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Plantation owner Sampson Sanders was born in 1786 to William and Martha Green Sanders of Loudoun County, Virginia. Sampson’s parents moved the family across the frontier through North Carolina and Tennessee before settling in what is now Cabell County about 1800. The family name is sometimes given as ‘‘Saunders.’’

Following his father’s death in 1802, and with the advice and guidance of his mother, Sampson Sanders built his inheritance into the largest land holding in Cabell County. He owned large acreages on the Guyandotte and Mud rivers east of Barboursville and the largest flour mill in Cabell County. At his death, Sanders owned at least 51 slave adults and children, one of the largest slave holdings in Western Virginia. By his will in 1849, all his slaves were freed regardless of age. They also were given cash, equipment, and legal assistance to start new lives. They migrated northward as a group, settling in Cass County, Michigan, where descendants live today. These families retained the Sanders name as their own.

Sampson Sanders died June 21, 1849, and is buried with his mother near Milton. Saunders Creek, a Mud River tributary, is named for the family.

This Article was written by Carrie Eldridge

Last Revised on December 08, 2015

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Cite This Article

Eldridge, Carrie "Sampson Sanders." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 08 December 2015. Web. 29 May 2024.


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