Thomas Sanford, his children and grandchildren

1.  Thomas Sanford of Milford was born in 1607 or 1608 in Hatfield, Broad Oak, Essex, England. He immigrated between Mar 1631 to Dorchester MA On The Arabella.. He died in Oct 1681 at the age of 74 in New Milford, New Haven, CT.  Thomas Sanford came  on the "Arabella" [sometimes written "Arbella"] in Winthrop's colony 1631-3. (The first American poetess, Anne Bradstreet, traveled on the same ship a year earlier.)  He settled in Dorchester MA.

To understand the hardships he endured on the voyage, it is helpful to read excerpts from Gov.Winthrop's diary (quotes and explanatory notes): and Note from the Chase Chronicles - July - October,  1930.  John Winthrop begins his journal of the voyage of the Arbella on March 29, 1630:
    "Riding at the Cowes, near the Isle of Wight, in the Arbella, the ship three hundred and fifty tons whereof Capt. Peter Milbourne was master, being manned with fifty-two seamen and twenty-eight pieces of ordnance ..... upon conference it was agreed that (in regard it was uncertain when the rest of the fleet would be ready) these four ships should consort together; the Arbella to be Admiral, the Talbot Vice-Admiral, the Ambrose Rear Admiral, and the Jewell a Captain... About ten of the clock we weighed anchor and set sail."
    Winthrop tells us that Lady Arbella and the gentlewomen dined in the great cabin and slept there also.  The men of quality occupied the round house.
    For seventy-five days the ship sailed westward through gales, cold, fog and fair weather.  [It is perhaps ironic that, in sailing the most direct route across the North Atlantic, the fleet was sailing against the prevailing west-to-east currents; if they had taken a more southerly route (as Columbus had done) and then turned northward with the Gulf Stream, they would probably have had a much quicker voyage and better weather.]
    A passage across the Atlantic in 1630 was an affair of great discomfort and suffering. Passengers were confined to narrow quarters, lived on short rations, and were without the common conveniences of life.
    No one on the Arbella could have taken a bath or washed linen during the trip. The only water for such luxuries was what the ocean supplied, and the means for heating that was lacking. The ladies who occupied the great cabin were packed at night like sardines in a box. In some of the other vessels an epidemic of smallpox broke out, but the Arabella came through fairly free from illness.

     Thomas Sanford sailed on a later crossing of the Arabella, under circumstances much like those described above, arriving in the colonies with his uncle, Andrew Warner, in 1631 or 1632 at Dorchester, Massachusetts.  Many ships over many months came as a part of the Winthrop Fleet. He and his uncle traveled as single men.  (It is possible that younger brother Andrew accompanied them on the Arabella, but it is most likely that Andrew came later with his brother Robert in the late 1630s, and Nathaniel came in the mid- to late-1640s.)

   Thomas Sanford first appeared in the Town Records of Dorchester, Massachusetts. Dorchester was settled in 1630, but no lands were allotted until 3 April 1633. It is now a part of Boston and called South Boston and Dorchester. The town records begin 16 Jan 1632. The first settlers were prior to 1636 were one hundred and thirty eight in number, and Thomas Sanford was one of them. He was made a Freeman on 9 March 1637. This right or title conferred upon the holder the right of suffrage and also an advantage in the division of lands. The principal qualification for this position was church membership in a Congregational [= Puritan] church. Much reference is made in the notes as to the term "freeman". A freeman was required to be of godly walk and conversation, required to be at least twenty years of age, to take the Freeman's Oath of Allegiance to the government of Massachusetts, to be worth £200, to hold office if elected or pay a fine of forty shillings, to vote at all elections or pay same fine.
   He was allotted land in Dorchester in 1635. He entered into an agreement to look after the town cows for the seasons of 1635 and 1637. It is believed that he married in Dorchester and his first two children were born there. It is also believed that he stayed there until after April, 1640, when the parcel of land was granted to him that had been previously only "booked" to him.
    In 1639 he went with a colony from Dorchester and Watertown to what is now Milford CT.  He was one of the original founders of that town & prominent until his death. [It is likely he made an exploratory visit to Milford in 1639 and perhaps then returned to Dorchester to settle affairs and escort his new wife and his children to Milford.  The trip was overland about a hundred miles to Windsor or Hartford, then down the Connecticut River about forty miles to Milford (perhaps by way of New Haven).  Some accounts say that he traveled first to Hartford because family members were already there. His uncle Andrew Warner had apparently settled there a year or two earlier,  and two brothers, Robert and Nathaniel, settled there either just before or just after his visit when he passed through in 1639.]
    He was surely in Milford in January, 1642, when he joined the church. His third child, Mary, is recorded in the records of the First Church of Milford as having been born in January 1641. He was allotted land in Milford 22 Nov 1643. He was a householder there 1646.  He was granted a parcel of land on an island 24 Nov 1651. He was a freeman in 1669.  He and his wife became an important part of that community by owning property and being very active in both church and civic affairs. They were considered among the founders of Milford.   
      He was one of three marshals appointed by special order of court (by Governor Treat) to make search for the regicides, Whalley & Goffe, May 1661. In 1661, the 59 judges who had signed the death warrant of King Charles I of England (under Oliver Cromwell) were pursued by King Charles II after he was restored to the throne. Two of the judges, Colonel Edward Whalley and Colonel William Goffe, fled to New Haven to seek refuge from the king's forces. John Davenport arranged for these "Regicides" to hide in the West Rock hills northwest of the town. A third judge, John Dixwell, joined the other regicides at a later time in New Haven, where the political climate was more congenial. The three died natural deaths in the 1670s. The three regicides are commemorated by three intersecting major avenues in New Haven (Dixwell Avenue, Whalley Avenue, and Goffe Street), and by place names in other Connecticut towns.  [Obviously the marshals did not succeed -- and may not even have tried -- in arresting the regicides.]
   Thomas Sanford's name appears in other instances over the years as  late as 1680. They indicate that he bore his part and was held in the good opinion of this neighbors, that he was a frugal and industrious citizen, which was shown by the amount of his estate. Two of his sons, Ezekiel and Samuel, became quite wealthy for those times. Records indicate that he could read, write, and "cast accompts (accounts)." His will shows him to have been a prosperous, successful man, of a kindly and generous nature and of exceptional character.  -- Thomas Sanford Genealogy, c. 1911, pp. 60-82    His estate,  after his death in 1681, was appraised at £450, 18s,3d.  All but the first two children were born at Milford and the parents were buried there.There are no stones marking their graves. The oldest stone marker is 1726, Mrs. Samuel Sanford.  (Source: Elizabeth Wallace)     -- John Sanford, San Jose, CA (June, 1996)

Thomas Sanford of Milford and Dorthea Meadows were married about 1634 in Dorchester MA. Dorthea Meadows, daughter of Henry Meadows and Margaret Preston, was born in 1610 in Stowemarket, Suffolk, England. She died about 1638 at the age of 28 in Dorchester, Norfolk/Suffolk Co., MA. Since records indicate that Thomas sailed to Dorchester as a single man,and Dorthea's home, Stowmarket, is about fifty miles from Hatfield, where Thomas had lived, they probably had not met prior to sailing.  Perhaps they met on shipboard or perhaps in Dorchester.  But why, then, was Dorthea emigrating to the colonies? Did she sail with her family? Most likely..
Thomas Sanford and Dorthea Meadows had the following children:
+2i.Ezekiel Sanford.
+3ii.Sarah Sanford.

Thomas Sanford and Sarah _____ (Walker?Meadows?) were married about 1641 in Dorchester, Suffolk Co., MA. Sarah  was born about 1621. She died on 14 May 1681 at the age of 60 in Milford, New Haven, Connecticut.1  One source -- FamilyTreeMaker.com -- reports that Sarah was a younger sister of Dorthea, in which case she was born in England.  Or she may not have been Dorothy's [or Dorthea's] sister at all. Families of Early Milford (pp 638-9) (like History of Redding, p.265) says she was Sarah _____ of Dorchester Mass.  If they married in 1639 or even 1641, she could have been born in Massachusetts shortly after 1620. Or her family might have emigrated from England when she was a small child.
Thomas Sanford and Sarah had the following children:
  4i.Mary Sanford was born on 16 Jan 1642 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT. She was                                            christened in Feb 1642. She died before 1681 at the age of 39 in Milford.
+5ii.Samuel Sanford.
+6iii.Thomas Sanford Jr..
+7iv.Ephraim Sanford.
+8v.Elizabeth Sanford.

Second Generation

2.  Ezekiel Sanford (Thomas-1) was born in 1637 in Mass.. He died on 5 Oct 1683 at the age of 46 in Fairfield, Fairfield Co., CT.  Employment:. Engineer who built first stockade at mouth of ConnecticutRiver for protection against the Indians. : Ezekiel Sanford settled in Fairfield, Connecticut before 1660 where he died only two years later than his father. Was a Freeman there in 1669. His grave is not known. The inventory of his estate shows that he was a tanner and a large land owner for his time. He divided the greater part of his lands among his children during his lifetime. At his death his estate amounted to £356, which in his day was about $1,200.  His widow administered upon his estate, but died before it was settled, which was done by a writing signed by all the heirs in 1697, the husbands of the married daughters signing for them.
   He names a son Thomas for his father, a daughter Sarah for his [step-]mother, daughters Mary and Elizabeth for his sisters.  --Thomas Sanford Genealogy c1911, p. 91
   The descendants of Ezekiel and Rebecca (Whelpley) Sanford are further researched on Brøderbund World Family Tree, Volume 13, Pedigree #2862. This pedigree contains about 362 of their descendants (including spouses). Another 132 descendants are researched on Brøderbund World Family Tree, Volume 13, Pedigree #2178.      --Dennis Gene BeMent (10/97)

Ezekiel Sanford and Rebecca Whelpley were married on 25 Apr 1665 in Fairfield, Fairfield Co., CT. Rebecca Whelpley, daughter of John? James? Henry? Whelpley and Rebecca ___, was born about 1635 in Dorchester, Suffolk Co. MA. [Her parents were probably part of the same migration that brought Thomas to Milford.]  She died before 1697 at or before the age of 62.
Ezekiel Sanford and Rebecca Whelpley had the following children:
+9i.Sarah Sanford.
+10ii.Sergt. Ezekiel Sanford Jr..
+11iii.Mary Sanford.
+12iv.Rebecca Sanford.
+13v.Thomas Sanford.
+14vi.Martha Sanford.
+15vii.Elizabeth Sanford.

3.  Sarah Sanford (Thomas-1) was born in 1639 in Dorchester, Suffolk Co., MA. She died in 1683 at the age of 44 in East Chester, Orange Co., NY.  Sarah Sanford (2-3) and her husband, Richard Shute, had two children. He was a seafaring man. They moved to East Chester, New York, in 1665. (Source: Thomas Sanford Genealogy, 1911, p. 92)  [This is not the present-day East Chester, which was not settled until the 1700s, but a part of Port Chester, now part of Rye, NY,]


Sarah Sanford and Richard Shute were married on 14 Aug 1656 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT. Richard Shute was born about 1638. He was a seafaring man.
Richard Shute and Sarah Sanford had the following children:
16i.Thomas Shute was born on 5 Aug 1659.  Reared a family in East Chester NY.
17ii.Sarah Shute was born about 1661.

5.  Samuel Sanford (Thomas-1) was born on 20 Apr 1643 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT. He was baptized on 30 Apr 1643. He died on 27 Nov 1691 at the age of 48 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT.  Samuel Sanford (2-4) received the homestead by his father's will. He was posted for freeman in 1669. Was added to First Church of Milford, 5 Nov 1669. He was a man of some prominence and standing in the town. His father made him executor of his will. An inventory of his estate was taken 8 Dec 1691, and names his widow Hannah, children Hannah, Samuel, Sarah, Mary and Thomas. His widow's estate was administered 5 Feb 1712. (--   Thomas Sanford Genealogy c., 1911, pp. 92-93)
   The descendants of Samuel and Hannah (Bronson) Sanford are further researched on Brøderbund World Family Tree, Volume 13, Pedigree #2862.

Samuel Sanford and Hannah Bronson were married on 16 Aug 1674 in Milford, New Haven Co, Connecticut. Hannah Bronson, daughter of Richard Bronson, was born about 1654. She died before 5 Feb 1712 at the age of 58.
Samuel Sanford and Hannah Bronson had the following children:
+18i.Hannah Sanford.
19ii.Thomas Sanford Jr was born on 29 Sep 1677 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT. He died on                                         3 Mar 1680 at the age of 2.
+20iii.Samuel Sanford Jr. removed to Newtown Ct.
+21iv.Sarah Sanford.
22v.Mary Sanford was born on 16 Apr 1686 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT. She died on 2                                                      Feb 1703 at the age of 16 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT.
+23vi.Thomas Sanford.

6.  Thomas Sanford Jr. (Thomas-1) was born in Dec 1644 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT. He died in 1721 at the age of 77 in New Haven, New Haven Co., CT.   Thomas Andrew Sanford, Jr. was a freeman in 1669 and was allotted land in 1680. The allotments were determined by the number of heads in the family and the amount of taxable estate, four acres being given for each head and one acre for each £5 of taxable property. He having seven in his family and a taxable estate of £59 and 10 shillings, received forty acres. In the drawing, his lots fell on the east side of the East River in what was first called North Farms, Afterward Parish of North Haven and in 1786 became the town of North Haven, CT. In 1721 he deeded forty acres to his son Samuel, two pieces to his grandson William, and to his son John all his estate personal and real, wherein the son John agreed to well, comfortably and honorably maintain "me and my wife so long as we shall live and give a comely and decent burial to our bodies, and to pay at my death to my daughter Anna Abbot £4, to my daughter Sarah Beach £5 and to my grand-daughter Elizabeth Huminston £8". He left no will nor is there any record of his death. Thomas Sanford Genealogy c., 1911, pp. 93-94

Thomas Sanford Jr. and Elizabeth Paine were married on 11 Oct 1666 in New Haven, New Haven Co., CT. Elizabeth Paine, daughter of William Paine, was born about 1645.
Thomas Sanford and Elizabeth Paine had the following children:
+24i.Samuel Sanford.
+25ii.Elizabeth Sanford.
26iii.Thomas Sanford was born on 13 Oct 1673 in New Haven, New Haven Co., CT. He died                                              on the same day.
+27iv.Anna Sanford.
+28v.Thomas Sanford.
29vi.William Sanford was born on 29 Nov 1679 in New Haven, New Haven Co., CT.
+30vii.Sarah Sanford.
31viii.Daughter Sanford was born in Feb 1684 in New Haven  CT. She was christened on 8                                                  Mar 1684. Lack of a name suggestsw she died young.
32ix.Mary Sanford was born in Feb 1685 in New Haven, New Haven Co., CT and died there.
+33x.John Sanford.

Thomas Sanford Jr. and Elizabeth Gibbard were married maybe 1686. Elizabeth Gibbard was born after 1650.  Apparently there were no children.

7.  Ephraim Sanford (Thomas-1) was born on 17 May 1646 in New Milford CT. He died in 1687 or 1692 at the age of 41 in New Milford CT (Or Milford, New Haven CT).  He signed a will. In Nov 1692 his estate was divided to widow Mary and children: Mary, Samuel, Ephraim, Thomas, Nathaniel, andZechariah Ephraim Sanford was a planter in New Haven. He was admitted to the Milford Church 15 May 1681.
Estate inventory made 12 Jun 1687. The inventory, reproduced by Carlton Sanford (pp 95-6), includes 2 oxen, 1 horse, 7 cattle, 11 swine, a cart, a plough, horse tackle, beds, bedding, gardening tools (hoes, mattocks, axes, sickles), pots and skillets, chests and boxes, table "cloaths" and other fabrics, "2 bibls and other book," barrels and bushels of grain, 42 acres in several tracts plus other land parcels not specified, and a variety of other household and work-related things. Total value: £382 16s 6d., minus £10 for debts and £40 for "close of estate," leaving £332 and change.

Ephraim Sanford and Mary Powell were married on 14 Mar 1669 in New Haven CT. Mary Powell, daughter of Thomas Powell and Priscilla Whitson, was born some time before 20 Jul 1645 in Milford, New Haven, Connecticut. She was christened on 20 Jul 1645 in New Haven. She died after 1700 at or beyond the age of 55. Mary was buried in Milford, , Connecticut.
Ephraim Sanford and Mary Powell had the following children:
+34i.Mary Sanford.
  35ii.Samuel Sanford was born on 26 Jan 1672 in Milford CT. He died at the age of 1.
+36iii.Samuel Sanford.    To see Samuel's children and grandchildren, click here
  37iv.Ephraim Sanford was born on 11 May 1677 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT. He died on                                 13 Apr 1728 at the age of 50 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT.  Ephraim Sanford, Jr.  died                                  unmarried. His estate was divided among his brothers and sisters, May 7, 1728. His                                     brother Samuel was administrator. (Source: Thomas Sanford Genealogy, c., 1911, pp.                                   98).
  38v.Thomas Sanford was born on 29 Jan 1680 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT. He died in Apr                                 1683 at the age of 3.   (Source: Thomas Sanford Genealogy, c., 1911, pp. 98-99).
+39vi.Nathaniel Sanford.
  40vii.Zachariah Sanford was born on 14 Mar 1684 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT. He died in                                  Dec 1712 at the age of 28 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT.   Zachariah Sanford (3-39)                                     died unmarried. His estate was settled by a writing filed in New Haven Probate Court                                    19  May 1713, between his brothers and sisters, viz.: Samuel Sanford, Mrs. Mary                                         Ashbourne, Ephraim, and Nathaniel Sanford. (Source: Thomas Sanford Genealogy,                                     c., 1911, p. 99).

8.  Elizabeth Sanford (Thomas-1) was born on 27 Aug 1648 in Milford, New Haven Co., CT. She died on 7 Apr 1712 at the age of 63 in ('02?) Middletown, Middlesex Co., CT. She has reference number 7.

Elizabeth Sanford and Deacon Obadiah Allyn of Middletown & Mattabesek were married on 28 Aug 1669.   Elizabeth Sanford and Obadiah Allyn had eight children. (Source: Thomas Sanford Genealogy, c., 1911, p. 99) Their descendants are further researched on Brøderbund World Family Tree, Volume 13, Pedigree #2862. Deacon Obadiah Allyn Of Middletown &Mattabesek, son of Samuel Allen and Ann Unk, was born before 1645 in "Of Middletown, Middlesex Co, CT". He died on 7 (or 17) Apr 1712 at the age of 67. Obadiah was adopted by his uncle, Deacon Thomas Allyn, of Middletown,soon after the decease of his father, where he resided, and after his uncle's death (Oct 16, 1688) inheriuted most of his estate. He was admitted to the first Church, Middletown, by certificate from the church in Windsor CT May 2, 1669, but owned th covenant Nov 9, 1668, and was chosen Deacon May 31, 1704.
Obadiah Allyn and Elizabeth Sanford had the following children:
+41i.Obadiah Allen.
  42ii.Thomas Allen was born on 20 Sep 1670. He died on 8 Nov 1672 at the age of 2.
+43iii.Dea Thomas Allyn.
  44iv.Mary Allen was born on 15 Sep 1675.
  45v.Ann Allen was born on 12 Sep 1677.
  46vi.Thankful Allen was born on 8 Sep 1679.
+47vii.Samuel Allen Of Middletown.
+48viii.John Allen.

Third Generation (and subsequent generations)
Thirteen or so generations (documenting parts of the family to the present day) are available and will be added to this website (or transmitted directly) if anyone makes a request.  As of August 2009, my database contains over 18,000 names, including about 5,000 Sanfords. Carlton E. Sanford's book contains some 16,000 descendants of Thomas Sanford (including many who do not bear the name Sanford). I am gradually adding these names to my database.

Explanation of Numbering:
+  means that further information appears later (in my database, if not yet here).
2 or 3 is the sequential numbering of all descendants of Thomas
i. or ii. is the numbering of offspring of this couple.
Since there aren't enough hours in the day. I've chosen at present to document descendants bearing the name Sanford. That's why there is no further information on the Allens/Allyns (and on the offspring of other married daughters) here--yet. But Carlton E. Sanford documents many of them, and I hope eventually to include them in the database from which this webpage is derived.
Why Read This Page?

1) You have insomnia.

2) You are working on your own compilation of (Sanford) family history, and there is material here you don't already have. (Help yourself, and let me know if I can provide more information.)

3) You're interested in historical background -- and hopefully you're finding a good bit of that here.

4) You want some sense of what families were like in the 1600s -- how many children were typical, how many lived to maturity, etc. -- and you just want to skim this material (for heaven's sake, I hope you have better things to do with your time than read every line in the names-and-dates parts) to get a general idea.
Return to home page
Return to first page of Sanford Family History
Samuel Sanford (Thomas's grandson) -- his life and family, children and grandchildren

Sanfords moving westward