|30 June, 1932 - The Enterprise|
PIONEER SETTLER ANSWERS CALL
B. F. Hancock Passes Away In His 91st Year. Homesteaded In County 66 Years Ago. Civil War Veteran
ACTIVE IN CIVIC AFFAIRS
Again the death summons has beckoned another Washington county pioneer bidding him come to that long rest, justly earned, but from which mortals never return. This time it is Benjamin Franklin Hancock of near Fontanelle, who has gone, leaving the already thinned ranks of the county pioneers one less in number.
Deceased came to this county in 1856 when the country was just being opened, and the Indians roamed the plains without restraint. For a time he acted as freighter and made several trips with ox team across the plains, and also freighted from Omaha to the Fontanelle settlement which was then in its infancy.
He continued this work until the Civil War broke out, and he felt the urge of his country’s need. He immediately joined the Fifth Iowa Cavalry and served through the entire war, serving mostly in the western division. He took part in the “Battle of Shiloh” and also “Ft. Donald” and “Ft. Henry”. He was with Sherman’s army in its famous “March to the Sea” and when near Atlanta was captured, and for two months was held a prisoner in Libby prison, and then transferred to Andersonville prison where he was held for six months.
At the close of the war he returned to Nebraska and entered a homestead near Fontanelle where he resided until his death, in all sixty six years, which is without question the greatest number of years of residence of any person in the same home in this county.
Mr. Hancock was as good a citizen as he was a soldier, and assisted in all the civic activities of his community. He interested himself and others in the formation of the school district which bears his name, he assisted in the opening of roads and the establishment of organized law in his neighborhood, was a charter member of the first Masonic organization of Fremont. He was always a real man among men, and held in high esteem by all who became acquainted with him.
After settling on his homestead, he was married to Miss Mary Elizabeth Tomlinson, and to this union ten children were born, eight of whom are still living. They are in order of their birth, Clinton of Atlanta, Ga; Mrs. Mae Baldwin of Anadarko, Okla; Burdette of Blair; Ethel at home; Frank of Syracuse, Nebr; Mrs. Esther Smith of North Bend, Nebr; Amy of Blair, and Orville who is still at home. These, with the aged wife and mother, grieve deeply over their loss.
The funeral services were held from the home at 2 p.m. Friday, June 24th, and interment was made in the Telbasta cemetery. Thus ends the life history of a man who is numbered among our pioneers, and who met the needs of this early times with a stout heart and a sincere and honest purpose. Had he lived until Sept. 4th, he would have been Ninety one years of age, and these long years were filled with good deeds and the upbuilding of a home and community.
~~~Obituaries courtesy of the Nebraska Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings on file in the Blair, Nebraska Public Library~~~