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Notable Family Members
Notable Phelps Anson Green Phelps, Merchant and philanthropist Austin Phelps, Congregational clergyman, theologian and author Chance Russel Phelps, Private, USMC Charles Edward Phelps, Congressman, Judge, Author Delos Porter Phelps, Lawyer and U.S. Assistant Treasurer Edward John Phelps, Lawyer, educator Dr. Francis Phelps, Representative and Senator Francis G. Sanburn, Pioneer Resident of Knoxville, Illinois George M. Phelps, Master telegraph instrument maker and inventor Dr. Guy Rowland Phelps, Founder, Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance John Phelps, Clerk of the Court at the trial of King Charles I Judge James Phelps, Judge and Congressman Judge John Jay Phelps Judge, merchant, and entrepreneur. Judge John Phelps, Constitutional Convention Signatory from Connecticut John Wesley Phelps John Wolcott Phelps, Brigadier General, United States Volunteers Mary Ann Phelps Rich, Latter-day Saints Pioneer Mary Phelps Jacob, Inventor of the Brassiere Noah Phelps, A Patriot of 1776 and Revolutionary War Spy Oliver Phelps Merchant, Revolutionary War veteran, Representative, Senator land promoter Rev. Philip Phelps First President, Western Theological Seminary Richard Phelps, Bell-founder for Churches Throughout England John Smith Phelps Lawyer, Repesentative, Governor Samuel Shethar Phelps, Jurist, Congressman, and Senator Samuel Phelps, English Actor.html Stephen Sumner Phelps, Illinois Pioneer and Origin of the Hawk Eye State Name Thomas Stowell Phelps, Rear Admiral and Civil War Veteran William Walter Phelps, Congressman, Ambassador, and Judge William Wines Phelps, Judge, Latter-day Saint, Publisher and Writer William Lyon Phelps, American educator, author and critic

Nathaniel Sanborn Biography

Pioneer Settler of Canandaigua, New York

Nathaniel Sanborn is listed on the Lexington Alarm List in 1778, as being from Wethersfield, Connecticut. Nathaniel was a farmer and singing-master by vocation; that is, he devoted his time to agricultural pursuits, except during the winter months, when he was engaged in teaching music in what was then known as the winter-evening singing-school. His wife was formerly a Miss Hannah Gold, a native of Connecticut, and born Feb. 17, 1763. She was a woman of great energy and enterprise.

In 1790, Nathaniel Sanburn emigrated with his family to what was then called the "Far West," and located on the present site of the busy city of Canandaigua, where he purchased a tract of timbered land, which is at the present time included within the corporate limits of that city, and fronts on Main street.

A few years after their location there Mrs. Sanburn returned to her native home, making the entire journey alone through the trackless wilderness on horseback. Their house at Canandaigua was open to the traveling public and became a favorite stopping place. He died at that place June 25, 18 14, aged 57 years.

Nathaniel was a member of the Masonic fraternity, an old pioneer of that county, and a gentleman loved and respected by all who knew him. His wife survived him many years, her death occurring Nov. 6, 1856, at the venerable age of 94 years.

From the Pioneer History of the Holland Land Purchase, published by O. Turner in 1850, we quote: "Mrs. Hannah Sanburn is the oldest surviving resident of the village (Canandaigua) and with few exceptions the oldest upon Phelps & Gorham's purchase. She is now in her 88th year, and exhibits but few of the infirmities of that advanced age, with faculties, especially that of memory of early events, but slightly impaired. The author found her in high spirits, even gay and humorous, enjoying the hearty laugh of middle age when her memory called up some mirthful reminiscence. Upon her table were some of the latest publications, and she alluded in conversation to Headley's fine descriptions in his ' Sacred Mountains,' as if she had enjoyed them with all the zest of her younger days. She had just finished a letter in a fair hand, showing but little of the tremor of age, which was to be addressed to a great-granddaughter.

To Mrs. Sanburn I am greatly indebted for reminiscences of pioneer events at Canandaigua. Nathaniel Sanburn, husband of Hannah Sanburn, died in 1814. There is scarcely a pioneer settler in the Genesee country that did not know the early landlord and landlady. Mrs. S. was the daughter of James Gold, of Lyme, Conn., and the aunt of James Gold, of Albany.

Her sons, John, William and Nathaniel, live in Illinois. Her third daughter was the first white child born in Canandaigua, is now 60 years of age, and the wife of Dr. Jacobs, of that city. Another daughter is the wife of Henry Fellows of Penfield, and another is the wife of Erastus Granger, of Buffalo, while a fourth is a maiden daughter residing with her mother.

Early in the spring of 1790, Mr. Sanburn came with his wife and two young children to Schenectady, where he joined Judah Colt, and the two chartered a boat, with which they came to the head of navigation of the Canandaigua outlet. Mrs. S gives us a graphic account of this journey. The last house the party slept in after leaving Schenectady, until they arrived at the cabin on the Canandaigua outlet, was the then one log house in the now thriving and busy city of Utica.

It was then crowded with boatmen from Niagara. Mrs. Sanburn spread her bed upon the floor for herself, husband and children, and the boatmen begged tlie privilege of laying their weary heads upon its borders; after that they camped wherever night overtook them; on the Oswego River they took possession of a deserted camp, and just as they had prepared their frugal meal, two stout Indians came and claimed the camp and threatened to eject them. The conflicting claim was amicably adjusted, but Mrs. S. says it was the first of the Indian race she had ever seen, and she could not help but become a little frightened.

Mr. Sanburn moved into the log hut that he had erected in the Robinson neighborhood, where, however, they staid but a short time, Mrs. S. choosing to go where she could have more than one neighbor within eight miles, and they consequently removed to the little village of Canandaigua. Mrs. S. says that in May, 1790, there were residing at that place Joseph Smith, living on the bank of the lake; Daniel Brainard, in a little log house near the present cemetery ; Capt. Martin Dudley, in the house built by Mr. Walker, and James D. Fish, in a log house down near the lake.

Gen. Chapin, who had been there the fall before, had erected a small frame house for his family, but it was unoccupied, and Mr. Sanburn moved into it until he was enabled to erect a small frame house on the Atwater comer, and after moving into it engaged as " mine host, " which, with exception of that which had been kept by Joseph Smith, was the first tavern west of Seneca Lake, and was the only one for four years.

Mrs. Sanburn enumerated among her early guests many who became prominent in the country's history, such as Oliver Phelps, Charles Williamson, Aaron Burr, Thomas Morris, Rev. M. Kirkland, Augustus and Peter B. Porter, James and William Wadsworth, early judges of the Supreme Court of this State, Bishop Chase and many other eminent men, but few of whom are living at this writing. Mrs. Sanburn well remembers the Pickering treaty of 1794, and gives a graphic description of scenes and incidents of this treaty, which space will not permit me to copy.

The first Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions was held at the house of Nathaniel Sanburn in Canandaigua in 1794; there was a grand jury and one indictment found. The first permanent church organization was that of St. Matthew's Church, organized Feb. 4, 1799, at the house of Mr. and Mrs. Sanburn, at Canandaigua."


From Portrait and Biographical Album of Knox County, Illinois; (1856) page 657, 658 and Connecticut Men in the Revolution, page 25.