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The Hanbys

Biographies

Click on a picture or name to read a biography.

Bishop Wm Hanby
Ann Hanby
Ben Hanby
Amanda Hanby
Cyrus Hanby
Anna Hanby
Sarah "Jenny" Hanby
Dr. Wm. O. Hanby
Ruth "Lizzy" Hanby
Samual Hanby
Bishop Wm. Hanby Ann Miller Hanby Benjamin Hanby Amanda Hanby Cyrus Hanby Anna Hanby Sarah "Jenny" Hanby Dr. Wm. O. Hanby Ruth "Lizzie" Hanby Samuel Hanby

 

William Hanby

William Hanby was born April 8, 1808 in Washington County, Pennsylvania. At age 9, he was bound to a Quaker family to learn how to farm. At age 16, he was bound to Jacob Good of Beallsville, Pennsylvania, to learn the trade of saddle and harness making. After serving 3 of 5 years with the abusive Mr. Good, young William ran away to Ohio. Under Pennsylvania law, he held the same status as a runaway slave. William reached Rushville, Ohio in April 1828 and was employed by Samuel Miller. He met and later married Samuel's daughter, Ann Miller, on October 17, 1830. He was active in the Underground Railroad at his Rushville home. From 1837-1845, William and his family lived in Circleville, Ohio as he edited The Religious Telescope, the newspaper of the United Brethren Church. Again he participated in Underground Railroad activities. In 1845 he was elected as 15th Bishop of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.. In 1847, William was one of three trustees appointed by the church to open Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio. He bought a home in Westerville in 1853 and moved his family there in 1854, where his Underground Railroad work continued. In his later years, Bishop Hanby actively crusaded for Temperance and was involved in the "Whiskey Wars" of Westerville in 1875-1879. He died in Westerville on May 17, 1880 and was buried in the Otterbein Cemetery there.

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Ann Miller

Ann Miller was born September 13, 1807 in Fairfield County, Ohio to Samuel and Mary Miller. She had at least 5 sisters and 3 brothers. One of her sisters, Susan, married George Haynie. The Haynies later lived in Westerville, and George became a business partner with Bishop Hanby. Ann birthed 10 children, but two daughters died in infancy. Though a contemporary described her as "a woman of delicate health, of timid, shrinking nature," she overcame any weaknesses and was able to raise her family. At different periods of time, she also cared for her mother-in-law, widowed sister-in-law and her children. Ann was able to carry on family business during the long absences of her husband when he traveled on church business. Ann died June 8, 1879 in Westerville, Ohio and was buried in the Otterbein Cemetery there.

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Benjamin Russel Hanby

Benjamin was born July 22, 1833 in Rushville, Ohio. Ben published his first song, Darling Nelly Gray in 1856. He was in the second graduating class of Otterbein College in 1858. He married Mary Katherine "Kate" Winter on June 24, 1858. After graduation, he worked as an agent for Otterbein College. In January 1859, he was granted a license to preach for the United Brethren Church. In 1860, he became principal of Seven Mile Academy in Seven Mile, Ohio. His first pastorate was a circuit based in Lewisburg, Ohio in 1862. Due to his controversial views about slavery, music in church, and worship for children, his time there was not peaceful. The year 1863 saw Ben and his family living in New Paris, Ohio while he preached at churches in Preble and Darke counties. By Christmas 1864, Ben was no longer working as a pastor, but operating a singing school in New Paris. Here he wrote his Christmas song, Santa Claus (now known as Up on the Housetop). He moved his family to Chicago to work for George F. Root at Root & Cady music publishing company. He died of tuberculosis in Chicago on March 18, 1867. His body was returned to Westerville for burial in the family plot at Otterbein Cemetery.

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Amanda Louise Hanby

Amanda was born on September 4, 1834, probably in Rushville. She graduated from Otterbein Academy in 1858. On June 11, 1862, she married the Reverend Jacob Kemp Billheimer (known as Kemp). In October 1862, Amanda and Kemp sailed for Africa as missionaries. Amanda served in Africa during two different trips; Kemp served during five different trips. They had five children: Cyrus, Winnie, Lulu, Fred and Daisy. Cyrus was born in Africa. Lulu would later marry Reuchlin Wright, brother of Wilbur and Orville Wright, sons of Bishop Milton Wright. Amanda later served as general agent for the Women's Missionary Association, organizing missionary societies in many of the United Brethren's forty conferences at that time. In 1886 Amanda and Kemp moved south with their daughter Winnie who suffered from frail health. They worked among churches in Tennessee and later were in charge of a convict school in Alabama. She died October 24, 1926 in Jefferson County, Alabama.

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Cyrus Mortimer Hanby

Cyrus was born May 3, 1837, probably in Rushville. He and his brother Benjamin graduated from Otterbein College in 1858. He did not serve in the Civil War due to delicate health. Cyrus was encouraged by a cousin to move to Chillicothe where he got a job working in a bank. He married Fredrica H. Schutte (a member of a pioneerinf family of the city of Chillicothe) on October 18, 1866. He and his wife had one child, Bertha, born in 1868. Cyrus died July 31, 1868 in Chillicothe and was buried in the Schutte family plot at Grandview Cemetery in Chillicothe.

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Anna J. Hanby

Anna Hanby was born in 1840. Anna graduated from Otterbein Academy in 1857. She studied music. She was married June 5, 1873 in the Otterbein University's Chapel to the Reverend Francis A. Ramsey. They had no children together. In 1884 she served as a delegate from Central Ohio at the Woman's Missionary Association Bord of Managers. She was widowed in 1887. In 1910 she was living in Dayton. She died in Ravenna, Ohio (probably at her sister Lizzie's home) on March 29, 1919. Anna and her husband are buried in Otterbein Cemetery in Westerville in the Hanby family plot.

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Sarah Jane Hanby

Sarah Jane, known as "Jennie," was born September 10, 1843. She was an accomplished organist and sometimes played in churches for her father, even though the use of musical instruments in worship was controversial. She worked as a nurse and a dressmaker. She married Cecil C. Hewitt sometime in April 1868. Hewitt died in August 1869 in Missouri and Jennie returned to Westerville with her infant son, William Cecil Hewitt. She later married Charles A. Bedell, a widower, about 1881. Jenny and Charles lived in the Dayton area. They had no children together. She was socially connected with Bishop Milton Wright and frequently visited the Wright family at Hawthorne Hill. She died February 22, 1915 in Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio. She is buried next to Charles Bedell at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.

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William Otterbein Hanby

William was born March 30, 1847. He graduated from Otterbein University in June 1867. He went on to study medicine at Starling Medical College in Columbus, Ohio, and in Cincinnati, Ohio. He practiced medicine for two years in Columbus before moving to Osceola, Ohio. He opened a medical practice there. On June 7, 1876, he married Rachel Jane Chambers of Bucyrus, Ohio. His only child, Celestia Willo Hanby, was born October 10, 1879, just eight days before her father's death on October 18, 1879. Dr. William Hanby's body was returned to Westerville for burial in the family plot. He is remembered in song as "Little Will" in Up on the Housetop.

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Ruth Elizabeth Hanby

Ruth Elizabeth, known as "Lizzie" was born November 26, 1849 in Circleville, Ohio. At the age of 16, she was hired by the Westerville School Board as a teacher for the grand sum of $1 per day. Lizzie graduated from Otterbein College in 1872. While at Otterbein, she co-founded and was the first president of the Cleiorhetean Literary Society. Lizzie taught and submitted original writing to religious publications. She married the Reverend Samuel C. Collier on October 20, 1887. Reverend Collier, a widower, was a Methodist minister. She continued to work as a teacher and a nurse, as well as performing the many duties of a minister's wife. She had no children, but raised her husband's children as her own. She died May 16, 1930 in Ravenna, Ohio, and is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery there. Lizzie provided many family artifacts and stories for the Hanby House State Memorial.

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Samuel Miller Hanby

Samuel Miller was born in 1853. He attended but did not graduate from Otterbein University, studying in the "Scientific Preparatory Department.". He was in the saddle and harness trade in Westerville. After his father's death, he moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and established himself in business there. He married Hattie JarmonHudson in Birmingham in 1883. They had two children, Edith and Jessie. He died December 8, 1922 in Jefferson County, Alabama and was buried there.

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Loss of the Hanby Name

Bishop William and Ann (Miller) Hanby had eight children that grew to adulthood and married, so one would expect many descendants from them. In actuality the next generation only numbered twelve and the Hanby name disappeared after their grandchildren’s generation. Of course the female descendants took their husband’s name upon marriage. Two of the daughters, Anna and Elizabeth, married late in life and had no children of their own, though they married widowers and had step-children. Sarah had only one child and has descendants living in Ohio and England. Amanda had five children; her descendants are scattered.

The four sons had small families. Cyrus had one daughter, Bertha. Her descendants lived in the Mt. Vernon, Ohio area and are thought to be all deceased. Dr. William Hanby had one daughter, Willo, who lived in Bucyrus, Ohio. Her son eventually lived in Columbus, Ohio. All descendants are thought to be deceased. Samuel had two daughters, one of whom died unmarried in her early twenties. Descendents of the other daughter are living in Virginia and Georgia. The only son who had a son was Benjamin. His son Brainerd was the last of the descendents with the name Hanby. Brainerd married late in life and had no children. His sister Minnehaha had two children and her descendents are living in California, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, Arkansas and Iowa.

Thus there are no living descendants of Bishop William and Ann (Miller) Hanby that have the last name Hanby. Bishop Hanby had a brother John who lived in Delaware County, Ohio. It is possible there are descendents from John who carry the Hanby name.

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