ISSAC SANDERS FAMILY HISTORY
The following gravesites are reported to be in the, Fremont Colorado:
New Hope cemetery
Sanders, James 371 22 Aug 1880. Isaac’s infant son
Mandy 370 22 Mar 1880. First wife of Isaac
Mary 373 May 1880. 2nd Wife of Theophilus
Ruhama 374 1960 Wife of Barney Theophilus.
Theophilus 372 16 Dec 1894. Great Great Grandfather
Saunders (Infant) 382 Dec 1900
Florence 381 26 Jan 1937
Isaac 378 19 Jan 1930, Great Great Grand uncle
John 380 2 Nov 1939, Son of Isaac.
Mary 379 19 Dec 1919, Isaac’s second wife
Minnie 376 ??
Mollie 377 ??
The names Sanders or Saunders are interchangeable in our family.
Isaac Sanders was born in Jefferson, County, Illinois, on June 20th, 1844. He was the oldest son
of Theophilus Sanders and Charlotte Young. The first record we find of Isaac is in the 1850 and
again in the 1860 Census of Jefferson County where he lived with his parents until he married
Amanda Williford on February 19th, 1864. She was born on 25 Nov 1844 TN.
Their first child, Jonathon T. was born in Jefferson County. Shortly thereafter, we believe, Isaac
joined a wagon train and left Illinois bound for Oregon.
An account of a wagon train from Jefferson County to Oregon, which took place in 1865, is written
in the Prairie Historian, Published in Volume 3 #2 1873. It chronicles the trip made by the Jefferson
County families of: The Hartley’s, the Clampet’s and a man named Tom Ford who evidently were
parishioners of the Horse Prairie Primitive Baptist Church of Winfield. These families lived near
Winfield, probably 6 miles from the Sanders of Moore’s Prairie. There is no mention of a Sanders
on the wagon train but the history provided in the story was that the train was over a mile long.
This would indicate numerous wagons. It is possible that Isaac and Amanda were with that train.
On problem with this theory is their son, was not born until November and the train left Illinois in
In January 1869, Isaac claimed his portion of his Grandfathers estate. (Jacob Young of Jefferson
County, Illinois). It didn’t amount to a lot of money and at the time Isaac would have been in Oregon.
The 1870 Census of Umatilla, Oregon, lists Isaac, Amanda and their family. Jonathon, Sarah E., Melinda
and a son, William S. was born in Oregon in 1869. Is it possible that the initial S. for his middle name
The 1870 census incorrectly states that the children were born in Iowa.
William is not shown with the family in the census of 1880.Perhaps he is deceased?
In 1871 Isaac’s father, Theophilus, left Illinois. Isaac’s brother, James Henry, left Illinois in 1878.
Both went to Colorado. Theophilus and his family traveled by from Jefferson IL in a wagon trained
accompanied by several other Illinois families, among them was Leroy Cochrum (Cochrane).
Cochrum kept a dairy or log of the hardships of the trip and life in Colorado in general and the
Sanders family is noted several times therein. (Courtesy of Betty Sink and Mary Zinzellieta of
Jefferson County Illinois).
An entry from the Dairy:
Letter date October 8, 1876, To Georg Dease, Greenwood Fremonty Co., State of Colorado:
“Dear Brother and Sister......You wrote that James Sanders talk like coming to this cuntry....tell him
to let me no wat time he will be at Pueblo me and Isac (Isaac Sanders) will meet him. Is not signed.
Obviously Isaac was in Colorado by this time.
In 1880 Isaac is living near the town of Florence in Fremont County, Colorado. His next-door
neighbor is his sister, Sarah Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of Theophilus and her husband
John Riggs, a Teamster. Isaac was a farmer, 37 years old with 5 kids. Amanda Williford, his first
wife, died on March 2nd, 1880 of Pneumonia. She is buried in the New Hope Cemetery,
Wetmore, Colorado. On April 20th. Isaac remarried Mary Ann Bonner, born December 1850
in Illinois. She died December 19th, 1919 and is buried in the New Hope Cemetery,
In the 1880, census, taken in June, of Fremont Colorado, Isaac’s family shows:
Jonathon T. born 1865, in Illinois, He is 15.
Sarah E. 14, born 1866, in Oregon, She is 14.
Melinda 12, born 1868, in Oregon, she is 12.
Nancy 2, born 1878, in Colorado, she is 2.
James T. born March 1880 in Colorado. Died August 22, 1880 and is buried in the New Hope Cemetery.
It appears that Amanda Sanders died at or shortly after childbirth in March 1880.
The 10 year separation between his children, Nancy and Melinda, as of yet, unexplained.
In the 1885 Census of Custer CO Isaac is 41 years old and living with his second wife Mary (Bonner).
John is now 20, and Ella, 7. He, or someone in his family, incorrectly stated to the Census taker that
his father and mother were born in KY. (maybe this is where the Kentucky Sanders legend arises.
In April of 1891 Isaac claimed 80 acres of land to farm in Sec 32,T21S R69W of the 6th Meridian.
His son, John, in 1893 claimed 160 acres in the neighboring section, 33.
The 1900 Census Custer, CO, Greenwood Precinct, taken June 23rd, finds Isaac and Mary Ann, alone,
living a few doors away from his sisters Minerva (Duncan) and Sarah E. (Higbie); his daughter, Nancy
(Jones) and his nephew, Henry Lively, son of Mary, who was a also a child of Theophilus. In the census
it states that Isaac could not read or write. Isaac states that his parents (Theophilus/Charlotte) are born
in Illinois? His sister Minerva correctly states her parents are born in Tennessee and Kentucky.
In the 1910 census of Fremont Colorado, Isaac and Mary Ann are living alone. He would now be 67
years old and he incorrectly states his father, Theophilus is born in Kentucky, Mother in Illinois.
In the 1920 Census of Fremont, Isaac is not to be found. There is information posted on the web that
he died in Eagleville, Modoc, California, on January 19th, 1930. This is the same date as shown on his
headstone in the New Hope Cemetery in Wetmore, Colorado. Although we have seen no documentary
evidence that Isaac died in Eagleville California. The following is from a post by Marlene Massey a
descendant of Isaac: email@example.com
“…. He did leave Colorado after the death of Mandy and baby. My grandmother refused to raise his
other children and married James C Banks at age 14)
I have information that says he died in Cedarville, Modoc California in 1930…”
(Amanda and the baby, as noted above, died in 1880. Isaac was enumerated in the censuses of
Fremont through 1910).
If Betty Massey’s family history is correct and Isaac left Colorado when Sarah Elizabeth was 14 (1880).
He must have returned in 1882 to marry his 2nd wife, Mary Ann Bonner. It is possible, although very
unlikely he would have made a 1500-mile trip, after the 1910 Census, at his advanced age. He would
have been close to 70 years old. Since we do not find him after 1910, it continues to be a yet another
mystery to pursue.
Add 2011: From Amanda Meister’s work:
Notes on John T. Sanders
In 1900 John T. Sanders, Isaac’s son is shown with his wife Ruhama (Toney). He is noted as born
in November 1865. She was born in Illinois in 1872. They have been married 10 years (1890).
She has had 5 children and 3 are still living: Barney (born 1894), Wiley E. (born 1897) and Lewis M.,
(b 1900). William Toney is in the family and is noted as a brother in Law
In 1910 John T. Sanders and Ruhama are still in Fremont. He is listed as a Justice of the peace and
is 44 years old. They have been married 20 years.
John T’s son, Barney Theophilus Sanders was born April 19th, 1894;
The others in John’s family:
Wiley E. born 1898;
Daughter Adella born 1902;
Son John N. (or W) born 1906;
Daughter Alba born 1908.
He states he can read and write.
1930 Florence Colorado Census
John T. is now 65 years old. His 2nd wife, Florence is 65. They are living 402 Washington
Street Florence, Colorado
Notes on Barney Sanders
His WW1 Draft registration states he is 23 years old, in 1917, tall and slender and has grey eyes
and light hair. He has had a kneecap injury. He is employed at the Mesa Flour Mill.
In the 1920 Cenus of Fremont Colorado he is living at 935 West First Streeet, with his wife. He is
listed as a time keeper at an oil refinery.
By 1930 he is in Bonanza, Saquachie County. Colorado. He now has 2 more daughters, Virginia,
born 1922 and Arlene bon in 1925. He is noted as a Welder in a Quartz Mine.
Social Security Number: 442-10-7847 Oklahoma
Submitted by Jim Sanders