We four Sanders sisters embarked on our family
genealogy adventure in 1977 with a trip to
Pickens County, AL, then on to Kershaw County,
SC in 1979. Over the past 30 years, we have
totaled three trips to Pickens County (found new
information every time), and three trips to
Kershaw County SC, again learning something new
each time. Itís been a wonderful adventure
discovering these related families: Sanders,
Drakeford, Strickland, Cowsert, West, Layton,
and possibly two yet to be discovered.
|L-R clockwise: Wanda
Sanders Bodemann, Ione Sanders Holeman, Betty
Sanders Cowan and Lavonne Sanders Walker
An old writing desk that belonged to our great
grandfather, Richard Sanders, was handed down in our family and its
contents formed the basis of a book we published in 1999. Richardís
personal papers from 1852 in Pickens County to the 1870ís in Scott
County, Arkansas, were in excellent condition, but there was always a
nagging worry that our educated guesses with circumstantial evidence
might be wrong. Our Eureka! moment came in July, 2007 when we returned
to South Carolina a third time and found confirmation in brittle and
dusty court records that we finally coaxed out the custodian in Camden.
Our assumptions were on the money, and the book, A Sanders Saga,
is available from: Wanda Sanders Bodemann, 155 Forest View Circle, Hot
Springs AR 71901; (501) 609-9630, email
James Sanders & Nancy Drakeford Family
Kershaw County, South Carolina
Flat Rock Creek is a branch of Grannies Quarter Creek that lies on the
northeast side of the Wateree river about nine miles north of Camden,
SC. This area, known as Grannies Quarter, was the ancestral home of many
Pickens County families: Drakeford, Sanders, Peach, Layton, West, and
Gaskin. They were part of the great out-migration of small independent
farmers from South Carolina in the early 1800ís, estimated to be nearly
half of all white South Carolinians born after 1800, prompting the
Camden SC Journal in 1854 to express concern about the loss of some of
the stateís best talents. In 1850 the average size of a SC farm was the
largest in the nation (541 acres), compared with the U.S. average of 114
acres. Many historians believe there was a strong connection between the
stateís plantation size and her leadership role in events leading to
James Sanders of Kershaw County SC (parents unknown) was born between
1770-1780 and died in 1832. He married Nancy Drakeford, daughter of
Richard and Sarah Scott Drakeford. She was born 17 Aug 1779 in SC and
died 20 Jun 1852 in Pickens County AL where she is buried in Unity
Cemetery. Their children were born in Kershaw County but we believe all
of them moved to Pickens County between 1832 and 1840.
1. Drakeford Sanders, 24 Apr 1801, married Mary Boone Soules in SC ca
1825 in SC, died 22 May 1870 in MS; both buried in Old Chapel (Pettey)
Cemetery near Verona, MS. Their children were William Nathaniel 1827 in
SC (married Martha Elizabeth Christian) and Margaret E 1828 (married
James D Minga in MS).
2. Margaret A Sanders, born 18 Mar 1803, married Nathaniel West in SC,
died 9 Jan 1878 in MS; both buried in Nebo Cemetery near Carrollton MS.
Children: Wm J 1829, Nathaniel Columbus 1831 (married Cynthia Jane
Gaskins), Benjamin Franklin 1833 (married Agnes T Cunningham), George W
1834, Richard D 1837 (married Mary E Lockhart), John D 1838, Mary 1840
(married John W Boon), Indiana F 1842, and F Blancil 1844. Five of their
sons died in the Civil War.
3. Richard Sanders, born 26 Jun 1805, married Mary Strickland,(daughter
of Kindred and Tempy Reaves Strickland) in Pickens Co, died 28 Jul 1873
at Parks, AR and is buried in Parks Cemetery. The children were born in
Pickens County: James Gray (our grandfather)b 1843, md Sarah E M Cowsert
(daughter of Richard R D F Cowsert and Eleanor Adeline Cowsert)1866
Pickens Co AL, died 1901 at Cedar Creek in Scott County AR; Louisa E
Rebecca, b 1845, md John Thomas in Pickens Co AL, died 1897 in TX; Nancy
C, b 1847, md Ephraim Igo, died 1929 at Bogata, Red River Co TX; Mary E
b 1848, died 1897 in Scott Co AR; Richard D b 1850, died 6 Aug 1877
Scott Co AR; Virginia B Margaret b 1853, md Samuel J Hallman, died 1920
Alvarado TX; William K b 1855, md Mary Jane Austin, died 1894 Scott Co
4. James Sanders, born 11 Jul 1808, married Charlotte ___of Pickens
County, died 25 Jun 1852; buried near his mother in Unity Cemetery.
Children: Tanzy Elizabeth 1840, died 1855, buried in Unity Cemetery;
Nancy 1843, Margaret S 1845, and Mary C 1847. Unity Church minutes show
Charlotte may have married a Norris or Morris after Jamesís death, but
we have been unable to learn any more about this family.
5. Elizabeth Sanders, born 1810-15. We welcome any information about
6. Mary Sanders, born 1810-15. Would also welcome more information about
7. Nancy Sanders, born ca 1820, may have married a Walker. Weíre still
searching for her.
8. William F Sanders, born 16 Jun 1823, married Ann Corder ca 1845, died
29 Oct 1852; buried near his mother and brother in Unity Cemetery.
Children: Nancy C 1848, md Robert Allen Mullins, died 1917 in Columbus
MS; John J 1850, md Harriet (possibly Sullivan), NFR; Elizabeth died by
1870. Ann Corder Sanders then married James W. Gaskins ca 1855, and they
had Jefferson 1856, William 1858, and Curtis 1860.
Wanda Sanders Bodemann
4. James Sanders, born 11 Jul 1808, married Charlotte Dawson (born ca
1822 to Benjamin Dawson and Nancy Burgess ca 1839 in Kershaw Co. SC).
James died 25 Jun 1852 and is buried in Unity Cemetery beside their
daughter, Tanzy Elizabeth (1840-1855). There other three daughters were
Nancy Ella b. 1843 (McMath), Margaret S b. 1845(Bullifin), and Mary C b.
1846 (Freeman). Charlotte then married Joseph Morris and died after
1880 in Carroll County, Mississippi.
7. Nancy Sanders, born ca 1820, married John P. Dawson ca 1851 in
Pickens County AL and died ca 1866 in MS. John was born ca 1810 in
Kershaw Co SC to Benjamin Dawson and Nancy Burgess. They had 3
children: Benjamin, 1852 (Mattie Watkins), Nancy Elizabeth, 1853
(McGraw), and William K, 1861.