Some of what I know about my great great aunt, Albertine, comes from census date. I know she was born in 1834 in Edgar County Illinois, near where Chrisman is today, was the seventh child of John M. and Charity (Mears) Hannah, and lived on her father’s farm. Her mother died in 1842 when Albertine was 8 years old. In 1850 she was living with her father, her three brothers, and two sisters. In 1860 Albertine was living with her father, and her niece, Charity Conrey, the daughter of her deceased sister, Nancy. When the Civil War began, both her father and her brother, John Wesley, enlisted. Her father fought for about three months, and then returned home, due to illness. He died in 1865.
Several years ago I went to Edgar County and did some research on The Hannah’s. In the land records, I found several references to Albertine. On March 12, 1856 for $1.00 her father sold Albertine 80 acres of land in Ross Township. In addition, by a mortgage on December 14, 1861 her father also sold Albertine an undescribed piece of land. What I find most interesting is that here is a woman in the mid 1800’s who owned land. But she also sold some of her land. In February of 1861, for $700 Albertine sold James R. Watson a portion of the land that she had bought from her father in 1856.
I also was able to obtain Albertine’s will. Most notable is her request that her real estate be sold and that $1200 of the proceeds be used to purchase a lot in the cemetery in Paris Illinois and to erect a monument for her father, mother, sister Mary, and herself. The remainder of the money from her real estate and her personal property was to be divided between her brothers and sisters as well as her niece, Charity Conrey.
Albertine died in 1867. Her wishes were carried out. There is indeed a Hannah plot in the cemetery in Paris, Illinois. There is a large obelisk with her father’s name on the bottom, and headstones for Albertine, her sister Mary, and her sister Catherine Hannah O’Hair. For reasons that I do not know, the headstone for her mother is in the McKee cemetery.
I would love to be able to have a conversation with Albertine. I would like to know what she did with the land she owned. Did she rent it out for farming? Did she hire people to farm it? Did she just keep it? Why did she sell it? I also would like to know why she remained single. Did she, like many women of that time, have a man she loved who was killed in the Civil War? Also during the Civil War, who ran the farm while her father was at war? Did she? Did her brother, George, or her brothers-in-law help out?