A. J. Sanborn, master mechanic, I. & St. L. Shops, Mattoon; was born in Acton, York Co., Me., in 1826; having lost his mother when but 11 years of age, he left home, and, making his way to Boston, went on board a vessel, and was absent two years on a voyage; after coming into port, he made known to his father and family his adventures for the two years past; he served seven years on the sea, sailing as second mate on board the ship Vesta, of Boston, and the brig Yucatan, in the South American trade; at the age of 21 years, he began his trade in the Lowell Machine-Shops, at Lowell, Mass; here he remained two years; he next went to Boston and worked in the locomotive-shops of Hinckley & Drury for eighteen months; thence to Lawrence, Mass.; to the Essex shops, one year; in 1858, or 1859, he came west to East St. Louis, and took charge of the erecting department of the O. & M. R. R; in 1867, he took charge of the machinery on the Vandalia R. R., and, in 1873, he took charge of the works for the I. & St. L. R. R. at Mattoon; Mr. Sanborn is truly a self-made man; his education has been derived in the school of experience, and, whatever he undertakes to perform, he executes with an experienced and skillful hand.