Colonel Benjamin Hanks, Jr

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Colonel Benjamin Hanks, Jr

Birthdate: (69)
Birthplace: Mansfield, CT, USA
Death: December 15, 1824 (69)
Troy, NY, USA
Place of Burial: Menands, Albany County, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Uriah Hanks and Irene Hanks
Husband of Alicia Hanks
Father of Sophia Hanks; Truman Hanks; Horatio Hanks and Julius Hanks
Brother of Zilpha Hanks; Irene Crane; Uriah Hanks; Lurancy Hanks; Philena Hanks and 4 others

Managed by: Danny Howard Branch
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Colonel Benjamin Hanks, Jr

Birth: Oct. 29, 1755 Mansfield City Tolland County Connecticut, USA Death: Dec. 15, 1824 Albany County New York, USA

Another record reports he was born on the 25th.

Death was in West Troy.

Family links:

 Uriah Hanks (1736 - 1809)
 Irene Case Hanks (1735 - 1807)

Inscription: Age 70.

Burial: Albany Rural Cemetery Menands Albany County New York, USA Plot: Section 100

Maintained by: Mary Harrell-Sesniak Originally Created by: Marte Record added: Jan 17, 2010 Find A Grave Memorial# 46797627 Col Benjamin Hanks Added by: Mary Harrell-Sesniak

Col Benjamin Hanks Added by: Marte

Col Benjamin Hanks Added by: Marte

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With admiration from your 1st cousin 6x removed - Barbara Shannon

Added: Jun. 8, 2012


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Served as a drummer in Revolutionary War. In addition to clockmaking business, carried on goldsmith trade; made stockings, looms, compasses, brass cannon and large church bells. In 1779 removed to Litchfield, where in 1780 he built his home from which he carried on his business until 1790. His home served as one of Litchfield's early hotels. Removed to Mansfield CT where he "continued to make Clocks and Bells." In 1793 sold Amherst church its first bell. Set up second foundry for bell casting in Troy NY with son Truman, under firm name of BENJAMIN HANKS & SON. Received exclusive rights at October session of 1783 General Assembly to sell clocks wound by air. 3 Apprenticed about 1768 to Thomas Harland? in Norwich CT 1 Advertised from 1777 to 1779 (Windham CT), as watch and clockmaker and gold- and silversmith offering beads, buckles, spurs, spring lancets, etc. 3 He worked from 1780 to 1790 as a silversmith and bell founder in Litchfield CT 3 He worked after 1790 as a silversmith and bell founder in Mansfield Center CT 3

According to historian Susan Whitney Dimock's 1898 book "Births, Baptisms, Marriages, and Deaths: From the Records of the Town and Churches in Mansfield, Connecticut, 1703-1850" Benjamin Hanks was born 29 October 1755 in Mansfield, Connecticut. [9] The vital records of the Town of Mansfield, however, states he was born on December 15, 1755. Hanks' parents, Uriah and Irene (Case) Hanks, were married March 20, 1755.[10] Hanks had nine siblings, all of whom were younger.[2] Hanks lived at home until he was seventeen years old, when in 1772 he was apprenticed to Thomas Harland, a well known clock maker in Norwich, Connecticut, until Hanks established a clock business in the city.

Hanks was a military drummer in the American Revolutionary War and took part in the Lexington Alarm triggered by Paul Revere's "Midnight Ride" of which he served about a month then.[12] Later Hanks re-enlisted and served in the Third Regiment under Israel Putnam from mid May through mid December 1775.[12] He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, commandant of the fifth regiment of militia in Connecticut.[12][13] Hanks married Alice Hovey around 1775 to 1777 in Windham, Connecticut. In 1780 they moved to Litchfield, Connecticut and built a house from which he ran his home business as a goldsmith / silversmith, maker of instruments, clocks, looms, and compasses.[2][14] In 1786 Hanks established a foundry just south of the Court House in Litchfield and ran a "Brazier's business".[15] He was famous for making church bells at this foundry.[15] He ran his businesses out of his home until 1790 when he moved to Mansfield, Connecticut, where he continued his businesses. In 1808 Hanks became a partner in a foundry with his son Julius Hanks in Troy, New York.[3] They took out a newspaper advertisement describing the brass cannons and church bells they manufactured.[3] Their foundry also made goldsmith's items, stocking looms, clocks, and surveyor's compasses based on David Rittenhouse's designs.[16][17] Hanks obtained a patent for "Molding and Casting Bells" in 1816. The Troy foundry manufactured large church bells under this patent.[18] The Troy foundry also manufactured tower clocks and surveying tools.[3] One of the apprentices, Andrew Meneely, went on to open a foundry of his own, which eventually became the Meneely Bell Foundry.[3] After Hanks' death in 1824, the Troy foundry was operated for a year by his son Julius and eventually absorbed by the Meneely Bell Foundry (owner: Andrew Meneely) in 1826.[19]

Hanks' first large church tower bell was mounted in The Old Dutch Church in New York City in 1780 when he was contracted to make the church tower clock.[20] Hanks obtained a fourteen-year intellectual rights patent in 1783 on this tower clock that automatically wound itself by air.[20][15][21][22][23] The patent said the clock would wind itself up to operate by the use of air. It would automatically continue to wind itself up and operate until the mechanical parts wore out due to friction.[24][25][26][27] Hanks made the first two bronze cannons made in the United States in 1797.[28] The First Company of Connecticut Artillery carried them.[28]

Hanks and his wife had three children. Truman Hanks Horatio Hanks Julius Hanks

Hanks died in West Troy, New York, on December 15 of 1824 at the age of 69.[29] He is buried in Albany Rural Cemetery, Menands, NY.[30] He is considered the father of the church bell and bronze cannon business in the United States.[31]

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Colonel Benjamin Hanks, Jr's Timeline

October 29, 1755
Mansfield, CT, USA
Age 26
Age 34
December 15, 1824
Age 69
Troy, NY, USA
Menands, Albany County, New York, United States