[Editor's note: The following is my verbatim transcription of the biographical sketch which appeared in the Portrait and Biographical Album of Vermilion and Edgar Counties, Ill. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1889). While the information is helpful, it clearly contains some errors, as do many of biographical sketches contained the county histories published during that period.]
David Hanley. In the year 1819, it is hardly necessary to say, very few white people had ventured into Central Illinois or into any part of the State. Among them that year came Mr. Hanley, who is probably one of the oldest living residents on the county. Dear, wild turkey, wolves and Indians were plentiful, the latter principally the Cherokees and they often camped near the cabin of the white man. Our subject had Indian boys for his playmates and although they frequently differed in their ideas, he seldom had any serious conflict with them. He often recalls the time when the farmers threshed their grain with a flail, the grain being laid on rails with linen sheets underneath to catch the kernels. For ten years after coming here they drove through with a team to Chicago, making the trip with four yoke of oxen and consuming one month. They kept this up as late as 1838. For their recreations the settlers had log rollings, corn huskings and dancing.
The the subject of this notice was born in Muhlenberg County, Ky., July 5, 1818, and a year later his parents set out by a wagon for Illinois. The scenes of his first recollection lie in Edgar County, where he began work on a farm when a boy. His early education was conducted in a log schoolhouse with the ground for the floor, slabs for seats and desks, greased paper for window panes, a huge fireplace extending nearly across one end and the smoke coaxed through a chimney built outside of mud and sticks. Young Hanley remained at home until twenty-one years old and then until twenty-five employed himself as a farm laborer. He then in 1843 entered 160 acres of land in Sims Township. This was mostly covered with timber. He had before entering, worked it in order to get money to secure it for his own. He proceeded successfully with its improvement and purchased 80 acres adjoining. In due time he became the owner of 240 acres and lived upon it eight years. Then selling out he rented land in Paris Township five years, then purchased 240 acres adjoining Redmon, which was unimproved and and upon which he labored industriously until 1877. Then selling out he removed to his present place, a well-cultivated farm of 160 acres. In 1878 he rented this and removed to the northwestern part of Shiloh Township and followed agriculture there five years as a renter. In 1883 he returned to his old farm which had been greatly run down in the meantime and which he has improved, building fences, putting in tile and planting walnut and mulberry trees. He has 120 acres under the plow. The soil is very fertile and moistened by a running stream. The homestead lies fourteen miles from Paris. Mr. Hanley has good cattle and swine with fourteen head of draft horses and uses about four teams in his farm work.
The marriage of our subject with Miss Hannah Patterson occurred in Sims Township, May 5, 1842. Mrs. Hanley is the daughter of William Patterson, a native of Pennsylvania and born near the city of Pittsburgh. His father, William Patterson, Sr., was a native of Ireland and upon coming to America located in Pennsylvania where he spent his last days. William, Jr., removed from Pennsylvania to Warren County, Ohio, when a lad of ten years. There he grew to man's estate and worked in Cincinnati in a rope factory until his marriage. Afterward he engaged in farming in Southern Ohio, and lived there until the fall of 1833. Then coming to Illinois he located at Walnut Grove, in Kansas Township, where he engaged in farming and milling.
Subsequently, however, he returned East, as far as Lake County, Ind., where his death occurred. He was a Republican, politically, and in religious matters a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
The maiden name of the mother of Mrs. Hanley was Nancy Hamilton. She was a native of Virginia, born near the town of Moresfield and was the daughter of Thomas Hamilton, who was born in England. He served in English army and as a soldier of that army was brought over the Atlantic to fight the colonists. This he did not wish to do, so deserted the ranks and located in Virginia and lived in Palmyra, Warren County, the remainder of his days. The mother of Mrs. Hanley was reared to womanhood in Ohio and died in Momence, Ill. 1884 (?), when 84 years old. Of the nine children, born to the parents, six are living, viz.: Sarah, a resident of Wellington, Ill.; Catherine, living in Will County, Ill; Hannah, Mrs. Hanley; Caroline is deceased; Russell, a resident of Will County; Henry H. and Leander, of Danville. Leander during the late war enlisted in 1861 in the 12d Illinois Infantry and served until the close. The deceased are William, Caroline and Emma.
Mrs. Hanley was born near Palmyra, Warren County, Ohio, Jan. 16, 1828. She came to Illinois with her parents when a child, they making the journey overland with teams. She was fond of her books and by close application obtained a good education. She learned thoroughly all housewifely duties and was particularly expert at weaving. She has kept up her interest in reading and study and is thoroughly well informed. The twelve children, born of her married with our subject were named respectively: Sarah J., deceased; Savilla; Nancy deceased; Caroline; William; Ellen deceased; Leander, Henry, Thomas, Emma, Lizzie and Hannah. Sarah J. became the wife of Condy O'Donnell and they are both deceased; Savilla married Stephen Jump, who is now a retired farmer and they live at Brocton; Nancy was married to George Wood; Caroline was the wife of George Coffer, of Baxter Springs, Cherokee Co., Kan.; Ellen married a Mr. Massey and at her death left three children; Leander is a house carpenter and lives in Ft. Gibson, Indian Territory; Henry is farming in Crocker County, Kan.; Thomas is farming in Shiloh Township, Edgar County; Emma, Mrs. Massey, is a resident of Champaign County, Ill.; Lizzie, Mrs. Russell, lives in Hendricks County, Ind.; Hannah is the wife of Abner Russell and they occupy the home farm; they have two children -- Everett Lee and Emma.
Mr. Hanley for years affiliated with the Democratic party, but in the election of '88 cast his ballot for Benjamin Harrison and intends hereafter to support the Republican party. He was Path Master in the early days and for many years served as School Director. In religion he is a member of the United Brethren and a regular attendant upon the services at Prairie Chapel. He is man who has made a great deal of money, but has likewise lost much of account of appending his name to notes for friends. In this way he has parted with a small fortune. He has given eighty acres of land to his son, Henry, and and helps his other children as much as possible. He intends putting up a new residence in the near future. He and his estimable wife have lived together happily for many years and are of that genial temperament which has drawn around them hosts of friends.
The subject was Samuel Hanley, a native of Pennsylvania, and his paternal grandfather was born in Ireland. The latter crossed the Atlantic at an early day and thereafter farmed in Pennsylvania the remainder of his life. Samuel served an apprenticeship at shoemaking and early in life established himself on a farm in Muhlenberg County, Ky., where he became well-to-do. He contracted the western fever, however, and in 1819 came to Illinois and entered land in Sims Township, Edgar County. He put up a house and established the first mill in this region. He afterward improved four different farms and likewise established the first distillery in the county. He was a man of great energy and industry and died in Paris at the advanced age of eighty-five years.
The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Mary Ripple. She was a native of Pennsylvania and the daughter of Michael Ripple, who was likewise born in that state and is of German descent. He served through the Revolutionary War under the direct command of Gen. Washington and afterward established himself on a farm in Kentucky whence he removed to Illinois in 1825. He spent his last days in Sims Township, passing away at a ripe old age. The mother likewise died in Paris; were members of the Christian Church. There large family of fifteen children grew to mature years, were never sick a day, never had a doctor and never lost a meal until after they had grown to manhood and womanhood. Joseph, Matthew, William and Lydia are deceased. Marry is a resident of Clark County, Ill.; Michael, Cynthia, Samuel, Anthony and Ephraim are deceased. John is a resident of Paris Township. David, our subject, was the next in order of birth. Elizabeth and Sarah are deceased, Savilla is a resident of Paris.
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