Pioneer and Patriot
1752 to 1832
John Hanna was born in Derry County, Ireland in 1752 A.D. He was the son of Thomas Hanna born in 1720 in Lesararh Loch Ulster, Ireland. John Hanna came to Boston in 1776 with two indentured servants when he was 18 years old. His background was military, He had been a soldier in North Ireland fighting the English, and so he joined the militia with Captain John Hinkson’s Company and ended up in Northern Pennsylvania. John was described as a man about 5 feet 8 inches in height, neatly compact with small feet, black hair, fair skin and blue eyes.
There was a fateful meeting between Henry Trout and John Hanna. Henry was a French Huguenot with a wife and children. He happened to meet John Hanna arriving at the foot of Chestnut Ridge on the northwest side of Jacobs Creek. Henry came upon a small company of men, singled out a man by the name of John Hanna as one he could trust. Trout told John the story of his predicament. “I am a stranger in this land with one shilling in my pocket.” Hanna’s reply was prompt, “I’d advise you to invest that shilling in whiskey and treat those men.” The advice was carried out at once. John Hanna said that he should meet the company at the next day in the morning, “You will learn something of my sympathy for you.”
The next morning, the company of men built a small cabin for Henry Trout and his wife and family. Henry and John became fast friends and John married a Trout daughter, Elizabeth Miller, in 1789 at West Newton, Pennsylvania. Hanna bought a 400 acre farm with Henry trout and had a very long-life and many children. He sold horses to the continental Army, navigated a flat boat full of corn to New Orleans and made numerous trips across the trackless mountains for supplies.
John Hanna carried with him over the mountains a lot of Continental money found in an old trunk a century later. The money included much of his earnings during the Revolutionary War. Some documents found in the trunk showed evidence that he had furnished supplies to the Revolutionary army. These being withdraw drafts in his possession signed by the quarter master. The Continental paper was the size of a business card. The engraving was poorly executed, the denominations printed in the corner and the conditions of redemption in the middle.
John Hanna lived to be 80 years old. One son, Robert Hanna was his seventh child, born in 1806. He married Priscilla Hamilton who was a direct descendant of John Alden and Alexander Hamilton. The Hannas were well thought of in the community and one of the important families in Pennsylvania.