This is a collection of short biographical sketches submitted by individuals with a link to the Researcher. You are invited to send appropriate sketches of early Atchison County residents for inclusion on this page


Atchison County Kansas Bio Sketches 


The story of a young man who has been successful in his chosen field through sheer force and energy and aptitude is always interesting. Consequently, it is fitting that the biography of one of the most successful life insurance men of northwest Kansas have a proper place in the pages of the history of Atchison Co. The rise of H. C. Hansen in the insurance field has been rapid and substantial until his high place among the business men of his home city is assured. Born in the little kingdom of Denmark and reared on American soil, he has given evidence of possessing the sturdy qualities peculiar to the Danish people which have led them to the forefront in America wherever they have settled. It is probable that no people coming have from foreign shores and speaking an alien tongue have shown greater adaptability and more acumen in being assimilated into the great American body of citizens than those who have come from Denmark.

H. C. Hansen was born in Denmark January 17, 1867. His parents were Hans and Anna Hansen, who left their native land to seek their fortunes in America in 1869. Hans Hansen was a blacksmith and the family first located in Atchison. From here they went to Brown Co., and a few years afterward settled in Doniphan Co. Mr. Hansen operated a blacksmith and wagon-shop at Severance, KS until 1890. He then removed to Graham Co. and settled on a farm where he still resides. His first wife, Anna, died in 1875, leaving four children, as follows: Mrs. Mary KELLENBERG, of Brown Co.; Mrs. Minnie KNOOP, of Canton, OK; Mrs. Ellen MOORE, of Cottonwood Falls, Chase, KS; and Hans Christian.

H. C. Hansen was reared in Doniphan Co. and was forced by circumstances to look after his own education. When still a boy he learned the blacksmith's trade and also worked as a farm hand. He had little opportunity to secure an education and received no encouragement from his parents to acquire knowledge. It was necessary for him to earn money to support himself while attending school. He studied for two years in the Christian Brothers College of St. Joseph after he became of age. Beginning with December 20, 1892, he served twelve years as salesman for the Edward HEENEY Hardware Company of Severance, KS. He then became local agent for the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company at Severance. So successful was Mr. Hansen in his new vocation that in a short period of eighteen months he was tendered the position of general agent of the company, with headquarters in Atchison. He has written as high as $200,000 in life insurance policies yearly and his success still continues. A strong and amiable personality combined with energy and persistence have been factors in enabling him to advance with such rapid strides in a field which is full of able competitors. In addition to his duties as general agent of the Penn Mutual Insurance Company, he looks after his farm of 120 acres, located five and one-half miles east of Potter. Mr. Hansen has purchased this farm with money earned in selling life insurance, and he is displaying the same energy in developing his farm acreage that placed him to the forefront in the life insurance field. An old, rundown orchard of about ten acres was located on his farm. He had this orchard placed in shape for fruit bearing by trimming the trees and spraying with a power sprayer. The results are seen in the fine quality of fruit which the trees have yielded. He has been awarded three first prizes at the Atchison Co. horticultural display.

Mr. Hansen was married August 20, 1891 to Katie BROWNING, a daughter of Frank Browning, an early pioneer settler of Doniphan Co. To them have been born the following children: Anna, a graduate of the public school and high school, and now a teacher in the schools of Sparks, KS; Bettie, a trained nurse, who graduated from the Sisters of Charity Hospital, at St. Joseph in October 1913; Crystelle, a milliner in the Ramsey store; and William Penn or "Pat" the youngest of the family.

Politically, Mr. Hansen is an independent Republican, inclined to be progressive in his ideas of government by the people, and favoring those candidates for office who seem to be capable of serving the people to the best advantage of all. He is a member of St. Benedict's Catholic Church and is fraternally connected with the Knights of Columbus.

Taken from:

History of Atchison County, Kansas

by Sheffield Ingalls - 1916

Submitted by:

Clemi Higley Blackburn, July 2001

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Last updated 7/18/2001

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