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Compiled by Opal M. HANNA 1987-1988

“Early Hanna Ancestors”

Prominent in early Benton (Calhoun) County, Alabama history were Hanna family members of John Hanna, a soldier of the revolution, and a gun-smith by trade.  He was listed a private in the 2nd Company of “Colonel” Nathaniel Gist’s Virginia Regiment in the records of the Revolutionary War, Comprised by Thomas Robert Saffell (1820-1891).  John Hanna and wife came to Alabama in 1832, along with a son, Woodford R. Hanna and a daughter, Elizabeth, settling near the beautiful Capped spring at the foot of Chosea (Joseph) Mountain - (near Anniston, Alabama).
He and his wife are buried in the Hanna family Cemetery at Chosea Springs.  It is not known what year John or his wife died.

The Hanna’s who were staunch Presbyterians, according to family tradition, came from Ireland to escape religious persecution, and settled in North/South Carolina/Virginia.  It is believed that John Hanna was born in South Carolina, in 1780 (Note by transcriber:  This John Hanna could not have served during the Revolutionary War.... perhaps the Compiler had a father or a grandfather named John Hanna when she mention his service during the War!) later moving to Tennessee where son, Woodford R. Hanna was born 12-25-1805, and later moving to Alabama in 1832, but records are very sketchy about this time.

1840 Census: Randolph County, Alabama

Hanna, John S.
 1 white male 20-30                (John S. 25)
 1 white female 15-20  (wife - 18)
 1 white male under 5  (Alexander W. - 4)
 2 white females under 5 (Mary - Under 2)
     (Elizabeth - Under 1)

1850 Census: Randolph County, Alabama

Hanna, John S.   35 Tenn
 Jane    28 Tenn
 Alex W. (Woodville?) 14 Ala
 Mary    12 Ala
 Elizabeth   10 Ala
 John A (Adrain?)  8 Ala
 Amanda (Anna?)  6 Ala
 George   3 Ala
 Sarah    1 Ala

1850 Census:  Benton County, Alabama

 Hanna, Woodford R.
  John S.   19 yrs   male  Tenn
  Robert L.    16 yrs  male  Ala
  Maryann   11 yrs  female  Ala
  Allen    10 yrs  male  Ala
  Alfred    6 yrs  male  Ala
  Woodford, Jr.,  6 yrs  male  Ala

The 1850 census of Benton County, Alabama listing Woodford R. Hanna’s children does not give age of Woodford, nor list his wife’s name or age.  Only names of his children--And I believe that the son of Woodford, listed as John S. on Census report , should be John W.  According to other records, a John W. Hanna was born in Tennessee January 8, 1832, to Woodford and Delphia Hanna.  Woodford R. Hanna was born December 25, 1805 in Tennessee, moved to Alabama in 1832, where he farmed and became one of the largest land owners in Benton County, Alabama.

Woodford R. married Philadelphia (Delphi) Patterson, a niece of the Governor of Tennessee of an aristocratic family, also of Scotch-Irish descent, and formerly of Pennsylvania.  Rhoda Ann, daughter of Woodford and Delphia, was born in Tennessee January 25, 1831, and John W. was born a year later, January 8, 1832.  Three of Woodford R.’s sons marched off to war with one -- 21 year old Alexander (born February 7 1840) killed at the battle of Drainsville, Virginia December 21, 1861.  John W. was a member of the Calvalry Company of Captain Robert W. Draper, “the Dudley Snow Rangers” organized in Oxford in 1862, and Woodford V. Jr., better known as “Coon” was a member of Company “D”, 10th Alabama Regiment, and remained active in the “John F. Forney” encampment of “Old Soldiers” which met yearly at the reunion at Sulfur Springs.

Rhoda Ann Hanna married Edward Poland.  Alfred Hanna married Martha Word of White Plains, and Robert M. Hanna became a noted Presbyterian minister of the Oxford area.  Maryann Hanna married J. J. Henderson in Calhoun County, Alabama.  Their children were: (1) Isabell, (2) Jeff D. 1861, (3) William Valentine 1864, (4) Delphia, (5) Samuel, (6) Robert and (7) Harve.  A descendent of Robert W. Henderson is Melrose Heflin, 203 Alexander, Killeen, Texas 76665.  Phone 817 634-5004.

Coming to Alabama with the Hanna family was Woodford’s wife Delphia Hanna and her sister, Polly, and her husband, Terry Riddle, who after his wife’s death, married Woodford Hanna’s sister, Elizabeth “Betsy” on January 27, 1842.  After Riddle’s death October 23, 1844, most of his family returned to Tennessee.  Since John S. Hanna’s wife’s name was Jane Riddle (born in Tennessee) perhaps she was a member of the same Riddle family who came to Alabama at the same time as the John Hanna family.  Sounds reasonable -- however I don’t have any records to indicate this  --  only the coincidence of the Riddle name already closely tied to the Hanna family.

1860 Census: Bosque County, Texas

      Age Born
 Hanna, John S.   45 Tenn Stockman
  Jane  (38?)  35? Tenn
  John A.   17 Ala
  Amanda   15 Ala
  George W.   12 Ala
  Sarah    10 Ala
  Thomas W. ?   9 Ala
  Ann    7 Ala
  James    4 Ala
  Robert    6 mos Ala

1860 Census: Bosque County Texas  (In same precinct)

 Hanna, A. W.    23 Tenn
         (Presumably oldest son -- Alex)
  Margaret   18 Tex
  Martha   3 mos Tex

1870 Census: Bosque County, Texas
 Hanna, John S.   54 Tenn
  Jane  (47)  40? Tenn
  Thomas W. ?   16 Ala
  James J.   14 Tex
  Robert L.    12 Tex
  Jeff Davis   10 Tex
  Charles W.   6 Tex

(For same precinct)  Son - John A. & Susan Elizabeth Harvick  Hanna

 Hanna, John A.   28 Ala
  Elizabeth   20 Tex
  Edna L.   1 Tex

1880 Census:  Bosque County, Texas
 Hanna, John S.   64 Tenn
 Jane     57 Tenn
 Robert     19 Tex
 Jeff D.     18 Tex
 Charles W.    15 Tex

The roots of the Hanna family, like the mighty oak, ran deep and strong in Bosque County, Texas.  In 1854 John S. Hanna, called “Captain Jack”, came to Texas and was one of the strong leaders of the adventurous settlers in the virgin frontier ranching country of Central Texas.

A namesake of John Sevier, (Revolutionary War hero and several times Governor of Tennessee, John Sevier Hanna, was born June 24, 1815 in Tennessee.  By the age of 20, he was married and living in Randolph County, Alabama, where the first eight of his thirteen children were born, before a nagging wanderlust and the promise of abundant cattle lands in the vast expanse of Texas, prompted the family’s decision to move on westward.

In 1854, John S. Hanna brought his wife, Jane Riddle Hanna (born 1827 in Tennessee), and his already large family to settle in Central Texas, beside a river, which later adopted its name from the Spanish word “Bosque” which meant “Woody” or “Woodlands”.

In 1850, McLennan County was carved out of the huge Milam District; and from McLennan County, several smaller counties were formed, including Bosque in 1854.  And that was the year John S. Hanna and his family found the countryside they wanted, choosing over 1,000 acres rising from the banks of the Bosque River, a few miles northwest of what later became the town of Meridian.

John S. could not believe his good fortune -- for the stock he wanted to raise, it was perfect.  The climate was mild and temperate and the rain fall good.  Outcroppings of small mountains, low mesas, and rounded peaks, dotted the wide horizon, and gently rolling hills covered with stirrup - high grasses rolled down to the river, which was lined and shaded with willow, oak, sycamore, pecan, elm and hackberry trees.

The Hannas had found their paradise.  John S. Hanna proceeded to build a fine log cabin home for his family on the west bank of the Bosque -- the first home of the area that far northwest.  Nearby was the ideal spot for a river crossing, and it soon became known as “Hanna Crossing” and a favorite route for cross-country riders, and that spot remained a river fording route for many years.

His log house was solidly constructed of heavy logs with puncheon floor, (split logs with smooth side up), had large rooms, some sixteen to eighteen feet square, with a dog-trot of the same size.  (A dog-trot that was an open but covered area connecting two sections of a cabin or house, similar to the modern breezeway).  There were no glass windows, only heavy board shuttered openings through which, when closed, very little light could penetrate.

These Bosque settlers had no quarrel and few problems with the many friendly Indians in the area, but the deadly Comanche, and sometimes the Kiowa, were frequent raiders in the County.  The pioneers lived in constant fear of their brutal raids.  “Meridian Knobs” and “Lookout Mountain”, overlooking Hanna’s land, provided a good vantage spot for lookouts, with two men usually stationed at each place at all times.

So despite the beautiful and lush country-side, it was not exactly a paradise.  The Hanna home became a gathering place, where the local women and children came to stay, while the men were away on a hunt, working the range, or out tracking horse-thieving Indians, whose strategy was usually hit-and-run.  More than once, parties of Comanches came galloping by when the men were gone, circling around and around the log house, whooping and hooting, while the women and children huddled in fear, hidden in one of the shuttered darkened rooms.

Fortunately they were never attacked.  Some others were  not so lucky.  A small incident in the broader scope of bloody Comanche attacks on the settlers, but perhaps one of the best documented encounters, was that of Peter Cartwright Johnson and his nine year old son, Peter, Jr.  The Johnsons were living in nearby Brown County in the late 1850s, (probably 1857 or 1859), raising grain, but there were no mills closer than the Bosque River, so as they passed one of the peaks returning home from the mill in Bosque County, with a wagon load of supplies, Peter C. Johnson and his son were attacked by Indians.  Johnson was pierced by an arrow, fell from his wagon, and was scalped on the spot.

The boy, Peter Jr., was terrified, but when the Comanches reached him, he picked up a black-snake whip, flailing away at them as they rode by.  Perhaps the Indians admired his courage, for they did not kill him, but took him prisoner.  About eight to ten days after this, a man named Hinson Roberts, and his party, who were following an Indian trail, looking for stolen cattle, came across the little boy, about forty miles from the nearest house.

The little boy was nearly dead with hunger and cold -- the Indians having taken his clothes.  The boy had slipped out of the camp, naked, one cold night, and came across the cattle that had ropes attached to them, no doubt lost out of and Indian raid, and he was trying to stay hidden among the cattle, hiding from Indians or wolves or both.

Peter Cartwright Johnson’s body was found and brought to the John S. Hanna place, where John S. chose a spot on his land, on a rolling hill above the river, and buried the scalped body.  This became the first grave in the “Hanna Cemetery” near Meridian, where a great many of the Hanna family members and neighbors were later buried.

John S. Hanna was buried there in the Hanna Cemetery September 24, 1882, and his wife, Jane Riddle Hanna, was later buried there in 1911.  John S. Hanna gained quite a reputation as an Indian fighter with Buck Barry’s Texas Rangers (Commissioned in early 1856), on the Texas frontier, and later in 1856, he was appointed a Territorial Sheriff of Bosque County and was probably still sheriff when Peter C. Johnson and his son were attacked by Indians.  And it was during the Civil War that he earned his title of “Captain Jack” with the Confederate Army’s Frontier Guard.

Another interesting bit of information about John S. Hanna, which was mentioned in several different accounts regarding his life, is the story that he had seventeen children by at least two wives, but only thirteen children and one wife, Jane, have been documented.

Of the thirteen children of John S. and Jane Riddle Hanna (eight boys and five girls), very little is known about them, except for four of the sons, and three of the daughters.  Elizabeth Hanna married Perry Harvick, Ann Hanna married James E. Moore, from Cranfills Gap, (or near there) on April 5, 1877 and the only descendant of Ann known to us, is Vada Moore Railsback.  Belle Hanna married a Smith.  Whether Belle was actually named Mary, Amanda or Sarah, is not known as the name appeared on Census rolls as a first name for many of John and Jane Hanna’s daughters.  Much more is known about four of John and Jane Hanna’s sons -- Robert L., Charles W., John A. and Jeff Davis.

John Adrain Hanna, second son of John and Jane Hanna was twelve years old when the family came to Texas.  He spent his teenage years on the Bosque and at the age of nineteen, joined the Confederate Army to fight for the Southern cause in the Civil War.  He served as a 2nd Sergeant, Company “A”, in the 8th Regiment, Texas Cavalry Army of Tennessee.

John A. survived the war and after the South surrendered, he came home to the Bosque and married a neighbor girl, Susan Elizabeth Harvick.  John A. and Susan Elizabeth Harvick were married on November 15, 1866, and first seven of their nine children were born in Bosque County.  Their first child, Edna Lee Hanna, was sixteen years old when the family moved west to settle in Runnels County, Texas (about half way between Abilene and San Angelo, Texas).  In 1889 John A. Hanna died in Runnels County at the early age of forty-seven, just four months before the birth of their ninth child, Johnnie (a girl).  Their children were: (l) Edna Lee, (2) Sallie K., (3) Alexander, (4) George W. (5) John A., (6) name unknown, (7) name unknown, (8) name unknown and (9) Johnnie.

Robert L. Hanna, Sixth son of John S. and Jane Hanna, married Mary Catherine “Kate” on October 14, 1886.  Mary was born September 10, 1834.  They had no children.  He was cleaning his gun, and shot himself in the leg, and died after blood poison set in.  “He was quite a rounder, drank heavy and was a left handed fiddle player”.  He is buried in the Hanna Cemetery.  She was much older than him.

Charles W. Hanna, Eighth and youngest son of John S. and Jane Hanna, married Ida Shaffer who was a seventeen year old bride.  Their children were: (1) Jack, (2) Herbert, (3) Dee, (4) Clyde, (5) Aubrey, (6) Odell, (7) Winnie, (8) Lena and (9) Neoma.  Most of Charles W. Hanna’s descendants live in or near Cleburne, Texas.

Jeff Davis Hanna, Seventh son of John S. and Jane Hanna, was also a very well known man of Bosque County, Texas.  His home was located about a mile from the site of the original log home, built by his father, John S. Hanna.  (The log house was used for many years as a born and remnants of it remained for years and years.

Both men were noted for their erect posture, direct manner of speech, and strong Christian leadership.  Jeff Davis Hanna was born June 11, 1861, on the Hanna farm, the thirteenth child of John S. and Jane Hanna.  As a young man, he went to Runnels County, Texas, where his brother, John Adrain Hanna lived, and worked as a “cowboy” on the massive “Parramore” ranch.

He was among the cowboys on the last big cattle drive, in 1886, from Runnels County to the Kansas City market before the coming of the railroad, and barbed wire fences ended the trail - drive era.  One of the highlights of his life, in his last  years, was to attend the “Stamford Stampede”, in West Texas, and visit with his old friends of his “cowboy” days, including Will Rogers, well-known “cowboy” and “humorist”.

Jeff Davis Hanna returned to Bosque County, Texas and purchased the family farm, where he married Addie Graves on January 5, 1888, and raised nine children.  He was a progressive rancher, upgraded his Hereford cattle, purchased the best farming equipment available, had a battery-powered light system, radio, and one of the first automobiles, (about 1924), in the Meridian area.

Jeff D. Hanna served in the Texas Senate, (1921-22).  He did not run for the office, but was elected by “write-in vote”, by the people of Bosque County, and served only one term, stating that he did not like it and would not serve another term: --- “that there was no place in the Senate for an honest man and it was a waste of taxpayer’s money.

Addie Graves Hanna, born October 10, 1870 in Illinois was also a leader in the community.  She was well-known for her nursing skills, medical knowledge, and was
often called on the help nurse the sick in the area.  She was widely respected for her willingness to help anyone in need and to find a solution for any problem.  She, like her husband, Jeff D., was well-known for her strong moral character, out-spokenness, and leadership in the Community.

Addie Graves Hanna, was the daughter of James Dudley Chandler Graves, and Maria Kinsolving Graves.  She was the oldest of seven children, and her daughter,  Vera Hanna Anderson, said that Addie Graves Hanna, at the age of nine, took over the responsibility of raising her brothers and sister, when her mother ran away with an Adventist Church group.

Her brother, Earnest Graves, married Daisy Adams, of Joshua, and had two children: Ina Belle and Winnie.  Sherman Graves, married Molly Meadows and had two children -- Viola Graves Mingus, and George Graves.  Nannie Graves married Jim Wright of Waco, and had a daughter, Lucille Wright, then later married Jim Cauble of Aquilla, Texas.  Hattie Graves, died early in life, probably before reaching adulthood.  Addie Graves Hanna, also had two other brothers: Hugh Graves and Finis Graves but I have not researched them.

Jeff Davis Hanna died January 20, 1942, and Addie Graves Hanna died June 22, 1949.  Both are buried in Hanna Cemetery, Bosque County, Texas.  Their children were:

(1) Lois (born March 6,1889 and died June 20, 1982) married Andrew Battle Jordon (born April 10, 1884 and died July 10, 1964) in 1909.  One son, J. D. Jordon.

(2) John Dudley Hanna, born October 14, 1891 married Alvora Moffett on April 18, 1904.  Children were Alton, Addie Lou, Irma Lois and Randall.

(3) Ernest Terry Hanna, born February 14, 1893 married Ora Bass on November 18, 1910.  Children were: Olen, A. J. and Mozelle.

(4) Jeffie Moore Hanna, born July 20, 1896 married Alice Grace Siddall March 5, 1916.  Children were: Clovis Siddall, Vera Lorene, Jeffie Franklin, Johnnie Alice, William C., George Davis, Joseph Ray and Nora Marie.

(5) Addie Lorena Hanna, born November, 1899 and died 1986 married Wylie Day (born February 7, 1895 and died June 7, 1964) on October 5, 1927.  Children were Davis and Ann.

(6) James Wylie Hanna, born August 2, 1900 and died 1978 married Mary Alice Jones born 1913.  Children were Jack (born July 12, 1931 and died May 24, 1975), Jimmie, Mimi and Luann.

(7) Vera Elizabeth Hanna, born July 21, 1902 married Roy Anderson on October 5, 1927.  Children were:  Hanna Leroy, Wyleta, Patsy, Ronald Terry and Hattie Margaret.

(8) Vernon Graves Hanna, born October 14, 1904 and died at age of four years and a few months.  Buried in Hanna Cemetery, Bosque County, Texas.

(9) Collin Andrew Hanna, born July 11, 1911 married Mary Frances Robinson on August 11, 1944.  She was born April 9, 1917 near Morgan, Bosque County, Texas.  Children were: Mike (February 14, 1952) and Mary Lynn (June 24, 1944)