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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1128~


Thomas L. Hanson


The subject of this sketch, who is mayor of Oelwein, president of the First National Bank of that city, and a successful farmer, was born at Keighley, Yorkshire, England, and is a son of Thomas and Ellen (Smith) Hanson. Thomas Hanson was an early settler of Jefferson Township, Fayette County, coming here in 1858. He was the son of Joseph and Ahinoam (Wood) Hanson and was born December 9, 1823, at Keighley. His parents also were natives of Yorkshire, the father born April 1, 1787, and the mother

February 23, 1790. Thomas Hanson, the subject's father, was a stonemason in his younger days, after being a successful contractor and builder. On June 21, 1845, he married Ellen Smith, who was born in Yorkshire, the daughter of John and Jane Smith. Four children were born to them in England, namely: Thomas L., the subject; Isaac; Sarah A., who became the wife of J W. Drayton; and Joseph. Three other children were born to these parents after their arrival in Fayette county, namely: John W.; Alfred, who is cashier of the First National Bank at Oelwein; Martha Alice. The Hanson family lived in Keighley, England, until 1855, when, his father a farmer having died in 1854, Thomas Hanson moved his family to the homestead farm and there followed farming for two years. He then brought his family to the United States, locating in Iowa, where he purchased eight acres of land, located one mile northwest of what is now the prosperous town of Oelwein. The country at that time was wild and but sparsely settled and many kinds of wild game was to be found about them, and amid these conditions the Hanson boys were reared to manhood. After paying for his land, he was without means with which to buy a team and he was compelled to hire his first ten acres plowed, paying for it partly in cash and partly in work. The following spring he borrowed some money and bought a yoke of two-year-old steers, to which he hitched a home-made sled, which was his sole substitute for a wagon. However, with these primitive arrangements he managed to get through the year and after that was in easier financial circumstances. He was industrious and a good manager and met with splendid success in his operations, so that in time he became the owner of over six hundred acres of valuable land. He took and active interest in public affairs and served eight years as trustee of Jefferson township.

This brief recital shows the conditions under which Thomas L. Hanson was reared to manhood and which molded his character. His mother, Ellen (Smith) Hanson, who had shared with her husband the hardships and vicissitudes of the pioneer life, lived to see her children grow to useful and respected manhood and womanhood. She died on February 6, 1884, and subsequently her husband married Eliza Mary Hanson, by whom was born one son, George L.


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