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COL John Leathers Sandford

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COL John Leathers Sandford

  • Birth 7 Dec 1837 Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky, USA
  • Death 11 Apr 1895 Covington, Kenton County, Kentucky, USA
  • Burial Fort Mitchell, Kenton County, Kentucky, USA
  • Plot Section 5, Lot 6, Grave 1
  • Memorial ID 53159246

Confederate Civil War Officer, Banker. Last name also spelled Sanford. He was killed in what some called a duel with future Kentucky Governor William Goebel. The grandson of Revolutionary War General and US Congressman Thomas Sandford, he was born in Kenton County, Kentucky, and raised in Covington. In 1862 he was commissioned a Colonel in the Confederate Army and was assigned to General Staff duties, surrendering with General Joe Johnston at Greensboro, North Carolina in 1865. After the Civil War he became a banker in Covington and founded its Farmer's and Trader's National Bank in 1882. The Republican Sandford and Democratic State Senator Goebel, who also lived in Covington, had a history of political enmity. Sandford's bank had lost a lot of money when Goebel succeeded in removing tolls from turnpikes in the region, and he also believed Goebel had blocked his appointment as a judge in the State Court of Appeals. The antagonism came to a head in April 1895, after Goebel published an editorial in the local paper in which he accused his foe of corruption and referred to him as "Gonorrhea Sandford". On April 11, as Goebel and two friends walked down a Covington street, they approached the Farmer's and Trader's Bank, where Sandford appeared to be waiting for them outside. Keeping his right hand in his pocket, the banker greeted the Senator's friends and then said to Goebel, "I understand that you assume the authorship of that article". "I do", Goebel replied. According to witnesses, both men drew their pistols so quickly they could not tell who fired the first shot. One bullet passed through Goebel's clothing but left him unharmed; Sandford was shot through the head and died five hours later. Goebel was tried for murder on April 16 and acquitted on the grounds of self defense. Sandford's widow filed an unsuccessful civil suit against Goebel and subsequently went insane. During the bitter 1899 Kentucky gubenatorial race, Republican candidate William S. Taylor made political capital of the Sandford killing, denouncing his opponent Goebel as an "assassin". Taylor won by a narrow margin, but the results were contested and overturned on appeal. Goebel himself would be assassinated in Frankfort in January 1900, four days after unseating Taylor as Governor.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 2 Jun 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 53159246
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for COL John Leathers Sandford (7 Dec 1837–11 Apr 1895), Find A Grave Memorial no. 53159246, citing Highland Cemetery, Fort Mitchell, Kenton County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .