As I began to research Sands Street, I noticed that on the 1888 map, it was formerly called Richard Street. I was unable to figure out how it came to be called Richard Street, but the resource I’ve been using for these street posts indicated that Sands Street was named for George S. Sands so we can take a look at what scant information I found on his life.
George S. Sands was born on August 19, 1849, in Middletown, Delaware County. His parents were George H. Sands and Jane Smith Sands. His father was a farmer and conducted a country store and post office. George H. Sands died when George S. was young, and his mother remarried Chauncey Keator. George and Jane had two children, George and Ella, and Jane had two more children with her second husband. Interestingly enough, while doing research, I found that George S. and Ella were both listed as 20 in the 1870 census so I thought perhaps they might be twins. When digging deeper, I found that Ella’s birth date on her headstone is listed as August 16, 1849, while George’s was August 19, 1849. Could twins be born three days apart? I did a quick search online and found that it is possible though rare. It could be that her headstone has the wrong date listed. George’s birth date is listed in multiple sources so I think that is probably accurate for him. I thought it was a fascinating possibility, particularly for 1849!
George S. Sands moved to Cortland in 1867, according to “Grip’s Historical Souvenir of Cortland.” He received education at the Andes Collegiate Institute in Delaware County as well as at the Cortlandville Academy. He attended the Cortland Normal School when it opened in 1869, and in May of 1870, he entered the law office of M.M. Waters to study law for three years. He was admitted to the bar in 1873. George was elected to the position of town clerk for two years and served as justice of the peace for six years. This would have been in Cortlandville. In 1883, he resigned from the justice of the peace office to turn his full attention to his law practice. In 1896, he was nominated for the position of justice of the supreme court in the 6th judicial district. I could not find any reference to him being elected to the position. Sands did serve on the state assembly in 1899 and 1900, but we don’t have a family file and our reference books stop at 1899. I was unable to turn up additional events in his life. George S. Sands was a mason and belonged to the Tioughnioga Club. He was a member of the Cortland County Bar Association as well. I was unable to find any land in the Sands Street area on any of the maps I consulted that showed property owned by George S. Sands. It remains a mystery as to why the street was named after him.
Neither George S. nor his sister Ella ever married. They lived with their mother at 164 South Main Street. George died at home in 1915 from a short illness and pneumonia. Chauncey Keator, Jane, George, and Ella are all buried at Cortland Rural Cemetery while the two younger sisters are presumably buried where they lived with their husbands.
This street is still cloaked in mystery! I’ll be keeping my eyes open for other resources that may offer clues to fill in the missing information. On another note, do you know of any twins who were born a few days apart? It would be interesting to hear how common an occurrence it could be. Please share in the comments! ~Tabitha