SANDERS, ELISHA - Pawnee, Ill., has many residents now living retired from active life after years spent in agricultural operations, who can remember the time when Sangamon County was little better than a wilderness, and who have watched its growth and development year by year until it is now one of the most productive counties in the State. One of these retired citizens who has a large acquaintance is Elisha Sanders, who was born in Pawnee Township, April 26, 1848, a son of Robert E. and Eliza (Funderburk) Sanders.
Mr. Sanders' paternal grandfather was a native of Kentucky and came to Illinois the winter before the deep snow, settling on Spring Creek, near Springfield, but later located near Pawnee, where he spent the balance of his life and there died, as did also his wife, who bore the maiden name of Elizabeth Fausett. Grandfather Funderburk was a native of Sangamon County, where his life was spent. Robert E. Sanders was born in Kentucky, May 26, 1825, but lived in Sangamon County practically all of his life, engaging in agricultural pursuits there until his death, January 3, 1906, in Pawnee. The children of Robert E. and Eliza Sanders were as follows: Mary E., Margaret A., Eliza J., John E., Thomas E., James W., Sarah, Robert W., Emerson, Dennis and Ezra, all living, and Jannie, Susan, Clarence and an infant, deceased. During the war Mr. Sanders was one of the leading Democrats in his section of the State, and his duties as Collector led him into considerable trouble, several attempts being made to search his house by the enemies of the Democratic party. On March 5, 1865, his brother, J. E. Sanders, was killed by a shot fired by Barney Vanarsdale, who in company with Jim Lemon and another were robbing Mr. James Bodge's store in Pawnee. Vanarsdale and Lemon were captured and hung in the jail yard at Springfield by Sheriff Crafton.
Elisha Sanders was educated in the country schools of Pawnee township, and remained at home, working on the farm with his father until he had reached the age of twenty-two years, when he started to work on various farms in the vicinity and so continued until 1883, in which year he went to Kansas. He farmed there until 1886, then returned to Pawnee and purchased property, and has made his home there to the present time. Mr. Sanders is a Democrat in politics, has served as Constable of Pawnee for four years and was also on the police force for three years. Fraternally he is connected with the Odd Fellows, the Court of Honor and the Modern Woodmen, while his religious affiliation is with the Primitive Baptist Church, his wife and children belonging to the Methodist Episcopal denomination.
Mr. Sanders was married in Pawnee Township, September 30, 1869, by the Rev. Samuel Proctor, to Mary E. Frey, born in Smith County, Tenn., October 4, 1852, daughter of James E. and Sarah J. (Harris) Frey, natives of Tennessee, who were married in that State and came to Sangamon County, Ill., in 1861. The father died in Sangamon County in 1907, but his widow survives him and resides in Divernon. They had the following children: Ida M., James J. and Benjamin S., who are deceased; and William B., Mary E., Robert S., Dawson B., Sarah E., and Rebecca A. The Frey family had many exciting experiences in making their way through the Confederate lines to Illinois in 1861, as they were known to be in sympathy with the North.
To Mr. and Mrs. Sanders have been born the following children: Julius O., born in Christian County, Ill., December 28, 1872, now a resident of Oblong, Crawford County, Ill., married Hattie Gore, of Taylorville, and has two children, Helen and Louis; Lillian P., born in Sangamon County, August 2, 1875, married H. O. Barnes, of Macoupin County, and now resides in Springfield, where he is a teacher in the high school; Earl V., born in Elk County, Kan., is now a mail carrier and makes his home with his parents; an infant, born July 7, 1871, who died the same day; James E., born September 16, 1880, died January 11, 1882, in Pawnee; and an infant born and buried December 2, 1882.