Joseph Sanford, 1740–1784


joiner; cabinetmaker


Newport, Rhode Island, Exeter, Rhode Island, New Bedford, Massachusetts

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Joseph Sanford was born in 1740, son of Capt. Esbon Sanford (1693–1743) and Mary (Woodward) Sanford (1700–1745) of Newport. His paternal grandparents were Samuel Sanford (1635–1713) of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and Susannah (Spatchurst) of Bermuda and Portsmouth. His paternal great-grandparents, John Sanford (died 1650) and Bridget (Hutchinson) Sanford, were among the original settlers of Portsmouth, being son-in-law and daughter of Anne Hutchinson. His maternal grandparents were Israel Woodward and Bennet (Eddy) Woodward of Swansea, Massachusetts.(1)

In 1760, Joseph moved with his brothers Encome (1721–1805), Benjamin (1733–1829), and Joshua (1738–1815 or 1816) to Nova Scotia. He was among the original grantees in Newport, Nova Scotia, in 1761, and received land there in the second division of 1762. Though his brothers would stay in Nova Scotia, Encome and Joshua dying in Newport, Joshua returned to Newport, Rhode Island, soon after leaving.(2)

In June, 1763, Joseph was identified as a joiner in Newport, Rhode Island, "living near the point bridge" and he advertised for sale the, "Very Best Teneriffe Wine, by the Quarter Cask, or by the single Gallon."(3)

Joseph married Mary Clarke (1740–1811) of Newport on June 13, 1764. They would have seven children; Esbon (born 1765), Peleg (1767–1769), an unnamed infant (1770), Joseph (born 1772), Mary Ann (1775–1818), Samuel Clarke (1777–1799), Lydia (born 1781).(4)

Also in 1764, Job Townsend willed "twenty five plains which are stocked or have handles to them" to his cousin Joseph Sanford.(5)

Sanford was still active as a cabinetmaker in Newport in 1774 when he purchased land in Newport from John Chapman of Exeter.(6) He was in New Bedford, Massachusetts, by 1777 when his son Samuel was born, and in Exeter, Rhode Island, by 1782 when he sued Newport chair maker Samuel Phillips for failure to pay a debt of ten pounds.(7)

He died in Newport in November, 1784.(8)

Benjamin W. Colman and Patricia E. Kane

1. John Victon Duncanson, Newport, Nova Scotia- A Rhode Island Township (Belleville, Ontario: Mika Publishing Company, 1985), 352.

2. Duncanson, Newport, Nova Scotia, 353-358.

3. The Newport Mercury, "To be SOLD," June 27, 1763,

4. Peleg F. Pierce "The Sanford Family," The Rhode Island Historical Magazine 7 no. 4 (1887): 302.

5. Job Townsend will, 1764, Newport Town Council and Probate, vol. 18, 1704-1776, pp. 151-152, microfilm no. 0941997, Family History Library, Salt Lake City.

6. John Chapman to Joseph Sanford, May 10, 1774, Newport Deeds, vol. 3, pp. 3-4, Newport City Hall, R.I.

7. Joseph Sanford v Samuel Philips, Inferior Court of Common Pleas, Kings County, Record Book, vol. I, p. 623, case 202, Judicial Archives, Supreme Court Judicial Records Center, Pawtucket, R.I.

8. The Newport Mercury, "Deaths," November 6, 1784,