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Joseph & Angeline (Husker) Hanchett

Joseph & Angeline (Husker) Hanchett

Joseph (1834-1931) & Angeline (Husker) (1839- 1935) Hanchett (photo taken on their 74th wedding anniversary)

Joseph Hanchett enlisted in Company D, 9th MI Infantry on 5 Sept 1861 at Lyons, MI for 3 years' service at the age of 27. He took the muster oath on15 Oct 1861 and served in all of the movements and actions of the regiment, re-enlisting for the balance of the war at Chattanooga, TN on 7 Dec 1863. He came home on leave until 25 Dec 1863 then returned and served until he was mustered out at Nashville, TN on 15 Sept 1865. He had been at the battle of Chickamauga (GA) and Mission Ridge (TN), that were, in effect, part of the Battle Of Lookout Mountain as well as at Murfreesboro, Lavergne and Stone River, TN; Rocky Face, Resaca, Dallas, Kenesaw Mt., Chattahootchie River, Jonesboro and the Siege of Atlanta, all in GA. He walked all of the way home to Sheridan, Montcalm Co., MI from Nashville, Davidson Co., TN upon being discharged from the service at the end of the war. Joseph was a farmer and had been known to walk from Sheridan to Detroit, Wayne Co., MI carrying a 50 lb. bag of grain on his shoulder to have it milled into flour and then walk back home again. The entire trip took less than a week. Joseph also attended every Civil War Veterans Reunion and would walk to and from these events. He lived to be 97 years old. He applied for and received a pension for his Civil War service, ID#10803.

From the 'Carson City Gazette', dated Wednesday, 5 Mar 1930: "Bushnell Couple Observe Seventy-Fourth Wedding Anniversary Wednesday - Wednesday, March 5, has been another big day for Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Hanchett of Bushnell, the occasion of teir seventy-fourth wedding anniversary. But owing to the advanced age of the couple, who are 96 and 90 years of age, the day was marked by a quiet day at home. Mr. and Mrs. Marshall D. Sherd, the latter their daughter, lives with them, and although Mrs. Hanchett has never fully relinquished her ties to her household duties, this year finds her still less occupied than she was a year ago. "While nearing the diamond jubilee of their wedding anniversary they will be rounding out the golden jubilee of their life upon the farm in Bushnell township, where the modern home was erected under their supervision 50 years ago, but made modern with steam heat. "Mr. Hanchett is one of the few remaining Civil War veterans and made the march with Sherman to the sea. Last year Mrs. Hanchett cast her first vote for president and Mr. and Mrs. Hanchett headed four generations, including Mrs. M.D. Sherd, Berkley Sherd, and Helen Sherd, who voted last year for Hoover."

Angelina Husker wrote about her father and how the family came to settle in Montcalm Co., MI: "William Husker was born in England, September 18, 1815 and came to this country at the age of 18 [1833]. Was on the ocean 3 months as their boat was taken out of its route by wind and weather, while envoyage an epidemic of small pox broke out, a number died and was buried at sea. He had it but came safely through and as a consequence had to leave his family and care [for] neighborhood cases. He married Mabel Welling, I do not know dates or place but I know both he and she lived in New York state. He had a sister there as my folks visited them when I was a child. They lived in Rome Twp., Lenawee Co., Mich., and moved from there to the Twp. of Bushnell, Mt. Calm [sic] Co. in the spring of 1849. He and James Bacon came to Bushnell and took up land. They stopped at the home of Joseph Stearns. There was not even a trail beyond there, it is the farm on which (Sunny Hill) Cemetery is a part and the old log house was just east of the barn. The farm was later owned by Sylvester Mabin. His wife was Laxina Stern. They selected their land and cut out a road through. James Bacon took a quarter Section from the Town Hall to Fancetta corners, 320 acres. He moved his family that spring. There was himself, his wife Mary Hanchett Bacon, their children, Corydon, Harriet, Melvina, Eunice and Joseph, and commenced life in the wilderness. The Huskers stayed in Lenawee Co. during the summer and made preparation for moving in the fall. My Mother can remember the drying of fruit - of which there was an abundance that fall. She said there was a new grain box and a pillow case full of pared peaches but could not remember how many not pared nor how many apples. Also pumpkins. In those days canning was unheard of. They made preserves but had no sugar much but maple, there was loaf sugar which was kept for sickness. In September, William took his family and started for Mt. Calm Co. with an ox team. [Ann?] the eldest remaining to help care for her Mothers sister who had consumption. She staying until she passed away. So with George 13, Angelina 10, Mary 7, Hervey 3, they came to Bushnell. Mr. Charles Allehim having a team of horses brought one load of goods. He was the father of Stephen and Edward. Mr. Allehim left his family well but on his return, his wife had passed away. In those days there was no means of communication, on their arrival here they thought to build a shanty, but at Mrs. Bacons insistence they put a floor in what the Bacons had used for a stable and moved in untill they could build a log house. The first thing was to get in a piece of wheat. They cut down the timber and cleaned several acres and between the stumps sowed wheat for their next years bread. They carried water from a spring near Bacon Creek. Their farm consisted of 160 acres which now is the John Dickinson and the farm that was W[illiam] Sherds. The road from the Stearns farm came across the back of the Forster and Cooper farm and was just a trail. The next concern of the two families was school. At that time not even the Twp. was organized. Each family see that their children studied lessons and in the evening they got together and either Mrs. Bacon or Mrs. Husker heard the lessons. Whey they spelled all but the one stood in line (Mrs. B had been a teacher). Later the Township was organized and a school house was built east of Ervon Norths as the road was to have gone through north of the Cemetery. On account of the swamp it was west farther. The school district took in a large scope as the Comstocks and Athertons attended. Town meetings were held in the Castle school house for years, my mother supplying dinner for the Board. Both the Bacon and Husker farms were mostly oak timber and so they went out an chose a sugar bush and considered theirs until the land was occupied. There they made their sugar for the year. The sap was boiled in a caldron kettle (iron). The spikes was of pine with a hole burned through as there was no pails the sap was caught in troughs honed out of logs. It was considered great fun for the young folks to gather for the sugaring off. Both the Bacons and Husker families were God fearing people, and each Sunday morning took their children and attended church services on North Plains where the Palo people went. It was an all day trip so of course must take their dinner. After the Van Vleck owned horses they would leave their oxes there and to on with them. In a few years the Baptist church in Palo was built. Each family contributed money or labor. My father carried the mortar to plaster the church. Our people were mostly buried from there. George Husker was the first soldier buried in the Palo Cemetery. He died in KY and was brought home. The first Cemetery in Palo was started upon the corner by the place Mahlon and Olive lived in Palo. I think a Fisher child was the first to be buried. Later it was moved to its present site. "The old log house the Huskers built stood across and a little south from the Bacon home, when Stephen and Edward Allehim moved with their wives to Bushnell they stayed at the Husker home untill they could build own house and moved in before windows or doors were in. The Huskers brought with them a dinner horn which was often used to guide the children after night fall when they were hunting the cows as all stock run at large. The new house was built farther south and now occupied by Mrs. John Dickinson. After living there a few years they sold to James Wescott as Mr. Husker could no longer work. They had given the east 80 to their son George who joined the Army in 1861 he died of pneumonia before he had seen service, later the farm was sold to George Smith a son-in-law. He kept it untill his wife [Mary] died, and the farm was sold to Alex Hanchett who lived there a number of years, then sold to W[illiam] Sherd. After selling the Huskers moved to Palo settling in the first house north of Baptist Church. He died there. She lived there alone summers staying winders with her daughter. The house finally became the Baptist Parsonage later it was struck by lightning and burned. I heard my mother say that one summer when the price of butter was low and not much sale she took their milk and some of the neighbors and made 1,000 pounds of cheese. When they first moved to Bushnell they went nearly to Ionia for mail. Before the war a Post Office was established at the Griffin home that stood on the corner where Fancetts barn now stands and was there untill the war. Then went to the Lane home which was on the other corner from the Fancett barn, then it was transferred to the Frank Barnnett home, they lived on the hill where Egbert Comstock lived. It was soon discontinued and we got our mail from Palo. When it first came here it was brought in on horseback from Greenville. There was no Doctor short of Ionia and no way to get there only on foot or with ox team. Mrs. Husker acted as midwife and nurse and was called the best cook in the Township. Their meat supply most depended on hunting. North of them beyond Dean's Mill it was solid pine and was inhabited only by Indians who made baskets all winter then in the spring took them on horseback to Muir. There would be 50 or 60 going Indian file one behind the other never two abreast. Later when picking huckleberries we would see Indians picking with their papooses hanging on the trees."

[Ed. note: William Husker, age 44, farmer, arrived in America from Liverpool, England at the port of Castle Garden, now Clinton National Monument, located within The Battery, located at the tip of Manhattan. This was America's first immigration center prior to the establishment of Ellis Island. Also listed aboard the "Alfred" were:

ROBERT HUSKER Child, Youngster 14 M, 1835-06-26 England
SARAH HUSKER Child, Youngster 19 F, 1835-06-26 England
BETSY HUSKER Child, Youngster 11 F, 1835-06-26 England
WILLIAM HUSKER Farmer 44 M, 1835-06-26 England
MARY HUSKER Wife 43 F, 1835-06-26 England
ANN HUSKER Child, Youngster 2 F 1835-06-26 England

Daughter Angeline was born in 1839 at Rome Twp., Lenawee Co., MI. Brother George was the first soldier (CW) to be buried in the Palo VanVleck Cemetery. He contracted pneumonia following a case of measles and died at West Point Kentucky never having seen any action. He had enlisted in Company D, 9th MI Infantry at Lyons, MI on 5 Sept 1861 for 1 year at the age of 23.]

HISTORY OF IONIA AND MONTCALM CO. by John Schennck, Early Settlements pg. 409: "Among the early settlers of Bushnell were W. Bush, the Burnetts and the Alchines in the west part of the township. Atherton on section 15, and R.S., J.V., G.W., and E. Comstock, whose father settled on section 32. William Husker, the first town clerk of the township, settled on the west half of the southwest quarter of section 22." Original Land Entries pg. 407: "Section 22 Moses T. Bennett, William Husker, Jason Mills, Joseph Gallop, Peter Tucker, Alonzo Curtis, Frederick Sapp, all owned property in this section." Schools pg. 410: "At a meeting of school board held April 19, 1850, District No. 1 was formed by Chauncy W. Olmstead and William Husker, members of the school board." Assessment Roll of Bushnell for the year 1850: "William Husker, section 22, 160 acres," Pg. 362. The first enrollment of the grand jury was made at the general term held at Greenville in Oct. 1854, when the following persons "whose names were drawn according to law, and who were summoned by the sheriff to appear as grand jurors", answered to their names Harvey Allen, Erasdtus Fisher, William Husker,...." William Husker was the first Town Clerk of Greenville, Montcalm Co., MI (p 409).

Courtesy of Sue Bates - Aug., 2006

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