Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
WILLIAM M. HANSELL. A history of the Hansell family shows that they are people who have ever been characterized by industry, thrift, foresight and honesty in dealing with their fellow-men, and when, with these qualities are coupled the attributes of sound sense, tact and fortitude, which people of their blood universally possess, there are afforded such qualities as will enrich any land and place it at the top of the countries of the world in the scale of elevated humanity. The career of William M. Hansell, who is now living practically retired in his beautiful home in Springfield, is an interesting and varied one, the major portion of which has been devoted to railroad service. He has been a resident of Springfield for over a quarter of a century and is well known in railroad and business circles here.
Mr. Hansell was born in Clinton county, Ohio, March 24, 1851. He is a son of, Joseph A. and Hannah (Leeka) Hansell, the father having been the oldest child of Michael and Rachael (Adams) Hansell, and he was born in Clinton county, Ohio, also, and there occurred the birth of the mother of our subject. These parents grew to maturity, were educated in the common schools and were married there. The Hansell family originally lived in Virginia, from which state they removed to Ohio in a very early day. Joseph A. Hansell was a carpenter by trade and a very highly skilled workman. He moved from Ohio with his family in 1853 to Linn county, Iowa. His family consisted of four children, all still living, namely: Frank M. lives in Marion, Iowa; Mary E. lives in Marion, Iowa; William M. of this sketch; and J. E., whose sketch appears in another part of this work. The father of these children w as born in 1823, and the mother was born in 1824; they spent the last years of their lives in Linn county, Iowa, where the father died in 1895 and the mother passed away in 1897.
William M. Hansell received a common school education and when a boy he learned the printer's trade in the office of the Marion Register, in Iowa, remaining there two or three years, then went back to Ohio, where his mother's people lived and went to school for a year at Hillsboro, Highland county. Not caring to follow the printer's trade he learned the saddlery trade, and was working in Chicago at the time of the great fire in the autumn of 1871. He then returned to Marion, Iowa, where his parents resided, and soon thereafter began his railroad career on the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern road as brakeman, working there about a year, then went to Clinton, Iowa, and began work for the Chicago Northwestern railroad as brakeman, and eight months later was promoted to freight conductor and worked at the same with that road for a period of four years, then as passenger conductor for ten years. He then went to Chadron, Nebraska, and ran a passenger train from that city to Ft. Casper, Wyoming, this being a branch road of the Chicago Northwestern. Leaving the West in 1889 he came to Springfield, Missouri, and began working for the Kansas City, Ft. Scott & Memphis railroad as freight conductor. A year and a half later he quit railroading and since then has been engaged in the real estate business, handling principally his own property and has been very successful in a business way. He owns considerable valuable property here, including a handsome and modernly appointed residence on East Elm street, one of the most desirable homes in the city.
Mr. Hansell was married in September, 1877, in Clinton, Iowa, to Emma Dickson, to which union two children were born, one of whom died in early life; Harry Howard, born, October 29, 1878, was graduated from the high school at Clinton, Iowa, and is now living in Chicago, where he is engaged in the drug business. The wife and mother passed to her rest in January, 1885. In 1888 Mr. Hansell married Lucy Torrence, at Chadron, Nebraska. She is a daughter of John and Sophia (Wilson) Torrence.
To our subject and his second wife one child has been born, Charles C., whose birth occurred December 10, 1890. He received a good education in the Springfield schools, being a graduate of the high school, and is now living in Kansas City, where he is in the employ of the Swift Packing Company.
Politically, Mr. Hansell is a Republican and has long been active and influential in political affairs. He is chairman of the state legislative committee, and is chief of Division No 321, Order of Railway Conductors. Fraternally, he belongs to the Masonic Order, being a Knight Templar. He is an Episcopalian in his church affiliations. He is broad-minded, and a gentleman of pleasing personality.
Springfield-Greene County Library