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John Wesley Sanders
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Birth: 1785
Spartanburg County
South Carolina, USA
Death: Feb. 15, 1815
Charleston County
South Carolina, USA

John Wesley Sanders was born between 1785 and 1794, according to the 1810 census of Spartanburg County, South Carolina. His parents are not known.

He joined the U.S. Army as a private on September 14, 1814 in Captain Edward Clement's Company, Colonel Means' Regiment. He died on February 15, 1815 in Charleston South Carolina, still in army service. He married Nancy Griffin in Spartanburg on March 15, 1808 or 1809 (though probably in 1808). At the time of his death, he and Nancy had four children. This information comes from the pension file of his widow who never married again and lived in Spartanburg until her death in 1868. She appears as a widow on the 1820, 1830, 1840, and 1860 census of Spartanburg. In 1860, Nancy was living in the household of Ignatious (Nathan or Nate) Sanders, whose relationship to her is unknown.

Nancy stated in her pension application that her maiden name was Griffin and that she was married in Spartanburg to John Sanders on March 15, 1808 or 1809 by John Lipscomb, Esq., (she was not sure about the exact year). She stated that John volunteered for the U.S. Army September 15, 1814 and that he was then marched to Charleston where he died in service on February 15, 1815. He served as a private in Captain Edward Clement's Company, Colonel Means' Regiment, and at the time of his death, he and Nancy had four small children. She also stated that she never remarried, and several residents testified that she was a respectable and honorable person of good reputation. If these facts are correct, she did not marry after John's death in 1815 and all of her children were born prior to 1815.

Among the people testifying on Nancy's behalf were William Pettit, William Guthrie, Davis Moore, Benjamin Price, and John Gore. The latter stated that he was seventy-three years old in 1857 and he had been acquainted with John Sanders and Nancy Griffin before their marriage as they were "raised neighbors."

Based on Nancy's statement, I believe the marriage took place in 1808 rather than 1809. There are two John Sanders on the 1810 census, but only one has children under the age of ten, two boys and one girl. This is almost certainly the household of John and Nancy. Either a child was born in 1808, 1809, and 1810 or more likely there was a set of twins born in one year. From this, we can conclude that only one child of the four was born between 1811 and 1815. Another possibility is that one or more of the three children living in 1810 died and that other children were born between 1810 and 1815.

The only one of their children whose identity seems to be documented is Simpson Sanders, who was probably the youngest of their children, born in 1815, perhaps posthumously. If he was in fact born in 1815, his age on all subsequent census records is incorrect. Simpson married Lucy Bogan who seems to be the same person as Eliza L. Sanders who filed an affidavit in support of her mother-in-law's pension in 1857. Simpson Sanders was the executor of Nancy's estate.

The descendants of Irvin Sanders(about 1814-1897) have a tradition that he is also a son of John and Nancy. Here again, as with Simpson Sandeers, census records seem to show a later birth year, but census records are not always reliable gauges of exact birth years.

DNA testing appears to indicate that two other Sanders men who are often regarded as sons of John and Nancy, Ignatius Sanders(born about 1822), and Hiram Sanders (born about 1828) are descendants of the George family and not genetically Sanders. Their birth years would also rule them out as children of John and Nancy.

A letter of inquiry in 1933 to the Veteran's Bureau provides information from one of John's descendants that his middle name was Wesley.

Because John Wesley Sanders lived and died in South Carolina, the monument in the Sanders Cemetery at Kyles, Jackson County, Alabama, is a cenotaph, not a grave marker. The marker was erected by a chapter of the Daughters of the War of 1812 in Scottsboro,Alabama.

According to Jane Nichols, who provided an online transcription of the Sanders cemetery at Kyles, John W. Sanders is not buried in the cemetery: "He died and was buried in SC. Someone had a headstone put there for him in the 1960s. I don't know the relationship of him to this family."

"Sanders, John W.,War of 1812, Pvt. in Captain Clement's Company South Carolina militia. Died 15 Feb, 1815 and buried Sanders Cemetery, Jackson County, AL. He was married to Nancy Griffin 15 March, 1808 in the Spartanburg District of South Carolina. Marked by the Thomas Gold Chapter A.S. Daughters of 1812 in February, 1960.(From"

"Re: John W. Sanders, War of 1812, South Carolina wynnewynn Posted: 22 Apr 2009 1:20PM Classification: Query Surnames: sanders Your group was quite right in commenting re. date discrepency in posting for John Sanders. Several others also have commented. The February 1815 is the date his service ended. It might be helpful to check census records. I doubt that either he or his wife Mary lived until 1851 because I could not find a pension application. 1851 was the year when they began offerring pensions to 1812 veterans and their widows. The SC service record checks out. The record I have indicates that the Thomas Gold Chapter of the Alabama Society of Daughters of 1812 received a request from a family member to dedicate a marker in the Sanders Cemetery and did so in or about Feb of 1960, the date given for the report (filed Feb, 1960) The member of the Thomas Gold chapter who is responsible for filing the report is a Mrs. Jesse Proctor of Scottsboro, Jackson County, AL. I have no way of determining whether she was related to the Sanders family. I would think that someone in the Sanders family submitted John W. Sander's record to the VA (a precondition of the VA providing a Veterans Marker) and asked the Daughters of 1812 to mark and dedicate the grave. Unfortunately, there is no other record, nor anyone we can ask. The Thomas Gold Chapter of Daughters of 1812 no longer exists. It members appear to have died out or off without their being able to interest younger people in the community in becoming members. Hope this helps. Please address any additional questions or comments to me to the address given on my web site."

Annie Coleman Proctor who filed the report and request for a marker was the wife of Jesse Proctor, a son of Finis Proctor and Sarah Sanders, a grandson of Jesse Elbert Sanders and Elizabeth Bean, a great grandson of Sampson Saunders and Rhoda Redwine, the g-g grandson of Jacob Saunders and Mary, and the g-g-g grandson of Isaac Saunders. Isaac Saunders (about 1737-about 1825) lived in Montgomery and Randolph counties in North Carolina. So far as I can tell, no researcher has ever established a connection between John W. Sanders and the other Sanders buried at the Sanders cemetery at Kyles. It is known, however, through DNA testing, that Isaac had Sanders relatives who lived in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The record of the trail of John Wesley Sanders for the killing of his father-in-law, Ignatius Griffin, provides us with several other clues about his family.

The following interpretation is based on the record at this site:

Willis Allen, one of the witnesses, was a half-brother to John Wesley Sanders and Willis Allen was a nephew to Ignatius Griffin. We do not know if he was a nephew by blood or by marriage. If by blood, his mother's maiden name was probably Griffin and she was a brother to Ignatius Griffin. At any rate, his mother was certainly married twice, to John Wesley's Sanders father and to a Mr. Allen. Young Allen, another witness, was the uncle of John Wesley Sanders. Here again, we do not know whether this means by blood or by mariage. Therefore, while the information given in the document should add clarity, the result is still ambiguous.

Since the court appeared to believe that Ignatius Griffin was equally at fault in initiating the altercation, John W. Sanders was convicted of manslaughter and a pardon was recommended.

Family tradition among the descendants of Irwin Sanders is that the father of John Wesley Sanders came to America with three brothers from Dover, Ireland. Of course, Dover is in England, not Ireland, but it is quite possible the family was from Ireland but sailed for America from an English port.

Pvt. SC Militia War of 1812
Sanders Cemetery
Jackson County
Alabama, USA
Created by: Gary B. Sanders
Record added: Dec 25, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 63299123
John Wesley Sanders
Added by: Michelle Urban
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- Rejeana (Turner) Broderick
 Added: Aug. 3, 2011

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