An old pioneer, intelligent, progressive and skillful, as a farmer, and a man of honest integrity and upright moral character, was the late William Sanders, who was for many years one of the most prominent and highly respected citizens of Sutter County, being actively identified with the development and growth of its agricultural and horticultural interests and its industrial and financial prosperity. Mr. Sanders was born in Tennessee, December 6, 1839. His father, Joseph Sanders, was a native of North Carolina, and a blacksmith by trade, but spent the larger portion of his life as a farmer in Tennessee, afterwards, removing with his family to Wright County, Mo., in 1840. His wife, whose maiden name was Kate Moody, was born in Tennessee and died in Missouri in 1848 or 1849.
Reared on the home farm until the age of seventeen, William Sanders left the parental home in 1856 and came across the plains to California, working his passage by driving an ox team. After spending a month in Jamison, Cal., working in the Robinson sawmill, he went to Butte County, where he was employed at teaming for five years. He was subsequently employed on a farm at Chico for a while, and later worked on the Sacramento River for a year. The ensuing two years Mr. Sanders drove a team in the mountains of Butte County for Fuller and Bowser, who operated a sawmill. From 1864 till 1868 he was engaged in freighting from Oroville to Butte Valley, driving an ox team during the winter seasons, and working in summer on the 160 acres of land he had in the meantime homesteaded at what is now Sanders, Sutter County. In 1868 he turned his attention entirely to his ranch; and in its management he achieved signal success. As a general farmer and stock-raiser he was exceptionally fortunate, prosperity smiling on his every effort. He bought additional land, and his home ranch comprised 894 acres; while six miles farther north he had a farm of 160 acres, and six miles southwest another farm of 123 acres. He also owned more than 1400 acres of pasture land in the Buttes, and various other tracts of valuable land in Sutter County, aggregating altogether 3567 acres – a vast acreage, representing chiefly his own earnings.
In Yuba City, at the Southern Methodist parsonage, William Sanders was married, on June 6, 1869, to Matilda A. Longcor, who was born on February 23, 1852, eight miles northeast of Quincy, Adams County, Ill., a daughter of Salem Longcor. When a young man, Mr. Longcor moved from Ohio, his native State, to Adams County. Coming thence across the plains in an ox-team train, in 1859, he settled in Browns Valley, Yuba County, where he followed farming for five years. In 1864 he moved with his family to Oregon; and there he passed away in 1866. In former days in Ohio, he had married Sarah Kincade, a native of Virginia. She survived him, and after his death returned with her children to Sutter County, Cal., where she spent the remainder of her life, passing away at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Sanders, August 1, 1901, aged eighty-eight years, five months and fifteen days. The fortunate union of Mr. and Mrs. Sanders resulted in the birth of six children, five of whom grew up and are living: Dr. George Lee, residing in Oakland; Ada A., Mrs. Vest, residing at Sanders Station; Mrs. Ida E. Berry, of Yuba City; Mrs. Sarah C. Porter, who resides on her ranch near Tudor; and William H., a rancher at Sanders.
When the Northern Electric Railroad was built through the county, it passed through the Sanders ranch. A station was established on the place, and this was named Sanders in honor of Mr. Sanders, who lived on the home farm from the time he took possession, in 1864, until his death on January 8, 1905, with the exception of twenty months, when he resided in San Francisco in order that his children might have better educational advantages. Mr. Sanders left no will; and his large estate, valued at nearly a quarter of a million dollars, was divided among his heirs. He was a man of much financial ability and business acumen, and was a stockholder in the old Farmers’ Union Bank, now the First National Bank of Yuba City. Fraternally, he was a Good Templar and Granger. He was a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to whose benevolences he was a liberal contributor.
The union of Mr. and Mrs. Sanders proved a very happy one; for they were congenial and worked together in harmony and mutual sympathy. Mr. Sanders gave no small degree of credit for his success to his faithful wife, who stood so nobly by him through their pioneering days, braving the hardships and making the necessary sacrifices; and her encouragement and assistance aided him materially in gaining his ambition. He was a very liberal, kind-hearted man, and assisted many worthy young people to secure a start in life, which sometimes resulted in financial loss to himself; yet he continued to lend his assistance whenever he thought it would be helpful and do good. Since his death, Mrs. Sanders has owned the old home ranch, now being operated by her son, William H. Sanders. She makes her home in Oakland, her comfortable residence being located at 631 Fifty-second Street, where she entertains her many friends and enjoys dispensing the old-time California hospitality. Cultured and refined, and of a pleasing personality, Mrs. Sanders has a host of friends, who appreciate her for her true worth and character, and her many noble attributes of mind and heart.
History of Yuba and Sutter Counties, Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, 1924
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