SOLOMON N. SANFORD, of Bunker Hill, has been a resident of this county since 1857, and claims the honor of being a native-born citizen of Illinois. He was born in Menard County, near Petersburg, September 14, 1846, and when six years of age accompanied his parents to St. Paul, Minn. His father, Ira Sanford, was born in Vermont in 1800, and belongs to one of the old New England families. When he was young, he went to New York and was there married, emigrating with his wife in 1834 to Illinois, locating in Springfield where he embarked in the mercantile business. While there he took a contract on the Jacksonville & Springfield Railroad, which was the first road built in the State, but the company failed and his fortune was somewhat impaired thereby. His wife died during his residence in Springfield in 1839, and in Sangamon County he married Miss Emeline Mattoon, a native of Amherst, Mass., where her parents and grandparents had both resided. Her grandfather, Gen. Mattoon, was a Revolutionary soldier and a prominent citizen of the Bay State. His portrait, painted by Trumbull, now adorns the walls of one the leading historical halls of Boston. Mrs. Sanford's father, Ebenezer Mattoon, was born and reared in Amherst and became a leading farmer of that part of Massachusetts. He married Lucena Mayo, and with their family in 1846, they came to Illinois, settling near Bunker Hill, where the parents spent the remainder of their lives. Mr. Mattoon died at the advanced age of eighty-eight years on the old farm and his wife, who survived him sone years, died in Bunker Hill, in 1883, at the very advanced age of ninety-two. They were members of the Congregational Church, and were well known in this county as among its best citizens. In their family were twelve children, ten of whom lived to an advanced age, while four yet survive, the eldest, a resident of St. Louis, being eighty-six years old.
Mr. and Mrs. Ira Sanford, as before stated, removed to St. Paul, where the death of the husband occurred in 1857, after which Mrs. Sanford returned to Bunker Hill. She long survived her husband, dying at this place in September, 1886, at the age of seventy-four, her birth having occurred in 1812. She was a member of the Congregational Church and a woman whose many excellencies of character endeared her to all. Mr. Sanford was a Presbyterian in religious faith, and in politics was a Whig and Republican.
Our subject returned with his mother to Illinois, where his early education was acquired and he then attended the Williston Academy, of Williston, Vt. At the age of nineteen years he began life for himself and has since been dependent upon his own resources. He was married in Bunker Hill, to Miss Isa Shepherd, a native of that city, born September 21, 1852, and a daughter of Isaac and Hannah Shepherd. Her parents were natives of Cumberland County, N. J., where their childhood days were passed, and after their marriage they came to Bunker Hill. Mr. Shepherd had previously been married and resided in that town as one of its early settlers. His death occurred in the prime of life. His widow yet survives him and now makes her home with out subject, at the age of seventy four years. She is a consistent member of the Congregational Church, to which Mr. and Mrs. Sanford also belong, the former being Treasurer of the church, while both are active workers for its interests. The family numbers the following children: Edward, Anna B., Mary F., William S., and Herbert B.
In 1866, Mr. Sanford established business in Bunker Hill as a grocer, and from the beginning has had a constantly increasing trade. He first carried on operations under the firm name of S. N. Sanford & Co., and after three years changed the name to Sanford & True, which company existed for about eight years, when Mr. Sanford became sole proprietor, having entire charge of the store until December, 1889, when he sold out to J. H. Simmons, who is now in charge. With many of the leading industries and enterprises of Bunker Hill, our subject has been and is prominently connected. He is one of the Directors of the Building and Loan Association, which was organized in 1887, is a stockholder and Director of the Bunker Hill Nail Company, which was established in January, 1890, and is also Manager and Treasurer of the Boss Coulter Company, which was formed in 1885. For fifteen years he has been Director of the Library Association and for the same length of time has served on the School Board as Clerk. The cause of education has found in him a warm friend, and he has done not a little toward promoting the high standard of Bunker Hill's schools. A public-spirited and progressive man, he is numbered among the valued citizens of the community and has ever manifested a commendable interest in all that pertains to the upbuilding and welfare of town and country. As a business man he is industrious and enterprising and in consequence successful. While in the grocery trade his fair dealing and courteous treatment won him hosts of friends, and whoever he meets either in business or social circles, accord him their high esteem and good will.