The Sanborn Family

Elijah M. Sanborn Jr. was born September 17, 1791 in Vermont to Elijah M. Sanborn Sr. and Elizabeth Tilton.  He was the youngest of five known children.  Elijah Sr. was born on September 22, 1761 in Kensington, Rockingham, New Hampshire.  On September 7, 1779 he married Elizabeth in Kingston, Rockingham, New Hampshire. Elizabeth was born on June 10, 1756 in Kingston.

Prior to Elijah’s birth, his parents moved to northern Vermont (probably near Fairfax in Franklin County), which eventually lead Elijah Jr. to move to near Compton, Quebec, Canada.  The book “The Genealogy and History of the Ingalls Family in America” on page 213 indicates that: “The Ingalls, Sleepers, Taggarts, and Sanborn families moved from New Hampshire to Canada, next to New York and thence to Michigan.”  The Sleeper family initially settled near Sandown, Rockingham, New Hampshire before moving to Vermont, then Quebec, then western New York and finally Almont, Lapeer, Michigan. 

It is not known when Elijah Jr. and Sophia Sleeper first became acquainted but while in Canada they became engaged and married about 1816 in Compton, Quebec, Canada.  Sophia Sleeper was born on October 5, 1796 in Fairfax, Franklin, Vermont.  Sophia was Jonathan Sleeper older sister.   Elijah and Sophia’s first son, David, was born on May 17, 1817 in Canada.

Sometime in 1818, Sophia’s father, Josiah Sleeper, and step-mother moved to Murray County in western New York.  It is likely that Elijah and Sophia moved with them and also settled in Murray County or nearby.  Elijah and Sophia second son, John T., was born February 25, 1820 in New York.  A third son, Josiah, was born in New York on October 6, 1823.

In 1824 but no later than early 1825, Elijah and Sophia moved from New York to Oakland County, Michigan.  Their fourth son, Martin E., was born on May 18, 1825 in Oakland County.  The exact location of the homestead is not currently known but on July 1, 1829 they purchased property in Addison Township, which is the northeast corner of Oakland County with Lapeer County to the north and Macomb County to the east.

In 1825 or 1826, Sophia’s father and step-mother bought property in Washington Township, Macomb County, Michigan and moved there.

Elijah Sanborn Jr. visited the Almont area in 1830 and purchased property in Section 34 on June 26, 1830.  Section 34 is east of Van Dyke Road on the north side of Bordman Road.  However, Elijah did not build on the property until 1831.  Technically, this means that Sophia and not her brother Jonathan was the first Sleeper to own property in Almont Township.

Elijah returned in March of 1831 and started his homestead on the north side of Bordman Road about a quarter mile east of Van Dyke.  That year the winter extended into April with heavy snow falls.  To keep his animals alive, he had to feed them his supply of flour and the straw from the family’s mattresses.  He was forced to travel to Troy to get supplies to feed both his animals and his family. 

Elijah moved to Almont with his wife, Sophia Sleeper Sanborn, and their four sons.  Sophia would soon be pregnant with their first daughter, Laura Amelia who was born in Almont on June 27, 1832.  On January 5, 1831 Elijah bought additional property in Section 34 of Lapeer County.  Later that year on September 1, 1831, he bought the property in Macomb County, which was across the road from his homestead.  [Author’s note: I believe this to be the location of my grandfather’s property, 7642 Bordman Road.]  

Elijah and Sophia would have their fifth son, Benjamin, in 1835.  Their last child, a girl, Sophia, was born on August 10, 1840 in Almont.  Author’s Note:  There is evidence, as yet unconfirmed, that Elijah and Sophia were married earlier than 1816 and had more children than those listed.

Eljah M. Sanborn Jr. passed away on November 20, 1869 in Lapeer County.  Sophia Sleeper Sanborn died December 8, 1882 in Goodland Township, Lapeer County, Michigan.  At the time of her death, Sophia was probably living with her brother Benjamin.  Elijah and Sophia are buried in the Goodrich Cemetery on Kidder Road in Bruce Township, Macomb, Michigan.

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