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Cherokee County Biographies

J. A. Sanborn

J. A. SANBORN, farmer and stock-raiser of Afton Township, has been prominently identified with the interests of Cherokee County since the fall of 1869.  He was born in Dorchester, Grafton County, New Hampshire, November 21, 1832 and is the third son of Josiah and Lucinda (Holt) Sanborn, natives of New Hampshire, of Puritan stock.  J. A. was reared on a farm and received a common-school education.  His father died when he was six years old, leaving three sons to the care of his bereaved mother.  As she had but limited means, J. A. found a home with his grandfather and an uncle until he was twenty-one years old; he then went to Boston and worked in a grocery store for three years.  The following three years he spent on the old homestead in New Hampshire. He was married November 4, 1856, to Miss Susan Blake, a native of New Hampshire, and the oldest daughter of Charles D. and Jerusha (Flanders) Blake.  After their marriage they removed to Laconia, New Hampshire and there Mr. Sanborn found work in the woolen mills until the breaking out of the late Civil War.  Leaving his wife and child he enlisted in Company H, Twelfth New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry, going  into camp the following day.  He soon went to Washington, District of Columbia, and thence to Arlington Heights, where he was detailed to load freight and army supplies. While engaged in this work an accident occurred which came near costing Mr. Sanborn his life.  A heavy box slipped from the top of a load and struck him in the side, breaking three ribs.  This was just before the battle of Harper's Ferry, and for more than a quarter of a century he has suffered from the effects of the accident.  He was removed to Corwin Hospital and after a time was honorably discharged after which he returned to his home.  He obtained employment in the Belknap Carpet Woolen Mills in Laconia, New Hampshire and remained there for six years.  At the end of that time his wound became so troublesome that he was compelled to give up work for six months.  He returned to his old employers at Ashland, New Hampshire and took charge of two rooms in the mills.  He afterward purchased an interest in a stock of general merchandise, the firm name being Weeks and Sanborn; this partnership continued one year, when he sold his stock and same to West to settle. Some time previous he had made a visit to Wisconsin, but decided to locate in Iowa.  For a short time he lived in Tama County, and then came to Cherokee County, and entered eighty acres of Government land.  BY means of a prairie schooner he brought his family from Tama County to Cherokee County.  On the journey they met with a serious accident; in making a descent near the present town of Cherokee the pole strap broke, causing the team to run away.  One valuable horse was killed and the wagon and provisions were destroyed.  They first moved into a small log cabin belonging to Albert Phipps. Mr. Sanborn built a house, and began the task of improving his farm; he broke out a large area with ox teams.  Their farm contains 200 acres in a high state of cultivation and is considered one of the best in the township.  Mr. Sanborn is a member of the Masonic order, and of the General Custer Post, No. 25, G.A.R. He and his wife have tow children: Jennie H., wife of Murray F. Molyneux and Frank D.  Mr. Sanborn affiliates with the Republican party.

Source: Biographical History of Cherokee County, IA, W. W. Dunbar & Co Publishers, 1889

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