Biography of Hannah Perkins Burnham
La Salle County, Il Biographies

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Hannah Perkins Burnham, daughter of Benjamin and Talitha Burnham, was born in Lisbon, New London Co., Conn., in April, 1807, and lived there till the spring of 1833, when she came to La Salle County, Ill., with her brother, Thomas Burnham, and wife, who, after stopping a few months on the south side of the river opposite La Salle, settled in what is now known as Waltham. They were the first and for some time the only family in the township, and many a sad as well as mirthful story is related by her of these early days. When established in their new homes contrary to pioneer custom, they had a table, a few chairs and some trunks. Besides, the ladies were accomplished and the master a coflege graduate. It was not long before a neighboring frontiersman found his way into their cabin and his curious eye noted down these unusual luxuries, and to the inquiry of others, eager to know who and what these new corners were, he replied: "1 don't know much about 'em, but they've got right smart of larnin and a heap of plunder." The Indians, too, camping near often came to "shwap for whisk"-y, which they believed every white man kept, were with difficulty convinced of their great mistake, for he was an advocate of temperance as well as of every other good of mankind. In 1837 her brother-in-law, Ira Hartshorn, and family came to Illinois, and settled on section 6, Utica Township (this being now a part of A. I. Hartshorn's farm). She then made her home there with her sister, and many an evening of that winter they spent listening to the merry jests of the younger children while the older ones took turns in wielding the pestle to an iron mortar as they crushed the corn, making meal for their next day's breRd. They are still living, all married, and for several years lived in or near the neighborhood of their paternal home, honored and esteemed by all, in 1847 she went to live with her nephew, E. D. Hartshorn, and her sojourn of twenty one years in his family was one continued eftbrt to promote the financial as well as the spiritual and intellectual interests of its members, who, to her, are an affectionate and appreciative family; and one with them in the liberal use of means, time, labor and influence, they were very efficient helpers in the upbuilding of the church, schools and societies, and he having the confidence of the people was honored with high official duties. She has given with a bountiful hand to objects of charity and donated freely to religious bodies, of which the American Bible Society shared her deepest interest, and for which she served many years as local agent in the district where she lived. In 1868 they moved to Buckley, Iroquois County, and in the fall of 1869 she returned to visit friends living near her former home, and finding the wife of her nephew, A. I. Hartshorn, dangerously sick, by request remained with them, devoting herself to the wants and cares of his household, and with an abiding interest in their present and future well being lives in the enjoyment of the many comforts of his new and beautiful home. She is sole survivor of her father's family and of the brothers with whom she has lived; has placed a tribute to their memory in Oakwood Cemetery, La Salle, and with tender regard for those with whom she lived and labored awaits the summons to that "bourne from whence no traveler returns."

FROM:
History of La Salle County, Illinois
Inter-State Publishing Co.
Chicago 1886