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George Washington Hanna
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Birth: Nov. 20, 1817
White County
Illinois, USA
Death: Dec. 12, 1890
Black Hawk County
Iowa, USA

[Waterloo Daily Courier, Saturday, December 13, 1890, Waterloo, Iowa]

The Earliest Settler Gone,
Death of, Squire G. W. Hanna,
the Earliest Actual settler of
Blackhawk County.

At 4 o'clock yesterday morning, Dec. 12, death came to the home of Squire Hanna and the soul of that pioneer of Blackhawk County joined the ranks on the other shore.

Death came to him painlessly, closing a long life well spent, during which he saw this section of Iowa reclaimed from a wilderness and transformed into a garden. Mr. Hanna suffered last winter with the grip and was for a time very ill. Recovering his strength, however, during the summer, he was able to come to town several times, but during the past few weeks he became very feeble and finally his hold on life loosened and at least gave over entirely and death came.

Deceased was born in White County, Illinois, November 20, 1817. In 1837 he married Mary Melrose who survives him. Seven children, the result of this union survive him. They are: Judge John Q., living in Texas; Geo. W. and Robert W., who are bankers at Lu Verne, Iowa; Rev. Phil C., pastor of the M. E. church, Eagle Grove; Emily, who resides in Texas; Edith M., in Dakota, and Mary who resides at the old home in this county.

July 18, 1845 Squire Hanna, his wife, two children and his brother-in-law reached this county. They subsequently settled on section 28, Township 89, range 13, where Mr. and Mrs. Hanna have resided ever since, except for one year which he spent in Wright County, during which time he founded the town of Goldfield. Coming here as they did when this county was a wilderness, it is very interesting to read of their trials.

As the organizations and first reunion of the Blackhawk County Early Settler's Association, held in the west side park in this city July 4, 1884, Squire and Mrs. Hanna were present and he was called upon to make a speech. From the report of his remarks published in THE COURIER of July 9, 1884, we quote the following:

"He said that 39 years ago that day, they crossed the river at Rock Island and came into Iowa, and as they came across, they heard the shot that killed Col. Davenport. In those days there was no Cedar Rapids; Marion was only a small hamlet; there was no Center point. There were no roads, nothing but Indian trails. There were but few settlers in this county for the next five years. The first winter there were only four and the second winter only seven. There were no schools for years and it was two years after they came here when the first sermon was preached and that was in a log cabin at what is now the head of the race at Cedar Falls, McCloud's Mill, two miles above Cedar Rapids, was the nearest grist mill and he was often gone a week at a time to get a grist ground, and sometimes, on the way back, the wagon would upset in a creek and the whole mess became ready for kneading without any work. In those days they thought Blackhawk County might support 100 persons and none ever dreamed of what is now the fact. Then he had to go to Marion for his mail and the few papers they got were often a week old when they were received. They bore the hardships without a murmur, but they have nearly worn the old settlers out. He had not been so far up the Blackhawk as Hudson for 17 years, until last week, and he nearly got lost in going that distance, only seven miles. If anyone had told him that in 17 years that bleak prairie would have grown into an almost continuous grove he would have said it was impossible. In conclusion, he said if it was a satisfaction to see the earliest settler of this county and his wife, they were here."

As stated before, Mr. and Mrs. Hanna were the first actual settlers of Blackhawk County. The first death of a white person to take place in this county was of James M. Hanna, Squire Hanna's infant son, who died October 18, 1845. The first white girl born in the county was Emily Hanna and she was the third white child born in the county.

In 1815 Squire Hanna was elected Justice of the Peace and Feb. 27, 1851, he performed the first marriage ceremony ever held in this county, the contracting parties being James Virden and Charlotte Pratt. He and Mrs. Hanna also assisted in the organization of the first church society in this county and services were held for some time in their house.

Squire Hanna was one of the original founders of the city of Waterloo, the others being Charles Mullan and John H. Brooks. Mr. Hanna opened the first store ever kept here. It was in a small long building near the present Elwell residence on Commercial Street, opposite Brown's Opera House.

Of late years, he has lived in comparative retirement upon his farm above the city on the Cedar Falls road. In peace and quiet his lat years have been spent in watching the growth of the city and county of which he was the pioneer. When his health permitted he made frequent trips to Waterloo and his visits were always met with warmest greetings from our people, for everyone knew and loved him. He took great interest in the few remaining early settlers and was one of the organizers of the Blackhawk County Early Settler's Association, and delighted to tell the story of the early days to the later generation of our people, or to engage in reminiscential converse with those who came about the time he did. Squire Hanna was a man of the strictest integrity and honor in his dealings with everyone. He was a consistent Christian and a member of the M. E. Church and always lived up to his faith. In politics he was a strong Republican and always took great interest in the success of the party.

The funeral services will be held from the late residence of the deceased at 1 p.m. tomorrow (Sunday).


Edith M. Hanna became Edith Colton. She also was widowed and later married Frank Knapp.

Mary became Mary Hanna Lewis and, after the death of her first husband, was married to John A. Tiller. Sons of both marriages survive, Herman Lewis at 47 Rainbow Dr. in Castle Hill and David W. Tiller, 815 W. 4th St., Cedar Falls. 
Family links: 
  Mary Melrose Hanna (1821 - 1912)*
  John Quincy Hanna (1842 - 1918)*
  Emily Hanna George (1847 - 1934)*
  George Washington Hanna (1850 - 1918)*
  Robert Wesley Hanna (1852 - 1906)*
  Philip C Hanna (1857 - 1929)*
  Mary Melrose Hanna Tiller (1861 - 1936)*
  Edith Hanna Knapp (1863 - 1940)*
*Calculated relationship
Elmwood Cemetery
Black Hawk County
Iowa, USA
Created by: Couple of Gravers
Record added: Apr 14, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 68373947
George Washington Hanna
Added by: Couple of Gravers
George Washington Hanna
Added by: Couple of Gravers
George Washington Hanna
Added by: Couple of Gravers
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- K Schvaneveldt
 Added: May. 31, 2012

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