Sanford Bingham (1821 - 1910)

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Birthplace: Concord, Essex, Vermont, United States
Death: Died in Riverdale, Weber, Utah, United States
Managed by: B Lowe Chadwick
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Sanford Bingham

Biographical Summary:

Sanford Bingham, first son of Erastus and Lucinda (Gates) Bingham, born in Concord, Essex, Vermont, 3 May 1821, died in Riverdale, Weber, Utah, 21 November 1910; buried in Ogden, Weber, Utah. He married (1) Martha Ann Lewis, daughter of Benjamin Franklin and Joanna (Ryon) Lewis and (2) Agnes Ann Fife, daughter of Adam and Ellen (Helen) (Sharp) Fife. Martha Ann, whom he married near Grand Island, Nebraska, 18 July 1847, gave Sanford eleven children; Agnes Ann, whom he married in Salt Lake, 10 October 1863, gave him thirteen.

Baptized in 1833 at the age of twelve, Sanford was, along with his parents and siblings, among the earliest converts to “Mormonism” in Vermont. When Sanford was fifteen, in 1836, the family began the trek west; it spent the summer near Kirtland, Ohio, then, in the fall, continued on to Caldwell County, Missouri. In 1838, after Governor Boggs issued his infamous extermination order, the Binghams removed to Hancock County, Illinois. Then, when the exodus from Nauvoo began in spring 1846, the family followed the main body of the Church into Iowa and Nebraska (near Omaha), where Sanford’s brothers, Erastus and Thomas, and his brother-in-law, Elijah Norman Freeman, joined the Mormon Battalion. The remainder of the family spent the winter on the Missouri River, 150 miles north of Winter Quarters, then resumed the journey west the following spring. The head of the family, Erastus, was captain of ten wagons in Daniel Spencer’s Hundred. This, the second company of pioneers to leave the staging area at Elkhorn, started across the plains in June 1847 [Elkhorn, Nebraska, on the North Platte, about twenty miles west of Omaha].


A cripple from birth (club foot), Sanford, 26, made the trip on horseback, driving the loose cattle. Whether before leaving Elkhorn, or shortly after, he was smitten by an orphan lass of fourteen Martha Ann Lewis, whose uncle, Beason Lewis, was a member of Erastus’s Ten. Apostle Parley P. Pratt joined the couple in holy matrimony, a little above Grand Island, Nebraska, on 18 July. Bride and groom completed the journey to Salt Lake on the groom’s horse. Years later, when young couples planned their honeymoons, Martha Ann spoke of hers, “as a trip of a thousand miles riding behind her husband over mountains, hills, and plains.” From the cattle they herded, Sanford and his bride supplied the company milk and butter. Said Martha Ann: they put surplus milk and cream in a churn and tied it to the back of a wagon in the morning, before the start of the day’s journey; then, when they camped at night, they had butter ready for their supper. The Binghams reached Great Salt Lake on 19 September 1847. Said William C. Lewis: “If my memory serves me right, Sanford Bingham and his bride, my sister, Martha, and Thomas Bingham on horses, and my Uncle Beason Lewis, with his team, led the company into the valley.” [See “Pioneer Courtships: A Love that Never Died,” in Heart Throbs of the West, Vol. 2, and “Dairying in the West,” in Heart Throbs of the West, Vol. 5]

The Bingham brothers and others who arrived on 19 September drew lots in the Second Ward. The Bingham lots were situated in the Northeast Block (commonly known as the Gallacher Block). In spring 1848 and again in 1849, Sanford and his brother, Thomas, herded the Bingham lifestock into a canyon southeast of the city (i.e., Bingham Canyon). Sanford and his wife spent their summers there, in a little cabin at the mouth of the canyon, tending the cattle and horses; they spent their winters in the Second Ward, with John M. Lewis, Martha Ann’s brother.

Though the Binghams discovered several rich mineral deposits in the canyon while tending their herds, Church leaders discouraged prospecting, for fear that significant “finds” would bring on hordes of infidels. Now known chiefly as a source of copper, the main products of Bingham Canyon from 1868 into the 1890’s were gold, silver, and lead. [“The Story of Mining in Utah,” in Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 7]

In 1850, Sanford relocated with his father and brothers to a place about thirty-five miles north of Salt Lake, presently the City of Ogden. Here, Sanford continued his participation in the family’s livestock business. He also served as school teacher, once certainly at Farr’s Fort (1850-1851) and perhaps at other times [“Pioneer Forts of the West” in Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 9]. He was prominent in the early history of Weber County for his service as constable, justice of the peace, and school trustee. In 1856, the county court appointed him assessor and tax collector, offices he held until 1873.

In 1862, Sanford relocated with his wife and children to Riverdale, Weber, Utah, a few miles south of Ogden. Here, at the age of 42, he took as his second wife, seventeen year-old Agnes Ann Fife, whose father, Adam Fife, had served there as first president of the branch church. Sanford himself was named President of the Branch in 1868. When the Riverdale Ward was organized in 1877, Sanford was named Bishop, an office he held until released, owing to age and infirmities, on 20 January 1902. At that juncture, having been succeeded as Bishop by his son, Adam A., Sanford was ordained a patriarch of the Weber Stake. The Riverdale Ward in its early days appears to have been something of a Bingham feoff: Sanford’s wife, Martha Ann, was first president of the Relief Society (organized 1872) and the Primary Association (organized 1879); his son- and brother-in-law, Joseph Fife, was first president of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association (organized 1876), and his daughter, Martha Ann (Bingham) Fife, was first president of the Young Ladies Mutual Improvement Association (organized 1879) [See “Riverdale Ward, Weber Stake,” Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints].

For the foregoing account and other details of Sanford’s life, in addition to Descendants of Erastus Bingham and Lucinda Gates and Sketch of the Life of Erastus Bingham and Family, Utah Pioneers of 1847 (both of which are available on CD from Digital Editions), see the Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, and Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah: Genealogies and Biographies.

SOURCE: http://www.familyhistorypages.com/Lewis.htm

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Sanford Bingham's Timeline

1821
May 3, 1821
Concord, Essex, Vermont, United States
1833
November 18, 1833
Age 12
1846
January 30, 1846
Age 24
1847
July 18, 1847
Age 26
Banks Of Platte,Grand Island,Ne
1848
September 1, 1848
Age 27
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT, USA
1850
January 29, 1850
Age 28
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT, USA
1851
September 25, 1851
Age 30
Weber, UT, USA
1853
May 30, 1853
Age 32
North Ogden, Weber, UT, USA
1854
December 30, 1854
Age 33
Weber, UT, USA
1856
October 16, 1856
Age 35
Weber, UT, USA