Member Biography

John Phillip Sanderson 


Portrait:  J..P. Sanderson, Roger Hunt Collection, RGS-CWP82.89, USAMHI; also: “,” 13 January 1861, CW, 4:174-75,


Sessions Office Position District Party
1845       7 Whig
1847       7 Whig

COUNTIES: Lancaster, Lebanon  


02/13/1818 - 10/14/1864

Colonel John Phillip Sanderson, (W7) Lancaster and Lebanon Counties, 1846-1848

Early Life: 

Colonel John Phillip Sanderson, born February 13, 1818, East Hanover, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania;  son of Thomas and Catherine Sanderson; lawyer, Lebanon County bar, 1839, author, newspaper editor, Lebanon Democrat and Philadelphia Daily News; elected, Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, 1845; elected, Whig, Pennsylvania State Senate, 1846-1848; appointed, Provost Marshal General, Department of Missouri, 1864; married, Ellen Sanderson, son, George K.; died, October 14, 1864 (aged 46), Saint Louis, Saint Louis City, Missouri; interment, Ferncliff Cemetery, Springfield, Clark County, Ohio.  

Early Career:

Owner, editor, Lebanon Democrat; publisher, Philadelphia Daily News with future Congressman John W. Killinger and Edward M. Paxson. 1848-1856.

Clerk, United States War Department, 1861, resigning to become Lieutenant Colonel, 15th United States Infantry, earning recognition for meritorious action at Shiloh, helping establish instant fame for the 15th in the subsequent battles of Murfreesborough, Chickamauga, and Atlanta. The four red badges on the 15th Crest symbolize these four encounters. Sanderson received a promotion to Colonel, July 1863; was appointed Provost Marshal General of the Department of Missouri, February 1864


Views and Opinions of an American Statesman on Foreign Immigration (1843). 

Republican Landmarks (1856). 

Pennsylvania Politics:

State Chairman, Know-Nothing Party, when it renamed itself the American Party, 1855.

Elected, Pennsylvania State House of Representatives, 1845. 

Elected, Whig, Pennsylvania State Senate, 7th district, Lancaster and Lebanon Counties, 1846-1848.

State Chairman, Know-Nothing Party, when it renamed itself the American Party, 1855.

Continued Government Service/National Politics:

Delegate, Republican National Convention, Chicago, 1860. 

Appointed, Assistant Secretary of War, Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1861. Resigned.

Lieutenant Colonel, (his son George K. Sanderson also served) regiment, 15th United States Infantry, May 14, 1861. Promoted, Colonel, July 1863.  

Appointed, Provost Marshal General of the Department of Missouri, February 1864. 

Pennsylvania House of Representatives Biography:

Official Website - PA House Archives Official Website (

Probably most known for his investigation of the secret subversive operations of the northern and western political organization known as the “Knights of the Golden Circle”, which led to its demise.


Cox, Harold. "Senate Members S"Wilkes University Election Statistics ProjectWilkes University.

Col John Philip Sanderson (1818-1864) - Find a Grave Memorial