Happy 185th Birthday Asa L. Sanford

My great-great-grandfather, Asa L. Sanford, was born in Alabama on August 7, 1825 as the oldest child of Jacob T. and Sarah “Sally” White Sanford. His first wife was Sarah Gean, according to the marriage license and certificate, with the marriage taking place in Lincoln County, Tennessee on May 20, 1846. They had one known child, a son, William Rufus, born January 19, 1847. Sarah died sometime before 1850.

Asa then married Martha Ann Jean; family tradition states that Sarah Gean and Martha Ann Jean were sisters. The marriage license and certificate list the second marriage as occurring in Lincoln County, Tennessee on April 30, 1850. They soon moved to Tuscaloosa county where Asa and Martha Ann had seven children: Sarah Emeline, Joseph Larkin, Mary Monroe “Mollie” [my great-grandmother], John Wiley “Tippy”, James A., Jessee, and John.

Family tradition also states Asa concurrently maintained a long-term relationship with Ruhama Oswalt with whom he bore three children: John Thomas Oswalt, Celia Ann Oswalt and Sarah Jane Oswalt. Ruhama is buried in the same cemetery as Asa and Martha Ann.

On a July 4, 2010 visit to Alabama, my daughter and I stopped by the cemetery where Asa and Martha are buried – El Bethel or Buncomb Cemetery near the border of Tuscaloosa and Fayette Counties and took photographs. A great-grandson, Bill Starnes, ordered a new headstone when he was unable to find one while visiting during a recent family reunion; that is the headstone in the photograph.

Our family has no photographs of Asa or Martha Ann or any of their children. If anyone has photographs, we would so love to see them. We’d also love to hear any family stories that would help us know something more personal about who they were. Much of the information on the Sanford family [other that what could be gleaned from census and marriage records] has been provided to me by Howard Hallman and Dennis Gurley – many thanks to them.

The Sanford family holds regular family reunions; there is one that will be held in Tuscaloosa tomorrow, August 8, at the Northport Community Center. The time is from 10:30 a.m. until … and instructions are to bring a covered dish and family photos and stories to share. I would love to be there to visit and learn more.

Asa died April 24, 1907; he had lived 81 years, 8 months and 17 days.


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