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HATTAN, John F.

John F. HATTAN. One does not have to carry his investigations far into the history of Marshall county to find that his gentleman has been a prominent factor in its development since an early day. He is numbered among the pioneers of 1835, and is one of the few now left to tell the story of the early settlement of this locality, the hardships and trials of the frontiersmen and the work they accomplished in opening up the region to civilization. He was born in Rockbridge county, Virginia, December 8, 1823. His father, Forsyth HATTAN, was a native of the same county and in March, 1830, emigrated to Brown county, Ohio, whence he came to Illinois in the fall of 1835. He located on section 35, Belle Plain township, Marshall county, and went through the usual experiences of pioneer life, hauling grain to Chicago and bringing back lumber, shingles, dry goods and groceries. The metropolis of the west was then a small town, but was the market for settlers for miles around. The Indians sometimes visited this locality, although they no longer made their homes here. Wild game of all kinds was plentiful, including deer, turkeys and prairie chickens.

Mr. HATTAN, of this review, has seen as many as fifty deer in a drove at one time and his trusty rifle has brought down many of them, thus supplying the family with venison. Little of the land in the county had been fenced and the few settlers lived along the belts of timber skirting the streams. Although there were many hardships to be endured in connection with this life it was also not without its pleasures and the homes of the early settlers were justly noted for their hospitality. Neighbors were often miles apart and days passed at a time when families saw no one except the members of their own household.

Forsyth HATTAN wedded Mary CAMPBELL, a native of Rockbridge county, Virginia, and to them were born ten children, six of whom are living: Mrs. Jane BAKER, Mark, Mrs. Nancy PERRY, William, Mrs. Sophia SHREVE and John F. One son, Francis, served for three years in the civil war, and for eighteen months was incarcerated in Andersonville prison. About a year after his return home, whole stacking wheat, he was injured by a pitchfork and died ten days later. Andrew died at the age of twenty-five years, and the other children died in early life. The father passed away February 18, 1876, at the age of seventy-six years, and the mother in August, 1880, aged eighty-four.

John F. HATTAN shared with the family in the hardships, the trials and the pleasures which came to them in their pioneer home. He has always resided in Belle Plain township with the exception of three years, from 1882 until 1884, which he spent in Montgomery county, Kansas. He was married May 10, 1846, to Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas McKINNEY, who came from Brown county, Ohio, to Marshall county, about 1843.

Twelve children were born to Mr. and Mrs. HATTAN: Mary J. is the wife of Mark HATTAN of Nuckolls county, Nebraska, and has seven children, Lizzie, Elmer, John, Hattie, Effie, James and Pearl; Mark, of Clay county, Nebraska, married Victoria SHORT, and has six children, Ina, Cora, Arthur, Sanford, Ettie and Edna; Thomas F., who is living on the old homestead, married Martha BROCK, and has two children, Claudie and Gaylon; Jacob wedded Mary JAIL and has five children, Roy, Floyd, Rosa, Guy and Leslie; Hillery, of Montgomery county, Kansas, married Lillie FULTON, and has three children, Ola, Eugene and Arrene; Sarah is the wife of James WILSON of Montgomery county, Kansas, and has seven children, F. Edward, Richard, Dollie, Cleveland, John and two little girls; Nancy A. is the wife of Paschal SHORT, of Independence, Kansas, and has three children, Grace, Earl and Claude; Ada is the wife of Frank DAVISON, of Woodford county, Illinois, by whom she has one daughter, Lillie; Carl, of Montgomery county, Kansas, married Belle YATES, and has two children, Robert and Rhoda; Francis M., of Belle Plain township, married Effie B. DITCH, and has two children, Clarence and Elsie Ray.  The mother of this family departed this life November 5, 1887, aged sixty-two years. She was a devoted member of the Christian church, and her well spent life won her the love and esteem of all.

Mr. HATTAN and most of his children are also members of the same church. Throughout life he has followed farming and is now the owner of three hundred and eighty acres of valuable land. He has also engaged in stockraising and has added not a little to his income in this way. He started out in life empty-handed, but has steadily worked his way upward, overcoming all obstacles by determined purpose and securing a comfortable competence through earnest labor and capable management. He has traveled considerably over his country and was one of the first passengers on the Union Pacific railroad to California, making the trip in 1872. In December, 1892, he again went to the Pacific slope and visited his brother and sister in Oregon, and spent some time in the golden state.

Extracted May 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.

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