John Hanna (1752-1832) – Pioneer and Patriot

John Hanna

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.

7 replies
  1. Cynthia
    Cynthia says:

    I am wondering if this is the same Hanna who is coincided a founding father of Hanna Town, that later became Pittsburgh Pa.
    I am a direct descendant of him! Also is this Hanna a Scot or an Irishman? Thanks.

  2. Frank Hann
    Frank Hann says:

    in response to your question on John Hanna. He was a different line from Robert Hanna.but was a relative. His line was Thomas hanna and mary Henderson from ulster.
    He came to Hannastown about the same time as Robert Hanna and probabely new him. Thank you for your interest.
    FRANK Hanna

  3. Kate
    Kate says:

    Hi Frank,
    Can you tell me who Thomas Hanna’s (1720-1764) father was and if he died in Ireland or the USA?
    Weirdly, I have Thomas’s son, John (1751-1763) dying on the ship, as they immigrated.
    I’m a descendant of Thomas’s son, Robert….

  4. Frank Hann
    Frank Hann says:

    Hi Kate,

    Thomas Hanna was the son of Robert Hanna of Bally Bay County Monaghan, North Ireland.

    Thomas Hanna lived in Bucks’ County Pennsylvania among Quakers. He is buried in the cemetery of the Friend’s Meeting House in 1764

  5. Marti
    Marti says:

    Hi Frank,
    Did John Hanna have a son named after him born in 1799 and died in 23 May 1885 (aged 85–86) – Tecumseh, Johnson County, Nebraska, USA? I’m trying to find the family line back to Ireland. Our John married Mary Martha Catherine (Hanna) Hilliard BIRTH 1812. John Hanna is my 3rd times great grandfather.

  6. terpbrat
    terpbrat says:

    Hi Frank,
    Did John Hanna have a son by the same name born in PA in 1799? This John was married to Mary Martha Catharine Hilliard (b. 1812) and later died in 23 MAY 1885 (AGED 85–86) • Tecumseh, Johnson County, Nebraska, USA. This John Hanna is my 3rd great grandfather and I am trying to trace back this family line. Any help would be much appreciated.

  7. frank hanna
    frank hanna says:

    hi marti
    I have checked my family tree and their is no mention of a son by john hanna as you suggested.However their is a very prominent john Hanna who was the roommate of Thomas Jefferson and in the revolutionary war.Maybe it
    could be in that line. hope that has been helpful!
    Frank Hanna

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