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Stetson and Sanford Families, Part II: Daniel Benjamin Sanford (1839-1912)

Continuing on with a profile of members of the Stetson and Sanford families buried in Memory Hill Cemetery at Milledgeville, Georgia -- Daniel Benjamin Sanford gets a post all to himself. His life, and six years later his death, was discussed in two publications. First up is Georgia: Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions, and Persons Arranged in Cyclopedic Form edited by Allen D. Candler and Clement A. Evans (Atlanta, State Historical Association, 1906).
Sanford, Daniel B., may well be entitled the Nestor of the bar of Baldwin county, since he has been engaged in the practice of his profession in Milledgeville for two score of years, and for eighteen consecutive years he presided on the bench of the court of ordinary of the county. He was captain of a company in a Georgia regiment of the Confederate service in the Civil war, in which he made a gallant record, and has been a citizen of prominence and influence in his county, having marked professional prestige and being distinctively a man of affairs. Judge Sanford was born on his father's plantation, in Greene county, Ga., April 11, 1839, a son of Daniel and Elizabeth (Totty) Sanford, the former of whom was born in Loudoun county, Va., in 1777, and the latter in the state of South Carolina, in 1799, both families having been founded in the South in the early colonial epoch of our national history. Daniel Sanford was reared and educated in the Old Dominion state, where he remained until 1800, when he came to Georgia and located on a plantation near Greensboro, the judicial center of Greene county, and this old homestead has ever since remained in the possession of the family, being now owned by the subject of this sketch, who purchased the interests of the other heirs more than twenty years ago. The place is a valuable one and is endeared to him through the hallowed memories and associations of the days long past. Daniel Sanford was engaged in the mercantile business in Greensboro for many years as senior member of the firm of D. & B. Sanford. The junior member was his brother Benjamin, and Judge Sanford, of this sketch, was named in honor of the two -- Daniel Benjamin Sanford. Daniel Sanford was a man of noble character and was influential in his community, continuing a resident of Greene county until his death, which occurred in 1854. His father, Jeremiah Sanford, was a soldier in the war of the Revolution and was a personal friend of George Washington. He came to Georgia in 1810 and passed the closing years of his life on the old Sanford homestead, just mentioned. Elizabeth (Totty) Sanford long survived her honored husband, her death having occurred in 1889, at the venerable age of ninety years. Judge Sanford secured his more purely academic education in a high school in Greensboro and at the age of twenty years was appointed deputy clerk of the supreme court of the state, taking up his residence in Milledgeville, which was then the capital of Georgia. He was appointed to this office in 1859 and was the incumbent at the time of the outbreak of the war between the states. He at once resigned the position to go forth in defense of the cause of the Confederacy. He returned to Greene county and assisted in the organization of the Greene Rifles, which organization was mustered into the Confederate service as Company A, Phillips' Legion of Georgia infantry. He enlisted as a private and was several times promoted, finally being made captain of his company. In the battle of Sailor's Creek, Va., while in command of his company, he was severely wounded, captured by the enemy, and taken to the city of Washington, D.C., where he remained until the close of the war, his exchange having been effected in July, 1865. He took part in a large number of important battles, besides skirmishes and other minor engagements, making a record for gallant and faithful service. At the close of the war Judge Sanford returned to Milledgeville, where in October, 1865, he was chosen enrolling clerk of the first state convention held in Georgia after the great conflict had ended. This convention drafted and adopted a new constitution for the commonwealth. He remained in Milledgeville, where he took up the study of law under effective preceptorship, and was admitted to the bar in 1866. From that time to the present he has been numbered among the representative lawyers of Milledgeville and Baldwin county, having gained distinctive professional precedence and baing fortified by broad and exact knowledge of the intricacies of the great science of jurisprudence. The judge is unwavering in his allegiance to the Democratic party and has done worthy service in its cause. In 1873 he was chosen judge of the court of ordinary of Baldwin county, and by successive reelections continued in this office until 1891 -- a period of eighteen years. He is chairman of the board of trustees of Georgia military college at Milledgeville, and is president of the Milledgeville Banking Company, of whose board of directors he has been a member since its organization as the first banking institution of the town in 1889. He is affiliated with the United Confederate Veterans. On Jan. 8, 1868, Judge Sanford was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth C. Stetson, daughter of Daniel B. Stetson, who came from the city of Boston, Mass., to Milledgeville in 1840. Mrs. Sanford died, Feb. 13, 1886, and she is survived by two children, -- Daniel Stetson, who is associated with his father in the practice of law, and Elizabeth, who presides over the attractive paternal home.
The following was published in the Confederate Journal (Volume 20) during the year 1912.

Daniel Benjamin Sanford was born in the old family homestead, near Greensboro, Ga., on April 11, 1839; and died at his home, in Milledgeville, Ga., on April 11, 1912. The slender thread of life was permitted, as by a divine providence, to hold until one minute past the turn of the night of April 10, and his freed spirit winged its everlasting flight from earth on his seventy-third birthday, beloved by all who knew him.

D. B. Sanford witnessed the tumultuous proceedings that marked the great secession convention in Milledgeville, Ga., early in 1861. He resigned a deputy clerkship to the Supreme Court of Georgia and shouldered a musket as a Georgia volunteer. In April, 1861, at the age of twenty-two years, he returned to Greensboro and enlisted as a private in the "Green Rifles," which became Company A, Phillips's Georgia Legion of Infantry, DuBose's Brigade, Kershaw's Division, Longstreet's Corps, of General Lee's army. Those who served with him in the ranks and under him when promoted to the rank of captain bear fond testimony to his soldierly conduct and undaunted valor. "Captain Dan," as his men affectionately called him, never shirked a duty nor quailed in the face of the enemy.

Even afterwards the "old boys" sought "Captain Dan" in coming to Milledgeville. Each survivor left of the grand old company will shed tears of sorrow and gratitude for his noble life when he reads in the public print that his old captain has "crossed over the river" to be with Lee and his men to "rest under the shade of the trees."

Captain Sanford was twice wounded in battle, seriously at Sailor's Creek, April 6, 1865, just three days before Lee's surrender at Appomattox. His left leg was shattered by a Minie ball. In the awful confusion everything seemed to be going to pieces. Lee's army had been marching and fighting for days with nothing to eat except parched corn; they were starving. There was no time to look after the wounded. They lay where they fell, with no surgeon to dress their bleeding wounds and no food or water. That any lived was due to the mercy of Him who feeds the sparrows. Captain Sanford lay in that condition on the battle field where he fell, surrounded with the dead and dying, and would have succumbed had not a Union soldier passing by seen his distress and given him a raw codfish and a canteen of water. All through the night he ate and drank from the Yankee canteen.

The next day he was taken to the Lincoln Hospital at Washington, D.C. Captain Sanford was one of many wounded Confederate soldiers carried in ambulance through the streets of Washington when President Lincoln's remains lay in state, and the ambulances had to be guarded by regiments of Union soldiers to prevent their being stoned.

Captain Sanford was paroled in June, 1865, and returned to Georgia with only his tattered gray uniform and his untarnished record. His gray jacket is preserved and cherished.

Judge Sanford was married to Miss Elizabeth Stetson, of Milledgeville, Ga., in 1868. His wife died in 1886, and two children, Daniel S. and Elizabeth Sanford, survive him. He held many positions of trust and honor. He was the Ordinary of Baldwin County, Chairman of County Commissioners, President of Milledgeville Banking Company, President of Board of Trustees Georgia Military College, and Commander of Robert E. Lee Camp, U.C.V.

Judge Sanford was admitted to the practice of law in 1870, and was a member of the law firm of D. B. and D. S. Sanford when he died. He was a man of superior courage. In matters of conviction when principle was at stake he was immovable. Flattery could not seduce nor threats intimidate him. He preferred death to the sacrifice of truth.

Daniel Benjamin Sanford
Born in Greene Co, Ga. April 11, 1839
Died in Milledgeville, Ga. April 11, 1912

A loyal citizen, faithful official, brave soldier, true friend, conscientious
lawyer, a loving Husband and Father.

Captain of Company A "Greene Rifles," Phillips Ga Legion Infantry,
DuBose's Brigade, Karshaw's Division, Longstreet Corps, General Lee's Army.

Kindliness and unselfishness were fundamental traits of his character.

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