Sanger, Lorenzo P.

Born: 1809-03-02 New Hampshire

Died: 1875-03-23 California

Lorenzo P. Sanger, contractor and businessman, was born in Littleton, New Hampshire. As a young man, Sanger’s family lived in New York and Pennsylvania while his father worked as a contractor on the Erie Canal and the Pennsylvania Canal. The younger Sanger was a steward on a Lake Erie steamboat around 1824, then at about the age of twenty contracted to build a lock near Livermore, Pennsylvania. He briefly operated stores in Blairsville, Pennsylvania, then in Denniston’s Town, Pennsylvania, before continuing to work as a contractor on locks, dams, and canals. In 1835 Sanger moved to St. Joseph, Michigan and entered into a merchandising, warehouse, and steamboat business with Hart L. Stewart. The following year Sanger secured a contract to work on the Illinois & Michigan Canal and relocated to Illinois. About 1843, he moved to Galena, Illinois to enter into a stagecoach business. While a resident of Galena, Sanger won election in 1846 to a single term in the Illinois Senate as a Democrat. In 1847, he was a founder of the Northwest Stagecoach Company and moved to St. Louis where he oversaw the western portion of the line until 1851. Around the later year, his firm Sanger, Camp & Company won a contract to build a portion of the Ohio & Mississippi Railroad. Following completion of that work, Sanger partnered in a firm contracted to construct a new state penitentiary at Joliet in 1857. In 1860 he moved to Joliet and was recorded in the census of that year as owning real estate valued at $150,000 and $100,000 in personal property. During the Civil War Sanger entered the Union Army as a colonel in 1862 and was posted to Kentucky, but ultimately left the army due to poor health. He subsequently operated quarries in the vicinity of Joliet beginning in 1865. Sanger married Rachel Mary Denniston in 1830 and the pair had three children.

George H. Woodruff, W. H. Perrin, and H. H. Hill, History of Will County, Illinois (Chicago: Wm. Le Baron Jr., 1878), 711-13; Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 408; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Ward 2, St. Louis, St. Louis County, MO, 246; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Joliet, Will County, IL, 531-32; The Chicago Daily Tribune (IL), 24 March 1875, 8:5; Gravestone, Oakwood Cemetery, Joliet, IL.