YOUR SILENT NEIGHBORS, Howard L. Sanborn, Merchant, Contractor, Banker, Public Servant
“Severe Loss” read a headline in the Farmington Valley Herald at the death of Howard L. Sanborn (1855-1931). Born in Canton, he attended local schools and as a young man learned the hardware and plumbing trades by working in D.W. Bidwell’s store at what is now 122 Main Street. He later became a lumber dealer, and then a contractor who built many houses in Collinsville. After a number of years, Sanborn was hired by the Collins Company as foreman in charge of all construction and repair of buildings as well as purchase of necessary lumber and other materials. He was said to be trusted and respected by both the company and employees.
With a lifelong interest in public affairs, Sanborn served as town clerk from 1887 to 1900. He had a term as town treasurer, and as state representative in 1899. Elected judge of probate in January 1899, he resigned the post in September of that year.
Although he had no knowledge of banking, in 1909 he became secretary-treasurer of the Collinsville Savings Society and “did bring to the office sound common sense and good judgment,” according a published tribute by George A. Beers. He held the position until his death. “Not self assertive” wrote Beers, “but a man of strong convictions, he did not try to impress his views on others, but when they came to him for advice, as practically every business man and owner of property in the town of Canton has done at frequent intervals during the past years, they found him ready to help them solve their difficulties, and when the advice that was given was acted on it was found to be sound in every instance.”
Sanborn was a member the Village Lodge of Masons and a life-long member of the Congregational Church.
A “large” number of people gathered at the “simple” service held at his home, presided over by Rev. William Berriman. So moved were some of the mourners, that Rev. Berriman read two poems written by them in Sanborn’s honor. He was survived by his wife, Fannie Case Sanborn.
Howard L. Sanborn is buried in the Village Cemetery, Collinsville.
“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past. It will appear on or about first and fifteenth of each month. Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today. Any suggestions, questions, or corrections are welcome and should be addressed to Deputy Town Historian David Leff at email@example.com