Wednesday, October 18

To the Uttermost


Anonymous said...

Hello Dr. Grant,
My name is Matthew J. Glatzel, and I work at the Maasai Institute in Milwaukee, WI. Your book, the Patriot's Handbook, was referenced on a website referring to the geneaology of John Hanson as being Swedish, and I was wondering if you could e-mail your sources on John Hanson to me. There is some debate as to if he were actually Swedish, or if he was a Moor, and therefore black. If he were indeed black, this would be some historical significance. So, can you help?

Here is the website where I found the information.

You may e-mail the information to mglatzel(at)

My sincerest regards,
M. Glatzel

gileskirk said...

Matthew: I am not sure where you gleaned the tidbit about Hanson being a Moor. According to the site you reference, he was indeed a Swede--as all his published biographies indicate. See the first paragraph of the bio on your site:

"He was the heir of one of the greatest family traditions in the colonies and became the patriarch of a long line of American patriots – his great-grandfather died at Lutzen beside the great King Gustavus Aldophus of Sweden; his grandfather was one of the founders of New Sweden along the Delaware River in Maryland; one of his nephews was the military secretary to George Washington; another was a signer of the Declaration; still another was a signer of the Constitution; yet another was Governor of Maryland during the Revolution; and still another was a member of the first Congress; two sons were killed in action with the Continental Army; a grandson served as a member of Congress under the new Constitution; and another grandson was a Maryland Senator. Thus, even if Hanson had not served as President himself, he would have greatly contributed to the life of the nation through his ancestry and progeny."

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your quick reply. I read the above paragraph, and that is why I am writing. I was actually wondering where that information came from. I understand that some things in history are understood, but I am actually wondering about your sources for that information. Again, thank you for your speedy reply.

- Glatzel

gileskirk said...

Matthew: Every published biography that I have in my library (I have seven) is consistent on this matter. Hanson was of Swedish stock.

Here is a brief bibliography--with one full biogrpahy, and then three other helpful resources:

Kremer, J. Bruce. John Hanson of Mulberry Grove. (New York: Albert & Charles Boni, Inc., 1938)

Sobel, Robert, ed. Biographical Directory of the United States Executive Branch, 1774-1989. (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990)

Levering, Ralph B. “John Hanson, Public Servant.” Maryland History Magazine, 1976. 71(2):113-133.

Sanders, Jennings B. The Presidency of the Continental Congress 1774-1789: A Study in American Institutional History. (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1971)

Suzi said...

Dr. Grant, you're like a one man encyclopedia. My kids and I laughingly call you Dr. Google. I can't believe you have the patience to answer so many questions like these!

Dr. Knox said...

Indeed! Your willingness to answer arcane questions from the whole realm of history, theology, and literature is even more wondrous than your ability to do so.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your bibliographic reply, Dr. Grant. It is excellent, and I will pursue those resources further. I would like to share two sources that I came across that might be of interest to you. One is academic and one is more anecdotal.

I have one refuting academic source here claiming that John Hanson was most likely an indentured servant from Barbados.

And one very non-academic source claiming that he was a Moor by ethnicity, and a member of a very prominent Black family in the North.

Please hear that my intention is not to just stir up trouble about the ethnicity of John Hanson. I am really just trying to find the truth in this matter. As an educator, I know that the search for truth, while potentially esoteric or arcane at times, can try one's patience. I thank you for yours.

I also thank your colleagues/friends for their gracious and caring comments about me. They seem like very encouraging people.

- Glatzel

gileskirk said...

Matthew: The geneological site you reference has some interesting assertions, but I'd hardly describe the research there as academic. The site is a commercial geneological service from Sweden. The leads it offers might well be worth following up. however remember that information on the web can be notoriously unreliable. Look for standard primary and published sources. The revisionist Black history book, on the other hand, makes some absurd statements that reveal a total lack of understanding of the Continental Congress--the whole discussion of who did or did not sign the Declaration for instance. I don't see much there worth following up. Finally, I don't think the other blog comments were as much about you as about me, so please don't take offense.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your time and patience. It has been an extreme help at my school. My next step would be to also approach the individual who composed the article for the Swedish genealogical site for their sources. Again, I thank you.