Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

#80 Chronicling John Wesley Hannah Part II

Last week I blogged about how I searched the newspapers in Chronicling America and the information I found about the Palace Hotel and John Wesley Hannah.  However, as I noted there were 86 other articles in the Butler Missouri papers about John Wesley Hannah, which did not involve the hotel.  As I read them, I learned that he was much more than a hotel owner and manager.

John Wesley Hannah with daughters
The Palace Hotel was not his only building.  He also owned the building on the north east corner of the town square.  I believe that is the building he used for the mercantile store that he ran when he first moved to Butler.  According to an article on March 7, 1888, the building was destroyed by fire; however, John Wesley Hannah had it insured for $1000 and that covered the cost of the loss.  In addition, in November of 1891 he in partnership with J. J. McKissick bought the new building on the south side of the town square.

In the late 1880’s John Wesley was involved in the politics of Butler and Bates County.  In 1888 he was nominated by the Republican Party to run for representative for the 12th election district.  He lost that election to a Mr. Stone.  However, he was not through with politics.  In 1889 in a local convention called by four of the leading citizens of Butler, he was nominated for mayor.  He seemed to be a somewhat reluctant candidate as he said he would accept the nomination only if the others, e.g. aldermen, also accepted their nominations.  Since two of the men declined to run, it appears that John Wesley did not run either.  It also seems that John Wesley traveled for political reasons.  In August of 1888 he travel to New York to welcome James G, Blaine home (Blaine was a candidate for president as far as I can tell.) and in 1889 John Wesley traveled to Washington, D. C.

Community affairs also took up time.  Beginning in 1884 until 1887, he was the chairperson of the committee that raised the money and negotiated for a railroad to come to Butler.  It does not appear that the committee was successful. In April of 1889 he and Representative Wade settle a dispute over who would become the next postmaster in Butler.  In that same year he was elected chairperson of the Gas and Water Committee.  In 1890 he was on a committee to beautify the nearby lake and land surrounding it.

I also found more personal information about him.  I learned that he was a founding member of the Butler Masonic Lodge, was involved in a physical dispute with another gentlemen, and was quite sick in March of 1888.  However, what surprised me the most was a small article from 1886 that read as follows:  “Capt. Hannah has brought quite a herd of cattle up from his ranch in Indian Territory and will stall feed them for the markets.”  While one of the censuses describes him as a cattle rancher, I had no idea that the cattle were on a ranch that he ran in Indian Territory.

While it took me a long time to get these articles organized, it was well worth it.  I now have a much greater understand of John Wesley Hannah.  However, there is more to learn.  The newspapers also have articles about his children.  In addition, I have finally figured out how to read the articles from the Butler Bates County Record, 1868-1878 on the State Historical Society of Missouri so there is more to search.

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