Saturday, August 18, 2012

Surname Saturday: Major RICHARD SANDERS of Caswell Co NC and Wilson Co TN

For the past several months, I have been spending most of my time actively researching my SAUNDERS or SANDERS family of Virginia, North Carolina & Tennessee.  I have been working with Justin Sanders trying to connect his branch of the SANDERS family, from Bedford Co TN & Sevier Co AR, to my branch of the family, which produced NC judge & statesman ROMULUS MITCHELL SAUNDERS.  Gary Sanders of the Sanders DNA project has also provided help & support.

Basically we've been researching the four sons of JAMES SAUNDERS Sr b about 1706  New Kent Co VA who died May 1776 Orange Co NC (which part later became Caswell Co NC).  He likely married 1st) ANNE PATTERSON, sister of GIDEON PATTERSON (established thru Virginia & Caswell Co NC deeds) and, possibly, 2nd) CASSANDRA HAYDEN or HAIDEN (no primary source records).  The sons were:

--Col JAMES SAUNDERS or SANDERS  b about 1733 VA, never married, died 1825 Caswell Co NC as per his will, and left all his property to his siblings, nieces & nephews (see previous blogpost). He was a politically prominent person in Caswell Co NC, and after the 1803 death of his youngest brother, Capt WILLIAM SAUNDERS  in Smith Co TN, Col JAMES raised Capt WILLIAM's son ROMULUS MITCHELL SAUNDERS.

--THOMAS SAUNDERS or SANDERS b abt 1735 VA, who married MARY MITCHELL (maiden name unverified), and lived on lands in Buckingham Co VA which belonged previously to his father JAMES SAUNDERS Sr (this can be proven through the few deeds that exist). THOMAS & MARY lived in Buckingham Co VA until at least 1800, and then joined their children in Sumner & Davidson Co TN, where THOMAS died in 1812.  THOMAS is not mentioned at all in the May 1776 Orange Co NC will of his father JAMES SAUNDERS Sr, but he is named as a deceased  brother and his children as nieces & nephews in the 1825 Caswell Co NC will of Col JAMES SAUNDERS or SANDERS

--Major RICHARD SAUNDERS or SANDERS b 1756 VA, married ELIZABETH "BETSY" PAYNE b March 31, 1763 Goochland Co VA. This blogpost will be about the records we have found for him.

--Capt WILLIAM SAUNDERS or SANDERS, b 1759 in VA; married 1st) ELIZABETH "BETSY" MITCHELL (not HANNAH!!!) and 2nd) NANCY CUNNINGHAM. Lived in Caswell Co NC until at least 1795, then moved to Sumner Co TN, which part became Smith Co TN by the time he died in 1803. He was the father of NC statesman ROMULUS MITCHELL SAUNDERS.

There is major confusion about this SANDERS/SAUNDERS family.  Most researchers simply regurgitate the information found in the 1899 book "Early Settlers of Alabama" by James Edmond Saunders, which is mostly incorrect for this particular line, and which attributes some or all of these four brothers to a couple named WILLIAM SAUNDERS & AGNES ADAMS.  I have never found any primary source records for this couple and in fact believe that they never existed.  After 12 years of research, it is now clear to me that for this branch of the SANDERS/SAUNDERS family, the author James Edmond Saunders actually scrambled together at least two different, but related, SANDERS/SAUNDERS families from VA & NC.

Major RICHARD SANDERS b 1756 married ELIZABETH BETSY PAYNE, the daughter of ROBERT PAYNE b 1738 Goochland Co VA, d bef May 1791 Pittsylvania Co VA, and ANNE BURTON, and granddaughter of JOSIAH PAYNE b Oct 30, 1705 in Goochland Co VA, d March 5, 1785 in Pittsylvania Co VA, & ANNE FLEMING.

I have not yet found a marriage record for them, but in ROBERT PAYNE's 1791 Pittsylvania Co VA will, his daughter is listed as BETSY SANDERS.  The PAYNE surname is carried through the children & grandchildren of Maj RICHARD SANDERS & ELIZABETH BETSY PAYNE. Here is a list of their children as per his 1834 Wilson Co TN will:

--JAMES P SANDERS b 1782 Caswell Co NC; married possibly MARY POLLY DIX Sept 22, 1809 Caswell Co NC; prob died TN.

--ANN PAYNE SANDERS b abt 1784 Caswell Co NC, d aft 1870 Dallas Co AR; m JOSIAH SAMUEL(S) Feb 27, 1804 Caswell Co NC, only one child ELIZABETH BETSY PAYNE SAMUELS who married THOMAS ATKINSON (all three named in the 1825 Caswell NC will of Col JAMES SANDERS).  ANN never remarried after her husband died in 1827, and moved with her daughter's family to Dallas Co AR (as per census).

--JOSIAH PAYNE SANDERS b abt 1790 Caswell Co NC, d after 1835 in TN.  Wife unknown; was listed in the 1830 Wilson Co TN census just below his father, and just above his brother NATHANIEL. (named as "Joseph P Sanders" son of Richard in the 1825 Caswell Co NC will of Col JAMES SANDERS)

--ELIZABETH SANDERS b abt 1800 Caswell Co NC, d after 1835 TN; married unknown WIER or WEIR.

--NATHANIEL C SANDERS b abt 1801 Caswell Co NC; d after 1835 TN; married possibly NAOMI SOMERS/SUMMERS Feb 2, 1822 Wilson Co TN

--WILLIAM SANDERS b abt 1803 Caswell Co NC; d after 1835 TN; he was living in Smith Co TN by 1833, according to a court record involving one of his father's slaves, and was involved in the "tobacco manufacturing business".

According to census records, Maj RICHARD SANDERS lived in Caswell Co NC until 1820.  His wife died before 1810 census, and it appears that he did not  remarry.  The census also shows that he had two more sons than are named in this will, born 1790-1800.

Maj RICHARD SANDERS moved to Wilson Co TN sometime after the 1820 Caswell Co NC census but before the 1830 Wilson Co TN census.  He is enumerated in the 1830 Wilson Co TN census as simply "Richard" with no surname,  making him difficult to find by searching on or other such sites.  The record shows an elderly man living with a younger couple & children, and many slaves. He is listed directly above his sons JOSIAH P SANDERS & NATHANIEL SANDERS in the census record.

Maj RICHARD SANDERS did fight in the Revolutionary War (Caswell Co NC), and applied for his pension in 1832 in Sumner & Wilson Co TN.  His pension file is available on the website  According to the pension file, he died Feb 13, 1834.  His will was probated the following year, Feb 3, 1835.  Here is an abstract of the will of Maj RICHARD SANDERS:

--Will probated Feb 3, 1835 Wilson Co TN (one other source online says Bedford Co TN, but that is incorrect).  Heirs: sons JAMES, NATHANIEL C,  JOSIAH P, and WILLIAM SANDERS; daus ANN P SAMUEL, and ELIZABETH WEIR; AGNES SANDERS, ROLFE S SANDERS & MARY ANN ELIZABETH SANDERS, the children of his son JOSIAH P SANDERS;  GEORGE WASHINGTON LAFAYETTE SANDERS, child of his son WILLIAM SANDERS. Wilson Co TN Will book 1834-1837, p 78

If you have questions, please contact me.  I have accumulated  an extensive list of primary & secondary sources for these families.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2012

1 comment:

Bill said...

I'm so grateful for your posts! I am descendant of Thomas Sanders (d. 1812). My notes say he served in the NC militia during the Revolutionary War, which cannot be right if he didn't live in NC. Do you have any info on his RevWar service, if any? Many thanks in advance.