Biography of James S. Sands
Erie County, OH Biographies





JAMES S. SANDS. Here is a name that recalls many interesting associations with early history in Erie and Huron counties. Mr. Sands has spent nearly all his life in Milan Township and is the proprietor of a fine farm in that locality. Mrs. Sands as well as himself is closely connected with the pioneer stock in this section of Ohio and their own industrious lives have been in keeping with the many respectable traditions connected with their names.

It was in the immediate vicinity of his present home that James S. Sands was born, December 24, 1857. His birthplace was originally known as part of the old Abbott tract, and later as the Sands homestead. His father's farm was the site which still has great historic interest to both Huron and Erie counties, where the first courthouse and the first jail were located as the county seat of the original Huron County. That was before the setting off of Erie County as a separate jurisdiction in 1833. At the present time there is not a vestige remaining of the old county seat. The lands have been cleared off and used for agricultural purposes, and there can hardly be found a stick or stone to indicate the public buildings which once stood there. Even the old well which supplied water has long since been filled up. The associations of this old locality are of particular interest to the Sands family, and Mr. Sands' grandmother, Nancy Laughlin, was as a girl employed in the old Huron County jail, and while living there she married Grandfather William Sands, becoming the mother of William Sands, Jr., father of James S. The many details concerning the membership of the Sands family and its early associations with Erie County can be found on other pages in the sketch of George M. Sands.

James S. Sands was reared and educated in Milan Township, attended the district schools near his home, and was also at one time a student under Mrs. Palmer at Milan, one of the noted early teachers of the county. Adopting the vocation which has been that usually followed by other members of the family, Mr. Sands after reaching manhood became the owner of eighty acres of his father's large farm, and still has that property. Thirty two years ago, in 1883, he bought the farm on which he now has his home, comprising sixty five acres, on the Milan Road two miles from the old homestead. This was formerly the old Captain Minuse Farm. His enterprise and his diligence have resulted in many striking improvements at his farm, including the erection of a comfortable eleven room white house, modern in all its equipment and arrangement. There are also a number of barns and sheds for the care of his stock, implements and farm products, the principal barn standing on a foundation 30 by 60 feet. Mr. Sands is a first class business farmer, and makes most of his money as a stock raiser.

He is also regarded as one of the leading men of affairs in his section of the county. He has long been one of the leaders in the local republican party and for several years held the office of township trustee. Few residents of the county have gone further in the work and rites of the Ancient Order of Masonry than Mr. Sands. He belongs to both the York and Scottish Rite, having taken thirty two degrees in the latter. He is a member of Zenobia Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Toledo, is affiliated with Norwalk Council and Commandery, and with the Blue Lodge and Royal Arch Chapter at Milan. He is past master of his lodge and at present is high priest in the chapter.

In 1881 Mr. Sands was married in Berlin Township to Miss Lavina Jenkins. She was born in Berlin Heights, March 13, 1863, was carefully reared and educated and for thirty four years since her marriage has proved a devoted wife and a kind and loving mother in her family. She comes of a sound old English ancestry, originating in Lincolnshire. Toward the close of the eighteenth century her great grandfather immigrated to America. His name was Henry Jenkins, and he died at the age of 103 years. It is not known definitely that he was married when he came across the ocean, but his wife's Christian name was Rachel, her surname being unknown. Among the relatives of the family in England there is still a dispute carried on by litigation in chancery courts over the large estate. It is perhaps to be regretted that a more careful record of the family on the American side was not kept, since such a record might prove the means of sharing in the ultimate disposal of this English property. Henry Jenkins settled in New Jersey, where his son William was born, who, in turn, had a son James, the father of Mrs. Sands. James Jenkins settled among the Lower Catskill Mountains in Dutehcss County, New York. That was then a wilderness, and around his early home the woods were made frightful by the howling of wild beasts. Mrs. Sands' father, James, often related to her incidents of his early boyhood, and particularly of being chased home by the screaming of wild cats when be was rounding up the cows from the commons where they grazed. The grandfather, William Jenkins and wife, Saloma Goetchens, who was an English girl born in the vicinity of Lincolnshire, reared their family in Dutchess County. He died in April in the year 1853, aged seventy two, his wife having passed away in March, 1844, aged sixty years. He was a farmer and miller, and was a man of no little distinction among the early settlers.

Their son James, father of Mrs. Sands, was born in 1803 and grew up amid the rugged scenery of Duchess County. Before he was twenty years of age he married in 1824 a neighbor girl, Dorcas Ayers, who died in 1844. Through one branch of her ancestry she was descended from Holland Dutch people. Not long after the solemn compact which made them man and wife, James Jenkins and bride, with the ambition for gaining a home which inspired the migration of so many people at that time, set out for the new and growing west. They established themselves on a large tract of land along the east line of what is now Milan Township, and not very far from where the first log jail and courthouse had been located as the seat of justice for the original Huron County, that being about ten years before Erie County was established. Here Mr. and Mrs Jenkins as young people of hope and energy started life on a pioneer farm. Mrs Jenkins was a well educated woman, and for a number of years was the principal teacher of the young children at the Laughlin Corners. She died there in 1844, and her only child, Emma, had died in infancy. This sudden breaking up of his home almost discouraged Mr. Jenkins, and that event and also the unhealthy conditions which prevailed at that time in the swampy district of his home caused him to sell out his property in Erie County and return to New York State. There he was married in 1848 at Poughkeepsie to Ann Eliza (Barnhart) Bennett, widow of Charles Bennett. She was born in the Catskill region of New York, October 26, 1823, and was of German and French parentage. She grew up and learned the trade of dressmaker, which she followed in Poughkeepsie until her marriage. Not long afterwards James Jenkins and wife came West and located in Berlin Township, where he became one of the prosperous farmers and lived there until his death on December 19, 1881. His widow survived until April 1, 1914, and she died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Sands. She was a lifelong consistent member of the Methodist Church, while her husband was a Presbyterian. In the Jenkins family were the following children: Anna E., who died unmarried at the age of twenty three; Dorcas, who died after her marriage to Clarence Saunders, leaving several children; Charles, who is married, has four children and lives at Cleveland; Leman, who is a hardware merchant at Berlin Heights and has five sons and one daughter; Sarah Jane married L. B. Austin and lives at Elyria and has a family; Lambert lives at Los Angeles and is married; Lavina (Mrs. Sands) and Moses James of Berlin Heights, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Sands have a son and a daughter. Roy M., born June 23, 1884, was graduated from college with the degree of civil engineer in the class of 1906, and has been very successful as a bridge builder and superintendent of cement construction for a firm of Toledo contractors. The daughter, Forrest E., born October 13, 1885, was a graduated bachelor of science in 1910 from the State University of Columbus, has since specialized in a domestic science course, and is now a teacher' of that department, much of her work having been done in Erie County.

From:
A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio
By: Hewson L. Peeke
Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1916


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