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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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The Pioneer, a monthly supplement to the Sheboygan Press

Sheboygan Press - June 2, 1922

Sheboygan Pioneer Monthly Supplement

John Hanford

The subject of this sketch, John Hanford, is one of the very few still living pioneers of Sheboygan county who came here when he was old enough to vote. He was born October 8, 1826, and is therefore approaching his ninety-sixth birthday, and to conclude from his present excellent condition of both mind and body, he will round out a full century of a well spent life before he is gathered to his fathers, and it is, indeed, possible that he will do even better then that.

John Hanford was born in Norwalk, Conn., and came to Sheboygan county with his parents, James and Catherine Mary Hanford, two brothers and six sisters. The two brothers, Henry and William, died in the service of their country during the Civil war, the former in the battle of Cold Harbor and the latter of illness contracted in the service on his way home.

John Hanford was joined in matrimony with Martha Francis Ricker, in 1854, at Sheboygan Falls, where the Hanford's first settles when they came west, and where their son, Wallace, and daughter Alice, both now living in the city of Sheboygan, were born.

John Hanford in pioneer days plied his calling as a millwright, both in flour and in saw mills. In 1864 he enlisted from Sheboygan Falls as a private in the Union army, along with such veterans as George Spratt and Will Bryant, all honored members of the G.A.R.

In 1882 John Hanford removed to Menasha, Wis., and plied his millwright calling there for three years, after which, in 1885, he removed to the city of Sheboygan, where he has continued to reside to this day, and where he has lived in well earned, contented retirement with his daughter, Alice, for the past thirty years, following seven years of employment with E. B. Garton.

John Hanford, in his comfortable home at 515 Niagara avenue, never lacks companionship, for his devoted daughter anticipates all his modest needs, and when there are no other relatives and friends within the range of his still keen vision but somewhat diminished ability to hear, he has too vast a fun of pioneer recollections to draw upon to ever experience lonesomeness.

It is indeed, regrettable that but few of our pioneers practiced writing nearly as much as they did talking. If more of them has recorded their early impressions and experiences, what a compendium of historical and intensely interesting reading matter would now be available for their descendants!

John Hanford's pioneer father, departed this life at Sheboygan Falls in 1881, as did his mother, Catherine Mary, in 1883, and their names, along with those of many others on the scroll of Sheboygan county pioneerdom, will be honored and revered for generations yet to be born.

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