Oswego County's: Guide To Government

Richard K. Sanford

SENATOR SANFORD is a native of the town of Volney, Oswego county, N. Y., and was born on the 25th of July, 1822. His ancestors were originally members of the Plymouth Colony, and abandoned their home rather than surrender their religious freedom. His paternal grandfather served in the war of the Revolution, and gained honorable distinction. After the close of the war, he settled in Warren, Herkimer County, and reared a family. In 1816, Kingsbury E. Sanford, his son, and father of the subject of this sketch, removed to Volney, Oswego County, where, as we have mentioned, Richard was born. Mr. Sanford was one of the first settlers of the town., and bore a prominent part in the public affairs of that region. In 1819 he was appointed Justice of the Peace by the old Council of Appointment, and during the greater portion of his active life was honored with official station.

Senator Sanford entered Hamilton College in 1839, and graduated in 1843, taking the highest honors of his class. He was soon afterwards elected Superintendent of Common Schools in his native town, which position he held until he was invited to take charge of Middlebury Academy, in Wyoming county, where, and at other institutions, he remained until 1855, when he settled on a farm in the vicinity of his father's residence.

Becoming wearied of agricultural pursuits, however, after about three years of earnest toil, he abandoned his farm and entered upon the more congenial occupation of catering for the public, through the medium of a newspaper. In 1856, he became the owner and editor of the Fulton Patriot and Gazette, and since that time has been its conductor. In this employment, he is at home, having, by education and the accumulation of a large fund of knowledge, political, historical and general, become eminently fitted for the position of editor.

Here he has attained an enviable reputation, not only for firmness as a politician and ability as a writer, but for his uniform courtesy, and honorable bearing towards all men and all parties. Although a political editor, he has but little taste for the usual appliances of partisan- ship, preferring to wage a contest of principle, to that of winning an ephemeral triumph, by means of the intrigues and tricks of caucus. "An honest man is the noblest work of God."

In the fall of 1860 Senator Sanford was honored with a nomination for the Assembly, without his solicitation or expectation. It was a voluntary tribute by his friends of all parties, to his moral worth and patriotic devotion to the cause of the Union, then, and now, in jeopardy by the secession of the Southern States, and the civil war against the Government consequent thereon. His voice had been emphatic in favor of sustaining the national authorities upholding the Constitution, and defending the national honor; and his name was given to the people as one calculated to inspire the feelings of the masses, rouse them to action, and cheer them on to victory. The result vindicated the sagacity of his friends. He was elected by an unprecedented majority. Performing his legislative duties to the entire satisfaction of his constituents, his services were again demanded; and in 1861 his name was brought forward as a candidate for State Senator. He was elected, and now occupies a seat in that distinguished body.

In his Senatorial course, Senator Sanford commands universal respect. His character and tastes comport well with the dignity of the office. He is usually silent, but always attentive to his duties, rarely participating in debate, and only when necessity seems to demand an effort. In his manner he is calm and courteous, seeming rather to avoid than attract attention; and when he speaks it is with the purpose of enforcing his views, and elucidating the subject matter under discussion. He attempts no rhetorical display or finished elocution; but his ideas are always good, his words well chosen and well weighed, and his manner deliberate and impressive. He is not an orator but an excellent talker, and he talks good sense, sound logic and convincing argument. In politics he was formerly a radical Democrat, and voted for John P. Hale in the Presidential election of 1852. In 1854 he united with the Republican Party, and continues an able advocate and defender of its creed. Senator Sanford was married, in 1848, to Miss Lucy A. Carrier, who died in May, 1859, after a protracted illness and great suffering. She left two children. He is a member of the Presbyterian church in the village of Fulton, where he resides, and sustains a high social position.

Biographical sketches of the state officers and Members of the Legislature of the State of New York in 1862 and 1863.

Pages 105 - 108.