McCartney's Journeys

The Hanson Family


Webmaster's Note: This narative is the product of Russell Grimshaw's research. It is in his words with a few brief addtions by the webmaster. Again, we thank Russel for all his work.

We do not know the details of August Hanson's ancestry other than that he was born in Goteborg, Sweden in 1868, the son of John Bernard Hanson and Mina Hanson. August emigrated from Sweden in 1888 while Amanda Anderson, born in 1867, came to America four years later in 1892. They married 16 months later in 1893. Did these two persons from the same part of Sweden meet by chance in a location as remote as Staten Island, New York? There is no evidence that Amanda had made advance plans for staying with friends or relatives in this country. There is no evidence of there being any relatives who had previously immigrated. So, did Amanda, a 25-year old, undertake a very long journey into the unknown based on personal courage and faith that it would somehow work out? Or did absence make their hearts grow fonder and induce Amanda to follow August to the ends of the earth?

August was a carpenter by trade and was employed at a local shipyard until 1924 when he formed a carpentry and millwork business with his sons. It is my understanding that he also constructed several houses in the neighborhood in which his family lived at one time or another. We find the family at 60 Simonson Ave. in the census years through 1920 and then at 211 Van Name Ave. in 1930. Later, they resided at 201 Van Name Ave. The family recalls August and Amanda living at 228 Simonson Ave. in the 1920's when sons Harry and Walter and their families occupied the two apartments at #226.

Photo of Amanda Hanson and children circa 1920.

Amanda Hanson and Children (circa 1920)

August died on October 27, 1938. Amanda passed away on March 4, 1945. Both are buried in Oceanview Cemetery, Staten Island.

Married on June 10, 1893 at St. John's Lutheran Church of Staten Island, Amanda and August lost their first offspring, a daughter Lillian, in 1894 at the age of 4 days. Subsequently they raised 5 children:

Esther Amelia Hanson, b. May 14, 1895. Esther, called "Mimi" by her grandchildren, married Joseph R. Surko, Jr. at the Hanson home at 60 Simonson Avenue in Mariners Harbor at 8 o'clock in the evening of Wednesday, November 24, 1920. At that time, Joseph was employed as a carpenter at a local shipyard. Several years later, in 1926, he became a NYC policeman where he served as a motorcycle patrolman until retiring in 1942. In the ensuing years he advertised himself as "Joseph Surko the Lumber King" and operated a marine and lumber salvage business. Esther and Joe had two children; Dorothy, born in 1922, and Jeanne, born in 1928. These two girls are the "SURKO SISTERS". A few weeks after celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary, Joseph died from a heart attack. Esther passed away in 1978 as a result of a stroke. Both are buried in Oceanview Cemetery, Staten Island.

Harry Roland Hanson b. January 30, 1897. Harry married Nanny (Anna) Larson on April 24, 1924 in Brooklyn where she lived with her sister Victoria Skoglund and family. Harry, like his father, was a carpenter and with his father and brother, Walter, became a part of A. Hanson & Sons doing carpentry and millwork. Anna was born in Kagerod, Sweden and arrived in America aboard the S.S. Stockholm on April 14, 1921. Harry and Anna had 2 children, both girls, Grace, born in 1925 and Marjorie, born in 1928. Initially, the family lived in an apartment at 226 Simonson Ave., Mariners Harbor. The 1930 census finds them next door at #228. The millwork shop was in the back yard of these two houses. In later years they resided at 207 Van Name Ave. The driveway for this property provided access to the millwork shop which lay between the Simonson Ave. and Van Name Ave. properties. Harry died on December 28, 1979. Anna died on June 19, 1990. Both are buried in Moravian Cemetery, Staten Island.

Alice Fredricke Hanson b. March 7, 1898. Alice never married and was a working girl until 1947 when, tiring of the monotony of commuting to work in Manhattan, she retired. Having always dreamed of a more interesting life, she partnered with her sister Gladys and her family and they purchased a dairy farm in McDonough, NY. In the early 1950's she wrote an account of that venture and her adventures on the farm, which I hope to transcribe and attach to this family history. Returning to Staten Island about the 1960's, Alice lived with Esther at 201 Van Name Ave. in the house that had been left to her from her mother's estate. In time she fell victim to "senility" which worsened in the 1970's to the extent that Esther could no longer put up with her and the two sisters sold the property and moved to Montvale, NJ to live with Esther's daughter Jeanne and husband Russell. When that didn't work out, Esther's older daughter, Dorothy, and husband, Win, offered to take Aunt Alice. That too didn't work and Alice entered an elder care facility and then a nursing home where she passed away on November 16, 1985.

Walter Clarence Hanson b. June 23, 1902. Walter was an active participant in the operation of the A. Hanson & Sons business. He married Beatrice McCue in 1921. Beatrice was only 16 years old at that time. Walter was 19. There does not appear to be a New York certificate for the marriage so I assume the couple married out of state. Two children were born of this marriage: Mildred in 1922 and Shirley in 1925. The marriage had fallen apart by 1930 and Walter married Elizabeth Louise Edgett in 1931 when she was about 16 years old. Again, I can't locate a marriage certificate and assume they also married out of state. The two children born of this marriage were Walter (1932) and Alma (1938).

Walter Clarence Hanson died on November 23, 1976.

Gladys Emily Hanson b. June 17, 1908. Gladys married Frederick Oscar Poland on June 8, 1929. In the 1930 census we find them living with Joe and Esther Surko at 285 Simonson Ave. next door to Joseph and Mathilda Surko who lived at #277. Later, Gladys, Fred and their only child Fred, Jr., born in 1930, lived across and down the street at 228 Simonson Ave. Gladys' husband, Fred, was a bus driver on Staten Island for about 20 years until, in about 1947, he decided that he could no longer tolerate continuing in that occupation and determined to escape city life and follow his dream of becoming a dairy farmer in upstate New York. Pooling their resources with Gladys' sister, Alice, they purchased a farm in McDonough located north of Binghamton.

Fred Poland died in McDonough at the age of 72 years in November 1978. Gladys died in June 1983 in Baldwinsville, NY at a luncheon with friends celebrating her 75th birthday.