Elijah Hackney Family History


By Clarence Hackney

Newton, IA 50208


Some history of the Elijah Hackney family reported by a grandson.


Elijah Hackney was born June 7, 1834 in Blount County, Tennessee. He and a brother, Aaron, came to the Amboy community, Jasper County, Iowa, in the late 1850 s. There is no record as to the mode of travel or why they came to this area. There is no record as to where they lived or what they worked at.


Mary Hinshaw, born April 24, 1842, in Grant County, Indiana, along with her parents, had moved to the Amboy area also. Elijah and Mary were married July 27, 1859. Part of the house that Ivan & Colene Hinshaw lived in was Mary Hinshaw's home where she was married.


The Hackney s built a house about 1/2 mile southwest of Mary's home and started farming. I don't know how many acres they farmed. Now three generations of the Hackneys have farmed and are still farming the same land.


The house was built of all native lumber, part hand hewed, all rough oak and walnut. How they raised as large a family as they did in such a small house is hard to believe. Three generations lived in this house which was taken down in the 1950s. During the early years of their marriage, the railroad coming west stopped at Iowa City. My grandfather traveled to Iowa City to sell products and buy what they needed at home. Some years later the railroad came west to Kellogg where it terminated for several years. After the mill was built at Lynnville , he traveled there for their flour.


The Hackney s had nine children, six born at home and three born in Kansas. The reason for the three births in Kansas was that the Hackney-s were of the Quaker religion and they did not believe in bearing arms against anyone. This was during the Civil War and Kansas was a neutral state. They remained in Kansas until the war ended and then returned to their home.


The children were:


  • Evan , born 1860 in Jasper County, Iowa.
  • Nancy, born 1861 in Jasper County, Iowa.
  • Phoebe Serena born 1863 in Jasper County, Iowa.
  • John Francis, born 1864 in Chase County, Kansas.
  • Milton Chamness, born 1866 in Chase County, Kansas.
  • Joel Conklin, born 1869 in Chase County, Kansas.
  • Zimri Richard, born 1873 in Jasper County, Iowa
  • Sarah Elizabeth, born 1874 in Jasper County, Iowa
  • James Uriah, born 1878 in Jasper County, Iowa.


Two of the children died young, Zimri less than one month old and Joel at 9 years.


The area around the Hackney farm was known as the Amboy area. (What year it was named and why I do not know). The area is still known as the Amboy Community, with the Amboy cemetery, Amboy church, Amboy grange and Amboy schoolhouse still in existence. The school is where the Hackney children attended classes. My daughter, Linda, was the last Hackney to attend this school. (The school was closed in 1958).


My grandfather, Elijah, hauled stones to build the courthouse in Newton (the structure built prior to the present courthouse).


Evan Hackney furnished a team of horses and helped with the dirt work in building the railroad from Kellogg to Newton. He was married in 1903 and started farming in Marshall County.


His first wife died in 1904. He remarried in 1909.


A few years later he bought a 40 acre tract just north of the Newton city limits, the land located between the existing 1st Street North and west 4th Street North, and south of north 19th Avenue west. The house, still standing, is the first two story house south of the Union Hall. The house was a ready-cut, mail-order house. Material cost was less than $1,000. Evan and his wife, in later years, came to the Amboy area and built the home that I now live in. Evan had no children.


Nancy always lived at home and never was married. After her mother died in 1889 (her father never remarried) she kept house for her father and brother, Milton and was more or less a mother to her younger brother, James, who was then 11 years old.


Phoebe married Charlie Berry in 1891 and went to Nebraska to live. They always lived in Nebraska. Charlie was a guard at the State Penitentiary. They had one son.


A little more about Amboy. At one time there was a small store and post office there.


John [Francis] (always known as Frank) ran the store and post office. He was married in 1888. His wife died in 1890 and he never remarried. They had no children. I do not know where they started housekeeping for as long as I knew him his home was in Marshalltown. He worked all over the Midwest at building construction work. He was also a speculator. He bought and sold houses in Marshalltown and large tracts of land in Canada.


Milton was the blacksmith of the family. He had a shop from the time he was a young man to as long as he could work at it. He also had a steam engine and a horse power sweep. It was a four or eight horse sweep. The way it worked was you hitched one or two horses to four wooden beams about 12 feet long. The horse traveled around in a circle. Through a series of gears and rods you got power to run such things as saw mills and threshers. Milton worked in many saw mills and threshing crews. He always lived at home and was never married.


Sarah started doing in-home, house work when she was quite young. She was well liked and a very good worker. She was seldom out of work. When she got older and had to slow down, she went to Marshalltown and made her home with her brother, John [Francis] (Frank). She remained in Marshall County until her death. She never married.


James, the youngest of the children, worked by the day at anything that was available. He was married in 1905. He and his wife, Anna, started house keeping east of Colfax where he worked top side at the Severs Coal Mines. He worked there for four years and then started farming northeast of Newton. He farmed all his life in Jasper County, except for one year in Marshall County. Over the years they moved many times because they always rented. In 1929 they moved to the old Hackney home place where they lived until 1938 when they moved to the home where I now live. James and his wife had three children, one daughter and two sons. I am the older son.


There has been a Hackney living in Kellogg township since Elijah and Aaron came here in the 1850's (except during the Civil War). That trend will no doubt come to an end when I no longer live here. There are three generations back of me now but none of them live close by.


I hope you have enjoyed reading about the Hackney family.


Written by Clarence Hackney.