Robert Wilson Sanders of Barnwell, South Carolina was born September 12, 1847. An ordained minister, Sanders attended Furman University from 1867-1871 and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary from 1871-1875, receiving his Doctor of Divinity from Furman. During the Civil War, Sanders served as a member of the 1st Regiment of S.C. Volunteers (Artillery) and also as a member of Hardee’s Corps. Sanders taught Greek and Latin in Chester, South Carolina public schools and was pastor in Chester from June 15, 1875 until January 4, 1893. Sanders was elected as President of the Baptist State Convention in December of 1894 and held pastorates in Florence, Charleston, and Greenville.