The Jacob Hammond & Elizabeth Reasoner Family

submitted by Jeanne Schmeichel

Note: This information was collected by several Hammond descendants in the 1960s and 1970s and a few photocopies of it were passed on to others. Jeanne was kind enough to share it, and we both felt it should be put online to make sure it wasn't lost to new researchers. I've taken this opportunity to make a few additions to the original document. As always, you should take the work of others as a helpful starting point, not as the end product of your own research.

Jacob Hammond was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, January 10, 1810. His parents were Peter Froman Reasoner (1735-1807) and Mary "Mollie" Spears (1745-1805). He moved to Muskingum County, Ohio, with his parents when he was six years old. On April 5, 1832 he married Elizabeth Reasoner, who was born March 10, 1813 in Muskegum County. Her parents were Henry Reasoner (1882-1836) and Mary Shepler (1776-1855).

Jacob and Elizabeth, accompanied by their children, came to Iowa in 1854, making the long journey in a covered wagon. They reached Marion County on July 18, 1854 with $1800 and their household possessions. For three months they lived in a log school house on the McMillan place (later the Captain Clark place and now the William Brandenhorst farm). Later they bought and settled on 160 acres known as the Jacob Hammond farm, now owned by Lester Rankin, a descandant. The land in Ohio from which Mr. Hammond came was level and swampy and no good for crops--there being nine tamarack swamps on the farm that he sold. Upon coming to Iowa he bought rough and hilly land as he thought the level land would be like that in Ohio: no good.

They built a log cabin 14 x 16 in which they lived for two years, undergoing all the hardships and privations of pionner life and experiencing much discomfort in their rude cabin home. Sometimes their beds were covered with six inches of snow in the winter. Later they built a larger, better home.

Jacob raised hogs and butchered them. Hauling them to Eddyville, he could get 1-1/4 cents per pound for them in trade, but he could not get it in cash.

Many persons now living remember Grandma Hammond as a very energetic woman, even in later life. Eleven children were born to them between 1833 and 1855: Henry, Daniel, Greenville, Jonathan, Emaline, Elizabeth Jane, Jacob, James, Kate, Elcy, and Harriet. Henry and Greenville served in the Civil War, having enlisted in Company A of the 33rd Iowa Infantry. Greenville enlisted on August 11, 1862 and died on May 5, 1863 of gangrene in Helena, Arkansas; he was buried in the Mississippi River National Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee (Section 3, grave #664).

Henry, born in 1833, was the oldest of Jacob and Elizaeth's children, and he had married Mary Copeland (1840-1882) before the war began. Their oldest child Samuel was born in February 1861. Henry served three years and received an honorable discharge at the close of the war. Some of us can remember hearing as children the interesting stories he told of his war experiences.

Saturday 5th.
Took sleigh-ride with Paul and Will, intended to take the girls, but not; met them going away with Gibson: followed them, had much fun. Hats fell off and we did not catch them: was at the lodge. Cena and Nan were initiated. Went home with Nan. Stayed with Paul.

Below are portions of some letters Henry wrote home during this time.

November 10, 1862

To: Mrs. Mary M. Hammond
English Settlement
Marion County, Iowa

Dear Wife:

Your kind letter came to hand today. I cannot tell you how glad I was to hear from you again. I had not heard one word from you since I left home in September. James and Emaline Rankin said they thought you were getting along as well as could be expected. That give me great pleasure to hear that much. I was uneasy all the time I was sick and afraid you would not take good care of yourself and tack a backset. I want you, above all things else, to take good care of yourself and Samuel. You need no think because I am gone that you will not have to keep yourself or starve. You have friends in old Marion County that will not see you suffer. I want you, of course, to use all proper means, and Providence will provide the balance for you and little Samuel. I want you to bear all your troubles with as much fortitude as you can. Read your Bible, which is the only reliable source of comfort. Put your trust in Him from whom all blessing comes, and who giveth comfort to them that ask Him. Don't grieve about me when I'm called--I expect to find a friend Eternal in the skies. Let us both be reconciled to bear our troubles as they come. Doc Sherwood told me the day I left that he would see you had everything that you needed.

I remain yours 'till death,
Henry J. Hammond

Yazoo Pass, Mississippi
March 19, 1863

Respected Wife Mary:

This is the third letter I've written and know they have not started any yet. I gave the boys going home money to bring you. Here is $5. I want you to get yourself a nice dress to suit you. You must dress Samuel nice for I want him to have pride enough to bea gentleman. We must try and clothe him well and give him good schooling, for that is all I ever expect to be able to give him and that will be a fortune to him that will never leave him.

We are camped on the Curtice plantation, near the Rebel fort. We hear the cannon loudly but our gunboats throw shells into their fort and stopped their cannon. When you read the papers and know news before I can write it to you.

I want you to go to meeting whenever you can and visit your neighbors, that will help pass the time, and you will hear of the other boys, and tell me. Reconcile yourself as much as yiou can and I hope we may enjoy each others society again. I still remain your[s] till death.

H. J. Hammond

Helena, Arkansas
August 7, 1863

Dear Wife:

I am well. I am expressing my clothing to Eddyville. We are going on a long expedition. We will probably be gone six months. I will write every time I can. It will be hardest on me when I cannot get your letters. If I could only see you and little Samuel before I leave I'd be satisfied. Notwithstanding, I'm in the cause of my Country and I must go wherever it sends me. You must not grieve for I have as good a chance to get through as any other man. If I should not get through I will be just as near Heaven in Texas as anywhere, and we have the same privilege of meeting in Heaven. If I get back I will have a great many things to tell you.

You must manage your little property just as you think proper. I wish I could have your likeness before I go. I am sending you $20.00. I won't draw any more money for some time.

Your Husband,
H. J. Hammond

Reformatted by Al Hibbard 5 Oct 2013