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Robert Sanford


   Robert was the second or third born child of Thomas Sanford.  He was the first born son.  He was born 2 November, 1764, Horse Neck, New Jersey, according to his  Revolutionary War Pension File[1] where he gave his date and place of birth in an affidavit required for his obtaining a pension for having served in the military.


   He is also listed in the HISTORY of the TOWN PITTSFORD, VT  by Caverly, A.M. 1817-1879.  Page 186.  "The morning hours of the “first Sabbath of November 1778” a British military unit under the command of Major Christopher Carleton arrived in Weybridge. Under orders to take prisoner able-bodied men who might pose a military threat and to destroy all tools, crops, buildings and livestock he came across.  Major Carleton and his group did just that." The villagers of Weybridge were attacked by Torries and Indians in Nov of 1778.  Most of the men were taken prisoners and their houses burned.  The women and small children were rescued by soldiers from Pittsford.

"The boats were small, but all were taken into them, except Elizabeth, Miriam and Robert Sanford; the latter, a lad of thirteen years of age, was first taken away by the Indians, but not being able to endure the journey, he was sent back."  This would place his date of birth in 1765, so the time period is a very close match.


Military Service

Robert was in the military and according to the Revolutionary War Rolls of Vermont;

Page 196 Lt. William Post's Company 29 Aug 1780 to 20th of Sep 1780.

Page 388 Capt. James Blakeslee's Co. begining of the campaign 1781 to the 30th of Jun said year.

Page 559 Capt. Blakeslee's Co. 1 Jul 1781, discharged 14 Nov 1781.


Marriage: Robert married Abigail B(o)yington in Vermont in 1791/1792 (according to her brother Nathaniel).  In this family there were (according to Census records)

                  Isaac, Ira, Mary, Caty, Abigail and at least four other daughters.  The 1810 census shows only one son 10-15 and I would guess Ira had died.  Abigail’s surname was most likely Byington. Go here for the Byington line.

                  The “o” was frequently added, most likely by census takers.



Land Records:

Robert bought land with Henry SANFORD (unknown what family he was from), in Weybridge in 1788, sold it in1792.




Robert and family were found in the following census records:


   1790 Weybridge, Addison, Vermont; Roll M637-12, Pg 11

   1801 Apr 18, Johnstown District Municipal Records, Elizabethtown Twp, Leeds, Ontario Archives, MS 2556; pg4 column 3 top (was known as: Elizabethtown, Upper Canada),

           with wife Anne, 2 boys Isaac & Ira, two daughters Mary & Caty.  Was not in the 1802 census.

   1810 Oswegatchie, St. Lawrence County, New York. United States Census (have to look close to see his name) Roll: M252_36 Page: 362 Image: 21 (one son & seven daughters)

   1820 Morristown (formerly Hague), St. Lawrence County, New York. United State Census Roll M33-79, Page 16, Ancestry Image # 155. (one son & two daughters)

   1830 not found, he died in 1839.

    Abigail Sanford, Robert’s wife:

   1840 Morristown, St. Lawrence, New York; Roll M704_334; p. 67 has a 20/30 female living with her.  Her brother Nathaniel Byington & family are living close by.

   1850 No census listing for Abigail after this date.  She did apply in 1852 for a pension.


Robert's name is listed among the petitioners, in 1802, to the Assembly of New York State to establish St. Lawrence County. On his affidavit(1832) he gave his current address as Morristown, St. Lawrence County, New York. 





Pensions Enacted by Congress
for American Revolutionary War Veterans


The last and most liberal of the service-pension acts benefiting Revolutionary War veterans was passed on June 7, 1832 (4 Stat. 529), and extended to more persons the provisions of the law of May 15, 1828. The act provided that every officer or enlisted man who had served at least 2 years in the Continental Line or State troops, volunteers or militia, was eligible for a pension of full pay for life. Naval and marine officers and enlisted men were also included. Veterans who had served less than 2 years, but not less than 6 months, were eligible for pensions of less than full pay. Neither the act of 1832 nor the one of 1828 required applicants to demonstrate need. Under the act of 1832 money due from the last payment until the date of death of a pensioner could be collected by his widow or by his children.


Robert filed for a pension 18 Dec 1832 in St. Lawrence County, New York as follows:




In order to obtain the benefits of the act of June 7, 1832.

State of New York\

County of Lawrence\ss

                        On this eighteen day of December, 1838, personally appeared in open court, before the court of common pleas of the county of St. Lawrence now sitting, Robert Sanford a resident of Morristown in the county of St. Lawrence & State of New York a foresaid, aged seventy three years and ten months who first being duly sworn according to Law, doth on his oath, make the following declaration, in order to obtain the benefit of the act of Congress, passed June 7, 1832.  That he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers; and served as herein stated.  That he, the said Robert Sanford, sometime in the year 1778, and as deponent believes about the month of May, at the town of Dorset in the state of Vermont, enlisted in the company commanded by Capt. Blaksley, in a regiment commanded by Colonel Fletcher, in the line of Vermont for a term of six months.

That he served  out the whole of the said term, and at its expiration was discharged from service and returned home.  That during his service he was stationed at Fort Castleton in the county of Rutland, & state of Vermont, with some prisoners to be exchanged to Mount Independence.  This deponent furthur says that the names of the officers and under whom he served were, as far as he can recollect, General Ens, Colonel Fletcher, Adjutant Brush, Captains Blaiksly, Hutchinson, Starks & Fish, and that one Powers was Lieutenant of the company in which deponent served, under Captain Blaikly; that the name of the orderly sergeant was Fisher; that two Towsleys were drummers in the company and one Cleveland was fifer.  That the names of the privates in the company were Yaw, Parse, Crafts, Wright, Bellnap, Knurse, Spalden, Blakesly, Colefin, Chase, Mash, Whipple, Vemis, Pike, Graves, Munsley, Jonsly, Cutter, Gibbs, Luman Gibbs, Salsbury, Ferril, John Dennis, James Dennis, Dickerman, Pettis & Hicks & he thinks there were some others whose names he can not now recall.  And this deponent furthur says that he has no documentary evidence of his service and that he knows of no person whose testimony he can procure, who can testify to his service.  And this deponent furthur said that he was born at Horse Neck in the state of  New Jersey on the 12th day of November, 1764; That he has a record of his age in his Bible; that when he entered the service he was living at the town of Dorset in the State of Vermont; that since the Revolutionary War he has lived in the towns of Rutland and Dorset in the State of Vermont; afterwards for about one year in Elizabethtown in the providence of Upper Canada; afterwards he lived about thirty years in the town of Oswegatchie, county of St. Lawrence and State of New York; and that for about seven or eight years last past he has resided in Morristown St. Lawrence county.  That he never received a written discharge from the service.  That Messers Jeremmiah Ames, John Mitchel, Urwin Mitchel & M. Parks are persons residing in his present neighborhood, who can testify to his character for veracity and to their belief of his service as a soldier of the Revolution.

                        He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity, except the present; and declares that his name is not on the pension roll or the agency of any state.

                        Sworn to and subscribed on the day and year a foresaid: (signed by) Robert Sanford


Death & Burial: Robert died 12 Apr 1839 in Morristown, St. Lawrence, New York and is buried in Edwardsville Cemetery, Morristown, New York.  His stone was still preserved in 2005.

Edwardsville Cemetery in the town of Morristown on the shore of Black Lake - Morristown, NY. The cemetery is located at the north-west corner of the intersection of Rt 58 and Black Lake Road at the hamlet of Edwardsville.




   Robert married Abigail Byington, (See Byington page) also of Weybridge. Abigail is listed on Robert's pension application, and later after he died, she attempted to obtain a widow's pension on November 16, 1852.  Feb 14, 1854, Nathaniel Byington of Weybridge, Vermont stated a sister of his Abigail Byington and Robert Sanford were married by Joseph Cook who was the justice of the peace and the best of his recollection was in 1791 or 1792  Did Robert have another wife before Abigail?, as the 1801 Canadian census lists Anne. Or, did the the census taker mistake the name?

On July 29, 1848 (9 Slat. 265), Congress provided life pensions for widows of veterans who were married before January 2, 1800. All restrictions pertaining to the date of marriage were removed by acts of February 3, 1853 (10 Stat. 154), and February 28, 1855 (10 Stat. 616). On March 9, 1878 ( 20 Stat. 29), widows of Revolutionary War soldiers who had served for as few as 14 days, or were in any engagement, were declared eligible for life pensions.


Why would Robert & Abigail end up in Upper Canada?  Abigail’s brother James also was in Leeds Co., Ontario in 1801, according to the census.  He had married there in 1800 to Susanna Lydia Nichols.  Unknown where James died, as he had left Canada. His wife died and is buried in Canada.

Brother Thomas Jr. & family had also moved to the area.  Her being a Kellogg, many Kellogg’s lived in Leeds County, Canada.


Child naming: Ira after Robert’s younger brother, Isaac after Abigail’s younger brother?





[1] Revolutionary War Pension File; Record in the National Archives labeled Vermont, Sanford, Robert; Abigail, Number R9,198.


 (excerpt from transcript, hard to read).

"Nathaniel Boyington of Webridge, county of Addison & State of Vermont of lawful age being duly sworn to despose and say that I was well aquainted with Robert Sanford, that he married a sister of mine by the name of Abigail Boyington, and I do recollect that they lived in Weybridge several years after they were married and I have since…having often … that Joseph Cook was the Justice of the Peace


I also recollect 


Year of their marring…., In my best recollection it was in the year of 1791 or 1792, I also remember… it …that he was a soldier … and that he was carried off by the Indians together with several others from this town.. February 14th 1854".


This is an ongoing genealogy investigation in the life of Robert Sanford and his wife Abigail.  Any information to fill in the “blanks” are welcome. ©2004-2009


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