Genealogical and Family History
of the

Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.

New York

[Please see Index page for full citation.]

[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]

[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]


The Hanson family is traced to an ancient English origin. Watson's History of Halifax, England, gives a full account of the early history of this family and the origin of the name itself. According to this authority, the earliest known progenitor was Roger de Rastrick, who lived before and about 1251, and was a person of considerable importance. He owned land in various places in Yorkshire, England, Rastrick being one of his estates.
John de Rastrick had a son Henry, who in turn had a son John. In those days, when only Christian names were in use, the two Johns of Rastrick were doubtless confused, and in order to distinguish them, the younger John became Henry's son, shortened to Hen's son, and Henson, or Hanson, as it was spelled later. As early as 1337 the name is found spellled Henson, at Halifax. John Hanson, of this line, went to London, and it is thought that his son Thomas was the American emigrant.

Thomas Hanson was born in England and was among the early settlers at Dover, New Hampshire, in the vicinity of which his descendants have been numerous. He had a grant of land Jan. 11, 1658-59, near Salmon Falls, one hundred acres, bounded by land of Joseph Austin, Nathaniel Twombly, Job Clements and Jeremy Tibbets. He was admitted a freeman June 5, 1661, and resided at Cocheco. His will was proved June 27, 1666, his wife Mary being executrix. He provided dowries for his daughters when they should reach the age of eighteen. His widow was killed by Indians June 28, 1689.
1. Thomas, born about 1643.
2. Tobias, born about 1640. [trans note: I'm aware that 1640 doesn't come after 1643; but that's the way it's printed in this book].
3. Isaac, born at Dover, taxed at Cocheco.
4. Timothy.

The Hansons of the family here considered are descendants of Thomas Hanson, of Dover, through one of his four sons whose names are mentioned in the preceding paragraph, probably through his second son Tobias, although there is no certain proof to support this assumption.

(I) Nicholas Hanson was born in Dover, N. H., Nov. 6, 1789, died at South Berwick, Oct. 31, 1865. He was a farmer, tanner and also interested in ship-building at South Berwick. He made his tannery his main enterprise, carrying this on very extensively.
He was a Friend in his religious belief.
He married, at Newburyport, Mass., Feb. 27, 1825, Lydia, born Nov. 24, 1794, died at South Berwick, Feb. 4, 1873, daughter of Ebenezer Sargent, of Newburyport.
1. Ebenezer S., see forward.
2. Lynthia Ann, born April 9, 1827, died March 5, 1843.
3. Sarah S., born June 1, 1829, died Jan. 23, 1846.
4. Nicholas, born Dec. 21, 1831, married, 1863, Lucy J. Wentworth; he was a druggist; died at Somerville, 1904.
5. Miriam P., married Capt. John M. Richardson, of South Berwick; she died at Portland, July 23, 1880.

(II) Ebenezer S., son of Nicholas Hanson, was born in South Berwick, Maine, Nov. 25, 1825. He was for many years agent for the "Old Conway" division railroad, but at the beginning of the civil war he left that company and enlisted in the regiment commanded by General Joshua L. Chamberlain. At the end of the war he returned home and resumed his former duties.
He married, July 2, 1849, Hannah Hilliard Wentworth.
1. Charles Frederick, born May 19, 1850.
2. Henry H., born Dec. 1, 1851.
3. Nicholas S., born Oct. 2, 1853.
4. William, born Jan. 31, 1860.
5. Lynthia.
6. John Malcomb Richardson.

(III) Henry H., second son of Ebenezer and Hannah Hilliard (Wentworth) Hanson, was born in South Berwick, Maine, Dec. 1, 1851, and received his education in public schools and Berwick Academy. When fifteen years old he left school and found employment in a dry-goods store in South Berwick, remained there some time, then went to Haverhill, Mass., and worked in the same capacity in that city. In 1870 he went to sea as a sailor before the mast, on board a clipped ship, "Anna Decature," from Portsmouth, N. H., and during that and the following year visited many of the important seaports of Europe; when he at length returned to this country he was third mate of the ship. After returning from foreign shores Mr. Hanson worked for a time as druggist's clerk in South Berwick, but in 1873 removed to Lewiston, and was employed as clerk in the freight department of the Maine Central railroad. In the following year he was advanced to the position of station-agent at Auburn, and two years later additional duties were given to his charge, with clerks and other employees under his supervision, and for integrity and accuracy he was in a measure responsible.
In 1904, just thirty years after he first entered the service of the company, Mr. Hanson was given the agency of the Bates street station, in addition to the stations previously under his charge, and since that time he has directed the work of about seventy-five employees in all departments. These duties have made constant demands upon his time and energies, but he has proved [trans note: should be 'proven'] equal to every emergency, and yet has found time to interest himself in municipal affairs and to give service for two terms as member of the city council.
He holds a prominent place in Masonic circles and has advanced to the thirty-second degree in that ancient and honorable craft. He also is an Odd Fellow and an Elk.
On Aug. 7, 1875, Mr. Hanson married Elizabeth, daughter of Sylvanus and Ursula (Dunton) Brann.
Charlotte M. Hanson, born May 15, 1876, married Ralph E. Files, principal of Haverhill high school, Haverhill, Mass. Mr. and Mrs. Files have two children, Elizabeth N. and Thomas Stone Files.


The surname Hanson is of very ancient origin, and was handed down by the Flemings to the English speaking people. The root of the name was Hans, which is only one of the abbreviations of the original Johannes, and from the latter we derive the familiar Hansons, Hankins, Hankinsons, Hancocks, and others.
The Hansons of Maine have figured very prominently in the affairs of the Old Pine Tree state, in all the various walks of life, and in positions requiring business sagacity, courage, tact and integrity they are to be found in the foremost ranks. They possess strong and robust constitutions, stalwart and muscular frames. The family has been traced through many centuries and generations in the Old World. For the purpose of this article we shall being by numbering the American ancestor I. The generations which appear to be authentic in the Old World begin with:
I. Roger de Rastrich, living in 1251, time of Henry III, in Wapentake of Morley, Yorkshire, England; held lands in Rastrich, Skircoat, Clayton, Bradford, etc.
II. Hugh de Rastrich.
III. John de Rastrich.
IV. John de Rastrich.
V. Henry de Rastrich.
VI. John de Rastrich, called "Henry's son," then Hanson.
VII. John Hanson.
VIII. John Hanson.
IX. John Hanson, whose descendants founded the family in New Hampshire.

(I) Thomas Hanson had a grant of one hundred acres of land (11, 11 mo. 1658) near Salmon Falls, in the province of New Hampshire. He came to Dover, N. H. in 1639, and died 1666. He was admitted a freeman May 4, 1661, and in 1664-65 lived at Cochecho, where he was taxed as Thomas Sr., 1664-65. His name does not appear again on the list of taxables, but his widow was taxed in 1666 and 1672. "Old Widow Hanson," as the record reads, was killed June 28, 1689. [trans. note: by who?]
The will of Thomas Hanson was admitted to probate June 27, 1666, and his wife Mary was named in that instrument as his executrix. He gave money to his two daughers, and divided his real estate and other property among his sons, Tobias and Thomas, and two others then under age, Isaac and Timothy.
Thomas, born about 1643.
Isaac, taxed at Cochecho in 1672.
Two daughters, who were not named.

(II) Thomas (2), son of Thomas Hanson, of Dover, and Mary, his wife, was born about 1643, and was taxed at Cochecho from 1664 to 1667. He married and had children, but the name of his wife is not known.
Thomas, born about 1680.
John, Nathaniel, Nancy, Elizabeth, James and Abigail.
(John and his descendants are noticed at length in this article).
The will of Thomas (2) was dated Feb. 4, 1711, and mentions his wife Mercy, also all of the children above noted except his son John.

(III) John, second son of Thomas (2) Hanson, born about 1682, lived at Nock's Marsh. Quint's "Ancient Dover" states that as he was a Quaker, he declined to leave the exposed place where he lived when the Indian troubles of 1724 began, and his home was marked for an attack by thirteen Indians and French Mohawks, who lay several days near it in ambush, waiting until Hanson and his men should be away. Then when he had gone to the week-day meeting of his church, Aug. 27, 1724, and his two sons were at work at a distance, the Indians entered the house. Mrs. Hanson, a servant and four children were in the house, of which one child the Indians immediately killed to terrify the others; two other children were at play in the orchard and would have escapted, but just as the Indians had finished rifling the house, the two came in sight and made such a noise that the Indians killed the youngest boy to stop an alarm. They then started for Canada with Mrs. Hanson (who had been confined but fourteen days prior), her babe, a boy of six years, and two daughters, one fourteen years old, the other sixteen, and the servant girl. All reached Canada, but the party was repeatedly subdivided during the journey. The first person who discovered the tragedy was Hanson's eldest daughter, on her return from meeting. Seeing the children dead, she uttered a shriek which was distinctly heard by her mother in the hands of the enemy and her brothers at work. Pursuit was instantly made, but the Indians avoided all paths and escaped undiscovered. After this disaster, Hanson removed the remainder of his family to the house of his brother, "who," says Belknap, "though of the same religious persuasion, yet had a number of lusty sons and always kept firearms in good order for the purpose of shooting game."
Mr. Hanson soon after the attack went to Canada to ransom his family. The following item from the News Letter of 1725 is of interest in that connection:
"Newport, August 27th (1725).
"On Tuesday last (Aug. 24), arrived here, Mr. John Hanson, of Dover, Piscataqua, and about a Month's time from Canada, but last from New York, with his wife and three children and a Servant Woman; as also one of Ebenezer Downs, having a wife and five children at Piscataqua; also one Miles Thompson, a Boy, who were all taken Captives about Twelve months since, by the Enemy Indians, and carried to Canada, except the above named Hanson; who at the same time lost two of his sons by the Indians; & now it hath cost him about 700 pounds for their Ranson, including his other necessary charges. He likewise informs, That another of his children, a young woman about Seventeen years of Age was carried captive at the same time with the rest of the family, with whom he convers'd for several House, but could not obtain her Ransom; for the Indians would not consent to part with her on any terms, so he was obliged to leave her."
Mr. Hanson reached home Sept. 1, 1725, but he could not content himself while his daughter Sarah was in Canada; and about April 19, 1727, he started in company with a kinsman, who with his wife was bound on a similarly sad errand to redeem children; but he was taken sick on the journey and died about half-way between Albany and Canada - one account says Crown Point. The daugher married a Frenchman and never returned."
So far as records are obtained, John Hanson's family were as follows:
He married 23 5mo. 1703, Elizabeth ____.
Hannah, Sarah, Elizabeth, John, Isaac, Daniel, Ebenezer, Caleb, and a daughter whose name was not given.

(IV) It is probable that the John Hanson above named is the one whom tradition places in Old New York as the ancestor of the Maine family herein traced. It is probable that one of his sons was a settler at Waterboro, Maine, who son William continues the line.

(V) William, son of ____ Hanson, was born in Waterboro in 1730.

(VI) Thomas (3), son of William Hanson, born in Waterboro in 1760.

(VII) Joshua, son of Thomas (3) Hanson, was born in Waterboro in 1790, and removed to Sanford, Maine, where he lived with an uncle. He married Philena Hobbs.
Joshua, Benjamin, Forsythe, John S., George M., Sheldon H., Emily, Adaline, and two who died in infancy.

(VIII) Hon. Benjamin Forsythe, son of Joshua and Philena (Hobbs) Hanson, was born in Sanford, Maine, July 28, 1818. He gained his education in the common schools of Sanford. Learning the blacksmith trade, he worked some years in quarries at Quincy, Mass. Then followed a series of years in Great Falls, N. H., in the livery business. Returning to Sanford, he famred some and conducted a general store. He was a leader in local affairs and stood high in the estimation of his townspeople. He was called to fill many positions of honor and trust, and he performed them all with credit to himself and to the eminent satisfaction of the electors. He served as town treasurer, sat in the legislature as a Republican for Sanford in 1865, and was promoted to the senate in 1873-74. Senator Hanson was a member of the Republican county committee. He was of membership in the Springfield Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Feloows, and was very valuable and helpful in the work of the order.
He married Mary F., daughter of Elias and Mehitable Libbey, of Sanford, in 1841.
Luther L., Benjamin F., Charles H. and George W.
Senator Hanson died Feb. 27, 1891.

(IX) Hon. George William, fourth son of Hon. Benjamin Forsythe and Mary F. (Libby) Hanson, was born at Sanford, Jan. 26, 1861. After the rudimentary training in the Sanford schools, he prepared for college at the Coburn Classical Institute at Waterville, Maine. He was a graduate from Colby University in the class of 1883, and entered the law office of Hon. W. F. Lunt, Portland, taking a degree in Boston University Law School in 1886. He was on the editorial staff of the West Publishing Company of St. Paul, Minnesota, law publishers. He was appointed municipal judge in 1897. Judge Hanson has been selectman of Sanford for eleven years; he is a staunch Republican, an able and learned lawyer, and his genial disposition wins him many friends, and his sterling qualities of head and heart, and the probity of his dealings with his clinets and fellow men keep these friends with him after he has won them.
Judge Hanson was wedded to Maria H., daughter of John H. Shaw, of Sanford, in 1886.
Pauline, born Sept. 17, 1901.
Mary, born Jan. 28, 1905.
Benjamin S., born Sept. 13, 1906.

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