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Aragorn Storm Miller

HANKS, JAMES STEELE (1809–1898). James Steele Hanks, farmer, surveyor, county official, U.S. and Confederate officer, and state representative, was born in Maury County, Tennessee, on September 23, 1809, the son of the Reverend Thomas and Sarah (Hill) Hanks. Hanks's father was an itinerant Baptist preacher who came to Texas in 1836 to assist in the settling of Tennessee families in Angelina and Anderson counties and to preach throughout both areas until his death in 1857. Hanks himself was raised in Tennessee, remaining in the state until around 1825. In 1830 Hanks entered military service, first as a captain and later receiving promotion to adjutant and colonel. On September 4, 1836, James Hanks married Isabel McLeod. This couple had seven children, at least one of which was a son and at least two of which were daughters. In 1844 Hanks immigrated with his family to Texas, settled in Anderson County, and established himself as a farmer and surveyor at Neches. The following year Hanks secured employment as deputy county surveyor, later gaining appointment as county surveyor. During this time he occasionally served as justice of the peace for the county. On July 19, 1859, following the June 1858 death of his wife, Hanks married the widowed Louezer (Dial) Bell. This couple had four children.

By 1860 Hanks was among the prosperous members of the community, operating a successful tannery yard and owning twenty slaves. In the spring of 1861 at the outbreak of the Civil War Hanks was a Unionist and opposed secession. However upon the secession of Texas Hanks raised a company of cavalry for service in the Confederate Army, mustering with this unit as company captain into the Thirteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment. Hanks saw action with this unit throughout Arkansas and along the Arkansas River before resigning in April 1863. Following the war Hanks returned to Anderson County where he won election as representative for the county to the Eleventh Texas Legislature in 1866. Hanks was an active Baptist. Originally a member of the Whig party, Hanks sided with the Democratic party by the time of the Civil War. On November 17, 1898, James Steele Hanks died in Neches, Anderson County, and was buried there at Neches Cemetery.


Pauline Buck Hohes, A Centennial History of Anderson County, Texas (San Antonio: Naylor, 1936). IGI Individual Record: "James S. Hanks" (http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/search/frameset_search.asp?PAGE=ancestorsearchresults.asp), accessed May 24, 2007. "James S. Hanks," (http://www.angelfire.com/tx/RandysTexas/page194.html), accessed May 24, 2007. Memorial and Biographical History of Navarro, Henderson, Anderson, Limestone, Freestone, and Leon Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1893).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Aragorn Storm Miller, "HANKS, JAMES STEELE," accessed July 15, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhack.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on August 23, 2014. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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