Sanford was born near Milledgeville, Georgia, in 1798. He attended Yale University and was a farmer. In 1832, he was elected a major general, 3rd Division Georgia Militia, by the Georgia Legislature. In 1834, Sanford was elected as a Jacksonian Representative from Georgia to the 24th United States Congress, but he resigned before the end of his term to participate in the removal of the Cherokee from the state. His congressional service spanned from March 4, 1835, to July 2, 1835.
After serving in the Creek War of 1836 as a major general, Sanford was elected to the Georgia Senate in 1837; however, he resigned before that session of the state Senate began. From 1841 to 1843, Sanford was the Secretary of State of Georgia. He also was a member of the state convention of 1850. Sanford served as secession commissioner from Georgia to the State of Texas in 1861. Sanford died in Milledgeville on September 12, 1870, and was buried in Memory Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville.
- Smith, p. 335
- Smith, pp. 335–336
- United States Congress. "John W. A. Sanford (id: S000049)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- Smith, Gordon Burns, History of the Georgia Militia, 1783-1861, Volume One, Campaigns and Generals, Milledgeville: Boyd Publishing, 2000. ASIN:B003L1PRKI.
This article incorporates public domain material from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress website http://bioguide.congress.gov.