John Sanders, John Sanders and John Sanders

Before I leave the Sanders family, it is important to address the parentage of Thomas Sanders, discussed earlier this month.



I hesitate to even repeat online information, but take notice of the NO PROOF warning.

I haven’t found a shred of proof as to the parentage of Thomas Sanders. He may well be a son of some John Sanders, but which one is a question mark.

The lemmings online all say he is a son of John Sanders and Mary (Clarke??) of Falmouth, York, Maine. To bolster this contention, Mary’s death date is given as 21 December 1717 in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts.

Yes, there IS the death recorded for a Mary Sanders who died in Gloucester on that date. she is identified as a widow, aged about 60 years. The record does not include the name of her husband.

Now, let’s say it is possible that Mary was the widow of one John Sanders of Falmouth and that she moved to Gloucester to be near her son after her husband died.

She would have been born c1657, so would have been about 18 when Thomas was born, IF his mother. Not impossible, but a little on the young side for a 1600s Massachusetts bride.

Next, the many issues with John Sanders.

Given the time span of John Sanders who appear in early York County, Maine records, there were at least two and probably even three men of that name, perhaps related, perhaps not.

Online trees connect “my” Thomas Sanders to John Sanders who purportedly sold property to Thomas Kimble in 1684. The sale involved 1000 acres of land that John Sanders inherited from his father.

Not only can’t I find any such abstract in the early records of York County, I can’t find a record of John Sanders inheriting 1000 acres.

Next, there is a John Sanders who died in Wells or Falmouth, Maine in 1670, naming a wife, Ann, sons Thomas and John and “other children. ” However, if “my” Thomas was born in 1675, he wasn’t inheriting anything five years before he was born or, from the other point of view, born five years after his supposed father died.

There is another John Sanders said to be the father of Thomas, a man who was wounded in an Indian raid in Falmouth on 10 August 1703 and who died soon afterwards.

Could be, but again, no proof.

For what it’s worth, Thomas Sanders “of Gloucester” first appears in town records buying land from Samuel Stevens on 11 February 1702/03.

What makes me even more leery about accepting any John Sanders connection to Thomas Sanders is the purported list of children assigned to John Sanders.

John and his family are placed in Falmouth, Maine, Gloucester, Scituate, Pembroke and Rowley, Massachusetts. That’s a lot of towns to find one small family in the 1600s. I won’t name those children because of fear that a reader might perpetuate this undocumented family.

All without any supporting documents!

Now, I will admit that my access to early York, Maine records is limited to several online books. I don’t doubt that all these John Sanders existed, I just believe that various pieces of information have been conflated into one man and called the father of Thomas Sanders of Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts.

In the meantime, until and unless I can find more reliable records supporting the parentage of Thomas Sanders, he shall remain an orphan in my family tree.

If you have documentation for any of the John Sanders of Falmouth, Maine, particularly if it supports Thomas Sanders of Gloucester as a son, please share!




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