Percy Sanderson
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A HISTORY OF THE PERCY FRED SANDERSON FAMILY

By Mrs. Betty Prejean and Mrs. Rebecca Amy

Percy Fred Sanderson was born on March 30, 1896, in Silvercross, Washington County, Alabama, and he graduated from Friendship School in his home town. He was the child of Percy Eugene Sanderson (b. January 5, 1868-d. Port Neches, April 25, 1942) and Emma Eugenia Irby (b. October 22, 1873-d. Nederland December 7, 1951), both of them from Washington County. Since ultimately almost all of Fred's brothers and sisters were to live out there lives in Nederland or vicinity, it is likewise imperative to list them by name, as follows: John Wesley, Annie Lee (Gunn), Mattie Josephine (Davis), William O., Claude M., Clyde M., Gracie Maybelle (Reed), Howard Douglass, Emogene, Jessie Edward, and Eloise Sanderson.

The Sanderson family grew up on a farm in Silvercross, where Fred Sanderson chopped cotton, plowed corn, etc., until age thirteen, when he began working in a nearby mill. Fred left home to make it on his own at age fifteen. In 1917, he came to Nederland and worked for three months at the Texaco asphalt plant in Port Neches. He then returned to Alabama to work in the shipyards of Mobile, building wooden schooners during World War I, and later, at the shipyards of Pascagoula, Mississippi. In 1920, he returned to Nederland permanently. At first, he lived with his sister, Mrs. J. S. Gunn, who lived on South Seventeenth Street, as well as his older brother, John W. Sanderson, who lived at 715 Boston. Eventually, Fred Sanderson built his own home, in back of what was then the Nederland High School, and his old home is still standing in the 300 block of South Thirteenth.

On June 1, 1923, Fred Sanderson married Effie (Aifke) Bruinsma (b. July 28, 1900-d. April 5, 1983), who was born in Amsterdam, Holland, but came with her parents, Carolus Bruinsma and Wilma Van Randen, to Nederland when she was a small child. In January, 1905, her father, although he was only about thirty years of age, died of heart failure. Later, her mother was remarried to William Devries, also a native of Holland. Effie Sanderson's brothers and sisters who lived in Nederland were Anka (Mrs. Peter) Terwey, Annie (Mrs. H. L.) Holcombe, Dena (Mrs. Rainey) Mudd, and Gerka Bruinsma. Effie Sanderson graduated from high school in Nederland.

The Fred Sanderson family from its beginning were closely identified with the First Baptist Church of Nederland. Fred became a deacon on January 6, 1926, and he served as church treasurer for thirty years. During those years, he served as deacon, trustee, Sunday School teacher, and training school worker. On March 30,1958, the First Baptist Church celebrated "Sanderson Day" in his honor. In addition to her duties as home maker and mother, Effie Sanderson's spare moments were almost wholly consumed with her church activities. She was converted and baptized in 1914, and she remained a member of First Baptist Church of Nederland for forty years and of First Baptist Church of Warren, Texas, for twenty years.

In 1920, Fred Sanderson returned to work in the carpenter shop of the Texaco asphalt plant in Port Neches. He eventually retired from that company as carpenter foreman, with forty-four years of service.

Fred Sanderson was first elected to the Nederland city council in 1949. On April 4, 1952, he was elected mayor of Nederland, and he served in that capacity until 1954. He also served on the Federal Soil Conservation and Water Board.

Fred and Effie Sanderson lived to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary at their farm on Farm Road 1943, near Warren in Tyler County, on June 24, 1974. A large host of the relatives and friends from throughout Southeast Texas attended that function.

The couple were the parents of three children, a son Donald Sanderson, and two daughters, Betty Gene and Geraldene "Jerry" Sanderson. Betty Gene Sanderson married (1) Spencer Hardin Ritchie, Jr., and (2) Roland Louis Prejean. She is the mother of two daughters, Brenda Gene Ritchie, who married Malcolm Aubrey Voelkel on June 17, 1972 and Rebecca Ritchie, who married Edgar Wayne Amy (divorced).

Geraldene "Jerry" Sanderson married Kenneth Carroll Mitchell, and she is the mother of two children, a son, Richard "Ricky" Mitchell, who married Tonya Sue McFarland, and a daughter, Linda Carol Mitchell, who married Larry Wayne Treme. Donald Earl Sanderson married Melba Benson, and he became the father of three sons, Philip Andrew Sanderson, Jeffrey Sanderson (deceased), and Mark Wesley Sanderson, who married Patty Verret, and one daughter, Donna Ruth Sanderson, who married Charles Wesley Ellis.

After living a long and complete life in the service of God, his church, his family, and his community, Percy Fred Sanderson died on November 13, 1979, at age 83. His widow, Effie Bruinsma Sanderson, survived her husband for three years, dying on April 5, 1983, at age 82. They are still remembered and sorely missed by a whole host of friends, their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren scattered throughout Southeast Texas.

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