James B. Sanders


13 September 1840 – 17 August 1893


James was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts and died in Centralia, Marion County, Illinois. He is interred at Elmwood Cemetery, Centralia, Illinois. The grave site is marked by a large family headstone which James shares with his wife and her parents. His parents were George Anthony and Mary Sanders.

James may have been in Illinois in 1860, but at this time has not been found in the census record. Mary A. Tomkins became James' wife on 25 March 1869 in Salem, Illinois. The 1870 census of Centralia, Illinois enumerated James Sanders, age 30, a jeweler, his wife Mary, age 25, and Jessie, their 6-month-old daughter. The Sanders family was living with Mary's parents, Francis M. and Lucy Tomkins. Mr. Tomkins was a merchant.

The 1880 census record listed the Sanders and Tomkins families living together at 209 Maple Street in Centralia. The Sanders' daughter, Jessie was listed as “Jennis”, and two more daughters, Lucy Josephine and Mabel Augusta, had been added to the family. James, who had been in business with his father-in-law, later became a partner in a jewelry store in Centralia.

Mr. Tomkins, Mary's father, died in February 1893, and six months later, Mary's husband James passed away. Mary continued to make her home with her widowed mother. Also living in the home were two of Mary's daughters, Mabel, an artist, and Josephine (Sanders) Beaver and her son, Ralph S. Beaver.

Mary, also known as “Mollie”, was the daughter of Francis M. and Lucy A. (Roys) Tomkins. She died on 3 August 1920 and is buried in the Elmwood Cemetery at Centralia, Illinois.

James B. Sanders is included in a biographical sketch of his father-in-law, Francis Tomkins. The Sanders portion of the sketch closes with the following comment: “One of his most notable characteristics was his musical ability; not only was he very fond of music, but he displayed great skill in that area and possessed a strong and melodious voice.”


Research and Article Written by

Liz Veselack

October 2002

Submitted by Sara Simpson 2019

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