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Welcome! This is my little collection of family history information about Ephraim Knowlton Hanks (1826), his ancestors, and genealogical info on some of my other lines as well (for lack of a better spot to put them :-). My goal with this site is to host as many online documents, books, photos, and other such records as I possibly can about these lines. I feel that there is so much of this type of information available, but yet it is hidden away in microfilms and books that sit dusty on library shelves. I hope to bring as much of this wealth of information online as I can, to make it one step easier for you—the information seeker—to find and make your own copies of these records.

To this end the site is divided into the following sections:

  • The message board allows you to post questions and answers. (And for a while now it has been non-functional. My apologies. I'll probably be looking for a replacement. Any suggestions for good Open-Source Bulliten Board software? I can work with either Perl, or PHP (my prererence is Perl)).
  • The library houses online copies of related documents and records. I'll happily post any related document you might be willing to share with the Internet community. I hope for this to become the 'meat' of the site as I'd like to see more of these types of resources become available online, as opposed to hiding on microfilm, or on library shelves.
  • The photo gallery contains scanned photos of people, places and things related to these individuals.
  • The resources link will list out several places online that I have found very useful in this area of research.
  • The genealogy link will take you to an online database of these ancestors. This will likely be replaced by what I have uploaded to RootsWeb's WorldConnect site (WorldConnect's output of pedigrees is nicer looking than what I have). This service allows you to browse pedigree and descendancy charts for millions of individuals.
  • Finally, I have set up a mailing list, on which I post changes and additions that I make to the site. You may feel free to use the list as an alternate forum for discussing these lines. Information on how to subscribe is found below. The list is very low traffic. (Jan 2004 - And I mean real low traffic ;-). The list is hosted by Yahoo Groups, which was Egroups, which was FindMail (you get the picture :-). I think it's probably still functional, but there hasn't been a posting for a long while. Why don't you subscribe and post something today? The mailing list could serve as an alternative to the non-functional message board. Truth be told, I prefer mailing lists over bulliten-boards (as long as there are web-based archives). Eventually I'll host the list on my own server. Now, where were those extra two hours I set aside...

If you have any comments, suggestions, or contributions, I would love to hear from you. My name is Daniel Hanks. You may contact me at:

Research Blog

30 July, 2004 This evening I attended, with my family, the Mormon Handcart Pageant, and what a wonderful experience it was. Very spiritually uplifting. I'd certainly recommend it for anyone to see. Eph Hanks makes an appearance in the pageant, and tells of his experience in helping the handcart pioneers in the Martin handcart company in 1856. There's one night left in this year's production (the 31st), next year's dates are already set, so plan now, if you can, to attend.

11 July, 2004 I received a copy this week of the book Man of War Life that I mentioned earlier (found it for a great price on Amazon). The author's experience must have been very much like Eph's experience. Nordhoff ran away from home at around the age of 16, with desires to become a sailor. His motivations were a bit different than Eph's, but the conditions and their treatment were likely similar. Nordhoff mentions that upon joining he was rated as 'first class boy', which sheds light on Eph's 'rate', '1.c.b', as mentioned earlier in the Watch, Quarter, and Station Bill. Eph must have also been 'first class boy'. Nordhoff also clarifies what is meant by the 'Ship number'. Basically each sailor on board was assigned an id number called the 'ship number' by which the purser's and other records were indexed. It wasn't until reading Man of War Life and comparing it to Eph's experience that I realized that Eph came on with the Navy when only 16 years old.

1 July, 2004 I found this interesting page that describes the American "ships of the line" with a few mentions of the Columbus

29 June, 2004 Found this image of the USS Columbus here. Look near the bottom of the page. The image is from after Eph's time on-board. It appears reproductions of the images can be purchased from NARA. Update: Also found the same image available at a better resolution here. If you click on the image on that page, you can see it in much greater detail. Update 2: Also found a page at the Navy History website that gives some more info about this image.

Another small, but interesting bit of minutia: At the bottom of this page is a link to an image of an exhibition put on by the Navy in 1876. The exhibition included a monument made of "wood from ships lost in the Norfolk-Hampton Roads area during the Civil War", including a piece from the USS Columbus (The Columbus Eph sailed on was sunk at Norfolk Shipyard by retreating Union forces in the Civil War to prevent her capture by Confederate forces).

Also found the book, Man of War Life: A Boy's Experience in the United States Navy which is a personal account written by Charles Nordhoff about his time onboard the USS Columbus from 1845 to 1848, which would have been the next voyage of the ship after Eph got off.

1 June, 2004 Found some photos online of the Caineville, UT cemetery, where Ephraim Hanks is buried next to Thisbe Read. The rest of the site has a lot of good Hanks information as well.

4 May, 2004 After some more scouring, I came across the Watch, quarter & station bill of the U.S. ship of the line Columbus, bearing the broad pennant of Commodore Chars. W. Morgan in the Navy Department Library, which book is the source of the illustrations in the link of the previous post (search for "watch quarter station bill" in the library catalog). I contacted a librarian there and asked her about the book. She said she would scan the pages for Ephraim Hanks. Here's what she writes back:

I looked . . . and found his name on the "Fore Top" page which is page 9 of the book. His name had been spelled "Epharim Hanks".

In this list, there are three columns before each name: Ship no., Ham. no., and Watch no. For Hanks, his ship no. was 142, his hammock no. was 209, and his watch number was 41. After each name there is a column indicating each sailor's rate. His rate is listed as "1.c.b." We thought maybe the rating was 1st class boatswain, but we're not sure they actually had classes for rates back then, so we're can't say for certain what his job was.

I asked the librarian what was meant by a 'rate', and she replies:

A "rating" is basically a job description. Read our FAQ for more information about ratings and their evolution in the Navy. Occasionally, you'll hear a person refer to someone's "rate" when they are asking what rank an enlisted person is, either 1st class, 2nd class and so forth. But generally you'll just hear the word "rating" and it always refers to a sailor's job in the Navy.

So this places Ephraim on the boat at the right time. From what I understand, the "fore top" was the platform near the top of the forward mast, so it makes logical sense that he would be up the mast during a storm when two of his crewmates perished from falls, as the story goes (see King of Western Scouts).

I really would like to copy the whole book and put it up on the site for anyone to enjoy. If you live near the D.C. area and have a decent digital camera, and are willing to spend a fair amount of time at the library taking pictures of the book, please contact me.

I would also still like to look into the possibility of deck logs for the boat, in which I'm sure mention would be made of his two crewmates who perished in that storm. It would be fun to trace the route of the boat on a map.

11 april, 2004 For some reason I've recently become intererested in tall ships and sailing. I think it started when we watched a recent movie that was a remake of the Swiss Family Robinson adventure. Can't remember offhand what is was called, but it got me interested, so I pulled out my copy of Treasure Island, and read through that. Last night I read an old Jack London story, "The seed of McKoy" or something like that. Also good. I think I'd like to try the Patrick O'Brian novels as well. How is this related to genealogy? Well, Eph Hanks, along with a friend, as the story goes, "traveled to Boston [in 1842] where they signed up for what they thought was a freighting job on the ocean, but turned out to be a three year hitch in the Navy aboard the U.S.S. Columbus." (Richard Hanks Master's Thesis, page 14). So today I found a page on the U.S. Navy's history website about the U.S.S. Columbus (see the image at right). The deployment dates of the ship, from 1842 - 1844, match up with the time Eph was enlisted. I'd like to see if I can find ships logs for the boat.

26 January, 2004 Put up a rough HTML version of The Tempered Wind. It's big, and will take a while to download over a modem, but should make it possible to read it online. I basically just opened up the .doc in OpenOffice, and exported it to HTML. So the markup isn't so clean, and the font changes here and there, but at least it's a little bit more accessible. This also allows Google to pick up on it (although I guess google can index .docs too...), so hopefully that will pull a few more folks this way. I hope to get a cleaner paginated version up sometime.

4 January, 2004 I put up a link in the Eph Hanks section of the library to an electronic version of a book called The Tempered Wind, written by Sidney Alvarus Hanks, a son of Ephraim Hanks, through Thisbe Read. The book is essentially a biography of Thisbe, but also adds a lot of insight into Eph's life and character.

I might as well mention also, that I have in the works a complete overhaul of the site. So far, it has involved a fair amount of programming, but when functional I should have a very powerful Open-Source web-based genealogy system to power the site. All of the current documents and content will still be available, but I'll be able to tie any document, history, or image with any individual, marriage, event, and so forth. Think Rootsweb WorldConnect-style navigation, with the ability to link any sort of document to any individual, marriage, or event. I'll be able to link all the images and such I have here right into my pedigrees.

That will be phase one. Phase two will (hopefully) allow threaded comments to be added by visitors to the site to any individual, marriage, event, or source document, so visitors will be able to discuss any of the site content.

21 December, 2003 I have put up a page for a project I have been working on, digitizing a book called "Davies Memoir" about some Davies lines in New England. While not exactly related to Hanks research, I have Davies lines on my mother's side, and wanted to put this up for anyone interested. Davies Memoir

9 August, 2003 Just want to put up a link to the Utah Burials and Cemeteries database. So very helpful!

27 May, 2003 Over the holiday weekend, my wife, my kids, and I stopped by the Salt Lake cemetery on our way to a family event, to see if we could find Sarah Verrinder's gravestone, now that we had a picture of it to lead us. We went to the section of the cemetery given by the cemetery office as the location of the gravestone, E-11-7. No luck. We found a few that looked close, but still no luck. I found one of the approximate shape, the inscription of which had completely weathered away. I really hoped that one wasn't it, but it wasn't quite the right shape, and the inscription in the article photo looked very clean still.

As I was about to give up and head over to the cemetery office to ask again, I had the thought that perhaps whoever entered the record in the database made a typo and perhaps typed 'E' instead of 'F' as the block number. Block 'F' was just next door, so we all trooped across the road, and up the hill into block F. As we crested the rise, I could see a red sandstone headstone in the distance, the top of which matched the profile in the article photo. As I neared I could recognize nearby features from the photo, and sure enough, when I got there, I had found it. The grave stone is a reddish sandstone, facing West, and tipping slightly towards that direction. The inscription is still very clear, and it's interesting to note, that just 'next door' is where LDS church president John Taylor is buried. So anyone following my footsteps take note, the correct address is F-11-7, not E-11-7. I snapped a few pictures while my 4-year-old son struck up a conversation with a gentleman cleaning up the gravestone of his grandmother nearby. Once I get the photos developed I'll be sure to post them here.

As I was heading back to the car, I looked back from the top of the rise to find a beatiful panorama of the Salt Lake Valley in the distance. I hadn't realized the elevation of the cemetetry. It's a beautiful view. Back in the car, my wife mentioned she had been praying for me. I chalk up being able to find the grave to some divine help. It was nice to finally 'find' Sarah, and to spend a few moments connecting with my heritage that way. Now on to her children!

22 May, 2003 Today I just happened to search for "Sarah Verrinder" on google, and found an index of articles from the Utah Historical Quarterly. Apparently in Volume 56, pages 323-327, there is information about the gravesites of William Capener and Sarah Verrinder (Capener). A quick lookup at my local public library website showed they have archives of the periodical, so I'll be heading there at lunch time :-).
Later that day... The article in question was about English stone carvers in Utah in the mid-1800s, and included images of some gravestones made by these carvers. And who's gravestones did they happen to include? Sarah Verrinder Capener, as well as two daughters of William Capener and Ellen Rigby (Capener). What's cool about this is that earlier this year, I went up to the Salt Lake Cemetery to find Sarah's gravestone, and despite having the 'address' of it from the cemetery office, for the life of me I couldn't find it. So now I have an image of it Next time I'll at least have a clue as to what to look for.

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