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History of Adair
County, Iowa, 1915.

Biographical.  Volume 2.


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George R. Hanks.

George R. Hanks and Family

A busy life has been that of George R. Hanks, for he has been actively engaged in farming for many years, manifesting that constant watchfulness which is so necessary in the development of the fields and cultivation of crops.  His home is now on section 8, Grand River township, and he has made his home in Adair county since 1892.  He was born in Boone county, Illinois, September 4, 1840, his parents being Warren and Julia (Hutchins) Hanks, the former a native of Vermont and the latter of New York.  They were married in the Empire state and afterward removed to Wisconsin, settling near Kenosha, while subsequently they established their home in Boone county, Illinois, where they lived until 1852, when they journeyed across the country with ox teams to Iowa.  George R. Hanks drove one of the ox teams, while his father drove the cattle.  The mother died while the family were residing at Rockville and was laid to rest in the cemetery there.  Soon afterward the father went with his family to Jones county, Iowa, and still later to Linn county, while subsequently he removed to Story county, where his death occurred in 1888 or 1889, when he was eighty-one years of age.  In the fall of 1861 he had gone to Colorado and at Denver he enlisted for military service, becoming a member of the Eighth Colorado Cavalry, doing active duty fighting the Indians.  Subsequently he returned to Story county.

George R. Hanks received only such educational advantages as the district schools afforded.  When a boy of but fourteen years he entered the employ of A. J. Wightman, at Spring Valley, Dubuque county, and worked for him in the fields through the summer months, while during the winter seasons he attended the public schools of the neighborhood, remaining with Mr. Wightman for three years.  In 1861 his patriotic spirit was aroused by the attempt of the south to overthrow the Union and he enlisted from Jasper county as a member of Company B, Thirteenth Iowa Volunteer Infantry.  On the expiration of his first term of three years he reenlisted at Vicksburg in the same company and regiment and thus served until the close of the war.  He took part in the campaign under Commanding Generals Grant and Sherman and participated in many of the leading battles of the war.  He had three brothers who were also in the service, as well as the father, the one family thus giving five men to the service and all of them returned home.  All of them served throughout the entire period of the war and the younger brother was but fifteen years of age at the time of his enlistment.  No one can call into question the valor, the loyalty or the bravery of this family.

After the war George R. Hanks returned to Iowa, settling in Story county, where several members of the family had previously located.  There he purchased a farm of one hundred and twenty acres near Cambridge but for two years after his return from the war he was engaged in teaming from Nevada, Iowa, to Des Moines.  On the expiration of that period he took up his abode upon his farm and carried on general agricultural pursuits in Story county for thirty-three years.  In 1892 he sold his Story county farm and came to Adair county, purchasing three hundred and twenty acres of land where he now resides, on sections 8 and 9, Grand River township.  One hundred and sixty acres of this land he has since deeded to his two sons.  He purchased his farm for seventeen dollars per acre and it is today worth one hundred and twenty-five dollars or more per acre.  The result of his labors is seen in the fields, which bring forth rich harvests and which are divided into convenient size by well kept fences.  The latest improved machinery is used in facilitating the farm work and the modern equipments of the place indicate the progressive spirit of the owner.

In 1866 Mr. Hanks was united in marriage to Miss Sarah Nelson, of Story county, and to them have been born six children:  Ella, now the wife of William Breezely, of Pueblo, Colorado;  Lydia, the wife of Charles Batterson, of Albert Lea, Minnesota;  Jesse W., at home;  Julia A., the wife of W. E. Shehan, of this county;  Della, the wife of Lee R. Hughes, of Guthrie county, Iowa;  and Oscar G., whose home is in Stuart, Iowa.  The wife and mother passed away in July, 1909, her death being deeply regretted wherever she was known throughout the county.

In his political views Mr. Hanks is a republican and his fellow townsmen, appreciative of his worth and ability, have frequently called him to public office.  He has served for two or three terms as township supervisor and has also occupied the position of justice of the peace.  He belongs to Meyers Post, G. A. R., of Greenfield and thus maintains pleasant relations with his old army comrades.  The greater part of his life has been spent in Iowa and the progressive spirit which has led to the rapid development and upbuilding of the state has been manifest in his business career.  He has led an active, useful life and now retiring somewhat, he has divided his landed possessions with his sons and is thus relieved in a measure from former arduous labor.



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