Sanborn is an older community in the northern part of Woodward Township. Parts straddle the Decatur Township line where the settlement was once known as Jefferies Post Office.
Sanborn’s locale came from the original and large early 19th century tract of Hardman Philips. Settlers, such as German immigrants Jacob and Katie Baughman, were among the first to purchase and clear land for farming.
Clearing land naturally meant being tied to the burgeoning lumber industry, which in the Sanborn area, was dominated by the legendary John Chase. Sanborn sits atop a gently rolling landscape that takes a sharp drop westward to the lowlands of Clearfield Creek.
It was from there, in nearby Faunce, where logs could be floated down the winding creek to Clearfield, to connect with the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.
The cleared land gave rise to family farming. One has to admire and respect Sanborn’s early farmers because the topsoil was shallow in the Pennsylvania woodlands and sometimes seemed to be a never-ending mass of roots and rocks.
The families worked, by today’s standards, unbelievably hard. At times, it took a few generations to make their farms productive and profitable. It was tough to make a go of it.
Logging and farming were often seasonal jobs and Sanborn’s men and boys often did both. Later, coal and clay miners, as well as laborers and job commuters, came to dominate the way Sanborn folks made a living.
The heart of Sanborn is where it’s two churches – the United Methodist and the Church of God stand. Directly across the road is the Sanborn Grange Hall.
It is one of the few active granges still operating in Clearfield County, and it is, indeed, active. It hosts the annual Sanborn Picnic on the last Saturday in August. The picnic has been a homecoming event for generations.
Sanborn was a relatively isolated and self-sufficient community throughout the 19th and well into the 20th century. Roads were unpaved and rutted. People there, like similar communities, generally stayed put.
No matter how far removed from “town”, Sanborn’s parents valued education for their children. There was once a two-room school that housed eight grades that stood next to the two churches.
The photo shown gives evidence of this as it shows school kids and their two teachers during the 1908-1909 term. The photo was supplied by Jim Yarger of Sinking Spring Pa., whose family roots go back generations in Sanborn.
This is common occurrence for many of Sanborn’s present families, certainly for most of the kids shown in the photo.