Sunday, March 7, 2021

 Dear Grandparents,

Happy Anniversary to Joseph and Mehitable (Young) Sanford my 5th great grandparents who were married March 7, 1769. Joseph, the son of Captain Joseph and Mary (Clark) Sanford, was born about July 28th, 1745 in Litchfield, Connecticut the youngest of their 6 children. The Sanford family were descendants of Thomas Sanford from Hatfield, Broad Oak, Essex, England.

Photograph of St. Mary the Virgin Church and maps are from

Hatfield Broad Oak was well established by the Norman Conquest and the parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin is early medieval so would have been known to Thomas the immigrant. At the time of the Domesday Book, Hatfield Broad Oak was the 9th largest settlement in Essex. Though Thomas arrived in Massachusetts, he soon emigrated to Milford, Connecticut. Three generations later, the senior Joseph relocated to Litchfield.

Not as much is known about Grandmother Mehitable's family. The book "Thomas Sanford, the emigrant to New England; ancestry, life,, and descendants" published in 1911 and compiled by Carlton Elisha Sanford states that Mehitable was from Long Island. There is a Jeremih Young who marries Mehetabel Brown in Southold, Suffolk County, New York in 1747 which would be of a good age to be the parents of Grandmother Mehitable. The Peabody Genealogy, which has been published on, lists a Jeremiah Youngs born 1719 in Oyster Ponds, Long Island who married 3 Sep 1747. His father is given as Jonathan Youngs and his mother Dorathy Browns. Evidently his wife, Mehetable Brown was a cousin of his mother. The genealogy also lists two daughters Ann Youngs and Mehetable Youngs.

Google maps distance between Oysterponds and Litchfield

We don't know how Joseph and Mehitable met. Many would suggest that most people married people who lived in the same county if not the same town. This is not alway true in our family of wanderers. Today the journey between Oysterpond, Long Island, New York and Litchfiedl, Connecticut would take about 3 hours by car. In their day, the trip would have been measured in days not hours. 

Joseph's immediate family were all located in the South Farms area of Litchfield and it was there that they made their home. Seven children were born of their marriage:

  • Stephen 1770-1772
  • Mehitable 1771-1772
  • Joseph 1773-1805
  • Olive 1774-1817
  • Stephen 1776-1841
  • Edmund 1781-1860
  • Osias 1784-1856

In the "Genealogical and Family History of Central New York, Vol. 1, Joseph is referred to as "Captain" Joseph Sanford. On page 445, it states that he served in the revolution and "On June 8, 1778, he was captain of the Eleventh company, trainband in the Thirteenth regiment of the state." He was also at Peekskill with the main army in New York.

Honestly, I did not remember what happened during the Revolution at Peekskill. I also had not thought about how close Peekskill is to Litchfield, Connecticut. New York State has created an almanac website that tells more of this story. In the summer of 1776, the British had more than 8,000 troops on Staten Island and 100 ships were anchored in the harbor. They needed to feed their sailors and troops. The flour, fresh meat and produce that were held on Litchfield farms were just what the British needed. Only the men of the Litchfield Miltia stood in their way. As a farmer, you must have known that you had to keep the British from reaching supplies but also that the survival of the Sanford family and others depended on their ability to stop the British.

       Map from

The New York Almanac has a very sobering description of what was at stake when Militia men responded to the Alarms at Poughkeepsie and Peekskill. "Barley and wheat fields were almost ready for harvest and if left unattended grain would rot on the stalk." A farmer of that time and area typically worked 50 or more acres which was mostly pasture and grain. He would also have an orchard and a garden adjacent to his wood frame house and barn. Each year he would raise cattle and hogs and butcher 1500-2000 pounds of pork and 1200 pounds of beef. His family's survival depended on a successful harvest. 

Things were even more complicated for the Sanford family. Their first two children had died in 1772. If Joseph went with the Militia, Mehitable would be at home with a three year old, a two year old about to give birth early in July. There was extended family around but most of the men were also part of the militia.

Joseph chose to serve and his service has been recognized by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. He is Patriot #100080. Mehitable has not been recognized for a contribution to the Revolution. This rankles me more than a bit. My husband served a 30 year career in the U. S. Navy and I well know that family members make more than little contributions to their loved one's service. I promise you I had it easier than Mehitable.

Joseph's and Mehitable's marriage lasted nearly 45 years until he passed on 13 Dec 1813. That was a long marriage in those days. Joseph left a third of his estate to his wife.

Joseph's will refers to "his beloved" wife

Three years after Joseph's death, Mehitable married widower Daniel Strong of Bethlem. Their marriage lasted until his death June 15, 1830. Mehitable lived until March 11, 1835.

No headstones survive for either Joseph or Mehitable. An earlier transcription of headstones in the cemetery at Morris, Litchfield County, CT refers to a stone "In memory of Mr. Joseph Sanford who died Dec 13, 1818 aged 68 years. 

Thank you both for your service. We remember you still.



Our descent from Joseph and Mehitable is as follows:

Their son Stephen Sanford married Olive Woodruff (whose father also served). Their daughter Caroline Beckworth Sanford married Reuben Newton. Their son Charles Shepard Newton married Mary Elizabeth Clark. Their daughter Helen Brown Newton married Frederick Naaman Cone. Their son Charles Newton Cone married Hazel Bynum Allen. Their son Charles Newton Cone, Jr. is my father.