Tag Archives: Sanders

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!




Thomas Sanders & Abigail Corney, Gloucester, MA, 1700s

Today’s family sketch of Thomas Sanders and Abigail Corney (sometimes Curney) is another example of the somewhat lacking Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts town records.

The first issue is with Thomas Sanders himself.  He was born c1675 with the location up in the air. He is said to be the son of John Sanders of Falmouth, York, Maine, but that is open to interpretation. John Sanders is a hot mess and will be featured in his own post.

For now, I am only comfortable stating that no proof has been found as to Thomas’s parentage.

Abigail Corney was born 8 February 1675/76 in Gloucester, the daughter of John Corney and Abigail Skillings.

No marriage record has been found for Thomas and Abigail, although they married about 1703, based on the birth date of their first child.

Interestingly, Abigail’s marriage is the only one not recorded in Gloucester even though the marriages of her four siblings are.

After John Corney died in 1725, his heirs made a deed (Essex County, MA Deed Book 61-149-150) selling their portions of John’s land ownership to their brother, John. Thomas Sanders and Abigail, called daughter of John Corney, deceased, are named several times in the deed and they signed with their mark.

Children: (All events in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts)

  1. Thomas, born 20 March 1703/04; died 24 October 1774; married Judith Robinson, 18 July 1728
  2. Abigail, born 29 June 1705; death date uncertain, as Gloucester records say [after 20 February 1766?]; married Peter Dolliver, 25 January 1721/22
  3. Joseph, born 21 February 1706/07; died February 1736 on a schooner “run down while starting a fishing trip”; married Mary Stevens, 1 January 1734/35
  4. Mary, born 10 March 178/09; died 27 January 1769; married Daniel Gibbs, 30 November 1727
  5. John, born 14 June 1711; died 17 January 1742/43; married Hannah Sayward, 23 January 1734/35
  6. Lydia, born 20 March 1713/14; died after 22 December 1772; married Daniel Witham, 7 January 1734/35
  7. Elizabeth, born 10 April 1717; died 27 November 1767; married Zebulon Witham, 17 December 1736

Captain Thomas Sanders was well-to-do, given the size of the estate he left [Essex County, MA Probate File 24778]. He died in Gloucester, Essex, Massachusetts on 17 July 1742.

He died intestate, but the probate file is quite complete. Widow Abigail received £496.12.2 plus an additional £40. Each child, or grandchildren of the deceased Thomas Jr. and Joseph, received £124.3.1 plus an additional £29.8.1 1/2.

Abigail, widow of Captain Thomas Sanders, died 11 February 1767, in her 90th year.