JOSEPH HUGH HANNA AND NETTlE ADELL (EADDY) HANNA
GIFFORD SOUTH CAROLINA
Judith Eaddy (Hanna) Richards
There was music drifting through the house when I was born. My older sisters, practicing on the baby grand and the upright pianos was part of our life at the large rambling house built by my father Edward Henry Hanna, I. He was born Henry Edison Hanna, but changed his name. We lived in the small community of Gifford, South Carolina, on State Road 321. This road was only a trail when Joseph Hugh Hanna and his wife Nettie Adell (Eaddy) Hanna came to settle and carve out their place within the verdant pinelands of South Carolina.
Stories that were repeated in the family state that they came in covered wagons with their household goods and five children that were born near Indiantown, South Carolina. They migrated into Hampton County, South Carolina to begin the farming, timber, and turpentine businesses. Included, were a number of faithful servants which had worked for the family in the Williamsburg County area. They were remnants of those families which had been slaves on the old Hugh Hanna, Huggins, or perhaps Eaddy plantations.
Joseph Hugh Hanna was already in the naval stores business in Charleston, South Carolina, as he had been located on 167 Queen Street in the Charleston City Directory. According to his obituary, he came to Gifford in 1890*, “a pioneer in the naval stores industry of this section. Since then, he has been a prominent planter in the county. A member of the Methodist church, he was outstanding in civic affairs and in the community and county.”
Many of the Hannas and Eaddys spread out to new beginnings at this time in history. Joseph Hugh Hanna must have chosen this location near the Savannah River because of the proximity of Charleston, where he was delivering his sap in large barrels to the Navy base. The pitch was used to make turpentine, paint solvents, and other industrial products. Regardless of the use made of his naval stores, he was successful in his endeavors.
Joseph Hugh Hanna and Nettie Adell (Eaddy) Hanna brought with them five children who were born in Williamsburg County, South Carolina. They were Lula Mae Hanna, Douglas Lamar Hanna, George Albert Hanna, Edward Henry Hanna, I., and Eliza Louisa Hanna. Charles Franklin Hanna had died at three years of age before they left and is buried in the Vox Cemetery, with no marker. The family increased to nine children in Gifford with the addition of Hugh Oliver Hanna, Sr., Leslie Eaddy Hanna, and Myrtle Irene Hanna. Only five of their children survived childhood, with the exception of Douglas, who lived to be only 32 years old.
The languid peaceful life in Gifford was filled with joyous romps in the country on corn picking summer mornings, with peanut pulling in the afternoon. Our clothes and faces were blackened with dirt and when the fall came, the hogs were butchered and sausage made. Then once a year, a barbecue was celebrated with neighbors and friends invited. The distinct aroma of chitlins boiling would greet us on those fall afternoons, as we stepped down from the school bus. Malvina was always there to prepare them, as she did for other nearby families.
My father, Edward Henry Hanna, I., was a seedsman. He gathered small lots of seed, and stored them in large warehouses, and in general, marketed them in large lots. He had a successful business and shipped the seed by truck and rail. He had a seed cleaning machine that removed the chaff from the seed, a truck weighing station, and many government bonded warehouses. My mother, Ruth Juliette (Bishop) Hanna, (whose mother was a Happoldt from Charleston), worked in the business with him. The office was located directly across the road from the back of our house. With the help of wonderful servants she could keep close watch on the younger children. They had six children in all.
In the beginning, Joseph Hugh Hanna and Nettie Adell (Eaddy) Hanna lived in a long straight house, that I remember as a child. It had been abandoned, a long time, and the doors stood open and I recall flowered wallpaper faded, and torn on the walls. They built a beautiful two story home with tall white columns, and spacious rooms, close to the other one, across the street from ours. Lula Mae Hanna married Alton Abel from Avon Park, Florida and moved away. He was a dentist, and they had citrus groves. Uncle George Albert Hanna never married and lived in the home with his mother and father. He spent most of his time farming, and reading National Geographic and classical literature. He was an odd sort of character, and our cousins think that he was one of the first original hippies. My Uncle George, considering the fact that he was a heavy smoker, outlived most of his brothers, with the exception of Hugh Oliver Hanna, Sr., the attorney, who practiced law in Hampton, South Carolina.
When Grandmother Nettie died, some years after Joseph Hugh Hanna, their son Leslie Eaddy Hanna, and his wife Ella Maude (Putnam) Hanna moved into the house and shared the residence with George Albert Hanna. Leslie Eaddy Hanna continued in the family business as it grew into many other interests, such as saw milling and pulpwood. The sons and grandsons of Leslie Eaddy Hanna continue the business at the present time.
Joseph Hugh Hanna was gored by a bull, and received a wound in his leg that did not heal properly, as he was a diabetic. He died with complications of the two, but still lived to be 75. He died when I was a very small child of one and a half years. And even though they say a child cannot remember much at that age, I remember a fleeting glimpse of him walking with a cane across the yard, opening the front porch door, lifting my sister Donna Patricia Hanna, who was two years older into the air, and hugging her. Joseph Hugh Hanna was nicknamed Beaureguard, after that beloved Southern General who had such wonderful qualities. He was an exceptional person, who championed righteous causes during his lifetime. In his business and personal life, he was beloved by the community.
Joseph Hugh Hanna is buried at Beech Branch Cemetery, located out from Gifford, with Nettie and many other family members. Also buried there are Edward Henry Hanna, I. and Ruth Juliette (Bishop) Hanna, his wife; Edward Henry Hanna, II. their son; and Donna Patricia Hanna, their daughter. Douglas Lamar Hanna and George Albert Hanna, sons of Nettie and Joseph, and the two little girls Eliza Louise Hanna and Myrtle Irene Hanna who died in infancy, are also located there. Leslie Eaddy Hanna and Ella Maude (Putnam) Hanna, his wife and their son Leslie Hugh Hanna, Sr. are buried at Lawtonville Baptist Church Cemetery, Estill, South Carolina.
After the death of Leslie Hanna's widow, Ella Maude (Putnam) Hanna, the house was donated to the Town of Gifford, South Carolina, as a Town Hall. Across the street, the rambling old home built by Edward Henry Hanna, I. is presently still standing. It is abandoned, with vines tumbling all over the beautiful heart pine timber, fading monuments to receding memories of yesterdays that were filled with happy laughter of carefree children, growing up in the quiet, serene countryside reflecting the family continuity of the Hanna and Eaddy families.
* Joseph Hugh Hanna moved to Gifford, SC around 1893 and reared his family there. Eliza Louise Hanna was born in 1891 in Williamsburg County, South Carolina and Hugh Oliver Hanna, Sr. was the first child to be born in Gifford, South Carolina in 1894.