Lucien Mason Hanks, Sr.

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Lucien Mason Hanks, Sr.

Also Known As: "Louis"
Birthplace: Madison, Dane County, WI, United States
Death: April 29, 1950 (81)
Madison, Dane County, WI, United States
Place of Burial: Madison, Dane County, WI, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Lucien Stanley Hanks and Sybil Agnes Hanks
Husband of Mary Esther Hanks
Father of William Vilas Hanks; Sybil Anna Hanks and Dr. Lucien Mason Hanks, Ph.D.
Brother of Edward Hanks; Stanley Charles Hanks and Marshall Wilfred Hanks

Occupation: Banker
Managed by: Jessica Marie German
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Lucien Mason Hanks, Sr.


For sixty-three years members of the Hanks family have figured prominently in financial circles of Madison and Lucien Mason Hanks is president of the First National Bank of this city. He is a native of Madison and a representative of one of its old and highly respected families. He was born on June 27, 1868, and is a son of Lucien Stanley and Sybil (Perkins) Hanks, the latter of whom is deceased. The father is a native of Hartford, Connecticut, and is now living retired at Madison. He was born on May 8, 1838, and was educated in the Mount Washington Collegiate Institute of New York city. He came to Wisconsin in 1856 and secured a clerical position in a Janesville bank, where he was employed until March 12, 1860, when he joined the Madison State Bank, of which he was teller for three years. He was then made cashier and eventually became president of the institution, retiring from the office in 1920. He stood high in the esteem of his business associates and was regarded as an authority on matters pertaining to finance. His great-great-grandfather, Benjamin Hanks, was a native of England and to him was born a son, Benjamin, a native of Mansfield, Connecticut. He was the father of Truman Hanks, who in 1821 founded the Hartford Iron Foundry, later known as the Hanks & Woodruff Foundry, which manufactured the first brass cannon made in New England. Lucien B. Hanks, the son of Truman Hanks, was born in Hartford and continued the business founded by his father, until his death on December 1, 1890.

Lucien M. Hanks is one of a family of three sons. He attended the grammar and high schools of Madison and then entered the University of Wisconsin, from which he was graduated in 1889, with the degree of LL. B. He joined the Chi Psi fraternity during his college days and afterward spent a year as a student in the University of Berlin. On his return to Madison he entered his father's bank, with which he was identified for fifteen years, acting in the capacity of teller, and in 1906 aided in organizing the Central Wisconsin Trust Company, of which he was made president in 1909. In 1922 it was merged in the First National Bank and of this institution Mr. Hanks is the executive head.

Mr. Hanks was married on October 5, 1898, to Miss Mary Esther Vilas, a daughter of Senator William F. Vilas, and they have become the parents of three children:

William Vilas, a student at the University of Wisconsin; and

Sybil Anna and

Lucien Mason, Jr.

Mr. Hanks is a republican in his political views. He is a member of the Madison, Kiwanis, Black Hawk and Maple Bluff Clubs and also belongs to several bankers associations. Mr. Hanks is treasurer of the Red Cross, a director of the Madison anti-Tuberculosis Hospital, chairman of the advisory board of St. Mary's General Hospital and has been for many years local council of the Boy Scouts of America and is now a member of the National advisory board. During the World war he was chairman of the Liberty Loan Committee for Dane county.

Bibliographic information:



Lucien Stanley Hanks was born on the 8th of May, 1838, in the city of Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Lucien B. Hanks, a native of that city. His education was acquired in the North grammar school, in Hartford, and subsequently the Mount Washington Collegiate Institute, in the city of New York, located on the corner of Fourth and McDougal streets. In 1856 Mr. Hanks was employed as teller and bookkeeper in the Badger State Bank at Janesville, which was principally owned by its president, Mr. Hanks' brother-in-law, Edward L. Dimock, of happy memory. The bank suspended in the national crash of 1857, and the officers made an assignment of the affairs of the bank to one John P. Hoyt of that city. At a subsequent meeting of the creditors it transpired that Dimock was also a creditor and not a debtor, and they having unbounded confidence in the integrity and ability of Mr. Dimock, by a nearly unanimous vote, the affairs of the bank were taken from the assignee and put back into the hands of Mr. Dimock, without bonds, for adjustment. Personally, owning several thousand acres of heavily timbered land on the Wolfe River of Wisconsin, he then organized a corporation called the Wolfe River Lumber Company, and established several lumberyards in Rock county. The liquid assets of the bank and the lumber enabled Mr. Dimock to pay the creditors of record of the bank in full.

Mr. Hanks was the sole clerk retained during this period to assist in the winding up of the affairs of the Badger State Bank, paying cash for items under one hundred dollars, and part cash and orders for lumber on the Wolfe River Lumber Company for items exceeding one hundred dollars. This experience was a valuable education to Mr. Hanks—he had been a witness to its prosperity and to its adversity On the 12th of March, 1860, Mr. Hanks came to Madison, and was appointed teller of the State Bank, owned by the Marshall & Ilsley Bank of Milwaukee, which was the first state bank organized in Wisconsin under the general banking law of 1852. In 1865 Mr. Hanks was elected cashier and subsequently vice president. In 1890 he was chosen president in a kindly worded letter from President Marshall, and remained in that position until the fall of 1920, when the stockholders of the State Bank sold the bank to a syndicate of Madisonians.

On June 19, 1867, Mr. Hanks was married, at Edgewood Villa, the Madison residence of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Marshall, to Miss Sybil Perkins, a daughter of Mason Perkins of Middlebury, Vermont, and a niece of Mrs. Samuel Marshall; her mother, Julia, at that time had been long since deceased. Mrs. Hanks died on May 4, 1918, leaving three sons:

Louis M., at this writing president of the First National Bank, Madison;

Stanley C., president of the Stanley C. Hanks Realty Company; and

Marshall W., president of the Hankscraft Company.

All are residents of Madison, and graduates of the University of Wisconsin, and later continued their studies in Europe. Their father's repeated trips to Europe satisfied him that travel in the Old World would broaden and sweeten their lives.

Mr. Hanks was one of the charter members of the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association, and for seven years was one of the directors. That organization was practically founded by John M. Olin, who now enjoys the fruition of his vision and discernment. The organization has been supported by voluntary contributions by citizens too numerous, indeed, to mention, invoking the bounty of the late William F. Vilas of Vilas Park, of Daniel K. Tenney of Tenney Park, of George Raymer, and of Edward T. Owen, the latter still living to enjoy it. Mr. Hanks was regent of the University of Wisconsin from 1889 to 1892, and from 1903 to 1911. He was vice president of the board of regents, and chairman of its executive committee for the three years preceding his resignation, caused by illness in his family. He was trustee and treasurer of the Woodman Astronomical Library Fund, from 1890 to 1922, when he resigned, thinking he had done his bit. He has been a life member of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin for some thirty years, and is now its treasurer, having served as such for twenty-three years, loaning its funds without loss or litigation. Mr. Hanks is now living retired and in comfortable circumstances.

Bibliographic information:


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Lucien Mason Hanks, Sr.'s Timeline

June 27, 1868
Madison, Dane County, WI, United States
November 3, 1902
Madison, Dane County, WI, United States
March 15, 1908
Madison, Dane County, WI, United States
March 25, 1910
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States
April 29, 1950
Age 81
Madison, Dane County, WI, United States
May 1, 1950
Age 81
Forest Hill Cemetery, Madison, Dane County, WI, United States