Biography of John Leroy Sanford

A prosperous farmer, an upright man, a scion of a substantial and old family, and a man who is doing a commendable work in developing this country; it is fitting to give an epitome of the subject of this article.

John L. Sanford was born in Lincoln County, South Dakota, on September 24, 1878, being the son of John and Alary (Nelson) Sanford. The father was born December 16, 1837, in Clark County, Illinois. He lived a time in Putnam County, Indiana, then removed to Boone County, Iowa. In the summer of 1861 he enlisted in Company D, Tenth Iowa Infantry, in the Fifteenth Army Corps. He was in both battles of Corinth, at Iuka, Chattanooga, and the siege of Vicksburg, at Atlanta and several other battles and many skirmishes. Mr. Sanford was in the hottest of many of these awful conflicts when bullets were like hail, while hundreds of men were falling all around. He fought with a display of great courage and bravery and endured unflinchingly the terrible ordeals of hardship and trials of the soldier’s life. In August, 1865, he was mustered out at Little Rock, Arkansas, and received his discharge at Davenport.

He returned to Boone County and on March 6, 186o was married. In 1872 he went to Lincoln County, South Dakota, and in 1889 came to Moscow. Mrs. Sanford was born in Van Buren County, Michigan, on November 9, 1848. Seven children were born to Mr. Sanford and are named as follows: Violet S. Carley, Charles M., Ella Olson, John Leroy, Mary A., Millage, William S. and Jesse H. Our subject came to the reservation in 1898 and as soon as he was of age secured his present homestead of forty acres. He has a good house, first class improvements, besides handling three hundred acres of rented land. He raises flax and the cereals and is prosperous and well respected.

The Sanford family is one of the oldest in America. They descended from John Sanford, a wealthy Englishman, who came to the colonies in 1631. His son was William, and from him to the present, the genealogy is unbroken and they have many men of note among them and are a strong, vigorous and prominent family. Some of them have lived to be one hundred years of age and some even older than that. Abraham Sanford, a great uncle of our subject, died in 1897 aged one hundred and one. Mr. Sanford’s parents are now living on the place with him and they are highly respected people.

Back to: Nez Perce Biographies

Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903

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