Stephen “Laddie” Sanford had one thing in common with thousands of men and women who were born in Amsterdam, NY at or around the turn of the 20th Century. They all had fathers who made a living in the City’s carpet industry. But believe me that was the only thing thing today’s Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant had in common with those Rug City folks from his generation.
Laddie was born on September 14, 1899 in Amsterdam. His father was John Sanford who had succeeded Laddie’s grandfather, Stephen Sanford as the head of the Sanford carpet mills. The original Stephen Sanford had been the most effective leader of the family business, rebuilding it after a fire destroyed its factories in the 1850’s and growing it into the largest rug company in the world. Laddie’s father John also proved to be a skilled executive when his turn came to run the company. He engineered the merger in 1929 with Bigelow Carpets in Connecticut that helped the company survive the great depression. Both Stephen and John Sanford served as US Congressmen. As it turned out, Laddie would follow in neither of their footsteps.