|My Hanons and Sharps
Pioneer Settlers of
Tennessee and Illinois
From History of Christian County, Illinois by Henry L. Fowkes, 1918
Martin Hanon was the first settler of the territory now comprised in Christian County, Illinois, having
come here in the fall of 1818. He was a native of Tennessee, where he was born in April, 1799, so he was
only a lad in years, although a man in experience when, the year following the death of his father, he
ventured into the wilderness with his mother and his brothers and sisters. The little party came into this
region and pitched a tent on the south of a large fallen tree, trusting to it for protection against the
storms and cold. He set to work to chop enough logs for a very primitive log cabin, but was interrupted
in his work by the wolves, who, attracted by the smell of the food carried by these pioneers, tried to
attack them. Experience taught Mr. Hanon that the best way to disperse these enemies was to throw a
burning brand in the midst of the pack. In time he developed a farm, later known as the Squire Council
On October 10, 1823, Mr. Hanon married Miss Sallie Miller at Shawneetown, IL. In 1826, he built a cabin
on the west side of South Branch, on the site of what later was known as the old Forest Mill, south of
Taylorsville, but he later returned to South Fork. In 1834, Mr. Hanon bought an interest in the Knuckols
and Wallace water mill, later known as the Elgin Mill, and moved his family to its vicinity on the bank of
the Sangamon River. Having the misfortune to lose his mother in 1838, he felt that he did not care to
remain at that spot, so sold his interest to Jesse Elgan, and in 1839 located permanently on his old farm
five miles northwest of Taylorville, on the north side of Horseshoe Prairie, that later became the property
of Josiah A. Hill. For the following quarter of a century he and his wife lived together, and then on May
28, 1862, she passed away and was buried in Horseshoe graveyard. Following this, Mr. Hanon sold his
homestead and lived among his eleven children, all of whom were then grown. His death occurred at
the home of his daughter, Mrs. Mason of Sharpsburg, April 5, 1879, when he was nearly eighty years old.
A man of importance in his community, Mr. Hanon took an active part in the early history of Christian
County, and no family is held in higher respect to this day than his.
A few days after the arrival of Martin Hanon, his brother-in-law, John S. Sinnett, and Claiborn Matthews
[who would become an ancestor of mine, as well], Jacob Gragg, Eli Alexander, a Mr. Kenchen arrived in the
neighborhood and joined with the Hanon family in conquering the wilderness.
Alexander Matthews was a native of Tennessee and was abut five years old when his parents came to
Christian County, locating in what is now South Fork Township. He married twice, had four children, and
was a man of some prominence, becoming at one time a justice of the peace in Buckhart.
Another early settler was Samuel Miller, who married a sister of Martin Hanon, and came to South Fork
Township in 1823, locating on a farm near Elgan Mill. Mr. Miller died in 1833, leaving a son, E. A. Miller, of
The name of Daniel Miller recalls many pioneer incidents to the early settlers, and like so many of
them, he was a native of Kentucky, where he was born in 1818, but was brought to Christian County when
five years old. His parents located in South Fork Township in 1823, and he there grew up, studying to
improve himself whenever he could, for all of his schooling consisted of four months under Elijah
Hanon, who taught the first school in Christian County in 1827, in a log cabin that was located two miles
northeast of Taylorville.
When he was only five years old, in 1825, Martin Miller was brought to this locality by his parents, and
he became one of the pupils of Elijah Hanon, at the first school taught in the county.
South Fork Township
South Fork Township has the honor of being the site of the home of the first permanent settler of
Christian County. Martin Hanon, by name, who came here in 1818, the same year that saw Illinois
admitted to the Union. Mr. Hanon built upon land later owned by Esquire Council, and plowed the ground
with the old fashioned barshear plow, and planted and cultivated the first "truck patch" in this part of the
state. Alexander Miller who came with Mr. Hanon, put up a cabin the following year, and soon thereafter
married. Some who followed within a few years were: John S. Sinnet, Claiborn Matthews and his sons,
Eli and Alexander and Mr. Linchen. Jacob Gragg, Samuel Miller, Solomon and John Meads, John
Johnson, Jacob Wydick, Mr. Chapman, George Vandeveer, Charles Vandeveer, Robert Richardson.
The first wedding in the township was that consummated between Eli Matthews and Susan Hanon on
April 21, 1823. The license was issued by C. R. Matheney, county clerk of Sangamon County, and the
ceremony was performed by Rev. William Roberts.
Martin Hanon was born April 27, 1799, in Tennessee, in the vicinity of Nashville. On October 10, 1823,
he married Sarah Miller, of Kentucky, born October 5, 1806, a thrifty and industrious woman and highly
respected by all who knew her. With his father, Michael Hanon, he came to Illinois Territory in 1812, with
ox-teams. Michael died in Gallatin County in 1817, where he had taken up government land. Following
his death, Martin brought his mother and her children to Christian County, Illinois, in 1818, before it was
formed into a separate section, and they located in South Fork Township. At this time, the land was
nearly all wild prairie, but Martin Hanon developed his farm into a valuable one and grew with the times.
Later, he sold this first farm and bought another in Taylorville Township, adding to it until he had 246
acres, mostly timberland. There were plenty of Indians here when he came and he is recorded as the
county's first white settler. By trade, he was a cabinet-maker and casket-maker, and he, also, made
shoes for his family.
At his home were held the first religious services in the county, for there were then no schoolhouses
or churches and people came to them from miles about. Later, on these services were held in the little
log schoolhouse he and other erected in the neighborhood. Martin Hanon made his home with his
daughter, Mrs. Sharp, during his later years, dying at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Cyrene Mason, where
he had gone on a visit January 25, 1879, being within three months of his eightieth birthday. Elijah
Hanon, brother of Martin Hanon, taught the first school in Christian County, in 1827, in a log cabin two
miles northeast of Taylorville.
| Martin Hanon, who is the subject of articles below, was the brother of my
3-g-grandmother, Susan Hanon Matthews. The Claiborn Matthews mentioned
was my 4-g-grandfather and father of Eli Matthews, who married Susan Hanon.
| Susan Hanon was born in 1808, possibly in Kentucky. She was the
daughter of Michael and ___ Hanon. Michael is said to have been born in
Ireland. Susan married Eli Matthews on September 21, 1823, in Southfork
Township, Christian County, Illinois. She died in 1884 in Christian County,
Illinois. Eli Matthews was born in 1804, possibly in Tennessee; he died in
1864 in Christian County, Illinois.
From History of Christian County, Illinois by Hon. J. C. McBride, 1904
Martin Hanon, Captain Jesse Hanon's father, was the first white settler in Christian County. He first
settled in Illinois, in the eastern part of the state in the year 1812. In 1818, he came to what is now
Christian County and made a settlement near Taylorville. His home was in this county from 1818 until his
death, which occurred near Sharpsburg, on the 5th of April, 1879, when he was only a month less than
eighty years of age. He was a man of temperate and abstemious habits, had inherited an excellent
physical constitution, and in his old age enjoyed unusual physical and mental vigor.
When about forty-eight years old, whiile working with a carpenters adze, he seriously wounded his
knee and lamed himself for life. Previous to the occurrence of this accident, he had never taken a
particle of medicine from a physician. He was a man who had acquired a marked character for honesty
and integrity, and who enjoyed the confidence of his friends and neighbors in no ordinary degree. He
was modest in deportment, and although frequently solicited to occupy public office, for which he was
well qualified by his education and natural ability, he invariably preferred the quiet of private life, and
always refused. At every election he voted the democratic ticket. In his earlier life, he adhered to the
theological doctrines of the Old School Baptist denomination, but gradually drifted into a belief in
Universalism. He was married in Kentucky to Sarah Miller, who died in 1861. By her, he had 10 children,
five of whom are still living, viz: Jesse Hanon of King Township, the eldest son; Susan Hanon, now
residing in Barton County, Kansas, the wife of G. R. Sharp of Sharpsburg; Cyrena, who married Seth
Mason of Sharpsburg; Elijah A. Hanon, who now lives in Larned, in Pawnee County, Kansas.
[The article states that Jesse Hanon is one of the oldest living pioneers in the county, giving the impression
that Jesse was interviewed for this sketch.]
|To see a photograph of Martin Hanon's daughter,
Susan Hanon Sharp (who was a niece of my
3-g-grandmother, Susan Hanon Matthews) and
her husband, George Sharp; and a photograph of
my g-grandmother, Susan Matthews Jackson, go
Samuel and Susan Jackson Photographs Page
SHARPS OF CHRISTIAN COUNTY
On February 19, 1851, my 2-g-grandparents, Aaron V. Matthews and Sarah Sharp, were married in
Christian County, Illinois. [Information on Aaron's family can be found on the Matthews Family Page.] Aaron
and Susan had two daughters, Amanda and Susan (my g-grandmother) in Christian County. I don't know if
Sarah died before Aaron migrated to Taney County, Missouri, or shortly after the family's arrival. I haven't
been able to find her gravesite in either location. By the census of 1870, Aaron had remarried a Missouri
native and had other children. At that time, Amanda was 16 and Susan was 12.
There are many Sharp families in early Christian County, Illinois and I haven't determined which of
these families was Sarah's.
Below is an excerpt from an article found in History of Christian County, Illinois by Henry L. Fowkes, 1918.
George Riley Sharp
For many years, a prominent farmer in Buckhart Township, George Riley Sharp was born in Claiborne
County, Tennessee on January 3, 1830, a son of Willima and Barbara Hunter Sharp. William Sharp was
born in Tennessee in 1799 and came overland to Illinois in 1836. His first wife died in 1838 and the
following year he married Elizabeth Wilson. In 1869, he went to Missouri and remained there for three
years, it was there that his second wife died in 1871. William Sharp returned to Christian County and
made his home with his son, John Sharp until his death on June 30, 1875.
When George Riley Sharp was 23 years old, he left his father's home and came to live with his brother,
Henry Sharp, until he bought a farm. He added to his original purchase until he owned 406 acres, 226
acres in Taylorville Township and the remainder in Buckhart Township. In 1872 he moved to Sharpsburg,
where he was made postmaster and railroad agent and, also, operated a general store in partnership
with Elijah Hanon, his wife's brother. Mr. Sharp was one of the founders of the village which bears his
name, although he returned to the farm in 1873 and here his widow still resides, and here he passed
away on June 20, 1887, aged fifty-seven years.He was a farmer upon an extensive scale, specializing in
stockraising and was a businessman of considerable standing.For nine successive years he
represented his township on the board of supervisors and in 1880 was elected to the lower house of the
State Assembly from the Thirty-fourth Senatorial District. He was one of the founders of the Universalist
Church of Sharpsburg, and served it as treasurer and librarian, and Joseph Hanon was moderator and
John Sharp was clerk.
The Sharp family has been a prominent one in the history of the country, the great-grandfather, William
Kirk Sharp, having been a soldier in the American Revolution in Colonel Baylor's troop of Light Horse
Cavalry. William Kirk was a gunsmith manufacturer at Harper's Ferry. He was born in Virginia, later going
to Tennessee and in 1835, moved on into Illinois. He died near Scottsville, Illinois between the age of
eighty and ninety years in about 1838.
On September 28, 1856, George Riley Sharp was married to Susan Hanon, who was born February 19,
1838 and they became the parents of the following children:
William V., who died when he was 18 years and six months, on the homestead;
Pruella, who is the wife of W. D. Waller of Taylorville Township;
Mary A., who was the wife of J. L. Deeren of Sharpsburg;
George E., who is at home;
Mabel Jane, who was the wife of E. S. Deeren, died February 23, 1914;
Nina Pearl, who is at home;
Four children who died in infancy.
Mrs. Sharp owns 220 acres of the old homestead, where she makes her home.