First Installment of "Notes On The Saunders Family"
As compiled and written by Myrtle Saunders and bound
into finished notebook form in Houston, Texas in 1938.

     Myrtle Saunders was born February 5, 1886 and died December 22, 1975 at the age of 89.  She was the sister and only sibling of Clifford Henry Saunders I (born 1891 and died January 23, 1958), father of James Robert Saunders Sr. who was born November 25, 1917 and died March 17, 2006.  He was the father of James Robert Saunders Jr. who was born April 3, 1949 and at the time of this writing (September 9, 2007) is alive and well writing this introduction.
     Myrtle Saunders' hobby was genealogy and she pursued this hobby energetically.  She was also a professional stenographer and had well developed skills for the compiling and processing of written information.  In the by-gone days before word processors this was a skill in great demand.  The family is fortunate she chose this hobby as she collected a wealth of family history that would no doubt have been lost in oblivion through the passing of generations.  This material was painstakingly typed and bound into two ring binder notebooks that have survived her.  This information is being presented exactly as she wrote it down and will give the reader or family researcher much to take in and understand.
     Myrtle Saunders was a person of much life experience.  She, as a child, crossed Texas twice in a covered wagon in the early 1890's.  Her first crossing was going to New Mexico where her mother (a school teacher) had a job working for the government teaching the Apaches on their reservation.  Her second crossing was returning to Beaumont, Texas during the last Indian uprising to avoid being scalped.  From this as a child, she lived to see men landing on the Moon.  I was twenty-six years old when Myrtle died and I was privileged to know her well for many years.  To have living memory of first hand accounts of the "Pioneer Days" from her is a privilege I will treasure always.
     Knowing Myrtle as I did I can say with complete certainty that nothing would please her more than the knowledge that her genealogy work was being revisited, appreciated, and being converted into a form that would be available to all generations of the Saunders family, whether they carry the name or not.  Without her effort I would remain ignorant of the proud heritage of the Saunders family extending back generations into "Old England, Old Scotland, Old Ireland, and Old Wales".  I can only hope that somehow knowledge of this effort will reach her.
     But, Saunders Clan Member, let me give you this caveat before you begin reading.  You cannot unring a bell.  The ancestral knowledge you will receive here will lay a heavy burden upon you because you will have much to live up to.....

                                                                                                                             James Robert Saunders Jr.


Lineal Descent of MYRTLE SAUNDERS, from LAWRENCE SAUNDERS, the Martyr, Stated in Reverse Order, the Generations being numbered:

1. Myrtle Saunders, daughter of

2. William Henry Saunders (m. Lilly Belle Hollifield), son of

3. James Powers Saunders (m. Nancy Looney Long), son of

4. George W. Saunders (m. 2nd, Elizabeth Quarles Powers), son of

5. Julius Saunders (m. Jane Hughes?), son of

6. George Saunders (m. Nancy Hatcher), son of

7. George Saunders (m. Hannah Creed), son of

8. Woodward Saunders (m. Barbara King), son of

9. George Saunders (m. Elizabeth Woodward) , son of

10. John Saunders (m. Jane Cathaside), son of

11. LAWRENCE SAUNDERS, the Martyr, (m. Elizabeth Kettewell),

son of

12. John Saunders ( m. Jane Lawrence)

Written by Myrtle Saunders with quotes from published information.

I have been interested in some accounts I have found of the SAUNDERS family, suggesting its possible origin, the origin and meaning of its name, and naming some of its members who were early settlers in the New World. I quote such accounts.

From them it will be noted that, while numerous persons bearing the name emigrated to America during the Seventeenth Century, only three are mentioned as being progenitors of a branch of the family whose descendants have traced their ancestry. These three are:

(1) John Saunders (m. Alice Coles), who arrived in Massachusetts in 1623, or possibly 1630.

(2) Thomas Saunders, who settled in New York in 1636.

(3) Edward Saunders, who was in Northumberland county, Virginia, before 1661.

The quoted accounts of the family make no mention of the American progenitor of our line, who was GEORGE SAUNDERS (m. Elizabeth Woodward), a grandson of Lawrence Saunders, the Martyr. This George Saunders is said to have visited Virginia in 1597, then to have returned to England, but to have been again in Virginia by 1632.

The first of the quoted accounts of the Saunders Family is an article by Frances M. Smith, copyrighted 1910 by Frank Allaben Genealogical Company, and is as follows:


"The name is spelled both "Saunders" and "Sanders", and it is a question which orthography is the older. The family is an ancient one and the origin of the name is lost in antiquity. One theory is that it was derived from "Sandy", a nickname for Alexander. Another gives, as its root word, "Sandy" - a messenger.

The family has been seated in many shires of England - Oxford, Warwick, Northampton, Buckingham, Lincoln, Essex, and Kent, and in London. A branch of the family was in Wales as early as the reign of Henry III.

"Frauncis Sanders" is said to have been a distinguished citizen of London town in 1640.

In Ireland the Sanders family, of Sanders Grove, county Wicklow, is described as "a family of very ancient descent". One member of this branch was High Sheriff.

He married Lady Martha, daughter of the Earl of Aldborough. There is a tradition that the Sanders family of Ireland descended from Robert, Lord of Innspruck, who was a brother of the famous Rudolph of Hapsburg, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

An American ancestor of colonial times was Thomas Sanders, who settled in New York. He came from Surrey, England, in 1636.

Edward Saunders (who spelled his name with a "u") was the founder of one branch of the Southern Saunderses. He was of English birth and came to Northumberland county, Virginia, but the date of his coming is not known. His son Ebenezer was born in Virginia in 1661, and that is the earliest known date of this line.

Another son of Edward was named after his father. Edward, junior, was a Captain, and owned land in Northumberland. Some deeds executed by him are still extant. His father, also, was a land owner.

Edward Saunders of the second generation married Sinah, whose surname is unknown. They had sons: William, Edward, Thomas - and daughters: Judy Freeman, Lucy Peebles, Peggy, Sally, and Celia.

The founder of the Maryland branch of the Saunderses was Thomas, son of Edward and Sinah, and his sons were among Revolutionary patriots.

William, brother of Thomas and son of Edward Saunders of the second generation, born 1718, in Lancaster county, Virginia, "had a good education for the times". When twenty years of age he married Betsy Hubbard, who was "religious and intelligent. She did perhaps come as nigh performing all the duties intended by her Maker for her to do as any woman of my knowledge", is the tribute paid by one who knew her. She was mother of twelve children. One of the dozen was Jesse, who married Ann Yancey. He was the hero of many hairbreadth escapes, and was once waylaid and shot, but Providence delivered him from all his tribulations. In the Revolution he proved a hero in the fight.

Distinguished families with which the Southern Saunderses intermarried were Harper, Turner, White, Kent, Garrett, Shackleford, Jones, and Bass.

The first of the family in Virginia, however, was Robert Saunders, whose name is found in the second charter granted to Virginia. This was in 1609.

The family are old residents of Kentucky, Sanders being the usual spelling in the Blue Grass region. Nathaniel Sanders, a wealthy planter, had seven children. One son was a western pioneer. Nathaniel's neighbors were Hickmans and Majors, and his children married into the families of Price and Gano.

The Sanderses of the New York branch intermarried with the Ten Eycks and Rensselaers and Glens, and one of the historic homes of America is Scotia, near Schenectady, the home for generations of the Glens and Sanderses - the Glen-Sanders home, it is called.

It was originally the Glen residence, but by the marriage of the heiress of the Glens, Deborah Glen, to John Sanders, it became the Glen-Sanders house, thus called ever since.

Deborah and John had five children, and one son, John, also married a Debora - as she spelled it - Debora Sanders, his cousin, daughter of Robert Sanders, of Albany. They were married in 1775.

Scotia has many interesting relics. There is the room in which Louis Philippe slept, when an exiled prince, and in this room are a spinet in one corner, and a piano "made by Astor".

In New England, a progenitor of right worthy characteristics was John Sanders, born in Wiltshire, England. He came to Salem, Mass., in 1630. He was married and had children at the time. Alice, or Ales, Coles was his wife. Their eldest son, John, married Priscilla Grafton. Descendants of this line are eligible to the Societies of the Colonial Wars, the Colonial Dames and Founders and Patriots of America.

While we should not say that the Saunderses are full of fight, of one of the family it is quaintly recorded that "he was an excitable, patriotic man, and took part in every war which occurred in his day. He was apt to get into serious difficulties, but he always emerged triumphantly."

Presley Saunders, of the Virginia family, was "moral, upright, steady". His daughter, Betsy, married James Hubbel, "a man of sprightly talents, but with no turn for getting or keeping money".  Betsy had a son, James Wilder, by her first husband.

Presley was a Revolutionary soldier. Among others of the Virginia line were Ensign Robert Hyde Saunders and Lieutenant Joseph. North Carolina was represented by Lieutenant William and Captain Jesse; South Carolina, by Roger, and Massachusetts by Captain Jesse. Jessee has always been a favorite name in the family.

One of the members of the Provincial Congress of North Carolina, 1776, was James Saunders, who was a Colonel in the Revolution. His brother William was also an officer of the North Carolina line. William's son was Romulus Mitchell Saunders, statesman and Minister to Spain.

Another prominent statesman was John Saunders, born in Virginia in 1754. He was Chief Justice. His only son, John Simcoe, was Secretary of the Province of Virginia.

Another distinguished man of affairs, Alvin Saunders, was born in rentucky in 1817. His father was a native of Virginia. Alvin was Governor of Nebraska Territory, and a member of the convention that framed the constitution of Iowa.The coat of arms ascribed to Thomas, the New York colonist is: Sable, a chevron ermine between three bulls' heads cabossed argent.

Crest: A demi-bull, erased gules.This coat of arms was granted in 1615 to the Sanders (also spelled Saunders) family of Down House, Ealing, Hants.

Similar arms were borne by Sir Charles Sanders, living about the middle of the eighteenth century.

One branch of the family was granted coat armor in 1610. The motto of Morley Sanders, Prime Sergeant, who lived in the days of Queene Anne, was, "Nil Conscire sibi".

Many of the arms are very old, granted in the beginning of heraldry.

Many other branches of the family had a right to arms. The Saunderses of Wales, who trace back to the time of Henry III., as mentioned above, bear the arms of the above description, with the motto: Invidere sperno - "To envy - I scorn.""

The second account of the Saunders family which I copy was prepared by the Media Research Bureau, of 1110 F Street, Washington, D.C., and reads as follows:


"The name of Saunders or Sanders is said to have been of German origin, but its meaning is obscure. It is found on ancient English and early American records chiefly in the two forms given above and occasionally in the additional form of Sandys.

The first of the name to make his home in England is believed to have been one Harlowen Saunders, a descendant of Robert, Lord of Insprunk, Germany, whose brother was the ancestor of the Archdukes of Austria. Harlowen is said to have settled in Wiltshire, England, about the year 1170 A.D. He took a Saxon wife, Larianna, daughter of Sir Edward Marsh, and was the father by her of Sir Harlowen and others.

This line of the family is given as descending from Sir Harlowen, through Sir Robert, Sir Charles, Sir Edward, Sir Robert, Sir Richard, Edward, Robert, Harlowen, Robert, Charles, Robert, Harlowen, Richard, Robert, and Richard, to Robert Saunders, Esq., a soldier of Oliver Cromwell's army. Many of the members of this line are believed to have emigrated to America after the restoration of the royalist regime, in order to avoid the wrath of the king.

Another line of the family, which used both Sandys and Saunders as its surname, was in the county of Cumberland in the early fourteenth century. Robert, living in

1333, had, among others, a son John, who had William, who had Eilliam, who had George, who had Edwin, who was Bishop of Worcester in 1560, of London in 1567, and of Winchester and York at later dates. Dr. Edwyn Sanders was the father of Sir Edwin, who was the father of Elizabeth, Sir Edwin, and Richard, of whom the last mentioned Sir Edwin was the father of Henry and Arthur, emigrants to America in the early seventeenth century.

John Saunders, of the Wiltshire line, the first member of the family to emigrate to America of whom there is definite record, was married at Weeke or Wick, in the parish of Downton, in 1610, to Ales Coles, by whom he had John, Elizabeth, Sarah, Joseph, and Moses.

This John Saunders carne to New England in 1623, and was at that time in charge of the Weymouth colony. After his failure to establish this colony, he returned to England. His eldest son, John, emigrated about 1628 to Salem, Mass., and was married there in 1636 to Priscilla Grafton, by whom he had an only son, John.

This first John, father of the above, returned to America in 1635, bringing with him his daughters, Sarah and Elizabeth. He was married to Hester or Esther Rolfe about 1639 at Salisbury, and is said to have had several children by her.

The other members of the family were in the Virginia, colony about 1622. One of these, George Sandys or Saunders, came over with his niece, Margaret Saunders, who was the wife of Sir Francis Wyatt, Governor of the Virginia Colony. The other was the Reverend David Sanders, who was overseer for the colony at James City, Va. The records of these two emigrants are not complete.

One Edward Sanders came to Boston in 1635 from Surrey, England, with his married daughter, Jane Parker. He later removed to Charleston, S.C., and was the progenitor of many of the southern branches of the family. Another emigrant of the year 1635 was Martin Saunders, who brought with him his wife Rachel and their children, Mary, Leah, Judith, and Martin, as well as three servants. He made his home for a time at Boston, but removed to Braintree about 1639. It is said that he had another son named John, who was born in America, but this is not certain. After his first wife's death in 1651, he married Elizabeth Bancroft, a widow, by whom he had no children.

The Daniel Saunders who was at Cambridge prior to 1640 is believed to have been the brother of Martin, but little is known of him.

In 1637, Henry and Arthur Sanders, sons of Sir Edwin, before mentioned, came to Massachusetts and were at various tunes in the towns of Marblehead, Salem, and Rowley. Of these brothers, Henry is said to have brought with him his wife, Sybill, by whom he had Samuel and Mercy.

Another John Saunders was at Wells in 1645, and is believed to have been at Hampton in 1643. By his wife Ann he had issue of Thomas and John, and probably others. Two brothers, Christopher and George Saunders, or Sanders, came to Windsor, Conn., about 1667. The first of these was the father of Daniel (died young), Susanna, Daniel, and Elizabeth, and he is believed to have removed to Rehoboth in the latter part of his life. George, the second of the brothers, married Mary Saxton, sometime before 1674, and was the father of George, Mary, and Abiah. It is said that this George died in 1690, yet one George Saunders or Sanders is said to have removed to Simsbury about that time, and is identified as the brother of Christopher. This George was married in 1691 to Abigail Bissell, by whom he had a daughter Hannah, and is believed to have died in 1697. It is possible that the first date of death was a mistake.

Others of the name who emigrated in the seventeenth century but left few records behind them, were, Robert of Cambridge, in 1636; William of Hempton, in 1638;, Edward of Portsmouth, in 1639; Tobias of Taunton, in 1643; Joseph of Dover, in 1656; James of Haverhill, in 1677; and John of Billerica, in 1679.

The descendants of these various branches of the family in America have spread to practically every state of the union, and have aided as much in the growth of the country as their ancestors aided in the founding of the nation. They have been noted for their courage, industry, energy, ambition, integrity, piety, strength of will, optimism, and ability to lead.

Among those of the name who fought as officers in the War of the Revolution were Captains Roger and William Sanders of South Carolina, Captain Richard Sanders of North Carolina, Captain Jesse Saunders of Massachusetts, Captains Nathaniel and Roger Parker Saunders of South Carolina, and Captains Jesse and William Saunders of North Carolina.

John, Edward, Thomas, Joseph, Henry, James, William, George, Daniel, Robert, Richard, and Martin are some of the Christian names most highly favored by the family for its male members.

A few of the many members of the family who have distinguished themselves in America in more recent times are: Alvin Saunders of Kentucky, legislator, 1817-1899; Frederick Saunders of London and New York, publisher and author, 1807-1902;

William Lawrence Saunders of Georgia, engineer and inventor, 1856-1931;

Frank Knight Sanders, Biblical scholar, 1861 andHenry Arthur Sanders of Maine, classical scholar, 1868- .

One of the most ancient of the several coats of arms of the family of Sa(u)nders is that of the Wiltshire line. It is described as follows;

Arms: Sable, a chevron argent between three elephants' heads erased sable; a chief or.

Crest: Out of a ducal coronet or, an elephant's head sable, eared and tusked or.

motto: Nil conscire, sibi nulla passascere culpa, or Genitura Secrodere Mundo.
(Arms taken from the "Sanders Genealogy" by C.W.Sanders.)


The above data have been compiled chiefly from the following sources:

Savage's Genealogical Dictionary of New England, 1862. Heitman's Historical Register of Officers of the Conental Army, 1914.

S.S.Smith's Founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1897.

C.W.Sanders' Sanders Family, 1908.

Saunders: Family Record and Genealogy,1872.

The Americana, 1934.

Col. James Edmonds Saunders, of Alabama, was a descendant of Edward Saunders, mentioned in the first account hereinbefore quoted as being an early settler in Virginia. In his book, Early Settlers, Col. Saunders, concerning his branch of the family, says this:

"The Saunders Family, according to its tradition, is of English descent. Edward Saunders was its progenitor in America, and its first settlement was in the Northern Neck of Virginia, in Northumberland county, near the Lancaster county line, not far from a place known as Fairfield, and the Rappahannock river. After some years, the Saunders homestead was across the county line in Lancaster, but only some eight or ten miles from Fairfield.

Precisely when Edward Saunders came from England to Virginia, tradition does not say. He had, however, a son named Ebenezer, born 1661, in Virginia, who left a son named Edward.

The date of Edward Saunders' birth has not come down to us (it was 1688), but as in 1718 he was married and had at least one child, and as in 1720 he was a vestryman inSt. Stephen's parish, in Northumberland county, and was a "Captain" (see 'Meade's Old Churches and Families of Virinia, page 468), it is safe to say that he was born some time before the year 1700.

"The date of Edward Saunders' death is uncertain. He was, however, alive in the year 1744, as in that year he executed a deed of gift now of record in Lancaster county.

Edward Saunders left three sons: William, Edward, and Thomas. Edward moved to Brunswick county, Virginia. His will (1783) mentions wife Sinah, and sons Eben and Edward; and daughters, Judy Freeman, Lucy Peebles, Sinah, Peggy, Sally, and Celia Saunders.

Thomas (third son of Edward) married, in Lancaster county, moved to the lower part of the State of Maryland, and had several children who bore themselves with credit in the Revolutionary War.

William Saunders, the eldest son of Edward, and with whom, as the lineal ancestor of our family, we have most to do, was born in the year 1718, in the county of Lancaster, at the homestead above mentioned. His youngest son, James Saunders, for whom I was named, wrote (1824) a memoir of the Saunders family of fifteen pages, which his grandson, Col. Wm. L. Saunders, of North Carolina, had printed many years ago, and distributed among his relatives. When the author wrote this memoir he was sixty years old, and his memory extended far back. Moreover, he lived with, and survived, his parents, and fell heir to all the family records. This will account for the specialty in dates which I am able to give for 170 years past. This "Family Memoir" describes William Saunders, above mentioned, as being about five feet eight inches in height, well made, of light complexion and blue eyes, from 150 to 160 pounds in weight, very active and fleet, possessed of agreeable manners, and "a good education for the times".

"On the 18th day of May, 1738, he married Betsy Hubbard, of his own neighborhood, daughter of Thomas Hubbard, of Scotch descent. She was born 22d of February, 1721, and had two brothers, Joseph and Ephraim Hubbard (ancestors of the Fosters of Nashville, Tenn.). Unlike her husband, she had dark complexion, black hair and black eyes. She was of common stature and good make, religious and intelligent. She did perhaps come as nigh performing all the duties intended by her Maker for her to do, as any
woman of my knowledge." (Family Memoir) Her memory is honored and cherished by her descendants in a remarkable degree.

The issue of this marriage:

(1) Thomas, born 18th June, 1739

(2) Mary, born 6th May, 1741(3) Jesse, born 21st July, 1743(4) Winifred, born 24th February, 1746 

(5) Frances, born 5th August, 1748 

(6) Edward, born 5th May, 1751

(7) Presley, born 19th October, 1753

(8) Joseph, born 7th June, 1757

(9) Ephraim, born 14th March, 1760

(10 & 11) William and James, twins, born 25th April, 1765

"Of the above, Thomas, our ancestor, was the eldest, (Saunders' Early Settlers, pp. 318-19.)

Tracing his personal ancestry farther, Col. Saunders continues on page 325 of his book;

Thomas Saunders "was the eldest child of William and Betsy (Hubbard) Saunders, and was born 18th of June, 1739. "He traveled while young to the county of Sussex, Va., where he married Anne Harper, a widow, whose maiden name was Turner. They settled in Brunswick county. He was an officer of militia, and was in service during the Revolutionary War. He was a pious man, dressed neatly, and had a pretty good English education." (Family Memoir)

"Rev. Turner Saunders was a son of Thomas and Anne (Turner-Harper) Saunders. He was born on the 3d of January, 1782, in Brunswick county, Va. He was well educated in the English branches and in the sciences, as they were called, and became an accurate surveyor. He was my father ...... On the 24th of July, 1799 (before he reached the age of eighteen), he was married to Frances Dunn of the same county.

...... In the year 1808, he removed from Virginia and settled .. in Williamson county, Tennessee.

Frances, wife of Rev. Turner Saunders, died in 1824; he married, in 1826, as his second wife, Mrs. Millwater, formerly Henrietta M. Weeden. He died in 1854, at the age of seventy two years."

On pages 7 and 10 of the same book is given the following information concerning Col. James Fdmonds Saunders, author of Early Settlers:

JAMES EDMONDS SAUNDERS was born in Brunswick Co., Va., May 7, 1806. His ancestor, Edward Saunders, "chirugeon", was already settled in Northumberland county, Virginia, in 1658, and in 1669, as one of the justices for the county, was administering both medicine and law, pari passu, and in drastic doses, no doubt. ... His great grandson, Thomas Saunders (born 1739), removed to Brunswick county after the Revolution, in which he and four brothers served with great credit in the American army in Virginia and North Carolina.

Rev. Turner Saunders, of Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi (born 1702), was second son of Thomas, and father of the subject of this sketch. He removed in 1808 to Franklin, Williamson county, Tennessee, and with him came his brother-in-law, Maj. David Dunn, of Brunswick county. ........

"July 14, 1824, when eighteen years of age, he (James Edmonds Saunders) married Mary Frances Watkins aged fifteen), eldest daughter of his neighbor, Maj. Robert H. Watkins (and his wife, Prudence Oliver), who had recently removed from Petersburg, Broad River, Georgia, and before that from Prince Edward county, Virginia." James Edmonds Saunders died August 23, 1896. His wife, Mary Frances (Watkins) Saunders, was born November 13, 1809, and died February 6, 1889.

EDWIN SANDYS (1516? - 1588), Archbishop of York, was probably born at Hawkshead, in Furness Wells, Lancashire, in 1616. He was third son of William Sandys by Margaret, daughter of John Dixon, of London. Edwin Sandys married, first, a daughter of Mr. Sandys of Essex, by whom he had a son; both his wife and child died shortly afterward. He married, as his second wife, on Feb. 19, 1558-9, Cicely, daughter of Sir Thomas Wilford of Cranbrook, Kent. By her he had seven sons and two daughters. (Dict. of Am. Biog, Vol. XVII, pp. 772-774.)

GEORGE SANDYS (1578 - 1644), poet, seventh and youngest son of Edwin Sandys, Archbishop of York, was born at Bishopthorp on March 2, 1577-8. Like his brother, Sir Edwin (1561-1629), Sandys interested himself in colonial enterprise. He was one of the undertakers named in the third Virginia charter of 1611. He took shares in the Bermudas Company, but disposed of them in 1619 when his application for the post of governor was rejected in favor of Captain Nathaniel Butler. In April 1621 he was appointed by the Virginia Company treasurer of the company, and sailed to America with Sir Francis Wyat, the newly appointed governor, who had married Sandys' niece Margaret, daughter of his-brother Samuel. When the crown assumed the government of the colony, Sandys was nominated a member of the council (26 Aug. 1624), and was twice reappointed (4 March 1626 and 22 March 1628). He seems to have acquired a plantation and busied himself in developing it, but was repeatedly quarrelling with his neighbors and with the colonial council. In 1627, he complained to the privy council in London that he had been unjustly treated. On 4 March 1627-8 Governor Francis West and the colonial council informed the privy council that Sandys had defied the rights of other settlers. A special commission "for the better plantation of Virginia" was appointed by the English government on 22 June 1631, and Sandys petitioned for the position of secretary, on the ground that he had "spent his ripest years in public employment" in the colony. His application failed, and he apparently abandoned Virginia soon afterwards.  He died, unmarried,, at Boxley in the spring of 1644.

(Dict. of Am. Biog., Vol. XVII, p. 779.)

JOHN SAUNDERS, planter (1677) of Hampton Parish, York county, Virginia, was Constable in 1677 (succeeding William Wade); surveyor of highways, with Henry Lee ana John Cosby, 1682; patented land in Goochland county, 1690; was progenitor of the Hyde-Saunders and Williamsburg-Saunders line (will proved 1700). He married Sarah, daughter of Peter Hargreave, who died in 1684, and whose estate was divided (1685) between John Saunders (the administrator) and Robert Roberts, who had married Mary, the other daughter of Peter Hargreave. Robert Roberts died in 1705 (his son, Robert Roberts, was Sheriff, 1712 - Records). Children mentioned in above will (1700); Christabel, "now wife of Samuel Waddem"; John, Edward, Robert, George, Hargreave, Peter, Sarah, and Susannah Saunders.(Saunders' Early Settlers, page 459.)

This John Saunders appears to have been twice married, for there is a deed recorded in Yorktown, dated 1707, whereby John and Edward Saunders (sons of John Saunders of York county whose will was proved Feb. 24, 1700) disposed of land to William Barber, which land was "inherited from their mother, Mary Risle, daughter of John.

JOHN SAUNDERS, jurist, born in Virginia in 1754; died in Fredericton, New Brunswick, in 1834. His grandfather emigrated to Virginia from England and acquired large landed estates. John received a liberal education and studied law, but in 1776 raised a troop of horse at his own expense, and joined the loyal forces. He was subsequently captain of cavalry in the Queen's Rangers, was often in engagements, and was twice wounded. At the peace he went to England, became a member of the Middle Temple, and practiced law. In 1790 he became a judge of the supreme court of New Brunswick, and he was appointed soon afterwards a member of the council of that colony. In 1822, he became chief justice. Judge Saunders possessed two estates in Virginia, both of which were confiscated. His only son, John Simcoe, held the office of Advocate-General, justice of the court or judicature, and member of the council, and at his death was secretary of the province."(Appleton's Encyclopedia of Am. Biog. Vol. 5 P404)

ROMULUS MITCHELL SAUNDERS (Mar.3,1791 - Apr.21,1867) , congressman, diplomat, was born in Caswell Co., N.C., the son of William and Hannah (Mitchell) Saunders. His mother died soon after his birth, and the family moved to Sumner Co., Tenn. He studied law under Hugh Lawson White, and was licensed in 1812.

On Dec.22,1812, he married Rebecca Peine Carter, and settled in North Carolina. By this wife he had three sons and two daughters. On May 26, 1823, he married, secondly, Anna Heyes Johnson, daughter of William Johnson, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, by whom he had two sons and four daughters.

On Feb. 25, 1846, he was appointed by President James K. Polk Minister to Spain, and was given the special commission to negotiate for the purchase of Cuba for $100,000,000. He failed in this mission; resigned from his post on May 1, 1849, and returned to Raleigh, N. C., which had been his residence since 1831. From 1850 to 1854, he represented Wake county, N. C., in the House of Commons. In 1852, he was again unsuccessfully candidate for the United States Senate, but was elected Superior Court Judge, remaining on the bench until 1867. He was a member of the North Carolina code commission of 1852-54, and from 1819-1864 served as a trustee of the University of North Carolina. "He had excellent abilities but lacked balance." (Dict. of Am, Biog., Vol. XVI, pp. 382-383.)

ALVIN SAUNDERS (July 12, 1817 - Nov. 1, 1899), Territorial Governor of Nebraska, United States Senator, was born ten miles south of Flemingsburg, Ky. His father, Gunnell Saunders, a native of Virginia, married Mary Mauzy, likewise a Virginian. When Alvin was about twelve years old the family removed to Springfield, Ill. At nineteen he went west, working on a farm at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, for a short time. .... In 1839, he was the youngest delegate to the convention that framed the constitution under which Iowa was admitted to the Union. On March 26, 1861, Lincoln appointed Saunders governor of the Nebraska Territory.  He was married, in Washington, D.C., March 11, 1856, to Marthena Survillar Barlow, of Greencastle, Ind. A son and a daughter were born to them; the latter married the only son of President Benjamin Harrison. Saunders died at his home in Omaha at the age of eighty two, and was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

(Dict. of Am. Biog, Vol. XVI, pp. 380-381)