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Three of Moses' signatures, the last from his will. Full disclosure - these have been colorized.

Moses was raised in Mendon, probably on property his father bought from his mother's family, the Tylers. His father was given and bought many pieces of land in Mendon, most of it being in what was eventually set off as the town of Uxbridge. One of those areas was on the west side of the Blackstone River on both sides of the road that went south from Uxbridge into Smithfield in Rhode Island. That's now the "Quaker Highway," and became part of the new town of Uxbridge in 1727. Probably in anticipation of having a family, Moses' father allowed or encouraged him to build a house and farm on that land. If it was that early, it would have been about the summer of 1726. By 1742 Moses had enough money to buy a 200 acre lot that had his farm on it, giving his father £500.1
     There's a house still standing on that land that's said to have been Moses', and made of brick from a kiln the family had nearby. I haven't found a reference to when the Farnums started making bricks. It isn't mentioned in the estate records of Moses or Moses, Jr. It appears that all of the houses in Mendon and Uxbridge built in the early to mid 1700s are made of wood, such as the John Farnum house (Moses' father). They also had center chimneys, as was the norm for the time. The brick house on the Moses Farnum farm undoubtedly doesn't date to when he first moved there. It's an odd house, and only an interior examination of the building might help to date it. The "Cape Code" style with a two-pitch roof and end chimneys is typical of area houses of the 19th century, whereas houses of similar size from the early to mid 18th century, had gambrel roofs. The end chimneys on the Farnum house are unusually large, more reminiscent of single ones on the gambrel roofed houses rather than the typically much smaller end chimneys on later houses. If Moses had a brick kiln in his lifetime, that could explain why his house was brick while everyone else was building in wood, but it surely must have been a commercial concern. Why wouldn't other people in the area with means build of brick, assuming the Farnums could provide it? There may have been other brick buildings in Uxbridge from this period that are gone, but the brick houses and commercial buildings still standing in the area are from much later. Another odd aspect of Moses' supposed house is the narrowness of the windows. This wasn't typical of any period in this area.
     The Friends Meeting house nearby was built on property given by Moses, Jr. in 1770. This was definitely of brick when it was built, being described as such on a map of real estate owned by the younger Moses in 1780, and the Farnums, as members of the congregation, could have had a direct hand in its construction. The exact spot of Moses, Sr.'s, house isn't known. Moses, Jr.'s, house was also described as being brick, and the map shows it in the same spot as the one still standing. Another house, the "red house," was further north, and became the home of Royal Farnum. The house there is likely from the early 1800s rather than 1780, but may have been built on the foundation of an older house. It's smaller than the brick house and is an unlikely alternative for being Moses, Sr.'s, house.
     In light of all this, I tend to think that Moses, Sr., had a wooden, gambrel-roofed house with a center chimney built for himself about 1726, and that Moses, Jr., had the brick house built between 1770, when his father died, and his own death in 1780, again, possibly on an older foundation. This could have been to capitalize on his brick kiln, replace the older house if it burned, or both.
     Like his father, Moses (Sr.) converted to Friends or Quaker beliefs, probably at or about the same time as his father. Biographical information on Moses, Jr., says it happened when he was a child, so in the 1730s. I haven't seen the Monthly Meeting records that would record this. The family was associated with the Smithfield Friends rather than Mendon. Although his father and second wife were given gravestones typical of Congregationalists, Moses and Abigail followed the contemporary Friends tradition of not having any. When Moses died, his son had just given not only a lot for a meeting house but also a Friends cemetery lot just down the road. That was in the Summer of 1770, so Moses is surely buried there.

children of Moses Farnum and Abigail Sanford:

i. John b. abt 1728
ii. Moses b. 25 October 1730
iii. Anna b. 2 September 1732
iv. Mary b. 2 September 1732
v. Hannah b. 11 September 1737
vi. Stephen b. 19 September 1739
vii. Abigail b. 19 August 1741
viii. Rachel b. 13 January 1742/43
ix. David b. 28 June 1745
x. Jonathan b. 28 June 1745

vital records sources: Moses' birth and marriage are in Vital Records of Mendon, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1850 (Boston:1920), 75, 295. His death is in Vital Records of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, to the end of the year 1850 (Boston:1916), 373, and in the Smithfield Friends Monthly Meeting records.

1.Worcester Co. deed, 25 Apr 1743, 22:40-41.

all text and photographs © 1998-2020 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted

There appears to be no primary evidence of who Abigail's parents were. Given that Thomas Sanford was also a resident of Mendon, even serving with Moses' father as a selectman in 1721, he and his wife Christian are the most logical choice. She would have been born after the Sanford's move to Mendon, where none of the Sanford children's births are recorded. One documented child (his parents are named in his death record), John, was one of those Mendon-born children and others with Sanford surnames are attributed to this couple.