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Hankins, William J.

Born: 1798-07-31 Tennessee

Died: 1855-01-18 Effingham County, Illinois

On March 30, 1819, Hankins married Catharine Funk in Tennessee. The couple would have twelve children, seven while living in Tennessee, five after emigrating to Illinois. In 1827, Hankins moved from Tennessee to Vandalia, Illinois, with his wife and seven children. In 1831, Hankins and his family moved to that portion of Fayette County, Illinois, that would become part of Effingham County, Illinois. The family settled in what would become Summit Township. A carpenter by trade, Hankins contracted to build bridges and houses, including a bridge across the Little Wabash River as part of the National Road. After the Illinois General Assembly established Effingham County, Hankins played a prominent role in its organization. In 1833, he was among the first elected to the County Commissioners' Court, which he helped organize. Between 1833 and 1842, he held nearly every important job in the county, including county surveyor, probate judge, county clerk, circuit clerk, and postmaster. From 1836 to 1842, Hankins represented Effingham and Fayette counties in the Illinois House of Representatives. During the Mexican War, he volunteered for service along with others from Effingham County, becoming second lieutenant of Company C, 2nd Regiment of Illinois Foot Volunteers commanded by Colonel James Collins.

Gravestone, Ewington Cemetery, Ewington, IL; William Henry Perrin, ed., History of Effingham County, Illinois (Chicago: O. L. Baskin, 1883), 16, 37, 51-52, 70, 71, 87, 170, 179, 261-62; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 205, 207, 209; 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), 296, 319, 341; Isaac H. Elliott, Record of the Services of Illinois Soldiers in the Black Hawk War, 1831-32, and in the Mexican War, 1846-8 (Springfield, IL: H. W. Rokker, 1882), 249.