Biography of Benjamin C. Sanborn
Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties, MN Biographies

This biographical memoir has to do with a pioneer character of unusual force, for the late Benjamin C. Sanborn, whose life chapter has been closed by the fate that awaits all, was for a number of years one of the influential citizens of Watonwan county, having come to this section in the frontier days, and assisted in bringing about the transformation of the country from the wild condition found by the first settlers, to its latter day progress and improvement.

Benjamin C. Sanborn was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1844, and was a son of David and Frances (Cressey) Sanborn, both natives of that city also, where they grew up, were educated and married, later moving to New Hampshire, thence to Minnesota, locating in St. Paul about 1856. In that city B. C. Sanborn carried the first newspaper published in St Paul - The Pioneer. David Sanborn later moved with his family to near Owatona, where he and his wife spent the rest of their lives, he working at his trade of stone mason and also engaged in farming.

Benjamin C. Sanborn received his education in the public schools, and was a member of the first class of Carleton College, of Northfleld, Minnesota. When the Civil War came on, he enlisted in Company A, Tenth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry and served gallantly throughout the war, part of his service being against the Indians. After the war he entered the newspaper business at Northfield, Minnesota, in partnership with a Mr. Wheaton, remaining there until the spring of 1871, when he came to Madelia and started The Times, the first newspaper in Watonwan county. He continued to publish the same successfully until the spring of 1899, when he retired and continued to live in Madelia, where he spent the rest of his life, dying in 1906. His wife preceded him to the grave in 1892. Before marriage, she was Martha A. Young, and was a daughter of William Young, a Methodist clergyman of Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Sanborn were married in 1871. To their union the following children were born: Frances L., William Y., Jessie M. (deceased), and Eva A. Benjamin C. Sanborn was a member of the Presbyterian church. His wife was a Methodist.

William Y. Sanborn, publisher, of Madelia, was born in 1876 in that town, and there he grew up and attended the public schools, later was a student in Central high school of St. Paul for one year, also studied three years at Carlton College, which he left in the spring of 1899 to take charge of his father's newspaper, which he continued to manage with success until the spring of 1904. He served in Company B, Twelfth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, as a private, in the Spanish American war. However, he did not get to the front, being stationed at Chickamauga and other southern points. After leaving Madelia in 1904 he went to Spokane, Washington, and other western towns, continuing newspaper work in the state of Washington until 1915, when he returned to Madelia and started The News, which he is still publishing. Mr. Sanborn was married in Topeka, Kansas, in 1906, to Gertrude Cies. Fraternally, he belongs to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

History of Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties
Their People, Industries and Institutions
John A. Brown, Editor in Chief
B. F. Bowen and Company, Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana

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Also see Railway Officials in America 1906