The Sanders Family
Grandmother McAllister (Julia Whitfield McCallister) always used to say that our Sanders ancestors (pronounced Saunders) lived in Smithland Kentucky and that we were descended from Will Sanders, who was the first physician in Smithland. Starting there, I immediately ran into an impenetrable brick wall.
This is what we know. Sarah Jones Sanders married James Lawrence Hodge, in Smithland on 6 October 1840. He was 24 and she 19. How and where they met is still unknown. She came down the river from Louisville to be married. Her guardian, one Daniel E. Jones, sent a note to the Livingston County Clerk granting permission for the marriage.
In Smithland at the same time, lived the David Brown Sanders family. There has to be some relationship between Sarah Sanders and David Sanders, but I am unaware of what that exactly is. David Sanders was the bondsman for the wedding of Sarah and James Lawrence Hodge. When Sarah died in 1860 and James Lawrence died the following year, they were buried in the Sanders family plot at the Smithland Cemetery. This David Sanders was a doctor and a wealthy planter in the Smithland area. He was originally from the Bullitt County Kentucky area. His father is purported to be James Christian (or Christian James) Sanders, and his mother was Rhoda Quertermous. So, if Sarah’s father was one Will Sanders, she and David could not be brother and sister. It is my thought, although unproved, that James Sanders and Will Sanders, by lore also a doctor, were brothers and that Sarah was David’s niece. Her unusual middle name (Jones) probably was her mother’s maiden name, since her guardian was Daniel Jones. Further, James Brown Sanders had a son named Will Sanders, who also took up medicine as a calling for a time. The ages don’t match though, for this Will to be the father of Sarah.
Regardless, the Hodge family and the Sanders family seem to have been very close. David Sanders built a large house before the Civil War on the high ridge back of the town close to the cemetery. This house had a wide center hall on both the first and second floors. There was also a large cupola on the roof. On Sunday afternoons, the town brass band performed from this cupola to the townspeople gathered on the lawn below. How many gracious and grand parties did the families attend together in this house? Early in the War, when the yankee troops were stealing horses, David kept his horse in the first floor center hall. He needed it for his medical rounds. Union troops were then stationed in Smithland almost continually during the civil war. Later, the family was evicted and the house used as a union hospital. David died shortly after the end of the War. His son Will gave up medicine altogether and lived out his life on his some 2500 acre farm in the neighborhood. The elaborate house that David Sanders built in Smithland is at the top of this page.
Sarah Jones Sanders and James Lawrence Hodge had 7 children. The youngest was Julia Anna Hodge, born in 1857. She married James Alexander Rowley in 1874. They are my paternal great great-grandparents.