Nancy Jane Ratliff was born in Tennessee on March 21, 1823 and was the daughter of William Ratliff and Nancy Boyd Ratliff, natives of North Carolina. She married James Monroe Sanders in Arkansas December 16, 1847. He was born in Alabama on July 16, 1823 and was the son of Thomas Jefferson Sanders, a native of Virginia.
James and Nancy Jane migrated to Anderson County, Texas in 1863 where James was engaged in farming for seven years. They then moved to Limestone County, six miles northwest of Groesbeck.