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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JAMES HANSON. When any reference is made to the farms of Cass County, mention is almost invariably made of the property belonging to Mr. Hanson and located in Howard Township, upon section 25. The entire acreage of the farm is two hundred and forty-two, of which two hundred acres have been placed under the highest cultivation through the efforts of the present owner. The place is embellished with first-class buildings for the shelter of stock and storage of grain. Especial mention should be made of the residence, which is an elegant brick structure, the finest house in the township. It was erected in 1874 at a cost of $8,000, not including Mr. Hanson’s time. In this beautiful rural abode may be found every convenience and comfort which can promote the happiness and ease of the inmates.

Forty miles from the city of Albany, and in the county of Fulton, N. Y., our subject was born on the 7th of May, 1831. His father, John Hanson, was also a native of Fulton County, and was of Dutch descent. The mother of our subject was Lydia, daughter of William Schanck, a native of Long Island and for many years a prominent and wealthy farmer of New York. Married in the Empire State, the parents of our subject located on a farm in Fulton County, where for many years they made their home. In the fall of 1835 they came to Michigan and located in Jefferson Township, Cass County, upon a tract of raw prairie land. At that early period in the history of the county, neighbors were few, and the present thriving villages existed only in the imaginations of some enthusiastic visionaries.

Much pioneer labor was done by the senior Mr. Hanson ere the unbroken tracts of land were transformed into cultivated fields and green pastures. His courage, however, was equal to the arduous task, and he succeeded in introducing many improvements and effecting many valuable changes in the place. He died here when fifty-eight years of age, and in his decease the community lost one of its earliest settlers and prominent citizens. He was a Democrat in his political sympathies, and in his religious belief was identified with the Presbyterian Church. His wife passed away at the age of sixty-two years.

The parental family consisted of nine children, three daughters and six sons, eight of whom reached maturity. James is the third in order of birth, and was a child of only four years when he accompanied his parents to Michigan. In Cass County he was the recipient of such educational opportunities as were afforded by the district schools, but his time was principally devoted to aiding his father on the home farm. After the death of his father, he remained at home and worked for his mother for one year, after which he rented a farm, which he operated one year. October 20, 1854, he married Miss Harriet Lee, a native of New York, who was born in 1833. After his marriage he located on a forty-acre farm, where he remained two years, and later operated as a renter in Jefferson Township for two years. He located where he now resides in 1866, and has since devoted his attention to the improvement of this place.

Mr. and Mrs. Hanson are the parents of three children, namely; Helen, the wife of Dennis Flynn, a resident of Howard Township; Lydia R., the wife of Jerome Rose, of St. Joseph County, Ind.; and Edward L., who is at home. Politically a Democrat, Mr. Hanson has filled the office of Highway Commissioner and also served on the Board of Review; at various times he has held a number of school offices. Socially, he is a member of Edwardsburg Lodge No 49, I. O. O. F. He is a man who stands high in the estimation of all who know him, and as a general farmer and stock-raiser has no superior in the county.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Cass County, Michigan family biographies here: Cass County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Cass County, Michigan here: Cass County Michigan Map

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