Lt. John Sanders, of Cape Porpoise, Maine

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Lieutenant John Sanders

Also Known As: "John Saunders"
Birthplace: England
Death: between June 24, 1670 and August 23, 1670 (55-64)
Kennebunkport, York County, Maine
Immediate Family:

Son of unknown Sanders; John Sanders; Ann Sanders and NN Sanders
Husband of Ann Sanders; Hannah Ann "Nannie" Wilson and Ann Sanders
Father of Elizabeth Waldron; Grace Palmer; Thomas Sanders and John Sanders, Jr.

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Lt. John Sanders, of Cape Porpoise, Maine



There are five different men named John Sanders (or Saunders) during this period. This profile is for Lt John Sanders of Hampton, New Hampshire, Wells, Maine and Cape Porpoise, Maine.


“Lt John Sanders of Hampton, New Hampshire, Wells, Maine and Cape Porpoise, Maine” (- 1670) Planter. He had a wife Ann and had six children: Grace, Sarah, Thomas, John and Elizabeth and an unnamed child. He died in 1670 and left his will in Maine. He arrived in 1635 and purchased land in Ipswitch. He then obtained a patent to found the colony in Hampton, New Hampshire in 1639. He moved to Maine in 1641 and was trustee for the Georges Patent and settled in Wells in 1643. He moved to Cape Porpoise, York, Maine, where he died leaving a will.


Lieutenant John Saunders (alt Sanders), of Hampton, New Hampshire, Wells, Maine and Cape Porpoise, Maine arrived 1635 (based on possession of land at Ipswich in 20 April 1635). He first settled in Ipswich MA. He died between 24 June 1670 (acknowledgement of will) and 23 August 1670 (date of inventory) in Cape Porpus, York, Maine where he filed his will. Note Cape Porpoise, Maine is today a small coastal village in the town of Kennebunkport, Maine. He had a wife named Ann (maiden name unknown) and children:

  • 1) Sarah who married 1st Peter Turbet (c1625 – 1669) and 2nd Daniel Goodwin (c 1620 – 1712).
  • 2) Grace who married 1st John Bush and 2nd Richard Palmer
  • 3) Elizabeth who married 1st John Batson, 2nd John Walden and 3rd John Gove
  • 4) Thomas married Hopestill “Hope” Reynolds (c 1641 – 1708)
  • 5) John married Mary
  • 6) a child who died young.

All six of these children where “young” in 1643.

Please note he was not the son of John SANDERS who married Alice (COLES) of Downton parish, Wiltshire and he was not born at Weeke, England March 26, 1613. His origins are unknown.

John Sanders purchased land in Ipswitch in 20 April 1635. There is an alternate unsourced date of arrival of July 27, 1635 (see Cutter). He stayed for only a short period of time before returning to England. In 1636 he returned to New England and was made a freeman 25 May 1636. In 1638, he was sent to England to obtain a patent to found another colony. In 1639 He, William and Robert Sanders, and others received a grant of land and founded the colony of Hampton, Massachusetts later to become present day Hampton, New Hampshire. He was admitted as an inhabitant of the Hampton colony on 13 December 1639.

He then went to Richmond Island, Maine in 1641. He was employed by John Winter at Richmond's Island sometime between the last of July, 1641, and 10 June, 1642 (Trelawny Papers, 327). He was recorded in a letter John Winter sent to Robert Trelawny dated at Richmond's Island, 18 June, 1643. (Ibid. 38).

According to Libby he was at Hampton in 1643 when was fined for offensive speeches against the court, and petitioned for relief, having a wife and six small children for whom he could hardly find bread or clothes, and was himself very sick. Hampton friends, however, were willing to state he was fit to be made Sergeant. He sold his house lot to John Brown on 27 Jul 1643 in Hampton, to take possession 1 Mary 1644.

He moved to Wells, York, Maine in 1643. He received a grant of 150 acres in Wells by Thomas Gorges, deputy governor of the Province of Maine on 27 Jul 1643 plus 50 acres at a late date. Ezekiel Knight of Wells sold him a dwelling house there Aug 1645. (York Deeds, 1, Pt. 2: 11, 12.).

In Wells he was on the grand jury and trial jury, and was a selectman in 1647 and 1654-55. He was Sergeant in 1653, and Lieutenant by 1657. He witnessed a will at Wells, 8 Jan 1654, and made oath to it 17 July, 1657, stating “I Lieut. John Sanders.” (York Deeds, 1: 61, 62.).

Some of the more interesting family connections are confirmed in York Deeds, Volume 1 By Leonard Bond Chapman, Ernest Constant Bowler. Part I: Fol 107, 108 available on Google Books on page pages 289 – 292. Here we have the marks of both John Bush and his wife Grace (Sanders) Bush and Peter Turbutt who married Johan Sander’s other daughter Sara (Sanders) Turbutt. Also recorded is Grace and Sarah’s father (and John Bush’s and Peter Turbut’s father-in-law) John Sanders, Sr. In these deeds recorded on the 12 and 19 of Feb 1660, a Native American named Flewelline (elsewhere Flewellen) testifies that his late father Sosowen Sagamore with the consent his countrymen sold four square miles of land above the township of Wells and Cape Porpoise from the River called Cape Porpoise River to a line four miles West of the Saco River. This same tract is recorded in York Deeds, Vol 1 p 109. And he confirms the title to this land belongs to John Sanders, Sr, John Bush and Peter Turbutt. The Bush, Turbutt, Sanders family then sells this tract to Harlackenden Symonds of Wells.

He was one of the trustees of Ferdinando Gorges Patent in the Province of Maine, and gave the control over patent to the Massachusetts Bay Colony at Wells, 27 May, 1662. (British Calendar of State Papers, 1661-68.)

In 1663 he sold his farm in Wells and moved to Cape Porpus where he ultimately died. He and his wife Ann, “for £150 and other good causes, sell John Cutts of Portsmouth that Mansion house being neare Cape Porpus River in the parish of Wells commonly called John Sanders Farme" with 400 acres,” 9 Oct. 1663. (York Deeds, 1: 143.)

"John Sanders, Sr, signed a deed from John Bush and his wife Grace (Sanders) both of Cape Porpus to Thomas Mussell" on 24 Nov, 1669. (Ibid. 131).

He died between 24 June 1670 (acknowledgement of will) and 23 August 1670 (date of inventory) in Cape Porpus, York, Maine. A portion of his will reads: "John Sanders Senior of Cape Porpus, Planter, being very sicke and weake in body,” made his will 13 June 1670, and it was proved 24 June 1670. To his wife Ann Sanders he gave the use of his house and' lands for life, and at her decease the same to his son Thomas Sanders, and at his decease to his son John Sanders. To his son John Sanders 1,000 acres eight or nine miles above Cape Porpus River Falls. The rest of his estate to all of his children, unnamed. Widow Sanders returned the inventory" 23 Aug. 1670. (Maine Wills, 18, 19.)

After his death his wife sold a portion of their land. "Ann Sanders, executrix of the last will of her lately deceased husband John Sanders Senior of Cape Porpus, with the consent of Thomas Sanders, eldest son of the deceased, sells Andrew Alger of Cape Porpus…” for 7 pounds, 100 acres at Cape Porpus now in possession of Mr. Francis Johnson of Boston," 21 Oct. 1670. Here Richard Palmer (Grace Sander’s second husband makes his mark and gives his Oath as a witness). (York Deeds, Volume 2: Fol 127 (in Google Books p 379).

His wife Ann died after 21 Oct 1670. (Please note his wife’s maiden name was not Wilson).

I conclude that his six children were born between the years say 1630 and 1643 based on court records stating that all six of them were “young” in 1643. This would imply a marriage date before probably 1635. Note 1635 is the same year we receive record of his arrival in the Bay Colony. If we assume he was 25 years old when he married than he would have been born about 1610. Some authors have asserted that he was born much earlier without any cited source. There may be two reasons for this error:

  • 1) Some authors would like to identify this man with other men of the same name. Some authors would like to suppose that this “Lt John Saunders” of Maine was the same person as the man called “Captain John Saunders” who commanded the ill-fated Weymouth Colony in 1622 – 1623 from Thomas Weston's Company. Clearly he was not that same man. Some would like to suppose that he might have been the same man who married Alice Coles in 1610 and was father to the famous Quaker family (including two John Sanders) of Salem and father-in-law to Robert Pike. As we shall see in a separate biography this was not the case either. And some would like to equate him to John Sanders of Salisbury and Newberry – but as we shall see in a separate biography this also is not the case.
  • 2) There is a problem with the estimated date of birth of his daughter Grace Saunders and some authors have attempted to “goal seek” Lt John Saunders age in order to make their proposed age for Grace Saunders fit. We now know that Grace Saunders was “young in 1643 and therefore born probably by say 1630 or possibly a little earlier but certain not 1618 as proposed by some authors. She married to John Bush by 24 Nov, 1669 when her father signed a deed (see above) and she married second to Richard Palmer by 21 Oct 1670 when he was listed as signatory on the sale of her step-father’s land (see above). We have no evidence of her married state before 1669. If that is the case Grace probably was not married until about say 1650 and therefore she is not the mother of many of John Bush’s children. He must have had a first unknown wife. This is very unpalatable. Alternately she may have actually been the wife of John Bush’s son John Bush, Jr! In fact the later scenario might actually fit the facts better as they would have both been about the same age.

Biography and sources by Roland Henry Baker, III


  • Please see deeds and probate records cited in text. Links to some deeds and many other sources can be found here:
  • Torrey, Clarence Almon, New England Marriages Prior to 1700, (Baltimore; Genealogical Publishing Company, 1995), p652.
  • John Sanders of Cape Porpoise Maine and Some of his Descendants
  • Updated from Ancestry Genealogy by SmartCopy: Dec 27 2015, 0:13:59 UTC
  • Noyes, Sybil ; Libby, Charles Thornton; Davis, Walter Goodwin, Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, (Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Co. 1976), p606.
  • One word of warning - many older sources are incorrect and confuse the five different profiles of John Sanders. So be careful.
  • Maine Pioneers, 1623-1660
  • Gen. Column of the " Boston Transcript". 1906-1941.( The greatest single source of material for gen. Data for the N.E. area and for the period 1600-1800. Completely indexed in the Index.): 27 Oct 1915, 4807 p 299 Vol 153
  • Directory of the anc. heads of New England fams. Comp. By Frank R. Holmes. NewYork, 1923. (274p.):210 p 299 Vol 153
  • New England, The Great Migration and The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1633. Vol 2 C-F p 523, Vol 2 C-F 603, Vol 3 G-H p 101, Vol 4 I-L p 279, Vol 4 I-L p 280
  • William M. Sargent, comp. and ed., Maine Wills. 1640-1760 (Portland, Maine: Maine Historical Society, 1887; reprint Baltimore: Inc. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1996), 18-19, citing Court Records E, 44.
  • York Deeds By Leonard Bond Chapman, Ernest Constant Bowler Vol 1 61, 62, 107, 143 – see other citations in text. Vol 1 link
  • York Deeds By Leonard Bond Chapman, Ernest Constant Bowler Vol 2 Fol 127” Vol2
  • British Calendar of State Papers, 1661-68
  • New England Families Genealogical and Memorial: Volume IV
  • The History of Wells and Kennebunk from the Earliest Settlement to the Year ... edited by Edward Emerson Bourne. Starting page 84. link
  • Trelawny Papers, 327
  • New England Families Genealogical and Memorial: Volume IV of a four volume set. It has records of achievements of people from England, who have set up commonwealths in New England. About 6000 names included in this record by William Richard Cutter (Note this are a lot of errors in here but it is worth a read).
  • Find a Grave 39769698 link
  • History of Weymouth p 610 under Sanders link Note this source is very confused!!!
  • The Wainwright Family of Essex Count Massachusetts: link

See also

Lt John Sanders of Cape Porpoise, Maine

John Saunders of Salisbury

John Saunders of Weeks

John Saunders of Salem

John Saunders The famous Quaker

John Saunders of Weymouth

view all

Lt. John Sanders, of Cape Porpoise, Maine's Timeline

Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire, United States
Of Cape Porpoise, Maine
New Hampshire,British Colonial America
June 24, 1670
Age 60
Kennebunkport, York County, Maine