John R. Hance

John R. Hance, whose fine farm "Maple Grove,"
situated in section 1, Spencer township, adjoins the city limits of
Spencerville, was born September 9, 1846, in Gallatin County, Kentucky,
and is a son of Richard and Margaret Jane (Knox) Hance and a grandson of
John and Keturah (Clements) Hance, natives of Lexington, Kentucky.
      Mr. Hance comes of Revolutionary stock and of one of the
old-established families of America.  His great -great-grandfather, John
Hance, who was a large slaveholder, came from England and was one of the
very early settlers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  His
great-grandfather, Richard Hance, took part in the Revolutionary War and
removed from Maryland to Kentucky, locating first in Scott County.  He
was one of the workmen employed in the building of the State House, at
Lexington.  Later he took up land in Bourbon County and passed the rest
of his life there.  He was considered a man of prominence and substance.
His son John, born at Lexington, was the grandfather of our subject.
        Of the family of 10 children born to John Hance and his wife,
Keturah Clements, Richard Hance, the father of our subject, is the only
survivor.  He was born September 7, 1824, in Bourbon County, Kentucky,
and was reared and educated in that State, where he remained until 1849,
when he came to Ohio.  During his 18 months of prospecting, he lived on
the Auglaize River.  Finally, in April 1851, he took up a tract of land
in Jennings Township, Van Wert County, and on its southeast corner
erected a round-log cabin, with a stick and clay chimney.  The county at
that time was still practically unsettled and deer and wolves were
plentiful in the surrounding forest and even bear were not unknown.  Mr.
Hance, with the assistance of his son John, cleared 80 acres of land and
fenced his property with rails.  All the luxuries and almost all of the
necessities of what was the deemed comfortable living were produced at
home, each member of the family having appointed tasks.
        The family continued to occupy the first log cabin for a term of
11 years and then a more comfortable and commodious one was built of
hewed logs, the work being done by Mr. Hance and his sons.  The old
house still stands solid and secure, although the family moved to
Spencerville in 1899.  While residing on the farm, Mr. Hance was
supervisor of his road district at times; he had much to do with making
good roads.
          In 1844 Richard Hance was married in Henry County, Kentucky,
to Margaret J. Knox, who was a first cousin of James K. Polk, elected
President of the United States in 1844.  The Knox family is of Scotch
origin and our subject's maternal grandfather took part in the War of
Independence.  The family first settled in Virginia and later assisted
in establishing the colony on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  Prior to
the marriage of Margaret J. Knox, her people had located in Kentucky.
She died in 1880.  The children of this marriage who reached maturity
were: John R.; William Clements, of Bartlett, Kansas, who married
Caroline Masters and has two children living; Wilkison K., of New
Carlisle, Ohio, who married Sarah Allen and has five children; Austin a
resident of Lima, who married Rebecca Shoemaker and has three children;
Edward, who died aged 25 years; Icem, a resident of Lima, who married
Eliza Snyder and has three children; and Anna Eliza, who married Gordon
Baker and has two children living.  Mr Hance has 19 grandchildren and 12
          On October 12, 1882, Richard Hance was married, second, to
Mrs. Sarah C. Townsend, who was the widow of Jesse Townsend.  Mr. and
Mrs. Hance belong to the Baptist Church and reside at Spencerville.
         John R. Hance accompanied his parents to Jennings township and
grew up surrounded with pioneer conditions, these, perhaps, serving to
develop both body and mind, for he was but 20 years old when he became a
successful and popular teacher in the district schools.  His first term
was taught in the winter of 1866-67.  He continued to teach for 12
terms, mostly during the winters as his summers were employed in
carrying on agricultural operations.  In 1882 he located in Spencer
Township, Allen County, securing a partly improved farm on the edge of
the corporation limits of Spencerville.  Here he has continued to make
improvements and has built and remodeled buildings so that his property
has greatly increased in value.  The Chicago & Erie Railroad passes
through his farm, the rails having been laid in the year he secured the
        On April 13, 1869, Mr. Hance was married to Margaret J. Van
Sweringen, and to this union have been born these children: Sarah
Isabelle, who died May 26, 1886, aged 16 years; Thomas E., who resides
in Peru, Kansas; Jennie, who married David A. Parrott, of Spencerville,
and has two children living and two deceased; Charles and Franklin
(twins), the latter deceased at the age of 17 years the former married
Ellen Rose and has four children living and one deceased; Mary, who is
the wife of Robert Gracely Kossuth; Millie Ann, who married Clyde
Robbins and died July 17, 1905, leaving two children- two other children
died before their mother went to her reward; Nora Catherine, who married
Webb D. Metzger, of Spencer Township, and has one child; and Martha
Rachel, who lives at home.