Hannah was born in Pennsylvania but move with her family when very young to Indiana. Her father was a Methodist Minister who, along with her mother, Charity, felt he was called to be a sort of missionary in Indiana. Charity died when Hanna was about 5 years old and Hannah and several of the other children went to live with their Alter uncles' families. Hannah remembered fondly her time with her Uncle Simon Alter as she described him as very kind. Hannah married a widowed man much older than herself who had several children already. She had 3-4 children with him and was widowed herself.