daughter of James and Rhoda (Cross) Harper, who was born in Tennessee and came to Illinois in 1838 with the Sanders family. Mr. and Mrs. Sanders had been children together in Tennessee, and when ten years old the former removed to Tennessee with his parents, where he lived for three years and then came to Illinois. Our subject and his wife began on new land, upon which they lived three years, and then sold the improvements to Mr. Van Cleve, the farm being now occupied by C. H. Caldwell. They later bought an improvement, paying $175 for the clearing of ten acres, a log cabin and a barn, and here they have lived the past forty years. In 1853 Mr. Sanders bought on deed eighty acres at $1.25 per acre, and two years later purchased one hundred and three acres more at twelve and one-half cents per acre under the Bitt Act, and now has eighty acres of this land under a good state of cultivation, with but little waste or broken land.
With the exception of the three years during which he was in the service of the Government aiding to suppress the rebellion, our subject has lived on this farm since 1846. He was a member of Company H, Fourteenth Illinois Cavalry, but was transferred afterward to Company G. Going out as a private soldier, he was mustered out of service as a First Lieutenant and was in command of the company, Capt. William Perkins having been wounded and discharged for disability. The company had then but seventy men. Mr. Sanders was wounded in the right leg by a gunshot breaking one bone at the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, and was in the hospital two months, with the exception of which time he was always with his regiment. He has a vivid recollection of the Morgan raid in 1863 and of the Stoneman raid in Macon, Ga., in both of which his regiment took an active part, and suffered heavy loss at the last-named place. Although two-thirds of his regiment and forty of his company were captured, he took French leave and got away to the Federal lines, notwithstanding he was fired upon in his flight. He was mustered out July 31, 1865, at Pulaski, Tenn., and was discharged at Nashville, Tenn., August 8. He reached his home and family August 18, perfectly satisfied to remain in civil life.
Mr. and Mrs. Sanders have buried two daughters: Rhoda, who died when but two years of age; and Adeline, wife of William Whitehead, who died when twenty-one years old. They have seven children living, viz: Mary Jane, wife of James Fowler, a farmer nearby, and who has two sons and one daughter; Dorah A., wife of J. R. Hood, a farmer on the home farm; James R., a farmer in Williamson County, whose wife was Mary Bradley, and who has two sons and three daughters; Martha, wife of George Rader, living in Lawrenceville, Ill., and who has one son and two daughters; William J., a farmer near by, whose wife was Mary Taylor, and who has three sons; Eliza, wife of Elijah Hood, living at Creal Springs, and who has two sons; and Louemma, wife of Hubert Lennon, living at home, and who has one daughter. Mr. Sanders has served as Justice of the Peace one term of four years and is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and was Secretary of Reynoldsburgh Lodge eleven and a-half years, being the representative to the Grand Lodge in 1873. He and his wife have been members of the Methodist Episcopal Church for forty-seven and forty-nine years respectively. The latter is a daughter of a Methodist preacher. Mr. Sanders has been a Democrat for thirty-two years, previous to which time he was a Whig. He stands high in the community in which he lives and is respected by all who know him.

Extracted 16 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 322-324.

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