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Fayette County, Iowa  

 History Directory

Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910

Author: G. Blessin


B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana


Vol. I, Biographical Sketches



~Page 1089~


Hon. Harry P. Hancock


The biographies of the representative men of a county bring to light many hidden treasures of the mind, character and courage, well calculated to arouse the pride of the family and of the community and it is a source of regret that people are not more familiar with the personal history of such men, in the ranks of whom may be found agriculturists, mechanics, teachers, lawyers, physicians, bankers and members of other vocations and professions. Hon. Harry P. Hancock, the well-known attorney of West Union, Fayette county, is distinctively one of the leading citizens of this locality and as such has made his influence felt among his fellow men and earned a name for enterprise, integrity and honor, that entitles him to worthy notice in a work of the nature of this volume.

Mr. Hancock was born in Wayne county, New York, September 15, 1852, and is the son of Harry and Louisa (Trather) Hancock. His ancestors came from England, the father’s side from Cornwall and the mother’s from Plymouth, Devonshire county. On both sides they came to the United States at an early age and settled in Wayne county, New York.

Harry P. Hancock was educated in Cazenovia Seminary, at Cazenovia, New York, also at the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, graduating from the latter in 1878. Selecting the law as his sphere early in life, Mr. Hancock has devoted his energies to that, ignoring other aspirations, in the main, to make himself what he is today, a thorough master of legal science in all its ramifications. The common law, the statutes of Iowa, the history, progress and growth of jurisprudence, as well as the higher and more abstruse principles of equity, are all completely at his command, constituting him one of the leaders of the bar, which position is readily conceded by his associates. As a practitioner he is cautious, vigilant and indefatigable, contesting every point with unyielding tenacity and employing his legal knowledge in sustaining his positions and attacking those of his adversary. He is forceful in argument, making an excellent impression upon the jury and the bench. He began studying law with Judge Waldron, of Saratoga county, New York. After receiving the degree of Bachelor of Laws from the above named institution, he began the practice of his profession at West Union, Iowa, forming a partnership with Judge W. A. Hoyt in 1879, which partnership continued until the death of Judge Hoyt; since that time Mr. Hancock has practiced alone, and has been very successful as a general practitioner. He has been retained as counsel by several banks. He has also been prominent in financial circles of the county, having organized and was vice-president of the State bank at St. Charles, Minnesota, and he organized and was the first president of the First National Bank of Perham, Minnesota. He is a director and stockholder in the State Bank at West Union, Iowa, and is interested in its management.

Politically, Mr. Hancock is a Republican and he has been prominent in the affairs of the same for some time. He was state presidential elector of Iowa in the Harrison campaign of 1888 and stumped the state. He was prosecuting attorney of Fayette county for six years, from 1895 to 1900, performing his duties in such a manner as to gain the approval of his constituents and the admiration of his party opponents. For a number of years he was president of the city school board. Religiously he is an Episcopalian. He belongs to the Commercial Club of West Union, the Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America, having been a charter member of all the foregoing associations. But the club he takes most delight and interest in is the “H. A. L. Club” (the Historical and Literary Society) of West Union, of which he is the only living charter member. He with a few kindred spirits organized it in 1879, for the discussion of general historical and literary subjects. The members have met in Mr. Hancock’s office once a week during the club sessions since it was organized and the interest in the same has never abated. It is the oldest club of its kind in the state. It is limited to fifteen members, and its members are the leading literary people of the community.

Mr. Hancock is an eloquent and talented public speaker, profoundly educated, widely read and has a thorough knowledge of public affairs.

Mr. Hancock was married on July 2, 1879, to Octavia Lansing, of Cazenovia, New York, the daughter of Lyman and Cornelia (Webster) Lansing, an excellent old colonial family of Cazenovia. Her direct ancestors came from England in 1636 and settled in Connecticut, and she is connected with the old New England Webster, Evans and Lansing colonial families. The city of Lansingburg in New York is named after the family. And today there can be seen at the capitol at Albany, New York, a fine oil painting of her great-great-grandfather, Garrett Y. Lansing. She can be several times over a Colonial Dame and Daughter of the American Revolution, as her direct ancestors fought in the Revolution and the war of 1812, as well as members of the immediate family in the late Rebellion.

Emma Hancock, the only child born to Mr. and Mrs. Harry P. Hancock, first saw the light of day on February 14, 1885. She is a graduate of the West Union high school, and of the Iowa State College at Ames, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Science from the latter. She is now making a specialty of nature and agricultural studies in high-school work and county institutes. She is a talented, highly accomplished, broad-minded and genial young lady who has attained more than medium success in her chosen work.

~transcribed for the Fayette Co IAGenWeb Project by Ann Borden


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