JESSE HANON is one of the pioneers of Christian
County, his birth having occurred April 14, 1830, about ten
miles from Taylorville. He is a farmer, now
residing in Morrisonville, and is the owner
of a number of fine farms. His father, Martin Hanon, was the first settler in this county, having settled near
Taylorville in 1818. He was a
native of Tennessee, and was a farmer by
He took up about eighty acres of land, but
afterward bought a lumber mill, which was located on the farm where our subject was born. This mill was subsequently
known as the Elgin Mill, and this he operated for a number of years. From there he removed to the present site
of Taylorville, before the town was
His father, Michael Hanon, was born and
reared in Ireland, and came to America
when a young man. He was a farmer in Tennessee, and died while still
in the prime of life. The name of the family was originally spelled Hening.
Michael Hanon reared a family of four daughters
and five sons. Our subject's father died April 5, 1879, aged seventy-nine years.
The wife of Martin Hanon, whose maiden name
was Sarah Miller, was born in Pennsylvania, her people being
of German birth. Her parents came to America after their marriage,
settling in Pennsylvania, where the father
died in middle life. To Mr. and Mrs. Hanon were born ten children, only four of the number now living: Jesse; Joseph;
Susan, wife of G. R. Sharp, of Sharpsburg, Ill.; and Elijah, who is a resident of Lamed, Kan. Joseph lives at Willow Springs, Mo. The parents were members of the Predestination
The subject of this sketch has spent his
entire life in this county with the exception of three years, when he was absent during the late war.
His early education was obtained in the
old-fashioned subscription schools, but in later years he enlarged his knowledge by wise reading and thoughtful
His life work has been mainly that of farming
and stock-raising, though for about four years he carried on a sawmill. He has been very successful in his enterprises
and now with his three sons, William, John and Cyrus, owns eight hundred acres of land in Clay County, near the town of Flora.
This land is operated by them under the firm name of J. Hanon & Sons. He is also the owner of a good home property
During the late war, Mr. Hanon enlisted
in Company A, One Hundred and Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, and was in the service for about three years. He took
part in the battle of Chickamauga and was in a number
of important skirmishes. On the battlefield of Chickamauga
he was taken prisoner and was confined for seven months in Libby Prison; was thence removed to Macon,
Ga., where he was a prisoner for two months, and was then transferred to Savannah,
Ga., and Charleston,
S. C., being two months in each prison. For four months he was in the prison at Columbia,
S. C., and after spending a short time at Charlotte and Raleigh was exchanged.
Altogether he was a prisoner for seventeen
months and ten days. He received an honorable discharge at Camp Butler, September 23, 1865, after three years of service and imprisonment
for his country's sake.
On his return from the army, Mr. Hanon resumed
his sawmill business, at which he continued for two years. Prior to the war he was Superintendent of the Schools
of this county for two years. For three terms he served as Justice of the Peace, and for three terms was a member
of the Board of Supervisors.
In 1890, he was the Republican nominee for Congress, running against William M. Springer. The honor was entirely unsought. Socially, he is a member of Morrisonville Lodge No. 681, A. F. & A. M., and also took
the chapter degrees at Taylorville.
In October, 1847, Mr. Hanon was united in
marriage with Miss Missouri Ann Minnis, daughter of James and Hester Ann (Outhouse) Minnis, of Christian
County. Twelve children have blessed this union. Thomas E.
was the eldest of the family and is now deceased. Alice E. became the wife of John D. Murphy, by whom she had four
children, only one now living, William J. After the death of Mr. Murphy, his widow re-married, becoming the wife
of Lucian Murphy. They now live at Pawnee Rock, Kan., and have three
children, Charlie, Glenn and Ralph. William F. married Miss Sarah Halgren and lives in Flora,
Ill., where he is engaged in the fruit-growing business. He has two
children, Jessie E. and Winnie. Sarah E., Eva, George R., Nellie and Jennie are now deceased. Cyrus E. married
Miss Katie Hayes and is also engaged in fruit-growing and farming near Flora. He has one child, John Edgar. Ferdinand
M. and Seth are also deceased. John E. is a resident of Morrisonville, Ill.
Mr. Hanon is a man of originality and liberality
of thought. He is an earnest believer in the principles of morality and is a strong advocate of abstinence from
intoxicating liquors and of temperance in every respect, but controverts the theological ideas which enter into
the creeds of orthodox churches. He is a sincere admirer of that great sentiment of Thomas Paine, "The world is my country, and to do good is my religion."
[ed., Paine actually said, "The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."
The version quoted was the Robert Ingersoll
s paraphrase, but probably more commonly known version, of Paine