Name: George B. SANDERSON
Given Name: George B.
Suffix: , U.S. Mormon Battalion staff
Change Date: 1 SEP 2014
Kevin Henson kevin @ battaliontrek.com wrote:
Name: Page 1
_SDATE: 1 JUL 1800 in , , , England
Event: as Surgeon for the Battalion
_SDATE: 1 JUL 1846
_SDATE: 1 JUL 1863 in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
We know from Platte county court records that George B was executor for his father?s will. Father was Edmund (or Edmond) Sanderson. Date associated with the estate was Aug 06, 1846 ? just before George leaves for the west.
?Estate of Edmund (or Edmond) Sanderson ?deceased? with G.B.S. as ?sole heir.? Included was a Negro slave, ?Lewis?, age ?about 30 years? for the benefit of infant daughter, Emma Sanderson; Value $700.
We know that George and a brother came across the ocean probably in 1818-1820 when George was about 18. Since Papa Edmond was a slave owner, he was also here in the States, so one could suppose the entire family immigrated together.
We have located the burial plot for GBS and wife Ellen out in St Louis; Catholic Calvary Cemetery. Unmarked graves.
We?re going to approach the MO State Hx Society and others to see if we can drum up some interest to mark the grave (no living descendants according to the LDS Family History Library staff). The PAO at Fort Leavenworth is a buddy and he thinks he can line us up with a marker for Dr. George.
My thought is to couple that with a ?mini-symposia? on the Mormon Battalion and Dr. Sanderson, etc. I think we owe it to him to rehabilitate our 1880 slanderous tirade against the man. ~Kevin Henson
George B. Sanderson (aka Dr. Death) was from Platte Co. Missouri. He had been part of the mob that drove the latter-day Saints from the state of Missouri and had no love or affinity for the Mormon people. He was the chief Surgeon for the Battalion. He completed the journey to California with the Battalion.
Sept 2, 1846 Journal of William Hyde:
The course to be pursued by our sick, as recommended by letter from President Brigham Young, was to let the surgeon and his medicine alone, and if we doctored at all, let it be in accordance with the course marked out to the saints. The position of our sick in their present situation was truly unpleasant.
Our Doc., the wicked swearing fellow
With calomel thought to make us mellow
The boys his poison spurned to take
Which made him act his father, snake! p21
He swore that dammed his soul should be
Or else a change of things he'd see
To which our feelings did assent
To have him dammed were all content.º
His negro boy he whipped outright
For nought but just to vent his spite.
Because the sick had not obeyed
He raved, and like a donkey brayed.
My mind on him I'd like to free
But as I'm placed I'll let him be:
Time will show his heart is rotten
And sure his name will be forgotten.
Lieutenant Smith And Dr. Sanderson
B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.3, Ch.75, p.106 - p.107
With Lieutenant Smith had come Dr. George B. Sanderson, whom Colonel Allen, at Leavenworth, had appointed a surgeon in the United States army, to serve with the Mormon Battalion. According to the historian of the battalion, the volunteers suffered much because of the "arrogance, inefficiency, and petty oppressions" of these two officers, much of which, however, is to be accounted for by the volunteers being suddenly brought under the enforced discipline of the United States army regulations. The heat of the season was excessive, the men were much exhausted by the strenuous labors and exposure during the journey through Iowa, earlier in the season, and as a result many of them fell a prey to the malaria prevalent at this season of the year in the country through which they passed. For this Dr. Sanderson prescribed calomel and arsenic, and as the men were averse to taking medicines, pleading even religious scruples against the drugs, the matter gave rise to much unpleasantness between the battalion physician and the command, involving therein Lieutenant Smith, who in the interest of what he no doubt regarded as discipline sided with the physician.
Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War, p. 145 wrote:
About this time Sergeant N. V. Jones went in a respectful manner to Colonel Smith and informed him that the soldiers were loyal; that it was not out of any disrespect to him or Dr. Sanderson that the sick declined to take the Doctor's medicine; but that they had religious scruples against taking mineral medicine.
The Colonel replied that he did not know anything about our religion, and that he did not wish to force men against their religious convictions. He then turned to Adjutant Dykes and asked him if Jones' statement was true, and the Adjutant replied that there were no such religious scruples, and that the Church authorities themselves took such medicine.
This made matters worse for the sick, if such a thing were possible, than they were before. The humane, patriotic Sergeant did his duty manfully, but his good offices in behalf of his comrades in arms were turned to evil by one who might have saved them much persecution, sorrow and, in some cases, perhaps, even death. Ever after this an ill-feeling was perceptible between the Adjutant and Sergeant Jones. ...
About this time, quite a number of the Battalion took sick with the chills and fever, and were administered to by Dr. Sanderson out of an old iron spoon. After this it was customary every morning for the sick to be marched to the tune of "Jim along Joe" to the Doctor's quarters, and take their portion from that same old iron spoon. It was believed by many that this spoon had been thrown away by some soldier at the garrison and picked up by the Doctor, thinking a new one would either be too expensive or too good for the "Mormons" to use in taking their medicine. It may, however, have descended from the Doctor's ancestors and been preserved by him as a precious heirloom.
So determined was Dr. Sanderson that the men should take his calomel and arsenic (these being all, or nearly all, the medicines he used except a decoction of bayberry bark and camomile flowers, as strengthening bitters to the convalescent), that he threatened with an oath, to cut the throat of any man who would administer any medicine without his orders. ....
Every morning at sick call, those who were unable to travel reported themselves to the Surgeon, not only to receive his medicine but his wicked cursing also.
It would have been difficult to select the same number of American citizens from any other community who would have submitted to the tyranny and abuse that the Battalion did from Smith and Sanderson. Nor would we have done so on any consideration other than as servants to our God and patriots to our country.
George B. Sanderson died before 1864. His wife Ellen continued a court case in his behalf:
Series Supreme Court Case Files
Title Field, Alfred and Field Shafford v. Sanderson, Ellen, administrator of Sanderson, George, deceased Location Box 520 Folder 07 Location 15B/6/5
Father: unrelated U.S. Mormon BATTALION
Ellen JOHNSON b: 1812 in , , , England
25 NOV 1844
in , Platte, Missouri 2
1860 US Census St. Louis Missouri extract by Vern Taylor 2014:
Household Members: Name Age
Geo B Sanderson 60 private banker $40,000 / $10,000 b. England 1800
Ellen Sanderson 48 b. England 1812
Emma Sanderson 18 b. Missouri 1842
Emma Johnson 26 b. Illinois
two servants: Mary Dugan 19 and Margt Sweet 21
Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: St Louis Ward 5, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: M653_651; Page: 294; Image: 298; Family History Library Film: 803651.
- Abbrev: LDS Historical database by Vern Taylor
Title: LDS Historical database compiled by Vern Taylor Dec 2003
- Abbrev: Marriage Record
Title: Marriage Record
Dodd, Jordan. Georgia Marriages to 1850 online database
Page: Missouri, Marriages, 1750-1920
Text: "Missouri, Marriages, 1750-1920," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V2D9-MS4 : accessed 03 May 2014), George B. Sanderson and Ellen Johnson, 25 Nov 1844; citing Platte,Missouri; FHL microfilm 988414.