Ansel B. Hackett. The nation was celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence when Ansel B. Hackett was born July 4, 1836. His birth occurred at Minot, Cumberland County, Maine. It was in that picturesque district of the Pine Tree State that he spent his early years.
Mr. Hackett, who with his venerable wife, now resided at Carbondale, is one of the true pioneers of Kansas, as is also Mrs. Hackett. Both came here when Kansas was a territory, and they experienced the dangers and hardships of frontier life. It is a matter of special interest that Mrs. Hackett is one of the very few surviving witnesses of the Quantrall raid on Lawrence, in which city she was living at the time. Mr. Hackett had now passed the age of four-score, and nearly sixty of those years have been spent in the State of Kansas. He is one of the honored survivors of the Civil war.
His grandfather Hackett came from Ireland and his grandmother from Scotland, and the Hacketts became identified with America during colonial days. His parents were Barnabas and Abbey Hackett, who had a family of ten children, named: Lucas, Abbey, Ruby, Sarah, Maria, Hattie, Nathan, Daniel, Ansel and Elmer. Ansel and his brother Elmer are the only ones now living.
It was on September 20, 1857, when Ansel B. Hackett arrived in Kansas. He was then twenty-one years of age. His early years had been of circumscribed opportunities, and he came West so that his vigorous youth and ambition might find a new field in which to work out its destiny. He preempted land soon after coming to Kansas, but was employed in various lines of work until the outbreak of the Civil war.
Mr. Hackett spent four years and one month in the service of the Union army. He enlisted August 6, 1861, in the First Kansas Light Artillery, Captain Moonlight, and did not receive his honorable discharge until September 7, 1865. Much of his service was on the frontier, in Kansas, Missouri, and Arkansas, until 1864, when his regiment was transferred east of the Mississippi and took part in the great campaign which the battles of Franklin and Nashville were the culmination. Earlier in the war he fought in the engagements of Cane Hill, Prairie Grove, Dry Wood, near Fort Scott, and throughout the Curtis campaign in Arkansas. After being sent first to Tennessee in 1864 he was in the battle at Johnsonville, and then in those bloody conflicts at Franklin and Nashville. When the resistance of the Confederate arms was broken down by the last named battles, he remained with Thomas’ army around Huntsville, and the end of the war found him and his comrades at Chattanooga.
His long service exposed him to countless hardships and dangers, but the only affliction resulting from his honored career was a disease of the eyes, and that had brought him a pension from the United States Government for a number of years.
He was still a member of the army when on May 6, 1863, he married Caroline Evans, of Lawrence. She is a daughter of William and Betsey Evans, who formerly lived at Lynn, Massachusetts. Mrs. Hackett and her mother, Betsey Evans, came to Kansas in the fall of 1856. Thus Mrs. Hackett, who was born October 10, 1829, and is now in her eighty-seventh year, had a vivid recollection of many pioneer events in Kansas Territory during the free-state movement and in subsequent epochs. As already stated, she was living at Lawrence during the Quantrell raid, and in spite of her advanced years had a vivid recollection and can recite in detail many of the incidents of that attack.
After the war Mr. Hackett rejoined his wife at Lawrence, and on either the 5th or 6th of March, 1866, they moved to a farm comprising the southeast quarter of section 21, town 14, range 16. This land lies 2½ miles east of Carbondale. It was the pre-emption claim of Mr. Hackett in 1858, but he had never occupied it for the first ten years, having been employed with other matters in addition to his war service. On that farm Mr. and Mrs. Hackett lived profitably and comfortably until they retired in 1913 to a pleasant home in Carbondale. Mr. and Mrs. Hackett have no children. In matters of politics Mr. Hackett had voted the republican ticket, and had been affiliated with that organization since the first campaign in 1856. Outside of voting and performing his duties as a good citizen he had had no aspirations for public office.