Biography - David G. Sanner

DAVID G. SANNER, V. S., prominent and well-known as a wealthy farmer and stock-raiser, residing in Penn Township, Shelby County, has large landed interests in this, Macon and Moultrie Counties, and has contributed extensively to the development of the great agricultural resources of this section of his native State as one of the most enlightened and advanced men of his class within its borders. He is much interested in raising fine road horses, the Hambletonian strain being his favorite, and he also bears a high reputation as one of the most intelligent and skillful veterinary surgeons of the county.
May 16, 1842, is the date of the birth of our subject, in one of the pioneer homes of Madison County of which his father, Samuel Sanner, who was an early settler. The latter was a native of Northumberland County, Pa., and in early manhood married Barbara Paul, a native of Preston County. W. Va. In 1833 he came to Illinois with his family and located in the wilds of Madison County, nine miles north of Edwardsville. During the many years that he lived there he applied himself busily to pioneer work, and in due time was well rewarded by becoming the possessor of a goodly amount of property. In 1866 he took up his abode in Penn Township and there his remaining days were passed in tranquillity and comfort until he closed his eyes in the dreamless sleep of death. He left behind him a good life-record and a memory that is cherished with reverence in the hearts of those who knew him.
Our subject was the eighth child in a large family of children, twelve in number, and in his childhood he had ample opportunity to acquire habits of industry and steady application that have been of use to him in his after life, as his father wisely determined that his boys should he able to do all kinds of work on the farm, while at the same time he desired they should have an education. Our subject was well equipped in that respect, as in his youth excellent schools had already been established in Madison County, and he attended them whenever opportunity offered, and gained a sound knowledge of mathematics and other common branches. When the war broke out he was scarcely more than a boy, but he was eager to fight in defense of the old flag. Owing to circumstances over which he had no control, however, he was obliged to abandon the thought of enlisting until 1864, when he left the parental home September 3, to enroll as a member of Company A, One Hundred and Forty-fourth Illinois Infantry, commanded by Capt. George W. Carr, the regiment being mustered in at Alton. He was disappointed that his regiment was detained at Alton to do garrison duty instead of being sent to the front, some of the men being sent to Missouri so that he saw no active service in the field. He was soon detailed for service in the regimental band and remained at Alton during the winter of 1864-65. The war closed the following spring, and he was honorably discharged July 14, 1865, and mustered out at Springfield.
Returning to his father's farm after his experience as a soldier Mr. Sanner brought his family from his native county to this county in the spring of 1866. He continued to be an inmate of the parental household on section 21, Penn Township, until he established a home of his own, securing as an efficient helpmate to preside over it, Miss Mary E. Freeland, then a resident of Milan Township, Macon County, to whom he was married in April, 1870. Her father, David J. Freeland, was a native of North Carolina whence he came to Moultrie County, this State, when he was a boy of fifteen years. He was engaged in farm work in that and Coles County some years, and then took up his residence in Milan Township, of which he is now one of the extensive land-holders. He married for his second wife Martha Sawyer, a native of Coles County, and Mrs. Sanner is their eldest child.
When he married Mr. Sanner commenced his independent career as a farmer on a half section of land in Milan Township, and resided on that place for six years. At the expiration of that time he came back to Penn Township to take charge of his father's farm on section 21. In 1877 he took possession of his present homestead, a beautiful farm of three hundred and twenty acres, finely located on section 23, Penn Township. He still retains his Macon County farm of half a section, renting that and part of his farm in Penn Township, and he has a thousand acres of land in all, including fifteen acres of timber in Moultrie County and town property in Bethany. He is extensively engaged in general farming, having his farm well stocked, and he pays particular attention to breeding fine roadsters of Hambletonian blood. He has a thorough knowledge of the horse, having made a careful study of the animal for years, and is an acknowledged authority on all questions pertaining to it as but few men observe the good points of a horse quicker, or detect its weak parts sooner than he. He is also a successful veterinary surgeon of twenty-five years standing.
A man of an active temperament, and indomitable will and a large nature, our subject has won his way to a high place among our valued and useful citizens. He has been a busy life, but not by the force of sheer hard work has he acquired his property, his labors having been directed by a clear, well-balanced intellect, by practical business methods and by excellent powers of discrimination and judgment. In all his dealings, he has borne himself with unswerving adherence to the principles of truth and probity, and his reputation is unblemished. The Sanner family are noted for their devotion to the Republican party, and our subject is no exception, he being one of the strongest advocates of the Republican policy in this part of the State, and has been since in early manhood he cast his first Presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1864. Socially, he is identified with William Penn Camp, M. W. A., and he is also a member of Prairie Lodge K. of H. He is a stock-holder in the Prairie Home Building and Loan Association, and all enterprises to promote the growth of the county find in him cordial support.
Mr. and Mrs. Sanner have been truly happy in their married life, and their home has been gladdened by the birth of children, of whom they have had ten, namely, — Charles Wesley, Carrie Belle, Franklin Ellis (who died in infancy), Samuel Walter, Cyrus David, Orville Arthur, Lawrence Lester, Robert Lincoln, Etta May and Martha Barbara.

Extracted 08 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 236-237 and 722-724.

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