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|Jennings, Hannah J. Hansen
Birth: 06-10-1858 Death: 12-10-1905
Headstone Location - Row: 3 Block: 11 Plot: 3
Husband: Cyrus Morgan Jennings
Children: Cyrus M., Elnora A., Henry, Lafayette, George, Emma
C., Sarah M., Julia M., Nellie M., James R., Anthony I., Lorenzo
Hannah Jane Hansen Jennings
Written by her daughters, Elnora J. Solomon and Nellie J. Bates
Hannah Jane Hansen was born on June 10, 1858, near the town of Glenwood in Mills County Iowa. Her parents
were Nels Hansen and Marilla Terry. They joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints prior to the
expulsion of the saints from Nauvoo.
In the year 1861 the family started across the plains in the pioneer company led by David H. Cannon. The father
had become discouraged with the trials and persecutions through which the Saints were passing at this time. At
an early date in the journey toward the west, these people met a group of emigrants bound for California. Nels
Hansen took his little ten year old son and went with the California emigrants. Nels was never heard from again
by his family. Some years later when the son, Andrew Jackson Hansen, became a man, he located the family
and visited them in Utah. The father had joined the United States Army, leaving the little boy with a family in
California. Andrew was educated for the ministry in the Methodist Church.
The family now consisted of the Mother and four little girls--Amy, Sarah, Hannah, and Julia; and two sons,
Lafayette and William R. Crawford, a young man of eighteen who was a son from a former marriage. William
shared the responsibility of bringing the family across the plains. On arriving in Utah, the family settled in
Draper, Salt Lake County. Here the small son, Lafayette, died at the age of eight. Later on they were called to
colonize Dixie. They were among the first families to live in the town of Rockville, where they shared in the duties
of pioneer life.
The pioneer environment, unpleasant and undesirable as it may sound to us now, was a most wonderful training
in thrift and economy. The hard work required in those days to provide for and sustain family living, made men
and women. Nothing was wasted. The children were expected to glean in the fields to save the beans and grain
that would otherwise be wasted. Sorghum cane was a regular crop. It had to be thinned in order that the stocks
would grow large and produce lots of juice for molasses. William Crawford let his cane grow quite large before
thinning it. His young sisters asked him why he didn’t have them thin it while it was small so it wouldn’t be such a
hard work to pull it. He told them he had to have it to feed the cow. When the girls grew tired and were wanting
an excuse to stop working, they welcomed a shower and would usually want to quit before the rain actually
came. Brother William would say, “Maybe it won’t rain and if it does, it won’t hurt you.”
In due time the Hansens all grew up, were married, and reared large families.
Hannah Jane fell in love with a talented young man by the name of Cyrus Morgan Jennings, son of Henry and
Ann Morgan Jennings of Rockville. They were married in Rockville on Feb. 4, 1874. A year or so later they went
to Salt Lake City and were sealed in the Endowment House. Their lives were devoted to rearing a family of fine
boys and girls. Seven were born to them while they lived in Utah. Their first baby, a boy, died at the age of three
months. Stark tragedy entered their lives when their little eighteen month old son, George, was drowned in an
irrigation ditch. His mother found him and rescued his body.
In the year 1887 Cyrus and Hannah decided to move to Arizona. They came to the conclusion that they might do
better in a cooler climate. At that time malaria was very prevalent in Dixie. It was a great trial to Hannah to leave
her mother and sisters. Transportation was so slow that she feared that she might never have the opportunity to
return to visit them. There was some basis for her fears. The move to the new location required three weeks in
covered wagons. They arrived in Taylor on April 23, 1887. Within a year after their arrival, two more children
died, a baby of fifteen months and Emma, age four.
By hard work and frugal living the Jennings family secured a nice little farm and built a good home in Taylor. Two
more girls and three boys were born to them.
It was some eight years later, in the fall of 1894, that Hannah decided to go back to Rockville for a two-month
visit. Just a few days before she was ready to leave, she received a telegram stating that her mother had
passed away. The news was such a shock that it caused a near collapse.
Hannah was so sad and upset that she at once gave up the idea of making the trip, but Cyrus persuaded her to
go right on as she had planned. He felt that a visit with her sisters and other relatives would still do her a great
deal of good. So in company with a group of young people who were going to the St. George Temple, she went
on, taking with her Myrtle, Nell, and Riley. Henry who was then about 16 went along to drive the team.
There were harrowing incidents during the journey as the area was still a wilderness. One of the incidents
occurred when Hannah was getting ready to go home. She contacted a family who was traveling to Arizona and
arranged to travel in their company. (Those who had accompanied her while going to Utah, had returned home
after one week’s stay at St. George.) When the morning arrived for her departure, she was told that her
traveling companions had left town the evening before, giving them a start of twelve hours. This news was most
Then it was that her kind sympathetic brother-in-law, Alfred Hall, came to her aid. He harnessed his best team to
his light spring wagon, putting a part of her luggage in it and stated that he would accompany her until they
overtook the other travelers. All day and all night they traveled, driving at a pace which they considered unwise
but necessary under the circumstances. At sunrise the second morning they overtook the party (Mr. and Mrs.
West by name), who were all ready to leave camp and seemed very much put out, almost angry, on being asked
to wait six hours to give Hannah and her family a chance to refresh themselves, and rest their weary animals.
After six hours they resumed their journey homeward, arriving there early in December 1894, with thankful
hearts for their safe return.
Perhaps they were blessed with more sympathy and understanding than are some people, and perhaps it was
the trials they had to suffer which gave them patience, tolerance, and a genuine love for humanity, It has been
said of Hannah that her friends were numbered by her acquaintances. She possessed a congenial affectionate
disposition which enabled her to make friends with everyone. She was especially kind and thoughtful of the aged
and could not see want and poverty without trying to relieve it.
One of her daughters tells a little episode to illustrate this. The family was going on a trip that they had long
looked forward to and had made special preparations for. Hannah was a good seamstress and had made a
pretty new dress for her little girl. In the course of the journey, they stopped to make a call upon some old
friends. A little girl in the home was distinctly in need of clothing, so the new dress was brought out and given to
Hannah Jennings was a devoted wife, a good mother and a true Latter-Day Saint, a model homemaker, both
generous and hospitable. Her home was a favorite fathering place for the young folk of the town. She was a
genuine “lady” in every sense of that noble word. She was also a faithful worker in the church organizations. She
first served as secretary of the Taylor Ward Relief Society, and later as a counselor to the Relief Society
An amusing little sidelight is here recalled. At the celebrations held in the small communities on July 4 and 24, it
was a custom of the finance committee to purchase a three-gallon wooden pail filled with candy to be awarded to
the winners of races and games, etc., and distributed generally among the children.
The pail itself was coveted by all the housewives, so a foot race was arranged for all ladies who cared to enter
and try their luck for the trophy. Hannah entered the race, ran for dear life, and won the bucket.
After nursing her children through a long siege of diphtheria in the fall of 1903, her physical body was so
weakened that she died of nervous prostration on December 10, 1903. She was followed by her husband on
September 7, 1909.
At this date, August 5, 1950, the total posterity of Cyrus and Hannah Jane Jennings numbers one hundred and
seventy. There were twelve children, fifty-three grandchildren, ninety-eight great grandchildren and seven great
The two oldest sons were Henry and Lafayette. They were both physical stalwarts. They possessed pleasant
optimistic personalities, ambitious and industrious in trying to provide for their families the best that was
available. Lafe became ill with typhoid fever during an epidemic in Taylor in 1914, and died at the age of 35. In
1919. Henry moved with his family to Mesa, Arizona, thinking to improve their industrial and educational
opportunities. About a year later, he too was stricken with typhoid fever and died at the age of 43.
A daughter, Julia Myrtle, was also taken from her family at a time when she was needed. She was barely 40
years old when she too was a victim of typhoid fever. An epidemic of this disease broke out in McNary, Arizona,
a lumber town in northern Arizona. Julia’s husband and sons were employed there. The water supply had
become polluted through unsanitary sewage disposal.
Surviving are Elnora Solomon, the eldest daughter, living at Mesa, Arizona; Nellie Bates, the youngest daughter;
and the three younger boys, James Riles, Irving, and Lorenzo, all of Phoenix, Arizona.