I have a couple of letters that were written in the 1920’s to my Aunt Tim about the Hannah family. In part, they contain genealogies, but they also contain recollections about people and events. I have always wondered how accurate some of those recollections were. Now that I have a good deal of information, I decided to “fact check” the letters against what else I have. One of the letters is from Phillip Emsinger Hannah. He was born in 1860 in Edgar County and aside from a short time in Oklahoma, lived there his entire life. Consequently, he should have some knowledge of the Hannah family.
He talks about remembering my Aunt Tim’s grandfather, John M. Hannah and added that he died at his daughter, Albertine’s, house. I found it very interesting that Albertine as a single woman in 1860 owned her own house. I would love to know where it was. He also mentions that there were three John Hannah’s from Edgar County that fought in the Civil War—John M. Hannah, John Wesley Hannah (Aunt Tim’s father), and John Bayard Hannah, a cousin to John Wesley. He is indeed correct about that—John M. served a couple of months with the 72 Illinois Infantry, John Wesley with the 62 Illinois and John Bayard with the 54th Illinois. I knew about the first two, but not John Bayard.
Phillip then writes about where people are buried. He is correct that John M. Hannah, Albertine Hannah and Kate Hannah O’Hair are buried in the cemetery in Paris. I have been to that grave site. He goes on to say that her grandmother (Charity Mears Hannah), Aunt Sarah Hannah Mitchell and Aunt Jane Riley are all buried in county burying grounds. This is a little puzzling. Charity Mears
|Grave of Charity Mears|
He also mentions that the Hannah family was from Ireland and ran a linen bleaching green. He then adds that his half-brother, Sam Hannah, visited them, but did not get much information about the family. That is so frustrating, but does provide some clues to explore. He adds, what I consider a nice “story” that James Hannah in Ireland came from a wealthy family, fell in love with one of the maids, which enraged his parents. So he sold himself for passage to Philadelphia.
All in all, most of what he told my Aunt was correct.