From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Sanford, Perry

(born: 1820  -  died: 1905) 

Perry Sanford, a former slave from Kentucky, was the last surviving witness to the invasion by armed men from Kentucky in search of runaway slaves at the Quaker Settlement in Cass County, MI. The Quakers resisted, the attack failed, and shortly thereafter the Fugitive Slave Law was passed by Congress.

In 1905, Sanford was not expected to survive from the four inch gash he had made in his throat while a patient at Nichols Hospital in Battle Creek, MI. Sanford was in the hospital due to a stroke; he was partially paralyzed, and it had taken him more than an hour to open the knife with one hand and his teeth.

Sanford had come to Michigan as a young man: he is first listed in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census as a 28-year-old laborer living in Bedford. By 1880, he was married to Elvia Sanford (born in 1845 in Indiana); the couple lived in Calhoun County, MI. In 1897, Sanford remarried; his second wife was Mary Sanford (born 1843 in MI), and the couple lived in Battle Creek.

Perry Sanford died November 16, 1905 at the age of 85. He was the son of James and Charlotte Sanford [source: Michigan Death Records; and see Perry Sanford in Find a Grave].

For more see, "Aged Colored man tries suicide," Oakland Tribune, 5/08/1905.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Calvin and Porter Townships (Cass County), Michigan
NKAA Source: Oakland tribune (newspaper)

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“Sanford, Perry,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 26, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-05-17 16:31:25