52 Ancestors: Independence


I would like to introduce you to Ezekiel Sanford, born 21 December 1745 in New Haven, Colony of Connecticut, my 6x great-grandfather. His mother died when he was 2 and his father when he was 15, and at the age of 30 joined the American Revolution.

A copy of Ezekiel Sanford’s application for a pension after his service in the Revolutionary War.

And why yes, he served under Benedict Arnold, in 1775 for 8 months. This was before Arnold defected to Britain in 1780. He served until 1779, and applied for a pension in 1818, at the age of 72.

The most exciting find is a letter from Ezekiel to his wife Sarah, dated 27 April 1778 from Valley Forge. (He was at Valley Forge with George Washington and Alexander Hamilton!)

This letter is found in his Revolutionary War pension file, and was transcribed on Ancestry:


Camp Valley Forge, 27th Apr 1778

Dear Wife:

A sense of my conjugal obligation and tender afection for you and the children whom God hath given us induces me to write at this time and I doubt not you have earnest desire to hear from me as you have frequently manifested.  I have been very sick and nigh to Death for a long time, but God of his infinite mercy has lenthened out my life and so far restored my helth that I have returned to the Camp under circumstances of comfort and am able to attend the exercises of the _____ and am gaining strengh very fast.  Hope soon to enjoy a confirmed state of helth, great and maniford have been the favors and Blessings which God of his infinite goodness has bestowed on me who am unworthy of any motive from him, may his name be suitable praised, and all his benefits Remembered by me and all concerned for me:  I received your letters my :Majs” Curtis camp, am obligated to you for the care and concerne for me therein manifested.

Rejoiced greatly to hear of your welfare, but am not without the greatest concerne and anxiety for you and the Children.  I know the times are difficult and I consider the care upon you to be very great under your particular circumstance–the duty of parents to children is very important and as it is necessarily devolved upon you, I cannot forbare, nor do I think it inconsistent with my Duty to express my concerne for them and earnest desire that they may be well instructed in the ways of virtue and piety, if they are not, Sin lieth at the Dore and we must be answerable for the neglect, and I can do my duty in no other way than by recommending them to your care and the care of a kind and indulgent Providence.

I understand the neighbors are kind and careful for you which I am very glad of, as I think it must of no small comfort to you and greatly softens your cares, be not discouraged but surmount the difficulties with all becoming Patience, and God bless your indeavors and preserve your helth __________.

I intend to come home but now do not expect, this summer–it would be very agreeable and gratifying to me to see you once more and hope I may at the close of another campaign, but that is uncertain.  We appoint and God disappoints and it becomes us to prepare for the event of his will with all due submission and that His blessing may ever attend you.

Peace be restored to our land and our hearts prepared for the receipt of so great favors is the desire and prayer of your Loving Husband.



sanford_ezekiel_real estate
Property of Ezekiel Sanford, as listed in 1820.

By 1820, Ezekiel claimed 23 and a half acres of land, valued at $100. Ezekiel died in Springwater, New York on 1 September 1833 at the age of 87.

I am proud of all of the members of my family who have served, but Ezekiel fighting for our independence holds a special place for me!

You can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts by clicking the tag at the top of the post.

And you can follow along on Instagram as well: @familyhistoryfood.

Until next time,






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