Cottonwood County MN Biographies--William F. Sanger
"History and Biography of Minnesota, 1915"



WILLIAM F. SANGER. Since 1904 the real estate interests of Windom and Cottonwood County have had a wide-awake and energetic representative in the person of William F. Sanger. It should not be thought, however, that his activities are confined to realty dealings, for various other lines of endeavor have profited by his business judgment and organizing ability, and in various movements which have made and are making for the public welfare he has acted as an executive. Mr. Sanger was born at Mankato, Minnesota, February 25, 1872, and is a son of Joseph and Marie (Kotthoff) Sanger.

Joseph Sanger was born on the River Rhine, at Coblenz, Rhenish Prussia, Germany, in 1838, and was a child when brought to the United States by his widowed mother, the family settling first in the vicinity of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1854 they traveled with a yoke of oxen from Milwaukee to Mankato, Minnesota, and while residing there Joseph Sanger went to Kansas City, Kansas, and enlisted, in 1861, in Company H, Second Regiment, Kansas Cavalry, for service during the Civil war. Following the battle of Wilson Creek, Mr. Sanger's term expired and he was mustered out of the service, but veteranized in the same regiment and continued to serve therewith until the close of hostilities. He was mustered out at Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1865. Brave and faithful service won him the respect and esteem of his comrades and promotion in rank, and when he was again mustered out of the service it was as an officer. When his military career was ended, Mr. Sanger returned to Mankato, where he secured employment as the driver of the stage between Mankato and New Ulm, also hauling groceries from St. Paul to Mankato, going one week and returning the next. Later he settled on a farm in the vicinity of Mankato, where he carried on operations for many years, but his death occurred at Kasota, Minnesota, April 23, 1901. Mr. Sanger married Miss Marie Kotthoff, who was born in Illinois, of German descent, and she still survives him and makes her home at Mankato. Eight children were born to them, as follows: Lena, who married August Johnson, a stone cutter of Kasota, Minnesota; Frank W., who is engaged in the drug business at Deer River, Minnesota; William F., of this review; Marie, who died at the age of seventeen years; Joseph, Jr., who resides at Mankato, a carpenter; Theresa, who died at the age of one year; Sadie, who is a dressmaker and lives at Mankato; and Maximillian, who was a railroad man and was killed by a train at Kasota.

William F. Sanger attended the parochial schools of Mankato until reaching the age of thirteen years, and two years later became the architect of his own fortunes when he left the parental roof to carve out a. career of his own. Going to Minneapolis, he secured employment as a "bell hop" at the Pauly House, remaining for fifteen months, and then became night clerk at the old Clifton House, Mankato. After one year he severed his connection with the hotel business to enter a drug store at St. Peter, Minnesota, conducted by James A. Bennett, and after one year thus passed, and another year in Mankato in the same capacity, came, in 1892, to Windom. Here he was employed in the drug store of C. A. Ludden, and he then entered upon his initial business venture, establishing a drug store in association with Mr. Frank Stedman. Ihis partnership continued until 1900, when Mr. Sanger purchased his partner's interest and conducted the store from that time forward until 1904. He then sold out to devote his attention to the real estate business, his interests therein having grown to large proportions, and in this line he has continued to the present time. He was a member of one of the leading real estate firms of the county, the Sanger-Marshall Land Company, which handled farms in Minnesota and city property in Windom, and operated in Wisconsin, Iowa and North and South Dakota, and maintains well appointed offices on the north side of the Courthouse Square. On February i, 1913, Mr. Sanger bought the interests of his partners and now conducts the business as the W. F. Sanger Land Co. Mr. Sanger was also engaged in the hardware business as a member of the leading firm of Sanger & Marshall, until February I, 1915, when he sold out his interest to Mr. Marshall. He is a director in the Southern Minnesota Development League.

Mr. Sanger has interested himself in behalf of the agriculturists, among whom he is widelv and favorably known, being president of the Cottonwood County Agricultural Society. He is connected with the state fair as superintendent of liberal arts (the exposition department), a position which he has held for five years, and is also president of the Federation of County Fairs of the State of Minnesota. His fraternal connections include membership in the Royal Arcanum, of which he is grand regent of the State of Minnesota; the Ancient Order of United Workmen, No. 83, of Windom; and the Modern Woodmen of America, No. 2313, Windom. He is a Catholic in his religious faith, and in politics has been identified with the democratic party.

Mr. Sanger was married November 1894, at Windom, to Miss Mattie R. Tilford, daughter of J. H. Tilford, M. D., and Luna (Meek) Tilford, of Windom, the former a well-known physician, who died in 1899. Two children have been born to this union: John Tilford, born August 8, 1896, who graduated from the Windom High School in the class of 1914; and Luna Marie, born August 18, 1905, who is attending the Windom public schools.