Hannah Phares Life Sketch

(1789 - 1878)

Hannah Phares was born on March 1, 1789 in New Jersey. Hannah married Calvin Pitman on April 16, 1807, in Hamilton County, Ohio. Hannah Phares Pitman died on May 10, 1878, in Clinton County, Ohio.

Hannah Phares was born in New Jersey on March 1, 1789. Her parents are unknown. Hannah and members of the Phares family likely arrived in Hamilton County, Ohio, around 1803, some of the earliest pioneers.

On April 16, 1807, at the age of 18, Hannah married Calvin Pitman, son of Jonathan Pitman and Rebecca Clevenger, in Hamilton County, Ohio. Hannah and Calvin had the following known children:

  1. Rachel Pitman
  2. Susan Pitman
  3. Rebecca Pitman
  4. Jonathan Pitman
  5. Sarah Pitman
  6. Joseph P. Pitman
  7. Charles S. Pitman

Hannah and Calvin's first three children were born prior to the War of 1812, likely in Hamilton County, Ohio.

In August of 1812, Hannah's husband Calvin enlisted in the Ohio Militia for a six month term. He was back home by the end of February of 1813. Following Calvin's service, the family settled in Milford County, Ohio, close to the town of Oxford. Hannah gave birth to three more children prior to 1820.

In 1826, Hannah's oldest daughter Rachel married Joseph Douglass. The Douglass family lived on a farm adjacent to the Pitman's.

In 1829, the family moved a few miles away to Oxford County and the US 1830 census recorded the family next to Thomas F. Phares, likely a relative of Hannah. Thomas Phares owned land a few miles north of the town of Oxford.

In January of 1830, daughter Susan married Felix D. Fowler. The marriage was followed by the birth of Hannah and Calvin's youngest son a few days later.

In November of 1830, Calvin purchased land in Clinton County, Indiana. The family likely delayed a move to Indiana and returned to Calvin's father's home in Hamilton County. In 1832 daughter Rebecca married Zachariah T. Dewitt in Hamilton County. Zachariah had been a neighbor of the Pitman's in Butler County and lived next to married daughter Susan Fowler. In 1834, daughter Sarah married Stephen Whitlock in Hamilton County. Stephen lived in the same township as Calvin's father. After the death of Calvin's father in August of 1834, Calvin, as co-executor of his father's will, was present in Hamilton County to transfer a deed in January of 1835.

Likely, sometime between 1835 and 1838, Calvin, Hannah and their sons moved to Clinton County, Indiana. Son Jonathan married Jane Ferrier in Clinton County in June of 1838. Son Joseph married Hannah Castator in January of 1840. Daughter Rachel, who had been widowed in 1838, moved to Clinton County before 1840 and in 1841 married for the second time, Henry Lipp.

Hannah's husband Calvin died in 1843, leaving Hannah his entire 120 acre estate “which is to be at her entire control as long as she shall live.” The will implied that daughter Rachel and sons Jonathan and Joseph had already received gifts from Calvin. After Hannah's decease, the estate was devised to Charles, Susan Fowler, Rebecca Dewitt and their heirs. Daughter Sarah had died in 1839 and her son was left a legacy.

By 1850, all of Hannah's children lived in Clinton county, except for Susan, who lived in Lafayette County, Indiana, a few miles from Clinton County. Hannah lived with son Charles and his new bride Sarah Jane Salmon. Between 1850 and 1852, both Charles and daughter Rebecca Dewitt died, each leaving 2 children.

On February 19, 1852, Hannah married a second time, a widower, Benjamin Wilson. In July of 1854, Hannah's son-in-law Zachariah Dewitt, on behalf of his children, filed a complaint against Hannah and Benjamin Wilson, and Joseph and Jonathan Pitman. The complaint alleged that the estate in Hannah's control, and which would eventually be inherited by his children, was in disrepair and the value decreased. Zachariah asked for damages of $3000 and also that the land be immediately vacated and passed to his children. The judge ruled in Zachariah's favor and awarded 40 acres to Zachariah.

In 1853 and in 1859, Hannah received bounty land from the US government for Calvin's War of 1812 service. She reassigned (i.e. sold) both pieces of land, one in Iowa and one in Minnesota.

In 1856, Hannah lived with her son Joseph and entered into an agreement with Abraham Miller to sell the remaining 80 acres of the estate. Joseph claimed he would inherit the property upon Hannah's death. Hannah's understanding of the agreement was that Joseph would receive $1200 immediately and another $800 at the time of her death. A part of the agreement was that Hannah was to receive $48 annually for the rest of her life. In a court case years later, Hannah was depicted as “an aged, feeble and infirm widow, without any business education or experience, was nearly blind and mentally incapable of transacting business, and was wholly under the influence and control of Joseph Pitman.”

In the US 1860 census, Hannah lived alone without Benjamin Wilson and she had reverted to her Pitman surname. Benjamin lived with his son-in-law, Franklin Caldwell. Benjamin died in 1865. Although Benjamin was dead, on March 26, 1877, Hannah officially divorced Benjamin Wilson, probably on the advice of her attorney.

In 1863, son Joseph entered into an agreement with Abraham Miller and Franklin Caldwell regarding the estate, this time apparently without Hannah's knowledge. It appears Joseph was paid an additional amount and then released the deeds to Abraham Miller and Franklin Caldwell. The following map of Clinton County drawn in 1865 showed Miller and Caldwell in possession of the former estate of Calvin Pitman.

Clinton County Hannah Phares genealogy research

Then in 1866, Hannah's son Joseph died.

In 1870, 81 year old Hannah lived with her widowed daughter Rachel LIpp. Prior to her death, Hannah commenced a lawsuit against Abraham Miller, Franklin Caldwell, and the heirs of Joseph Pitman. Hannah claimed she had been defrauded of the property, also that Joseph had collected money to which she was entitled. The case was filed under the name Hannah Wilson.

Hannah died on May 10, 1878, at the age of 89. She outlived all of her children except Rachel and Jonathan. She was buried next to her husband Calvin in Bunnell Cemetery, 35 years after his death.

Hannah's administrator deliberated the case in 1879 on behalf of Hannah's heirs. He lost. He pursued the case to the Supreme Court of Indiana where in 1882, the court refused to overturn the original judgment.

Genealogical Research and Life Sketch Updated: April 2022


Pitman, Calvin. Last Will and Testament of Calvin Pitman. 3 November 1843. Clinton County, Indiana. Book 1 Folio 73.

"Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958", database, FamilySearch, Rachel Pitman in entry for Joseph Douglass, 1826.

"Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016", database with images, FamilySearch, Felix Fowler and Susan Pitman, 1830.

"Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2016", database with images, FamilySearch, Zachariah J. Dewitt and Rebecca Pitman, 1832.

"Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958", database, FamilySearch, Sarah Pitman in entry for Stephen Whitlock, 1834.

"Indiana Marriages, 1811-2019", database with images, FamilySearch, Jonathan Pitman, 1838.

"United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch, Hannah Pitman in household of Charles Pitman, Jackson Township, Clinton, Indiana, United States; citing family , NARA microfilm publication (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

"United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch, Hannah Pitman, 1860.

"United States Census, 1870", database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MXXW-YNZ : 28 May 2021), Hannah Pitman in entry for Rachel Lipp, 1870.

"Indiana Marriages, 1811-2019", database with images, FamilySearch, Hannah Pitman in entry for Benjamin Wilson, 1852.

“Z.T. Dewitt vs H. & B. Wilson, J. Pitman & J. Pitman”. Indiana Circuit Court. Clinton County, Indiana. #114A/8, 18 July 1954.

Calvin Pitman, Hannah Pitman (Dubuque, Iowa), Military Warrant no. 28.690; “Land Patent Search,” digital images, General Land Office Records.

Calvin Pitman, Hannah Pitman (Chatfield, Minnesota), Military Warrant no. 24.701; “Land Patent Search,” digital images, General Land Office Records.

Warner, A, Worley & Bracher, and F Bourquin. Map of Boone & Clinton counties, Indiana. Philadelphia: Cowles & Titus, . Phila.: F. Bourquin Lith. Printr, 1865. Map. Retrieved from the Library of Congress.

Reports of Cases Decided in the Supreme Court of the State of Indiana. United States, Bowen-Merrill Company, 1883.

Hannah Phares genealogy research