James Hanson, the subject of this sketch, is one of the very first settlers of Starr township. Mr. Hanson does not boast of a line of distinguished ancestry, nor coat of arms on the panel of his door, but lives in the original dugout, which is a home in the truest sense of the word. The hopes of his life were frustrated in the loss of his wife, who died in 1873, leaving Mr. Hanson with six children that he has raised with much credit. The quaintly primitive dugout, where he will likely spend his declining years, is a model of neatness and comfort. Picturesquely shadowed by a giant cottonwood planted by his own hand and under whose clustering branches, after the dally task set free, he enjoys life in undisturbed repose.
Mr. Hanson came to Cloud county in 1870 and homesteaded the land where he now lives, one and three-quarter miles southeast of Miltonvale. He is a native son of Ireland, born in 1825. When forty-five years of age he came to America, accompanied by his wife and five children. After stopping brief intervals in Indiana and Illinois he came to Cloud county, Kansas, leaving his family in Lawrence, and after taking up his claim returned, bringing them back with him, feeling as if he had the whole world to himself. He has always been a farmer and is well contented that he came to Kansas. He owns two hundred and sixty acres of land, but is practically retired, his son managing his affairs. Mr. Hanson says the chief lesson of prosperity to a farmer in Kansas was, if he raised a crop to save enough for the next year in the event of a drouth or other disaster. His crops have failed but twice in the thirty-two years of his sojourn in Kansas - one by grasshoppers and the other by chinch bugs. His chief industry is raising corn, hogs, horses and cattle, the latter of the native and Hereford breeds.
Mr. Hanson's parents were Edward and Mary (McClean) Hanson, both natives of Ireland, and died there. Mr. Hanson was married to Elizabeth Edmons, who was also a native of Ireland, and to this union six children were born, all of whom are living and Mr. Hanson says, "They are all doing well, and never voted the Populist ticket." The eldest daughter, Jane, is the wife of David Furgeson, a farmer of Cloud county; Mary, wife of Benjamin Harrison, a farmer of Nebraska; William, who owns a farm adjoining his father's; John lives with his father and operates the farm; his family consists of a wife and little daughter. Stinson, who lives in Miltonvale, and owns some good property there, including the Burdick Hotel; Edward, a farmer and successful stockman of Oklahoma.
Mr. Hanson was reared in the Episcopal church, under the High Church discipline. He is a man of integrity and unquestioned honor, whose word could be taken unreservedly. He is proud of his children, loyal to his friends, and has many admirable characteristics scarcely known outside of the family circle. He is eccentric, but entertaining and humorous, possessing to the fullest degree the famous "mother wit" of his county.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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