Biography - James W. Hancock

James W. Hancock, editor and founder of the Newman Record, was born in Champaign county, Ohio, August 18, 1839. The family from which he is descended is of English origin and for many years resided in Patrick county, Virginia. His grandfather, Major Hancock, was born in this county in March 1792. He married Mrs. Elizabeth Adams, whose maiden name was Fuson, also a nativ of Patrick county. Directly after their marriage, in 1812, they emigrated to Ohio and settled in Champaign county. Their journey from Virginia was made on horseback, and when they arrived they found themselves pioneers in the wilderness.
Our subject’s father, William Hancock, was born in Ohio, February 10, 1819, and spent the early part of his life in that state. He grew to manhood on the farm, attending school part of the time, and at the age of nineteen years and seven months he was married to Susanna Stier, who was born in Ohio, but belonged to a Virginia family. His marriage occurred September 16, 1838, and soon afterward he emigrated to Illinois, coming to the neighborhood of Brushy Fork, where he rented land of a Mr. Coffey. In 1843 he entered forty acres of land near the Pleasant Grove church, and a short time afterward bought an additional forty acres, he remained on this land until 1845 and then rented a farm a mile west of Newman, where he resided for two years. After occupying Col. Hopkins’ farm, southwest of Newman, he, in 1840 bought of the government eighty acres and removed onto the land in December, 1850. Tracts he added later comprised several hundred acres. He died in 1892. He was in politics a Whig and later a Republican, and was a delegate to the convention which nominated Gov. Oglesby. He was first elected justice of the peace at Camargo in 1847. He was a member of the first board of county officers for Douglas county, and filled the offices of treasurer and assessor. On the establishment of the state board for the equalization of assessments, in 1867, he was appointed a member from the ninth congressional district, composed of the counties of Coles, Douglas, Champaign, Vermilion, Iroquois and Ford. In 1868 he was elected by the people in the same district to the same office for a term of four years. Cornelius Stier, father of Susanna Stier, was a soldier in the war of 1812 and was for five years in the regular army, he was reared near Baltimore. Major Hancock, above mentioned, was a minister in the New Light Christian church.
James W. Hancock attended the ordinary schools in the neighborhood of Brushy Fork, residing with his father on the farm. He followed farming and teaching school up to the time he located in Newman in 1861, and from 1874 to 1879 was cashier of the Newman Bank. He was married April 9, 1860, to Miss Amy Shute, and to their marriage have been born six children: William L., Lulu F., Isaac L., James P., Howard L. and Everett H. Mr. Hancock, in 1896, founded the Newman Record, an independent newspaper, which has a circulation of about six hundred. From 1893 to 1896 he served as police magistrate of Newman. He owns two hundred acres of land in Newman township, besides town property. On December 4, 1898, he, in conjunction with W. T. Summers, W. D. Goldman, S. C. Hicks and Mesdames Goldman, Moffitt and Vance, organized the First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Newman, Illinois.

Extracted 12 Apr 2017 by Norma Hass from the Historical and Biographical Record of Douglas County, Illinois, published in 1900, pages 159-161.

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