Page 446-448, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


Nels C. Hanson, of Prospect township, is one of Butler county's representative citizens, and although not an early settler of this county he is proud of Butler county and Butler county is proud of him. Mr. Hanson is a native of Aalborg, Denmark, where he was born August 26, 1863, a son of Christian C. and Anna Hanson. When about six years old he removed with his parents to America after approximately a voyage of twelve days, landing at Castle Garden, New York. Coming directly to Iowa, they located in Union township, Des Moines county. There the father who was a blacksmith, started a shop, and a year or two later was able to purchase a satisfactory location for a home. He first erected a log house in which the family lived for about fifteen years. He built a good frame dwelling. At about that time also he abandoned his trade and gave his attention exclusively to farming.

At the time the family came to America there were six daughters and one son, the latter the subject of the present review. One son, Henry, was born in Iowa. All the children grew to maturity, and they are in the order of birth as follows: Caroline, who now resides in Cedar county, Iowa, married Nels Fulgsang; Sine, married Peter Peterson, is now deceased; Mary, married John Swan, West Burlington, Iowa; Nels C., the subject of this sketch; Hannah, Burlington, Iowa, married Peter Simonson; Carrie, married Conrad Schwartz, Winfield, Iowa; Minnie, wife of George Schafer, Chicago; and Henry, resides in Butler county, married Miss Laura Hagley.

Christian C. Hanson, the father, enjoyed the advantages of a good education, having in his native land received an excellent training in a military school, and as an officer in the Danish army, took part in the war between his country and Germany in 1848. He had the good fortune never to be wounded, but the wholehearted character of the man and his service in those trying times is indicated by the fact that he was awarded a medal for meritorious conduct. His devotion to his native land in no way exceeded his loyalty to the land of his adoption, and on coming here he made a conscientious study of public questions. He was a lifelong student, being a lover of reading and research along intellectual lines. His nature, too, was deeply religious, although he never became identified with any particular church, and it was characteristic of him that he was ready at all times to sacrifice his own ease and pleasure for the benefit of those who were near and dear to him. Thus, while he realized that for himself and his wife the conditions of life would have been easier in Denmark than in this country, he never regretted that he had moved to America, as this country offered greater opportunities to children. He provided for each of his children a good common school education, and to their welfare he devoted the best


efforts of a long life of arduous toil. He died July 24, 1893, and the mother died in August, 1897, in Des Moines county, Iowa.

Nels C. Hanson received a fairly complete common school education in the district schools of Iowa, and, early, began to assist his father in the support of the family by working for a farmer when only ten years of age for $8 per month. Not satisfied with his education, he matriculated in a business college at the age of seventeen years, but lacking financial resources, he was compelled to give up this line of study after one month. He had inherited from his father a taste for good reading, however, and in this way he largely made up for the deficiency of his former training and supplied his lack of the usual advantages, for he began this method of self culture when but a small boy, and has ever since continued it with increasing enthusiasm. He has in his home a library of 500 volumes, which is one of the best selected private libraries in Butler county. He still worked at farm labor, however, until his twenty-second year, when he bought 120 acres of land in Hamilton county, Iowa.

In Union township, Des Moines county, Iowa, on February 18, 1886, Mr. Hanson was united in marriage to Miss Sopha Schwartz, a native of that township and a daughter of Fred and Caroline Schwartz, who were both born in Germany. For two years Mr. Hanson and his bride resided at the farm in Hamilton county, but at the expiration of that eropd[sic] he sold the farm there and removed to Burlington, Iowa, where he lived for approximately six years, engaged in various occupations. During two years of this time he was shipping clerk of the Burlington Saddlery Manufactory, and for the following three years he resided at Galesburg, Ill., as a representative of the same firm. He then purchased a farm in Union township. He became much interested in the improvement of farm stock, and his activities, in fact, extended to almost all matters of community interests. In 1901 Mr. Hanson and two other gentlemen organized and incorporated a telephone company in Des Moines county, Iowa, and Mr. Hanson was made the first secretary and treasurer of this corporation, a position he occupied until January 1, 1905; and during this period so great was the success of the enterprise that the capital stock was increased to $25,000.

In 1907 Mr. Hanson came to Butler county, Kansas, for his health, which had been failing for some time. He was so pleased with the climate and the country that he bought 160 acres of land in Prospect township, where he has since been living in partial retirement, although he supervises the operation of his farm and is considered one of the successful farmers and stockmen of Prospect township.

When quite young, Mr. Hanson became an active worker for the success of the Republican party, whose principles involved his ideas of popular government, and at an early age began serving his party in both county and State conventions. In recognition of his services he received in 1901 the nomination for representative for Des Moines


county in the Iowa State legislature, and although the party was in the minority in that county he attracted such a strong following that he was again made the standard bearer. This honor was entirely unsought on his part but his personal popularity carried him forward and he lacked only a few votes of election. Co-existent with his activities in public life, he has always maintained a warm interest in humanitarian and religious work, and in 1899 he became a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. From this body he has received license as an exhorter, a branch of the work in which he has accomplished much, and he has also served as superintendent of the Sunday school. His labors in this field have been so markedly successful that he has been solicited and even urged to devote himself to the regular ministery of the Gospel; and should he ever decide to do so it would doubtless mean much for his denomination.

To Mr. and Mrs. Hanson have been born the following children: Irwin, born in Burlington, Iowa, March 9, 1890, married Mary Freeman, a native of El Dorado, and he is an electrical engineer in the employ of the Mississippi Power Company, Keokuk, Iowa; Myrtle, born in Burlington, Iowa, July 13, 1892, married Joseph Locke of Prospect township; and Virginia, born in Burlington, Iowa, August 15, 1906, resides at home.

In these modern days of intense specialization, when most men find time only along one line of restricted endeavor, it is encouraging to find a man who has not paid for his success at the cost of his own self development. Naturally gifted with versatile talents, Mr. Hanson has by extensive experience in practical affairs, touched the circle of an ideal career at almost every point. Honor, reputation and loyal frindship[sic] he has won by the strength and sincerity of his purpose. His work in religious and fraternal circles, in the political world and in the home community have been a help and encouragement to many, while his success in a business way should inspire the young with the thought that even in this day of specialization a man may attain to a high material achievement and still develop a broad and many sided character.

Mr. Hanson is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Butler County Grange and has been secretary of that organization for the past year. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church of El Dorado.

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