W[allace] W. HANFORD, deceased, was born in Delaware County, N. Y., June 18, 1831. His early education was acquired in the common schools and was supplemented by his coming in contact with the practical side of life. At an early age he entered a printing-office and learned that trade. In 1853, at the age of twenty-two, he came West, and for a few months stopped in Iowa City. He came to Vinton in 1854, and engaged in mercantile business as salesman. From that year until the date of his demise he was closely identified with the development, not only of Vinton, but of the entire county of Benton.
Feb. 13, 1856, Mr. Hanford purchased a half interest in the Vinton Eagle, which at that time had been established about thirteen months. In July of the same year he purchased the interest of his partner and became sole owner of the paper. In February, 1857, he sold the paper and establishment, together with his good-will, but in August of the same year again purchased a half interest in the same. From that date until August, prior to his death, when failing health compelled retirement, Mr. Hanford was closely identified with the Eagle, and whatever of success attended its career was due, in a large measure, to his energy, judgment and untiring efforts to place it in the front rank of country papers.
Sept. 10, 1857, Mr. Hanford was married to Miss Ann Tilford, daughter of J. S. Tilford, one of the proprietors of the town of Vinton and one of her most enterprising citizens. To this union four children were born — two sons and two daughters: Frank F. is editor and proprietor of the Centerville Chronicle, Dakota; Jennie is the wife of Horace L. Wood, editor and proprietor of the daily and weekly Press, of Nebraska City; Grace is a student at the Iowa State University, and Walter is residing at Centerville, Dak.
Mr. Hanford was always active, energetic and persistent in anything he undertook. He was public spirited and always ready to aid by personal influence, and with his means, as far as he was able, all public enterprises that in his judgment were wise. He was prompt and reliable in business relations, winning general esteem from all with whom business brought him in contact. He was for several years Assessor of Internal Revenue, and performed the duties of that office with the same care and promptness that characterized his private business relations. Some attention was given to the management of a small farm near town, and also to some town property he owned, hut his special pride was for the Eagle, which for nearly twenty years demanded and received his personal attention and almost his unremitting toil. In December, 1875, he was compelled to withdraw from its management, but with a hope that it would only be temporary; regret was deepened almost to sorrow when, in August, prior to his death, he finally sold his interest and retired from the paper. He died on the 9th of January, 1877. His sickness began in the summer of 1871 with a troublesome cough, which originated from catarrh and made it necessary for him to take recreation. In the fall of 1873 he went to Southern Colorado, and in the fall of 1875 spent a short time at Denver, hoping to regain his health. In the spring of 1876 be went South with his brother, R. R. Hanford, and spent several weeks at Lookout Mountain, Tenn. In August, 1876, he went to Elmira, N. Y., where he remained until cold weather set in, when he went to Tennessee and staid there until it became evident that the change of climate and surroundings could do no good. He then returned home, and life gradually loosened its hold upon him, and, as stated, on January 9 of the following year, he joined the silent majority on the other shore. He was for many years a member, and for a number of years an officer, of the Presbyterian Church. He was a man of decided ability, and popular with the people, and in social life was very entertaining and pleasant. He lived a consistent Christian life, and his end was peace.
Source Citation: "1887 Benton County, Iowa Biographies" [database online] Benton County IAGenWeb Project. <http://iagenweb.org/benton/>
Original data: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Benton County, Iowa." Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887, p. 180-181.
Transcribed by: Sue Soden. Submitted to the Benton County IAGenWeb Project on June 16th, 2007. Copyright © 2007 The IAGenWeb Project.