That success which follows close application and an intelligent direction of labor came to Benjamin Hanson, who
for a number of years was engaged in fruit raising near Lockridge, Jefferson county. He made a close study of horticulture
and the best methods of cultivating and developing fruit, learning many practical lessons in the school of experience
and steadily continuing along the path of progress. England numbered him among her native sons, his birth having
there occurred on the 3d of June, 1831. His parents, Thomas and Mary Hanson, were also natives of that country,
where the father learned and followed the weaver's trade, always utilizing his knowledge of that business in order
to support his family. Both he and his wife spent their entire lives in their native country.
Benjamin Hanson was reared in England and his early experiences impressed upon his mind the value of industry,
determination and perseverance. He was twenty five years of age when he determined to try his fortune in the new
world, for he had heard favorable reports concerning business opportunities on this side of the Atlantic. He therefore
saved his earnings until his capital was sufficient to enable him to make the venture and after his arrival in
the United States he was employed on a carding machine in a woolen factory in this county. He worked in that way
for twelve years until his industry and careful expenditure had brought him sufficient capital to enable him to
engage in business on his own account. He purchased eleven acres of land near the town of Lockridge and turned
his attention to the raising of fruit, devoting the remainder of his life to that business. He closely studied
the question of the best methods. of caring for the trees and thus enhanced their productiveness. He was an earnest
and untiring worker and did everything in his power to attain success that he might provide a comfortable living
for his family.
On the 16th of May, 1868, Mr. Hanson was united in marriage to Miss Lilly Hopkirk, a daughter of William and Jane
(Redpath) Hopkirk, both of whom were natives of Scotland who about 1834 came to the United States, settling in
New York, where for several years the father worked at the dyer's trade, which he had previously learned in his
native country. He subsequently went to Ohio but after a short residence in that state came to Jefferson county,
Iowa, and in 1842 entered land here when Iowa was still under territorial government. Not a furrow had been turned
nor an improvement made upon the land when it came into his possession but he at once took up the arduous task
of breaking the sod and improving the fields. His first home was a log house and his barn was also built of logs.
The farm is located in what is now Lockridge township and to its further cultivation and improvement he devoted
the remainder of his life, becoming recognized as a leading agriculturist of the community, whose methods were
at once practical and progressive. He also figured prominently in public affairs and was a recognized leader in
the ranks of the republican party, which elected him to represent his district in the fifteenth general assembly.
That he proved a worthy member of the state legislature is indicated by the fact that he was returned to the sixteenth
general assembly and at different times he filled many township and county offices, discharging his duties with
a promptness and fidelity that won him the high commendation of all concerned. In an early day he served as justice
of the peace and held court in his own home. He lived to see many notable changes in the county and was an active
participant in the work which led to its substantial development and improvement. He died in 1892 at the age of
eighty one years, his birth having occurred in 18tt. His wife, who was born in 18t3, passed away in 1869, at the
age of fifty six years. In their family were eleven children, of whom four are deceased. Three of the number still
reside in Fairfield, one in Sheldon, Iowa, one in Lockridge township, one in California, and another in the state
of Washington. Of these, their daughter, Mrs. Hanson, is now living in Fairfield. By her marriage she became the
mother of one child, Mary J., who is now the wife of George W. Unkrich, a merchant of Fairfield, with whom Mrs.
Hanson now resides, their home being at No. 40t West Washington street.
In his political views Mr. Hanson was a republican, supporting his party from the time that he became a naturalized
American citizen. He always kept well informed on the questions and issues of the day but never sought nor held
office. He and his wife held membership in the Baptist church at Lockriclge and Mrs. Hanson now is a member in
the Congregational church at Fairfield. Closing a life ever upright and honorable, always loyal to high and manly
principles, Mr. Hanson died January t2, 1893, amid the deep regret of all who knew him, for he had come to be recognized
as a worthy citizen, who well merited the respect of his fellowmen.
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Jefferson County, IA
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