SANDERS, WILLIAM BROWNELL (21 Sept. 1854-25 Jan. 1929), corporate lawyer and founding partner of the law firm of SQUIRE, SANDERS & DEMPSEY, was born in Cleveland to William and Cornelia Smith Sanders, grew up in Jacksonville, Ill., and graduated from Illinois College with A.B. and A.M. degrees, and from Albany (N.Y.) Law School with a LL.B. degree in 1875. Sanders joined the Cleveland law firm of Burke, Ingersoll & Sanders. In Feb. 1888 he became a Cuyahoga County common pleas court judge, resigning in 1890 to form Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, of which he was a partner until his death.
Sanders directed the opposition in a 7 year legal and political battle against Mayor TOM L. JOHNSON concerning municipal control of Cleveland's street railroads. The resulting Tayler Grant, formulated by Sanders and Federal Judge ROBT. W. TAYLER, gave an exclusive street railway franchise to CLEVELAND RAILWAY CO. while stipulating low fares and municipal oversight of the system. The strain of battle was disastrous to Sanders, whose health was wrecked. Thereafter Sanders devoted less time to law, instead traveling and summering at his New England home.
Sanders helped establish the financial foundation for the CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART by incorporating the three separate trust funds established for the museum into one. Sanders was the museum's first president (1913-20) and a trustee. He was also a trustee for Society for Savings and a director of Guardian Trust Co. and Kelly Island Line & Transport Co.
Sanders married Annie Otis in 1884 and had 1 daughter, Mary Ermina.