Biography of Sanford R. Moss

SANFORD R. MOSS, Located in Richland Township, not far from the city of Anderson is found Shadeland Stock farm, a property of sixty acres from which comes some of the finest light harness horses bred in Madison County. The proprietor of this enterprise, Sanford R. Moss, has had a long and successful experience in his line of work, having been trained therein as a boy, and his firmly-established reputation as a raiser, breeder and trainer of these animals has created an active demand for his animals in the markets of the big cities, Mr. Moss was born on his present property, March 12, 1846, and is a son of William J. and Elizabeth (Gordon) Moss.

The Moss family originated in Germany, the grandfather of Sanford R. Moss, John Moss, being the founder of the family in America. He emigrated from the Fatherland as a young man and located first in Virginia, later moving to Ohio. William J. Moss was born in Virginia, from whence he was taken by his parents as a small boy to Ohio, and there received his education and grew to manhood, Seeking his fortune, in young manhood he came to Madison County and secured a small tract of land from the government, on which he erected a log cabin, the first home here of himself and wife, As the years passed and his finances permitted he added to his holdings until he had 360 acres, all under cultivation, and improved this property with substantial buildings for his cattle and grain, and a commodious and comfortable residence, An industrious, energetic citizen, he did not confine his efforts to farming, but branched out into the cattle and horse business, and also devoted some attention to milling, At the time of his death he was one of his community’s substantial men and a citizen whose position among his fellow-men was assured, William J. and Elizabeth (Gordon) Moss were the parents of seven children: John, Jennie, Margaret, Sanford R., Samuel, Frederick and Belle of whom Sanford R. and Samuel survive.

The boyhood home of Sanford R. Moss was a primitive log house, and he was reared amid the surroundings of a newly-opened country. Like the other children of his parents, he was given the advantages of education as afforded by the common schools of his day and locality, the winter terms lasting for three months, while the rest of the year was passed by the youth in the hard, unremitting toil of clearing the home place from the timber which almost completely covered it, Thus he grew to manhood, being trained in the habits of honesty, industry and thrift, and continued to remain under the parental roof until he reached the age of twenty-seven years. Upon the death of his father he assumed the management of the enterprises in which the elder man had been engaged, and continued to successfully operate them for a number of years, although at this time he devotes himself exclusively to training and breeding light harness horses, As a breeder he has a reputation that extends far beyond the limits of his home locality, orders for his animals coming from far distant points all over the country, Although Mr. Moss has reached an age when the majority of men feel that they have earned a rest from their labors, he continues to manage his affairs and to do his own work, a clean, healthy and temperate life having given him a robust constitution and a mind that is alert and responsive. He bears the reputation of being a man whose ventures have ever been of a strictly legitimate nature; and one who, while always ready to grasp an opportunity, has never dealt otherwise than in an honorable manner with his fellow men.

Mr. Moss was married in 1886 to Martha Thornberg, daughter of Thomas Thornberg who came to Madison County from Ohio and for years was the owner and operator of a farm in Richland Township. There were six children in the Thornberg family: Richard and Calvin, who are deceased, John, Martha, Jennie Doris and Mrs. Mary Lukens. At the time of the death of his brother-in-law, Richard Thornberg, Mr. Moss adopted one of the latter’s children, Thomas, when he reared, and who is now a resident of Texas, Mr. Moss takes only a good citizen’s interest in affairs of a public nature, but endeavors to support good men and progressive measures, His long residence in this community has gained him a wide reputation and many warm friends.



Madison County IN,

Forkner, John. History of Madison County, Indiana: a narrative account of its historical progress, its people and its principal interests. Chicago: The Lewis publishing company, 1914.

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