Hacker, John S.

Born: 1797 Daviess County, Kentucky

Died: 1877 Jonesboro, Illinois

In 1812, John Hacker settled in southern Illinois. He was a "tall, gangling, awkward backwoods lad" who attended one of the first schools in what is now Alexander County. When he was just sixteen, he served in the War of 1812 as a member of the Missouri Militia. He moved to Jonesboro as a young man with political ambitions. In 1817, he married Elizabeth Milliken, and they had four children. Hacker won election to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1824 and to the Illinois Senate in 1834 and 1838. A Democrat, he represented Union and Alexander counties. While in the legislature, he made it a personal political rule to vote "no" on all doubtful questions. In 1849, he went to California to dig for gold, but he returned to Illinois and settled in Cairo, where President Franklin Pierce appointed him as a port surveyor. He was postmaster at Jonesboro, an assistant doorkeeper of the United States House of Representatives, and an examiner of cadets at West Point. In 1857, he retired, and by 1860, he was living the leisurely life of a "gentleman" in Cairo.

William Henry Perrin, ed., History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties, Illinois (Chicago: O. L. Baskin, 1883), 456-59; Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 213, 265, 307; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Alexander County, IL, 49.