NOTE: The birth - to - death biographical profile of Riley Sansom was created in April, 2021 during the Covid-19 medical pandemic. It contains less depth of detail than many other biographies within this website because military service, pension and other veteran-related files housed in Washington, D.C.'s National Archives were not available. At a later time those documents may be obtained and the data contained therein added to the
Narrative which follows:
Riley Sansom was born on February 10th. U. S. Census birth years include 1831, 1833, 1834 and 1835. Most likely, though, he was birthed in 1831.
The location of Riley’s entering into this world, like his birth year, varies. Some sources point to Virginia - (later West Virginia), others, Kentucky. In 1850 the Sansom family was residing in Kentucky's Pike County, so that, may have been Riley's birthplace.
Parenting Riley were John Riley Sansom, Jr. (b. 1760 VA or 2/28/777 Buckinghamshire England - d. 1850 Pike County, KY) and Elizabeth (nee Davidson b. 1781 Giles County, VA - d. 1850 Pike County, KY) Sansom. Although not documented, likely the Sansoms were a farming family.
If available (U.S. Census) data is to be relied upon, Riley Sansom was the eighteenth of at least nineteen children produced by John, Jr. and Elizabeth. His older siblings were Mary Polly Sansom (b. 1800 VA), Susannah Ann Sansom (b. 1801), William A. Sansom (b. 1803), James Sansom (b. 1804 VA), Chloe Sanson (b. 1807), Elias Sansom(b. 1809), Matilta Sansom (b. 1810), Charlotte Sansom(b. 1816 VA), Davidson Sansom (b. 1813 VA), John Riley Sansom III (b. 1814 VA), Matilda Sansom (b. 1815), Abel Lincoln (b. 1817), Jennie Sansom (b. 1819), Hiram Sansom (b. 1820), Lanta Sansom (b. 1821), Andrew Sansom (b. 1823 *) and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Sansom (b. 1830). Younger than Riley was Nancy Caroline Sansom (b. 1832 VA).
With all of the Sansom children births in Virginia, when the family had moved to Kentucky from the Old Dominion State is not known. Then, too, another unknown is why Riley's younger sister Nancy was born in Virginia!!
As of the U.S. Census of 1860 it appears Riley was farming in Pike County, KY. Perhaps he had taken over his parents' farm, but most likely he had a place of his own as by that time he was married and a father.
Riley's bride was Sarah (no middle name or initial) Cline. Sarah had been born on 7/20/36 in Logan County, VA. In 1863 Logan County would become part of West Virginia.
How Riley and Sarah may have met is an unknown. They were married in 1852.
During their years together Riley and Sarah reportedly produced fourteen children. If so, only eleven are identified in available documentation. They were: Arminta (b. 12/2/52 or '55 Wayne County, VA), Levi (b. 1854 or '56 Pike County, KY), Hannah (b. 1857 Pike County, KY), Margaret (b. 2/11/58 or '59 KY or Wayne County, VA), Frances (b. 1860 Pike County, KY), William R. (b. 1866 WVA), Mary A. (b. 1867 or '68 WVA), America (b. 1872 Logan County, WVA), Elizabeth (b. 1874 VA or MN), Lizzie (b. 1/9/77 Kingston, MN) and John M. (b. 4/77 VA or MN).
The U.S. Census tallies for both 1850 and 1860 found the Sansoms farming in Pike County, KY. Two years later, in 1862, however, the family had apparently quitted Kentucky and moved northward to Wayne County, Virginia. Wayne County was a part of Virginia that would shortly become part of the new state of West Virginia. There, Riley enlisted in a Confederate cavalry unit so, perhaps, the move had been made specifically so he could join older brother Andrew and enlist in Milton J. Ferguson's Confederate cavalry battalion which was forming in Wayne County.
Without accessing Private Sansom's military service period we know little about his period of enlistment. He did, however, survive The War and returned to his family in what was, by then, West Virginia.
In 1870 Riley and family were censured farming in Magnolia Logan County, WVA. How long they remained there is an unknown because a decade later, in 1880, they were tilling the soil in Kingston Meeker County, MN.
The specifics of what had drawn the Sansoms westward are not known, but it may have been the availability of homestead land because on 7/20/81 Riley was given the patent (deed) to an eighty acre homestead tract by the U.S. Land Office in St. Cloud, MN.
As of 5/1/85 the Sansom family's travels had taken them southward once again. By that date they were in Bertha Todd County, KY. How long they may have remained there is an unknown because there is no census data available for 1890. Most of that information was destroyed by fire.
1900. A new century. A new decade and a new U.S. Census. That year's population roll found the Sansoms in Jocks located in Missoula County, MT. In Jocks Riley was employed as a "lumber laborer."
September 24, 1904. The Sansoms were no longer in Montana, but in Washington State. Exactly where they were residing on that date is not known, but by April, 1905 they were in or near the southwest Washington community of Chehalis located in Lewis County.
On the September date above former Civil War cavalry trooper Riley Sansom applied for a U.S. Government disability pension based on his days of Civil War soldiering. As a Confederate combatant the request was not granted.
Riley Sansom died on 4/6/05 at the age of 74. The cause of his passing is not known. He was/is buried in the Calquato Cemetery near Chehalis.
After Riley's death Sarah remained in Chehalis for a time. In 1910 under her roof was married daughter Lizzie and Lizzie's husband, John Waller.
On 6/6/12 Sarah, as the widow of a Civil War soldier, applied for a U.S. Government pension. As with her late husband's request, her application was denied.
By 1920 daughter Lizzie and her husband had moved northward to the community of Monroe located in Snohomish County, WA. Sarah had moved with them.
Sarah Cline Sansom died in Monroe on 9/6/28 at the age of ninety two years. She was/is buried in the Grand Army Of The Republic (G. A. R.) Cemetery located nearby in Snohomish, Snohomish County, WA.
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