Charles Everett Hancher

                                                    ┌── John Hancher
                                                    │    1796-1853 
                           ┌── Abel Hicks Hancher ──┤
                           │    1845-1916           │
                           │                        └── Nancy Ann O'Rourke
                           │                             1807-1882 
Charles Everett Hancher ───┤
B: 1876                    │                        ┌── Beriah Cooper
D: 1942                    │                        │
                           └── Caroline Cooper ─────┤
M: Jessie Eugene Shepard
   ├── Everett Cecil Hancher (1898-1998) 1,2
   ├── Eugene Hicks Hancher (1902-1981) 1,2
   └── Park Melvin Hancher (1906-1988) 1,2,3

Charles Everett Hancher     [ID 09961] Click here to switch to Ahnentafel view: Ahnentafel View

Born Jan 6 1876, Powhattan Township, Pocahontas County, Iowa.1  

He married Jessie Eugene Shepard1 [Jessie Everett Shepard3], Jul 11 18971.  Jessie, daughter of - Shepard & - Wedge, was born Jun 24 1880, Edgewood, Iowa.1,2,3  

Charles and family were shown in the 1920 census (Feb 7 1920), Ellington Township, Palo Alto County, Iowa:2

Hancher, Charles, head-of-household, age 44, born in Iowa; father born in New York; mother born in Iowa; rented home; farmer.
Hancher, Jessie, wife, age 40, born in Iowa; parents born in Wisconsin.
Hancher, Everett, son, age 21, born in Iowa; parents born in Iowa; farm laborer.
Hancher, Mable, daughter-in-law, age 23, born in Indiana; father born in Ohio; mother born in Indiana.
Hancher, Eugene, son, age 17, born in Iowa; parents born in Iowa; farm laborer.
Hancher, Park, son, age 13, born in Iowa; parents born in Iowa; attended school.

Charles Everett Hancher died Oct 7 1942, Iowa City, Johnson County, Iowa.1  

Jessie died Jun 16 1944, Altadena, Los Angeles County, California; age 63.1,3  

An obituary for Charles Everett Hancher appeared in a 1942 newspaper, as follows:4

By Frank MacVey

The death and burial of the later Charles Hancher marks the passing of the last member of the Hancher family in Pocahontas county.  

In May, 1864, Barney O. Hancher, uncle of the deceased, turned the first furrow in Powhatan township.  "His was the plow that turned the sod that had lain for a thousand years".  About the same time he filed on the homestead adjoining his on the north in the name of his widowed mother, Mrs. Nancy Hancher, of Bureau county, Ill., but originally from Kentucky.  This quarter section of land was, and still is, the best quarter in Powhatan township, as it has a powerful living spring of water, the only one in the township, which never freezes over and furnishes water for all purposes the year round.  

In due time Mrs. Hancher arrived with her two minor children, Abel Hix (known throughout his lifetime as Dick) for whom this land was intended, and the youngest daughter, Belle.  

The erection of the historic Hancher log cabin on this tract consumed nearly a year of the most strenuous effort.  Flooring, shingles and windows were hauled from Boone, and the logs were cut on the Des Moines river six or seven miles away and brought across the trackless prairie and across Beaver Creek, which then had no bridge.  

In and about this cabin much of the history of Powhatan township was woven.  Here was solemnized the first marriage in the township, that of the daughter, Belle, in March, 1866, to Henry Tilley, recently discharged from the Union army where he had served as a bugler.  They established their first home near by.  The next year Dick Hancher was married to Caroline Cooper at the cabin of her father, Beriah Cooper, in Des Moines township, and brought his bride home where she lived harmoniously with her husband's mother for well nigh 20 years.  

Mrs. Nancy Hancher was a woman of quiet dignity and deepest piety, I believe originally a Quaker.  Dick and his wife were the kind who later in life were Uncle Dick and Aunt Caroline to all who knew them.  Their home dispensed charity, kindness and hospitality as long as one of the name lived there.  In the early pioneer days the Hancher home was an asylum for the homeless and distressed of the clan.  Park McLaughlin and later Carrie Cowan, orphan grandchildren, here found a home and loving counsel during the years of their adolescence.  Wesley Ellison, a homeless boy, also found shelter, sustenance and sympathy here until able to make his own way.  

Any historical sketch of Powhatan township with the name Hancher omitted would be like "Hamlet with Hamlet left out".  The first stack of prairie hay in Powhatan township was put up by Barney and Dick Hancher.  The mowing was done on the Beaver Creek bottom in grass 5 to 6 feet high, cut by a mower borrowed from Ed Hammond of Des Moines township, as it was the only mower in this corner of the county.  The first Fourth of July celebration in the township was held in the Hancher grove while the trees were so small the sun melted the butter in the sandwiches.  My father read the Declaration of Independence, and James J. Jolliffe, and [sic] English boy who had taken out his first papers, made an impassioned address on Americanism.  The first church social was held in the Hancher home in the winter of 1866-7, and part of the menu was fried prarie chicken which had been caught in traps in the cornfields.  

For many years to follow, the Hancher grove was the place chosen for Sunday school picnics and Fourth of July celebrations.  The old log cabin was the community center until replaced by the present structure, and six of "Uncle Dick's" seven children first saw the light of day therein.  

It is far from my purpose to indulge in extravagant eulogy, but as one writer has nicely put it, the Hanchers "were neither saints nor sinners, but just the plain garden variety of honest Americans, of which there has never been a surplus," and I hold them all in kindly remembrance.


  1. Contribution from Larry Hancher.
  2. 1920 census, Ellington Township, Palo Alto County, Iowa; roll T625-505, ED 189, page 6A, line #3.
  3. RootsWeb California Death Index:
  4. Obituary, newspaper articles and notes on a 1939 Hancher/Henshaw etc. family reunion, contributed by Larry Hancher

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