Hanna - James - Montgomery InGenWeb Project

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Hanna - James

Source: H.W. Beckwith History of Montgomery County, Indiana (Chicago:  HH Hill, 1881) p 503

James Hanna, one of the early settlers of Montgomery County,  was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania, March 31, 1791;  while in tender infancy his father removed to Scott County,  Kentucky, where he lived for many years.
Subsequently he moved to Dayton, Ohio, and there spent the  remnant of his life.  His name, also, was James, and he was a Scotch-Irishman.

With his twin brother, Robert, he came to America during  colonial days, the former locating in Washington County,  Pennsylvania, the latter in what afterward became Columbiana  County, Ohio.nnThe large family of Hanna now residing in Columbiana and at  Cleveland are the descendants of Robert.
They are a strong, aggressive, rich family.

The descendants of the primitive James Hanna are also  numerous, and well known in Indiana in commercial and  professional life.

His sons, James, Samuel, Joseph, Thomas and Hugh, and his  daughters, Elizabeth McCorkle, Sally Ward and Nancy Barnett,  after removal to Indiana, were domiciled respectively at  Crawfordsville, Fort Wayne, La Fayette, Richmond, Wabash and  Thorntown.  Mrs. McCorkle was the mother of William A. McCorkle, a  graduate of Wabash College, and now pastor of a Church in central  New York, and Mrs. Ward was the mother of William L. and James H.  Ward, successful merchants at La Fayette; also of Thomas B. Ward,  late judge of the superior court of Tippecanoe County.  James Hanna, of Crawfordsville, first came to Indiana in 1833,  and with his brothers, Samuel and Joseph, Leroy and Robert C.  Gregory, purchased a stock of general merchandise, and commenced  business in a frame building on the corner of Main and Green  streets, where now stands the fine structure known as the Fisher  Block.  In connection with his brother, Samuel, Mr. Hanna also  purchased a large tract of land situated in Coal Creek township,  now cut up into smaller farms, and owned by his daughters, Martha  and Mary Hanna, Levi Thomas, and the Patton and Jackson  heirs.
Mr. Hanna did not, however, bring his family here until the  fall of 1835, when they arrived with their household effects in a  train of old-fashioned Pennsylvania wagons.  He came from Troy Ohio.
He had there married Nancy Telford, daughter of Alexander  Telford, who, with his brother, William, had emigrated from  Virginia, and settled in Scott County, Kentucky.
His wife's maiden name was Mary McCampbell, a sister of the  head of the McCampbell family, now residing in Parke County.  Mrs. Hanna, who died in 1854, is still affectionately  remembered by many persons in Crawfordsville.  She was a rare woman.

Although brought up in the midst of plenty and luxury,  educated according to the best methods of her day, and allied by  birth to one of the wealthiest, most intellectual and cultured  families in the country, she came to Indiana with her husband,  without regrets for that she had left behind, and here, during  the balance of her life, wrought the good work of faith, hope and  charity in the Church of her allegiance, and in the midst of the  large circle of friends who knew her and comprehended her  virtues.  Alexander Telford, the father of Mrs. Hanna, many years before  his death removed to Troy, Ohio.

James Hanna had there for many years successfully carried on  the business of tanner and currier.  His means were quite ample, and his immigration into Indiana,  as it seemed, was not so much influenced by hopes of a more  successful business as the desire to enjoy the educational  facilities of Wabash College, then recently founded at  Crawfordsville.  His commercial venture was not successful, and after a few  years of trial finally abandoned.
In 1836 he built the large brick commercial house on the  corner now occupied by George Allen and owned by William  Newton.  It was at this place he closed out his stock.

He had formed a singular affection for Wabash College, and  seemed to think or care for little else. In the trying days of that institution, now risen to such  great and noble proportions, struggling as it was with its  mortgages, and still a little farther on with the ravages of  fire, he became its general traveling agent, and rode over almost  the entire state on horseback, soliciting subscriptions for its  relief. He was eminently successful in his efforts.
During one of his soliciting tours he was accompanied by Dr.  Elihu Baldwin, the first president of the college.  They traveled by private conveyance, and canvassed the  northern portion of the state.  While there, out of curiosity, they visited a large range  skirting lake Michigan, overgrown with whortleberry shrubs.
There they supposed they were sickened by a noxious succulent  closely resembling the berry now become a commodity of general  commerce.  They were both taken sick at once, and returned home as  rapidly as possible.  Mr. Hanna recovered under medical treatment, but Dr. Baldwin,  after protracted and painful illness, died.

Mr. Hanna was large, over six feet in height, had sandy hair,  a massive head, manly and well-defined features, and was strong  in frame and mind.  He was a devout christian of the Presbyterian denomination,  and for many years a ruling elder of the Church, both at Troy and  Crawfordsville.
His early education had been limited, but he was a remarkably  gifted in the natural graces of speech.  He had a rare faculty of attracting to himself the choicest  men of talents and culture.  Considered as a man untrained in the classic schools, and as  one who had only drank at the natural fountains on his way, he  was an orator of extraordinary merit, - stately, clear, correct,  impassioned and strong.
On Sunday night before he left home for the last time, and  which proved to be his last Sabbath on earth, at a monthly  concert held in the interest of foreign religious missions, he  delivered an appeal of singular power to the young men present,  to get ready and go forth to this work.  His fiery words on that night will never fade from the memory  of any who heard him.

He left home on the next Tuesday to go as a lay delegate to  the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church, that year  convened at Philadelphia, and he died on Thursday following, May  9, 1849, of Asiatic cholera, on the Ohio river steamer  Monongahela.  He was temporarily buried a few miles above Blannerhassett  Island, at Riggs Landing, but subsequently his remains were  removed to this County, and interred on College Hill.
So lived and died one of the purest and most useful of the  early settlers of Montgomery County. He had three sons and two daughters: James, who died young, Alexander, who died in San Francisco,  Martha and Mary, still residing here, and Bayless W. Hanna, ex-  attorney-general of Indiana, now a resident of Terre Haute, and  for many years the general attorney of the Indianapolis & St.  Louis Railroad Company.
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