Woodford D. Hand

Company D, 30th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

Submitted by: John and Cindy McCachern

Biography of Woodford D. Hand (1883, History of Crawford and Clark Counties,
Illinois, p. 275)

Woodford D. Hand, farmer, P. O. Hutsonville, is the oldest in a family of three children born to James F. and Nancy (Draper) Hand. He was born in the same house he is now occupying as a residence, July 29, 1835. His father was a farmer, born near Chillicothe, Ohio, May 20, 1805. He was brought to Crawford County, Ill., by his parents, who located on the same farm where our subject resides. Their arrival was dated April 21, 1821. He died October 9, 1876. He was elected Second Lieutenant of the Sixteenth Regiment Illinois Militia, in 1827, and was Justice of the Peace and Associate Justice of Crawford County for many years previous to his death. He was a member of the Baptist Church. The mother of our subject was born in North Carolina December 12, 1806. She was brought to Crawford County by her parents in 1816. She died August 23, 1860. Woodford D. Hand was raised onthe farm and educated from the subscription schools. October 5, 1861, he enlisted in the late rebellion, serving in Company D, Thirtieth Illinois Infantry. He entered as a private, and when mustered out July 17, 1865, was Captain of his company. He was with Sherman onhis march to the sea, and took part in most of the engagements of his regiment. After the war, he returned to the home farm, and began farming, at which he still continues. He is now the owner of 100 acres of good land. He was married in Crawford County, October 21, 1855, to Miss Mary J. Cox, a daughter of Needham Cox, a native of Wayne County, N. C. Mrs. Hand was born in Crawford County, May 3, 1838. They have the following children: Malinda E., Mary B., Daniel W., Augusta B. and William S. Mr. Hand is now holding the offices of Justice of the Peace and School Treasurer. He and wife are members of the Baptist Church. Politically, he is a Republican.

Heirlooms From Local Civil War Soldier to Be Displayed, by Jay Ping, Staff Writer

A native son of Crawford County is about to take a place of honor--100 years after his service to the county.

Crawford County Board member Donald "Doc" Imboden and Sheriff Tom Weger told the Daily News a local family is prepared to let the county keep a sword carried by a Civil War officer from Hutsonville.

Woodford D. Hand, son of Crawford County Circuit Judge James Hand, served his country 130 years ago at Vicksburg and during General Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. Later--from 1890 to 1894--he served Crawford County as sheriff. Now Hand's descendants are preparing to return his Civil War officer's sword to the county the Hand family served for generations.

"We are placing the sword, discharge papers, belt buckle and civil war ink drawing on permanent loan with Crawford County," said Janice Zellers, Robinson. "The loan is on condition that they display it in the courthouse and keep it in a case there."

Although it is Zellers' branch of the family that will make the direct presentation, the sword and other artifacts are keppsakes of the entire Hand clan, eight generations of which have lived in Crawford County. The family includes Kenneth Hand, a cousin who lives on the 173-year-old Hand farm near Hutsonville, and many other relatives in the area.

The engraved sword has been passed down through the generations of the Hand family. It went first to William Sherman Hand, the sheriff's son, who was named for Woodford Hand's commander. Next it went to Arthur Hand, William Sherman Hand's son, and his wife, Martha.

Now, Zellers said, a great-great granddaughter of Woodford Hand ....with the public. That willingness to share, she explained, comes from a sense of belonging here.

"I received from my grandfather a sense of who we are and where we came from," Zellers said. "We have a sense of what it is all about. My grandparents collected everything and passed it down to us."

So did other members of the family. After more than 170 years in Crawford County, the Hand family has a collection of photos, memoirs, and, of course, the sword.

Documents Zellers keeps copies of show that Woodford Hand enlisted as a private and finished the war as a first lieutenant. Some family records indicate that he enlisted in 1861, and one army document states he was enrolled as an officer 1864.

He fought during at least part of the western campaign, including the siege of vicksburg, with Company D of the 30th Illinois, then marched with Sherman through Georgia. After Sherman's march was complete, Hand and his company marched in the Grand Review, a big victory parade in Washington D.C.

Among the family's memoirs about Woodford Hand is one given by Sheriff Hand's daughter, Ella, to her son, Willia. It tells the story of a hard-nosed sheriff who put up with very little fuss from the unruly mob of prisoners he kept. Ironically, Hand's election over a century ago came at a time when the ruling Democrats were being tossed out of office left and right.

"My fahter was elected sheriff on the FMBA ticket in 1890, which caused the Democrats particularly many a sigh of disgruntlement." Ella Hand wrote. Ella lived with her parents in a house connected to the jail by a hall. This allowed her a first-hand look at the prisoners--whether she wanted to look at them or not.

"A few of the men in town that craved excitement would slip.....Ella wrote. "The prisoners would get drunk and raise cain. They ripped and tore and yelled "fire" until people came running in their night dresses to see what was going on."

Punishment for those caught doing this must have been harsh, for Hand writes that her cousin made a 'quick return to Missouri' after provoking one such indident.

The prisoners treated the Hand family with contempt. Though Ella hand claimed the prisoners were fed very well, whenever a visitor asked the prisoners what they ate, the prisoners told them "corn bread and fat meat."

One day, young Ella got her chance for revenge.

"For one week while mother was visiting the countyr, I prepared food for the prisoners," Hand said. "This time it was corn bread and fat meat. You can suppose they were indignant and hoped and prayed to high heaven that mother would return."

Another tradition the prisoners had--"raising hell on Tuesdays," caused Sheriff Hand to exact a little justice. After an especially bad hell-raising session, all of the dishes were broken. The sheriff ordered his family not to feed the prisoners anything but fat meat and bread. The prisoners were served the concoction in dog pans. One instigator had his dinner carried to him on a black-door shingle.

Sheriff Hand would tolerate no card-playing in his jail, either. Cards were considered "Instruemnts of the devil" and were confiscated. So were "dime-novels." The prisoners got Sunday school papers to read instead.

Hand kept stern watch over the prisoners, and remained calm no matter what distraction they made. His daughter wrote that he learned to be so unshakable in the war. As an officer in the Union Army, he wielded his sword with bold, unshakable character.

As Hand's sword is put in its new place in the courthouse, perhaps it will carry with it some of the officer and sheriff's confidence. And, perhaps, today' county officers will hold it a source of strength when the time comes to face the difficlut distractions of modern government.

Photo included with this article--caption says, "Lt. Woodford Had, as he appeared on his way home from the Civil War. The Crawford County soldier enlisted in 1861 as a private andleft the army at the end of the war as a first lieutenant. His battle sword will now hang in Crawford County Courthouse courtesy of the family.

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