Nathan Sanford
United States Senator
from New York
In office
January 14, 1826 – March 3, 1831
Preceded byRufus King
Succeeded byWilliam L. Marcy
In office
March 4, 1815 – March 3, 1821
Preceded byObadiah German
Succeeded byMartin Van Buren
Chancellor of New York
In office
Preceded byJames Kent
Succeeded bySamuel Jones
Personal details
Born(1777-11-05)November 5, 1777
Bridgehampton, New York, U.S.
DiedOctober 17, 1838(1838-10-17) (aged 60)
Flushing, New York, U.S.
(now New York City)
Political partyDemocratic-Republican (Before 1825)
National Republican (1825–1833)
Elizabeth Van Horn
(died 1811)

Mary Malbone Isaacs
(m. 1813; died 1816)

Mary Buchanan
(m. 1828)
RelationsPeter Gansevoort (son-in-law)
Children7, including Edward
EducationYale University
Litchfield Law School

Nathan Sanford (November 5, 1777 – October 17, 1838) was an American politician.[1][2]

Early life

Sanford was born on November 5, 1777, in Bridgehampton, New York. He was the son of Thomas Sanford and Phebe (née Baker) Sanford,[3] a family of farmers and tradesmen.[2]

He attended Yale University, studied law, was admitted to the bar, and commenced practice in New York City.[1]


In 1803, he was appointed as United States Attorney for the District of New York, and remained in office until 1815 when the district was split into the Northern and the Southern District of New York.[1]

He was a member of the New York State Assembly in 1808-09 and 1811. In 1811, he was elected Speaker on January 29, but could not attend the session after February 10 because of ill health. The Assembly moved to elect a new Speaker and proceeded to the election of William Ross. He was a member of the New York State Senate (Southern D.) from 1812 to 1815, sitting in the 35th, 36th, 37th and 38th New York State Legislatures.[1]

In 1815, he was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1815, to March 3, 1821. He was Chairman of the Committee on Commerce and Manufactures (15th and 16th United States Congresses), and a member of the Committee on Naval Affairs (15th Congress) and the Committee on Finance (16th Congress). In 1821, he ran for re-election as a Clintonian, but was defeated by Bucktail Martin Van Buren.[1]

He was a delegate to the New York State Constitutional Convention of 1821, and was Chancellor of New York from 1823 to 1826. In 1824, he received 30 electoral votes for U.S. Vice President.[1]

In 1826, he resigned the chancellorship after his nomination in caucus, and was elected again to the U.S. Senate. He took his seat on January 31, 1826, and served until March 3, 1831. He was Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations (19th United States Congress). In this stint in the Senate, he generally aligned himself with President John Quincy Adams and Secretary of State Henry Clay.[4] Afterwards he resumed the practice of law in Flushing, New York.[1]

Personal life

Sanford was married three times. His first marriage was to Elizabeth "Eliza" Van Horn (1780–1811).[3] His residence in Flushing, "Sanford Hall", became a private insane asylum in 1845, run by Dr. James Macdonald, MD and Gen. Allan Macdonald. Together, Nathan and Eliza were the parents of several children, including:

After his first wife's death in 1811, Sanford was remarried to Mary Esther Malbone Isaacs (1790–1816), the eldest daughter of Col. Ralph Isaacs and Elizabeth (née Sebor) Isaacs, in 1813.[3] Together, they were the parents of two children:

After his second wife's death, he remarried for a third time to Mary Buchanan (1800–1879), whom he married in May 1828.[3] Together, they were the parents of:[5]

He died in Flushing on October 17, 1838, and was buried at St. George's Episcopal Church Cemetery in Flushing.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "SANFORD, Nathan - Biographical Information". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b Sandford, Ann (2017). Reluctant Reformer: Nathan Sanford in the Era of the Early Republic. SUNY Press. ISBN 9781438466934. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Nathan Sanford Papers, 1799-1865". Manuscripts and Special Collections: New York State Library. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  4. ^ Southwick, Leslie H. (1998). Presidential also-rans and running mates, 1788 through 1996 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. p. 103. ISBN 0-7864-0310-1. OCLC 37379896.
  5. ^ a b "Sanford Family Papers, ca. 1799-1919". Manuscripts and Special Collections:. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
Legal offices Preceded byEdward Livingston U.S. Attorney for the District of New York 1803–1815 Succeeded byRoger Skinneras U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York Succeeded byJonathan Fiskas U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preceded byJames Kent Chancellor of New York 1823–1826 Succeeded bySamuel Jones Political offices Preceded byWilliam North Speaker of the New York State Assembly 1811 Succeeded byWilliam Ross U.S. Senate Preceded byObadiah German United States Senator (Class 1) from New York 1815–1821 Served alongside: Rufus King Succeeded byMartin Van Buren Preceded byWilliam Hunter Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee 1817–1820 Succeeded byMahlon Dickerson Preceded byCharles Tait Chair of the Senate Naval Affairs Committee 1818–1819 Succeeded byJames Pleasants Preceded byJohn W. Eppes Chair of the Senate Finance Committee 1819–1821 Succeeded byJohn Holmes Preceded byRufus King United States Senator (Class 3) from New York 1826–1831 Served alongside: Martin Van Buren, Charles E. Dudley Succeeded byWilliam L. Marcy Preceded byNathaniel Macon Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 1826–1827 Succeeded byNathaniel Macon Party political offices Preceded byDaniel D. Tompkins Democratic-Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States¹ 1824 Served alongside: John C. Calhoun, Albert Gallatin (withdrew), Nathaniel Macon Position abolished Notes and references 1. The Democratic-Republican Party split in the 1824 election, fielding four separate candidates.