Lucy Hanson (1798-1879)

Lucy Hanson Clapp Lewis

Lucy Hanson is Edwin Ruthven Clapp’s mother and my 4th Great Grandmother.

She was born on January 10, 1798 in Deerfield Massachusetts to parents William Hoar and Persis Gunn.  How then did she have the name Hanson?

In 1818, four years after her mother died, when Lucy was 20 years of age and just one year before her marriage, her father William Hoar legally changed his name to William Hanson.  He also changed his 9 children’s last names at the same time.  Their names were changed legally by an act of the Massachusetts Legislature, which was later recorded in a book of name changes.  Here’s a clip from that book:

William Hoar changes name to Hanson

Interestingly, that very same year an Elijah Hoar in the neighboring town of Montague Massachusetts also changed his last name and the names of his children . . . to Hanson.

It turns out that Elijah is William’s brother AND his brother-in-law.  They married sisters.

Could there have been a stain on the name of Hoar that two brothers felt the need to change their names and the names of their children?  A bit of research shows that their father, Shadrach Hoar was involved in Shay’s Rebellion.  Could that be the reason that Shadrach’s two sons changed their names AND ALL THEIR CHILDREN’S NAMES?

Lucy, now Lucy Hanson, married John Clapp who was also from Deerfield on January 14, 1819, less than a year after her father changed her last name.

In 1825 John Clapp moved his wife and firstborn son William Wallace Clapp to the town of Cazenovia in Madison County New York – just 20 miles South East of Syracuse New York. My 3rd Great Granfather Edwin Ruthven Clapp was born there in 1927.

John then moved the family to Kirkland Ohio, probably about 1834 and stayed there about 3 years until in 1837 the family started for Iowa, via Cincinnati.

At this point I should start to quote Edwin Ruthven Clapp’s biography:

From thence the family came by team to Iowa in 1837, settling on a little claim of eighty acres near what is now known as Mount Pleasant, Henry County.

The journey to Iowa was somewhat unique.  They had lived at Kirkland about three years.  The father, hearing of the then “Great West,” and hoping to better his condition by a removal thither, packed his goods in a wagon and started for Cincinnati, Ohio.  The journey was not unlike the pilgrimages of hundres of others who had determined to come west. They camped out at night, cooked and ate their scanty meals in the open air, as houses on the route were not very near together.

When they arrived at Cincinnati, they took passage on a steamboat down the Ohio River and up the Mississippi to Quincy, Illinois, where the boat was stopped by ice, and a halt had to be made.

It was here that the father was taken sick, and a scanty stock of money was fast running out. When he became well enough to travel, the journey was resumed, in March, by wagon.  They crossed the Mississippi in a ferry-boat at Fort Madison, and arrived at their destination, near Mount Pleasant, in March 1837.

Previous to his journey to Iowa, a claim had been entered, consisting of eighty acres and upon this claim he expected to make a little home for his family.  This claim was about two and a half miles from the straggling little hamlet of a few log houses.  As soona s the family arrived, the settlers, as was their custom in those days, assembled and put up for them a cabin on his claim and welcomed him to Iowa territory.

After the fathers death, there began a struggle for existence.  The country was new, and supplies were not to be had, even if there had been plenty of money to buy.  A little patch of ground was cleared near the cabin and the two boys went to work with might and main to get a living.  The mother was a true pioneer and worked night and day to keep here little family together, and succeeded nobly.  she has written her life’s history in the hearts of her children and all who knew her.  She died in Des Moines at the age of eighty-two.  Grandma Lewis, the name by her second marriage, is remembered by all the older settlers.  She died at the home of her son, Ed. R. Clapp.

William Wallace Clapp was seven years older than his brother and on him rested the burden of taking care of the family, in which his younger brother Ed. bore no little part.  The cabin in which they lived and which was built for them by the kindness of the old settlers, was about sixteen feet square.  The bedstead extended across one side of the room and was about the same as could have been found in any of the pioneer dwellings of that day.  The frame works were poles inserted in the cracks of the logs and supported with forked sticks, on which riven boards were placed to receive the straw ticks.  The mother and daughter slept at one end and the boys at the other.  They slept the sort way of the tick and as they grew in height, their feet would hang on the outside of the bed; but with plenty of clothes, they managed to keep warm in the coldest of weather.

Food was scarce, and money was scarcer.  Not long after the father’s death there came a morning when the mother scraped the bottom of the meal barrel to get enough meal to prepare a scanty breakfast. Wallace, the oldest son, placed a little corn in a bag and, getting on the family horse, stated to a horse mill, some distance away, expecting to be back by noon.  He did not return, however and the family made a dinner on greens and milk.  At night, he had not returned, and the prospect of an evening meal was very slim. The overburdened heart of the mother gave way, and she sank on a chair, and, covering her face with her hands, burst into tears and exclaimed: “Children, I am afraid we are going to starve to death!”

It was then that the children clustered around her and comforted her with the hope that Wallace would soon return.  Then after another meal of greens and milk, the fatherless family went tearfully to bed.

About midnight, the trampling of the old family horse was heard, and the son, tired and hungry, came in with the precious grist.  His delay was easily explained. There were many settlers who had arrived at the slow-going mill before him, and he had to wait his turn in the grinding. Then the tired mother arose and mixed up some of the freshly-ground meal, baked it in the quickest way possible, and, with a scanty supply of milk, the midnight meal was eaten with a relish only vouchsafed to those on the verge of starvation.  Thus the dark cloud was rolled away.

In the year 1841, his mother sold out her claim and moved to Mount Pleasant, witht he hope that employment might be found for herself and sons.

Mrs. Clapp married Mr. John Lewis in 1845, which made a change in the life of the boys a little later.

John Lewis

Lucy’s second husband, John Lewis, had previously been married.  He had nine children with his first wife Mary Douglas.

By the time of the 1850 U.S. Census, John and Lucy had moved to Des Moines Iowa.  They were both 52 years old and had living with them John’s three youngest children and Helen Clapp, Lucy’s youngest child.  They are living quite near to Lucy’s son Edwin Ruthven Clapp, which we know because they’re listed on the same page in the Federal Census, but in a different household.

In the 1860 Census, the children had left the house and interestingly, Lucy seems to have grown three years younger than her husband, since the last census :>).

John died in Des Moines Iowa on February 16, 1867, leaving Lucy a widow for the second time.

Lucy would live twelve more years, in the home of her son, Edwin Ruthven Clapp.  She died on May 23, 1879, at the age of 81.

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