The Hansfords in Newton County, Mississippi
By Terry Terrell Lange
Before Mississippi: The Early Generations
Our first ancestor in America was John Hansford, who appeared in York County, Virginia in the 1650s, although there is evidence that suggests he was a member of the Virginia Company as early as 1620. Believed to be the son of a merchant tailor from London, we do not know how John acquired his wealth, but he was a man of considerable wealth and prestige. He was active in the affairs of York County, and in 1655 he occupied a seat on the Justice Bench. He was married to Elizabeth, whose last name is unknown.
John’s 2,200 acre plantation, which he named “Cheesecake”, was located on Felgate’s Creek on the James River in York County, Virginia. It remained in the Hansford family until after WWI, when the U S Government bought the property and established the U S Naval Weapons Station at Yorktown, Virginia. I am told there is a plaque at the facility commemorating the Hansford plantation.
John Hansford left a will in Virginia dated 1654. A transcription of his will follows
: …To my eldest sons John Hansford and William Hansford, 600 acres of land lying upon Claybanke Creek on the North side of York River to be equally divided between them; three cows apiece, etc. To my sons Thomas and Charles Hansford, 500 and odd acres of land lying at the rear of Felgates Creek, which I heretofore bought of Mr. Weston's daughter to be equally divided between them. To my son Thomas, one young horse colt and to my sons Thomas and Charles, three cows, two heifers, etc. To my daughter Elizabeth, my old grey mare and three cows, etc. To my daughter Mary, my younger mare, and to my said daughter Mary and my daughter Margaret, three cows, etc. To daughter Elizabeth, 1,000 acres of land lying on the south side of the Matapony River, the rights and bounds whereof do appear at the Office in Jamestown. To my godson John Morley, son to my neighbor Thomas Morley, one heifer. To my servant Ennis, one heifer with calf. To my wife Elizabeth Hansford my devident of 70 acres of land whereon my dwelling house stands, for her life, and after her death to my son Thomas Hansford, and I ordain her sole Executrix, Francis Willis, Edmund Peeters, Supervisors. To Robert Jones who now instructs my children, 500 pounds of tobacco.
The average life span of an adult in those days was 45 years or less, and when he died some of John’s children were still minors.
After John’s death, Elizabeth married again to Edward Lockley, a wealthy tobacco merchant. Edward Lockley served as guardian to John’s minor children. Edward died about 1667, and Elizabeth died about 1669.
Elizabeth's last will and testament, dated 8 Feb 1669, was proved 29 Apr 1669, York County, Virginia. Children named were: William, Elizabeth, Thomas, Mary and John. To John, her eldest, she willed land in York County, which was patented by her mother, Elizabeth Jands.
Thomas Hansford was the third son of John Hansford. He was a Colonel in the Militia under Nathaniel Bacon, Jr. He played an important role in Bacon’s Rebellion, which occurred in 1676. For those of you who have forgotten what you learned in American history, Bacon’s Rebellion was the first armed resistance offered by Americans to the constituted authorities of the mother country. It occurred just one hundred years before the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. For his efforts on behalf of the rebellion Thomas Hansford was executed for treason by the Governor of Virginia, and his considerable estate was forfeited to the King. The young officer met his death heroically, asking of men no other favor than that he might be “shot, like a soldier, and not hanged, like a dog” (which was heartlessly denied him), and praying Heaven to forgive his sins. He was the first native Virginian to be hanged, and is referred to as the "first martyr of American Liberty."
The Hansfords in Mississippi descend from Charles Hansford, a son of John Hansford and the younger brother of Thomas, the martyr. Charles married the widow Elizabeth Moody, daughter of Rev. Edward Folliott. Charles was a Captain in the Militia. He was made guardian of two of Thomas’ children when Thomas’ wife died just two years after his execution. Charles died in 1702, leaving three sons and four daughters.
William Hansford, a son of Charles and Elizabeth (Folliott) Hansford and next in our line, married Sarah Sallis. William was one of the founders of Spotsylvania County, Virginia, based on his selection and appointment by Gov. Alexander Spotswood as one of six presiding justices of the first court, August 7, 1722. His last will and testament, dated 7 June 1750, proved on 17 October 1754, Culpepper County, VA, established that he was a slave-holding planter, with a wife Sarah, daughters Anne and Sarah Porter, and sons William Jr., Sallis, Charles and John, and a grandson, Benoni Hansford.
The name of Benoni Hansford’s father is not known, but since Benoni received a child’s part under the terms of his grandfather’s will, I believe that his father died before William’s will was written.
Benoni Hansford married Grace Proctor in about 1775. He served as Lieutenant and Captain from Orange County, VA, in the Revolutionary War. Benoni, Grace and family moved to Georgia in about 1781 or 1782. They settled in Morgan County, where there is a political sub-division known as Captain Hansford’s District. Benoni and Grace had eight known children: Charles Proctor Hansford, Sallie Hansford Harrison, William Hansford, Martha Ann Elizabeth Hansford Stone, Matilda Hansford Clower, Polly Hansford Ryan, George W. Hansford, Sr., and John Miller Hansford.
Charles Proctor Hansford lived in Upson County, GA. Elizabeth Hansford Stone and John Miller Hansford and families moved to Jackson County, Florida. Matilda Hansford Clower and George W. Hansford and families settled in Monroe County, GA.
George W. Hansford, my 3rd great-grandfather, was born about 1794 in Morgan County, GA. He married Mary W. Bonner 28 Feb 1820 in Warren County, Georgia. Her lineage is not proven at this time, but evidence suggests that her father was Robert Bonner and her mother was Elizabeth Heath.
Soon after their marriage, George and Mary settled in the northeast corner of the newly-organized county of Monroe, where lands had become available through the Treaty of 1821 with the Creek Indians. There the Hansfords found rolling hills with deep, fertile topsoil over good red-clay. Virgin forests of pine, oak and chestnut furnished abundant timber for homes, barns and fuel. Streams flowed throughout the area providing water for livestock, power for gristmills, sawmills and other equipment. On the current map of Monroe County, one can find in the northeast corner of the county, where the George Hansfords settled, a stream identified as Hansford’s Branch. They found the climate to be temperate, with sufficient rainfall to grow a large variety of abundant crops.
The first homes were crude log cabins, hurriedly built. Monroe County developed in the plantation pattern, and as the landowners prospered, they built colonial homes for their families.
Each farm had to be a self-sufficient unit. It had to produce enough food for the family, slaves and livestock to last from one crop year until the next. Every farm had its own cows for milk and butter, and poultry for eggs and meat. Pork was a mainstay in the diet, because of the ease of salt curing. Every farm had a smokehouse to cure and store meat. About the only food items purchased were salt, spices, coffee and sometimes sugar. Cotton and wool from sheep were spun and woven into cloth for clothing.
The main source of income was cotton. The market for cotton was in the New England states and in the manufacturing centers of Great Britain. A 26-mile railroad, built in 1838, connected Forsyth to Macon providing access to the Ocmulgee River and on to the coast for shipment of farm products to European markets. This had a huge impact on farmers. Selling their cotton on world markets allowed Monroe Countians to purchase many items for their homes not previously available or affordable--items that today are valued as antiques.
George and Mary had nine known children: Eliza Cassandra Hansford Wilson, Benoni Charles Hansford; Robert Bonner Hansford, Matilda Ann Hansford Morrison; George W. “Dock” Hansford, Jr.; Luraney E. Hansford Rogers; Sarah Hansford, Martha Hansford Whittington; and Mary Elizabeth Hansford.
All of their children were educated in private, tuition-supported schools.
Small general stores eventually sprang up in the communities, providing wagons, cotton-planters, plows, harnesses, and all kinds of seed. Staple articles of food such as flour, meal, side-meat, syrup, lard, bulk sugar, coffee, cheese, salt, spice, pepper, and nutmeg, were stocked. Clothing and shoes for all members of the family were also carried in stock. There were many churches, with Baptist and Methodist being the prevailing denominations.
In 1852, the first Congregational Methodist Church was organized in Monroe County, GA. Unlike other Methodists, Congregational Methodists elected their own ministers who served at the will of the congregation. George W. “Dock” Hansford, Jr., was a minister of the Congregational Methodist Church and served a number of churches in the area during his 62 years of ministry.
When George W. Hansford, Sr. died in about 1853, the inventory of his estate included the following: 15 slaves; 5 horses, 2 mules, 3 work oxen, 15 head of cattle; 43 head of hogs; 20 head of sheep; 1 ox cart; 1 road wagon; 1 buggy; 6 bedroom sets, 2 spinning wheels and loom, and various other farm implements and household goods.
An article from a Monroe County newspaper dated 7/16/1925 states that “the old Hansford home, one of the landmarks of Monroe County, was destroyed by fire at noon Wednesday, the fire having caught from a stove flue. The home was one hundred years old, and was owned by Mrs. R. T. McMullan [who was a granddaughter of George W. Hansford, Sr.]. The house was located about five miles Northeast of Forsyth…"
In the mid to late 1850’s a number of families from Monroe County, Georgia and nearby counties moved to Newton County, Mississippi, some of them to organize the first Congregational Methodist Church in Mississippi, which was Mt. Zion. Another reason for the migration may have been economic. History tells us that after a number of years of growing the same crops on the same soil, the soil is depleted, and where cotton is grown, erosion from heavy rains washes away the topsoil. The move to Newton County offered an opportunity to acquire land for much less than it sold for in Georgia, thus allowing families to acquire larger acreage. The soil in Newton County had not yet been depleted by repetitive farming, and offered an opportunity for larger yields, thus improving their economic status. Another reason for moving to new territory was that owning larger farms allowed more land to be passed down to their sons.
The new residents of Newton County found the rolling hills, red clay subsoil and pine and hardwood forests, to be very similar to Monroe County, Georgia.
First Generation, Newton County, Mississippi
The Family of Benjamin C. & Sarah Ann Atkinson Hansford
Among the Georgians who came to Newton County was the family of my great-great-grandfather, Benoni Hansford, who was known in Newton County as Benjamin C. “Bennie” Hansford.
Let me take a moment to talk about the names Benoni and Benjamin. At the time I was researching the Hansfords, I happened to be reading a novel, called THE RED TENT, which was about Deborah, daughter of Jacob, from the Bible. Toward the end of the novel was the incident of the birth of a son to Jacob and one of his wives, Rachel. Rachel died soon after giving birth, but on her deathbed she asked that her son be named Ben Oni, which translated, meant “child of my sorrow”. Jacob defied her wish, and named the child Benjamin, which when translated, meant “child of my old age”. I immediately pulled out my Bible and found the passage. Apparently, in the Hansford line, the names were used interchangeably. While called Benoni in Monroe County, when he arrived in Newton County, my great-great-grandfather was known as Benjamin. His grandfather began his Will as “I, Benjamin Hansford… but signed his Will as Benoni Hansford.
Benjamin Hansford married Sarah Ann Atkinson of Butts County, GA, a daughter of Cornelius and Olive Stewart Atkinson. Four of Benjamin and Sarah’s seven children were born in Monroe County, GA.
Others in the Newton County migration with connections to the Hansfords were McCunes and Atkinsons.
Bennie and Sarah Hansford bought a farm near where Mt. Zion C.M. Church was soon established. Robert and family lived in Township 7, Range 11, west of Decatur. Olive Atkinson lived near her daughter, Sarah. Luraney Rogers and family settled west of Decatur on the Conehatta Road at the site commonly known as Butts’ Hill.
When the South seceded from the Union, Bennie and his brother Robert joined the Confederate Army. Bennie served in Company D, 39th Mississippi Infantry, and Robert served in Company B, 2nd Mississippi Cavalry. Both survived the war, and returned to their families in Newton County. Before Highway 15 was built, the road from Union to Decatur was the unpaved road located on the West side of Mt. Zion Church and it ran directly in front of the Hansford homestead. This was the road that Union troops traveled on their way from Union to Decatur.
My grandfather, Ezra Hansford, told the following story. When he was a young man in the early 1900s the family had in its possession some sort of large munitions left over from the Civil War that was left behind when the troops passed. He said that people were always stopping by, wanting to see this relic, and he grew weary of hauling it out for display, so one day he took it out and buried it somewhere on the homestead. So far, its resting place has not been discovered, if it still exists.
Both Robert and Benjamin were Masons. WPA manuscripts state that Benjamin was Senior Warden of the Pinckney Lodge when it was chartered in January 1866.
WPA Manuscripts also state that Bennie Hansford and Andrew Jackson (Jack) Smith donated the five acres on which Mt. Zion Church and cemetery are located.
A letter written to Sarah Hansford and her mother Olive Atkinson by Nancy Thigpen, Sarah’s sister, provides a glimpse of living conditions in the South after the war.
April 8th, 1866
Dear Mother and Sister,
I have at last a convenient opportunity of answering your letter, which came to hand about a month ago. I had given out getting a letter from you at all. I was very glad to hear from you all. I think we might hear from each other oftener, at least once a month.
I was sorry to hear of Ma’s bad health, but hope she is well by this time. I would like to come out to see you all very much, but have no means to travel. Money with me is scarce. I have to let Marcus and Frank have a little when I have any to get them clothes. Neely is out of money and no way to make it until he raises it by his crop. [She is referring to her sons from a previous marriage.]
Ma, I could not see Smith myself, but saw Dock Hansford. He had seen him for Benny, and Smith said that Shand Lindsey was the proper one to see about it. So you ought to send an order to him for some money and have it done properly, and I think he will send you some money soon. Dock promised me to see Smith again and write you all the particulars about it.
If that money was ever bonded, you can never get one cent of it, as Dr. Shannon had all the money he had for orphans bonded, and now they are worth nothing at all. The Johnson and Willis children have not got a dollar left. I told Dock Hansford to find out if it had been bonded and write to you about it. He promised to do so. Address him at Griffin, Spalding County.
I would like to send you some money, and if I can, I will send you some as soon as Mr. Thigpen collects his tuition. I will send you some by express. I would [like] to be out there in June at your frolic, Sarah, I hope you will have a good time.
You say the folks are marrying out there. There are more children born in Monroe than I ever knew. Betty will be down in June sometime. Jimmy Shannon’s wife has a boy, and I came up here yesterday and found Eliza [a sister of Nancy and Sarah, and daughter of Olive] with another fine boy 11 days old. They have moved out to a very romantic, high and beautiful place. You can see the Lost Mountain and Kennesaw very plain.
Tell Benny I wish he was here to show me where his hiding place was, as Mr. Lawshe is living out here amongst the breastworks where our folks were stationed. There are a great many graves on the lot.
They have put up a rough house, but quite roomy and more convenient than any they have ever had. Eliza can be in her bed and look at her cooking. The children are right sick with colds.
Ma, Eliza says she has no money to send you, but she loaned Elzy Hansford five dollars in greenback, and if she will [pay her] … she will give it to you. Mr. Lawshe requests me to say to Lizy that he thinks hard of her for not writing Mr. Moon about that money she borrowed from him as the man expects him to pay it.
I think of staying a week here and then go home, as Mr. Thigpen will be anxious to see me. All of the kin are well. Frank is doing better than any of the boys. Marcus and Neely don’t get along well. Neely wants Mark to work when he is not well enough. He has had bad sinus and headache for several days. I don’t think he will stay there long. [Again, she refers to her sons from previous marriages.]
I cannot think of anything else to write. Eliza says she wants to see you and help you very bad, but she is too poor to help you much. We are sorry for you, both of us, and will help our poor old mother that has suffered and taken care of us when we were not able to help ourselves. You have been a kind and tender mother and we will never forget you. We will send you something soon.
Give our love to the kinfolks and write soon to me and Eliza. Give my love to Susan and the girls. Tell them to write. Tell Abner and Lewis’ folks1 to write to me at Hickory Grove, Crawford County. Suzy sends her love to Sue and Grandma and Aunt Sarah.
I want to see you very much. Tell Susie and Charley and Bobby to learn fast and be smart. Tell Buddy to go to school and be a good boy.
Tell Ernestine that Allen was at the Springs two or three weeks last fall and said he was going after her, but he is such a story-teller that I don’t believe anything he says. I told Liza to tell him to go after Georgann. He is drinking whiskey in a hurry.
Goodbye, write soon and don’t wait too long.
Postscript: Ma, here is ten dollars Mr. Lawshe sends you. He says you shan’t suffer; as long as he has a crust of bread, he will divide with you. I told him that I had nothing to send you now, but I will as soon as Mr. Thigpen collects some from his school
Like most southerners, these families found themselves nearly destitute after the war. Some of their net worth had been in slaves, and the emancipation eliminated that asset. Any currency that had been converted to Confederate dollars was worthless after the war. In addition, no crops had been produced during the years of the war. Every family had endured countless hardships.
Olive Atkinson was to receive $1,000 annually from her husband’s estate, and it is likely that is the money she was trying to collect, referred to in the letter above from her daughter.
Another interesting letter to the Hansfords and kin in Newton County describes Atlanta after the war. Written September 28, 1868 by the school teacher son-in-law, husband of Nancy Thigpen, the letter states, in part,
Atlanta is being built up very fast and has sprung from its ashes and already numbers thirty thousand inhabitants, and it is prophesied that it will grow to number one hundred and fifty thousand in ten years, and the capital of Georgia is moved to this place. I would like to have land in or around this city, if I can get it. I am the county surveyor of this county.
Bennie and Sarah’s children were: Charles Cornelius, Robert C., Susan Olive, Thomas, George Lewis, William Claude, and Fannie Lou.
Second Generation, Newton County, Mississippi
The Family of Charles Cornelius Hansford
Charles Cornelius Hansford, son of Benjamin C. Hansford and Sarah Atkinson was my great-grandfather and was married four times. His first wife was Hattie M. Roebuck, daughter of Eppy White and Melissa Caroline Carter Roebuck of Pinckney, and formerly of Elbert County, Georgia. They had one child, William Aubrey Hansford, who married Margaret Emily Lundy. Hattie died in childbirth.
Charles married next Martha Wells. No children were born of this union, which ended in divorce in 1882.
He married next Mattie M. Butts, daughter of John Alexander and Maria Mann Butts of Decatur. They had one child, Maria Lou Hansford, who married Jack Hicks. Mattie died in 1885.
Charles married 4th Cordelia A. Gaar in 1887. She was the daughter of John Adam and Margaret Gardner Gaar of the Stamper community. Charles and Cordelia had four children: Margaret Mae “Maggie” Hansford, who married Robert Cornelius Atkinson (a distant cousin); Ezra Morris Hansford (my grandfather), who married Cama Arnold; Sallie Ann Hansford, who married Thomas M. Galloway; and Bessie Irene Hansford, who married Ben L. Massey. Charles was a farmer, and the family lived near Stamper Pond in Newton County. Cordelia died in 1895 from childbirth complications, and Charles and his six children moved in with his parents, his brother Bob, and his sister, Fannie, who were both single.
Hattie M. (Roebuck) Hansford, (left) first wife of C. C. Hansford, died in childbirth.
Charles C. Hansford, holding son Ezra, Cordelia Garr Hansford holding daughter Maggie, John Pharoah in checked jacket (nephew of Cordelia Garr Hansford), Maria Hansford and William Aubrey Hansford.
In September of 1901, Charles Hansford came down with an ailment described as “some kind of fever”. My grandfather, Ezra, remembered that his father begged for water, but it was denied him, as that was the prescribed treatment at that time. Grandpa always thought that if they had given him water, he might have lived. Charles died from this disease about a week before his brother William Claude died from the same disease. Charles’ children lived on in the home of their grandparents, Benjamin and Sarah Hansford.
Ezra Hansford, Sallie Hansford Galloway, Maria Hansford Hicks, Maggie Hansford Atkinson and William Aubrey Hansford
Sarah Hansford died in 1904, following an illness of several months, and Bennie died in 1906. Charles’ children then passed into the care of their bachelor Uncle Bob and spinster Aunt Fannie.
Robert C. (Bob) Atkinson
Second Generation, Newton County, Mississippi
Robert C. “Uncle Bob” Hansford (See photo left) never married. He died in June of 1946 at 93 years of age. His obituary stated that:
“Uncle Bob”, as he was affectionately known to all, moved to Mississippi when a young man. He joined the Mt. Zion C. M. Church in early manhood and was a consecrated member throughout all his life, which he lived quietly and peaceably in this community. Uncle Bob was never married but helped to rear four sets of orphan children and took care of his mother and father in their declining years, giving all these great love and tender care. His life has been a shining example of what a Christian man can be among men, and what love can be shed abroad in the heart of a noble Christian.
The Family of Susan Olive Hansford Wall & George Washington Wall
Susan Olive Hansford, daughter of Benjamin C. and Susan Atkinson Hansford, married George Washington Wall, son of Micajah C. and Mary Jane Tisdale Wall. They lived near Stratton, MS. Their children were: Lula Mae Wall, who married James H. Ezelle; Adra Ann Wall, who married James Samuel Cooksey; Micajah C. Wall, Jr., who married (1) Eunice Vance and (2) Fannie J. Corley; Sarah Jane Wall, who married John Quincy Vance; Benjamin Wall, d/y; and Robert Eugene Wall, who married Floy Bell Easom. Susan Hansford Wall (see photo left). died on 29 November 1943.
Thomas Hansford, son of Benjamin C. and Susan Atkinson Hansford, died as a child. Census records indicate that he was born in Mississippi, but deeds in Monroe County, GA where his father sold his farm were dated 1858, so he was probably born in Georgia. Thomas may be buried at Mt. Zion C.M. Cemetery, although there is no marker for him. We know he was deceased by 1866, as he was not mentioned in the letter written by his Aunt dated April 1866, in which she sent greetings to the children, mentioning them by name.
Second Generation, Newton County, Mississippi
The Family of George Lewis Hansford
George Lewis “Bud” Hansford, son of Benjamin C. Hansford and Susan Atkinson, married Susan Russell, daughter of William Henry and Susan Caroline (Stamper) Russell. She died in 1898 from childbirth complications, and the baby girl died within days. An excerpt from a letter written by John T. Russell of Decatur to his brother R. S. Russell of Georgia gives the details of their sister’s death:
I will write you a few lines in order to let you all know how we are getting along. We are all well so far as I know, but sad so to write.
We are grieved with sadness of the death of our sister, Susie. She suffered 8 days and left a sweet little babe, a girl, and a good husband to grieve thereof.
Bob, Susie was willing to die. She asked Bud to read the Bible and take it for his guide and try to meet her in heaven before long. Bob, I think Susie appreciated all the kindness that could be expected of a husband. I have known Bud Hansford ever since I have known anybody here. He is a good and kind man. It seemed that he would melt with grief. It is sad, sad.
She was confined Tuesday, the 9th, and died Tuesday the 16th of August. The little babe is getting along tolerably well. Bob, Susie was handsomely put away
Second Generation, Newton County, Mississippi
George (shown in photo left) married secondly to Emma A. Freeman in 1900. George and Emma taught school. They had three children: Robert Percy Hansford, who married Biddie Smith; Susan Lucille Hansford who married first Howard E. Roebuck, second Ed Payne; and Omri “Jack” Hansford, who was mentally handicapped, and did not marry. In the fall of 1928 George, accompanied by his son Omri, was cutting trees. George saw that a tree that had just been cut was going to fall on his son Omri, and rushed to save him. Omri was saved, but the tree fell on Bud, and he lost his life.
The Family of William Claude Hansford and Kittie Elizabeth Mapp Buntyn
William Claude Hansford, son of Benjamin C. Hansford and Susan Atkinson, married Kittie Elizabeth Mapp, daughter of James Allen and Mary Ann Reeves Mapp. The family lived near Stamper Pond. William Claude was a photographer. He died in September 1901. Their children were: Avie Lucile Hansford, who married Joseph Frank Buntyn; Eugie Celeste Hansford, who married Charles Belton Holder, George Hansford, who married Essie Dona Cleveland, and Willie Mae Hansford, who married John E. Holder.
William Claude wrote the verse which follows, and all of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren could quote it.
God can see me every day
When I work and when I play.
When I laugh and when I cry
God is ever watching I.
Marking all I do or say
Pointing to that Happy Day.
Kittie Mapp Hansford operated a boarding house and continued her husband’s photography business after his death. An article from THE NEWTON RECORD, dated April 30, 1903, "Stamper News" said that "Mrs. Kittie Hansford has gone to Dixon to do photograph work."
In 1909, Kittie Mapp Hansford married James Morris Buntyn. They farmed and owned and operated a sawmill west of Union on the Sebastopol Road. In addition to Kittie’s four Hansford children, they had three children together, and James had seven children from his previous marriage to Anna Eliza Page. This was a large, blended family, but they were all devoted to one another.
Second Generation, Newton County, Mississippi
The Family of Fannie Lou Hansford and William Malone Roberts
Fannie Lou Hansford, daughter of Benjamin C. and Susan Atkinson Hansford, married William Malone Roberts in December of 1912 when she was 41 years old. Soon afterward the Roberts moved to Texas, where their only child, Sarah Margaret, was born in 1913. They returned to Newton County when Sarah was a small child. William died in 1925, and Fannie and Sarah lived on with Uncle Bob at the Hansford homestead. Sarah married first George Griffin, who left home to get coffee and never returned. She married second Lyle Keipinger. Fannie Lou Hansford Roberts died 4 November 1960.
Sometime in the early 1920s, the old Bennie Hansford homestead burned. Little was saved, but an old chest containing several letters written to the family between 1866 and 1869, was saved and is now in the possession of descendants of William Aubrey Hansford in Lubbock, Texas. Granddaughters of William Aubrey state that sometime in the 1940’s their grandfather sent for the chest, and it was shipped to him. When it arrived, it was charred from the fire, but the letters were not scorched. The chest has been restored and is in the home of one of the granddaughters, as are the letters which were in the chest.
Robert C. Hansford built a new residence on the same site as the original Hansford homestead. Sometime in the early 1950s, after Robert’s death, Fannie (Hansford) Roberts sold the homestead to Earl Terrell, who owns it today.
After Fannie moved to Detroit with her daughter, Uncle Bob lived with my grandparents and with Kittie Buntyn. He may have been the first person I ever knew who had a mustache, and as a child of three or four I was afraid of him, although he was very kind and would try to tease and play with me.
The Family of Robert Bonner Hansford and Elizabeth McCune Hansford
Robert Bonner Hansford, a brother of Benjamin C. Hansford, married Elizabeth A. McCune of Butts County, GA, daughter of William A. and Susan Patrick McCune. Elizabeth was a granddaughter of Olive Stewart Atkinson and a niece of Sarah Atkinson Hansford. Robert and Elizabeth moved to Mississippi at the same time as Benjamin and Sarah. They had five daughters, two of them born in Georgia: Mary L. Hansford married John Peter Wall and after his death she married John C. Powell. Martha E. Hansford married J. D. Coker. No marriage or death record has been located for daughter Emma R. Hansford. Roberta Hansford married Alonzo Martin. Irene Hansford married an Allen. Robert Bonner Hansford died about 1880, and is buried at Mt. Zion C. M. Cemetery. Elizabeth and daughters moved at some point to the Chunky/Hickory area, and by 1900 they had moved into Lauderdale County and resided in Meridian. Elizabeth (shown in photo left) and some of her descendants are buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Meridian.
The Family of Luraney Hansford Rogers and William W. Rogers
Luraney Hansford, a sister of Benjamin C. Hansford, married William W. Rogers, a native also of Georgia. Their children were born in Georgia, and the family moved to Mississippi after 1875 and lived near Decatur. Luraney Hansford Rogers died in 1896 and is buried in the Butts Family Cemetery near Decatur. Their daughter Mary Anna Rogers married Thomas G. Coker, and daughter Lizzie L. Rogers married John Edmond Butts. John Edmond Butts was the brother of Mattie Butts who married Charles C. Hansford. According to the late Miss Laura Mae Butts, her father, John Edmond Butts, went back to Georgia to claim his bride, Lizzie Rogers, brought her back to Newton County, and in doing so, also brought her parents and her one sister
While working on the World War II Veterans book for NCHGS, I counted the number of great grandsons of Benjamin Hansford who served in World War II, and found they numbered at least thirteen from Newton County alone.
Throughout our family’s history there have been many patriots, as well as many ministers.
My grandfather, Ezra Morris Hansford, never talked much about his family, other than to occasionally mention “cousin so-and-so”. Of course we knew Uncle Bob and Aunt Fanny, because they were right there in the community, as was Aunt Emma, Lucile and Omri, and we knew Grandpa’s siblings and their families. My mother relates that when she transferred from the Union school district into the Stratton school district, several people approached her and told her they were cousins. She had no idea who they were or how they were related.
For me, the joy of genealogy is in discovering family history and sharing that history with others. Descendants of Bennie and Sarah Hansford are many in number, and many—probably most of them—know very little of their ancestors. It is for that reason that I have researched and pieced together their story. It is with the goal of the preservation of their history that I place in the Archives of NCHGS the Hansford genealogy as we know it today.
- Abner Atkinson (1818-1889) and Lewis Atkinson (1827-1899) were two brothers of Sarah Atkinson Hansford who settled in Newton County, Mississippi.