Thanks for your reply. Based on the information you posted I know that Major Sanders was not the father of my great-grandfather, George W. Sanders. Nonetheless, I would like to compare notes. I see some similarities and am especially intested to know the names of Major's children, and compare them against George's siblings and his own children.
Unknown Sanders and Mary Magdalene Brown married shortly before the 1820 census in Bedford Co., TN. Their proven children are Mary (1836, AR) George (1839, AR) and Eliza Ann (1845, AR). I am 99% certain he had an older brother named Romulus who was born about 1831 in TN. Stories passed down in the family indicate he may have had at least two more older brothers named Richard and Frances/Francis.
Sometime between 1831-36 the family moved from Bedford to either Hempstead of Sevier Co., AR where the three youngest children were born. George claimed to have been born in Hempstead, but I have reason to believe it was actually Sevier, which at that time shared a border with Hempstead. Sometime between 1846-49 George's father either died or left the family. His mother returned to Bedford with the three youngest children and are found on the 1850 census in the household of her mother, Tabitha Hall Brown. George's brother Romulus went to Texas, but returned to Sevier where he married in 1854, and is found on the 1860 census there. He died in 1862 in TN during the Civil War.
By 1852 George's family moved to Stewart Co., TN. After serving in the Civil War he returned to Stewart Co. I cannot locate him on the 1870 census (anywhere) but he married in Stewart in 1876 and appears in two court records there from 1869 and 1871.
It is interesting to note that an 1871 court record in Stewart County lists someone named Major Sanders as a buyer at an estate sale. Perhaps this is the son of your Major Sanders that disappeared after 1850? Perhaps he went to Stewart because he had kin there? I find it a little ironic that the name Major Sanders appears in Bedford during the same time period that George's family was there, and reappears in Stewart at the same time George's family was in that county.
It's worth looking into. What do we have to lose? Sounds like your brick wall is as solid as mine.