The Sanders/Saunders Family Tree
by John Wells
The roots of the Sanders family extend deep into United States history, dating back to the 1600s. It was in 1632 that Judge Sanders earned the enmity of an alleged sorcerer known as the Purple Pilgrim. After the judge sentenced the man to death, the Pilgrim responded by cursing him "and all who may come after you and bear your hated name" (Flash Comics # 86).
Judge Sanders' descendants include art collector Jonathan Sanders, United States Senator Ely Sanders II and his son Ely III. All three are murdered by the Purple Pilgrim in June of 1947 (Flash Comics # 86).
During the 19th Century, one of the Judge's descendants moves to England, where a transcription error renders his name as "Saunders" and he adopts the new spelling as his given name. JAMES Saunders becomes the father of two sons, "Gregory" (Action Comics # 42) and WILLIAM.
As a young man, Gregory emigrates to the United States, where he resumes the traditional "Sanders" spelling of his family name. Eventually, he marries and has four children, Grace (Flash Comics # 25), twins Nestor (Flash Comics # 25) and HECTOR, and "Nathaniel". Greg dies while fighting indians (Action # 42).
William Saunders and his wife spend the rest of their lives in England but their sons, Matthew (Action # 22) and CHARLES, eventually relocate to the U.S.
Grace Sanders never marries. Nestor Sanders and his wife later have two children, Hank (Flash Comics # 18) and "Michael" (Flash Comics # 86). Hector and his wife become the parents of Shiera (Flash Comics # 1). Nathaniel and his wife have three children, REBECCA, Gregory and Jeffrey (Vigilante: City Lights, Prairie Justice # 3). Jeff dies of "the fever" in 1936 (Vigilante: CL, PJ # 3) and Nathaniel is killed by stagecoach bandits (Action # 42). Michael, a professor, is murdered by the Purple Pilgrim in 1947 (Flash Comics # 86).
Matthew Saunders and his wife build a ranch in the west and become the parents of Sally. Matt later takes in an abandoned boy whom he names William (Action # 22). "Charles and Naomi" Saunders (Detective # 10) have two children, JANE and Cyril (Detective # 1).
Hank Sanders and his wife have two children, "Frederick" (Takion # 4) and Maura (Takion # 2). Shiera and Carter Hall (Flash Comics # 1) later have a son, Hector Sanders Hall (Infinity, Inc.. # 1). Greg Sanders eventually marries Sally Savage (El Diablo # 12), granddaughter of trail boss Matt Savage. Rebecca and Rick (Mysto) Carter (Detective # 203) had a son, RICK, JR.
Sally Saunders marries Perry Laverne (Action # 22). William Saunders later becomes part of the Three Aces, taking the nickname of Whistler Will (Action # 18). Jane Saunders later marries and has a son, "Adam" (Detective # 13) while Will also marries and has two sons, Jason (Showcase # 36) and William, Jr. (Batman # 432). Cyril "Speed" Saunders married and later divorced ? (Sensation Comics (second series) # 1), though the union produced a son, Michael (JSA # 2 and 22).
Frederick and Phyllis Sanders (Takion # 6) become the parents of Joshua (Takion # 1). Hector Hall marries Hippolyta Trevor (Infinity, Inc. # 51), dies soon after (Sandman # 12) and is ultimately resurrected (JSA # 3-4). Lyta later gives birth to their son, Daniel (Sandman # 22). Rick Carter, Jr. and his wife have a son, Michael (Detective # 493). Jason Saunders dies in a car accident (Showcase # 36) while his brother William's troubled youth eventually leads him to the priesthood (Batman # 432). Michael and Trina Saunders are killed in an accident (JSA # 2 and 22). They are survived by their daughter, Kendra Shiera (JSA Secret Files # 1).
Fury II (as Lyta) -- Wonder Woman  # 300
Hawkgirl I (as Shiera) -- Flash Comics # 1
Hawkgirl III -- JSA Secret Files # 1
Hawkman I -- Flash Comics # 1
Mysto -- Detective Comics # 203
Sally Savage (as Dale Evans) -- Dale Evans # 1
Sandman VI (as Daniel) -- Sandman # 22
Silver Scarab -- All-Star Squadron # 25
Speed Saunders -- Detective Comics # 1
Swashbuckler II -- Detective Comics # 493
Takion -- Takion # 1
Vigilante I -- Action Comics # 42
Whistler Will -- Action Comics # 18
The Sanders family history was the focus on one story during the Golden Age (Flash Comics # 86), which established the clan in the United States for nearly three centuries. Although several present-day members of the family were mentioned in the story, I chose only one as a particularly close relative of Shiera. In order to explain the spelling of the name of Shiera's cousin, "Speed" Saunders, I offer the transcription error solution cited above.
I've cited all other members of the Sanders clan mentioned in Golden Age Hawkman stories, as well. The only relative of Shiera's who is not listed here is the unnamed soul who left all their money to her in All-Star Comics # 6. This person was clearly from her mother's side of the family, as there would have been a multitude of heirs on the Sanders side.
James, William, Charles and Jane Saunders, Grace, Hector and Rebecca Sanders and Rick Carter, Jr. were created by me to fill specific gaps in the family tree. All other characters actually appeared in DC stories although some were unnamed. Any name in quotes is a creation of my own.
In Detective # 493, Greg Sanders was Michael (Swashbuckler) Carter's uncle. Taking into account the passage of another two decades, Greg is now his great-uncle.
Although we knew that Greg's sister had married a man named Carter, the revelation that she married an established DC hero -- Rick (Mysto) Carter -- is my invention. After eliminating characters who had pre-existing girlfriends (Chic Carter, Steve Carter I) and one who seemed to be married to his job (Rip Carter), I was left with King Carter, Steve Carter II (from Gang Busters) and Mysto. I was leaning toward federal agent Steve Carter (since Michael is also a law officer) but, since I'm unfamiliar with the strip, I selected Mysto. The "Captain Easy"-esque King Carter remains a viable alternative.
In attempting to come up with a maiden name for Sally Sanders, I decided to make her a descendant of one of DC's old west characters. I picked Matt Savage for three reasons: 1) I like the sound of Sally Savage; 2) Both Sally and Matt were based on real people (Dale Evans and John Wayne); and 3) It provides an heir for Matt Savage who is chronologically feasible. Alternate choices for Sally's grandparent: Jim Peyton (Nighthawk's sidekick), Hank Hayes (Minstrel Maverick), Jeff Graham (Roving Ranger) or Jim Sawyer (Cowboy Marshal).
Adding Takion and Whistler Will to the family was, again, my choice. Not included are the teenage Dicky Saunders (first seen in More Fun # 16's Bob Merritt strip) and Joan Sanders (part of the Tigresses from Blackhawk # 110).
John "Mikishawm" Wells, the pride of Batavia, Iowa, is a lifelong comics fan, working his way forward from Disneys in 1969 to newspaper strips in 1973 to SHAZAM! and the rest of the DC Universe in 1974. During the 1980s, he began compiling a lists of DC character appearances, a massive database that he's tapped into when writing articles for publications such as the DC Index series, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer’s Guide, Comic Effect, Comic Book Marketplace, It’s A Fanzine, The O‘Neil Observer and, of course, Fanzing. He is Kurt Busiek's unofficial reference guide, as the keen-eyed may have noticed in Power Company #2.
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This piece is © 2002 by John Wells
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