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
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.
Cottonwood and Watonwan Counties, MN Biographies
Also see Railway Officials in America 1906