Zachariah Hash was born in Green County, Kentucky, April 6, 1812. He is the oldest son and second child of Philip and Sarah (Nance) Hash who were natives of Virginia. Philip Hash was born in Virginia, January 31, 1790, and emigrated with his parents to Kentucky about 1800, and died in Lawrence county, Missouri, August 5, 1848.
Sarah (Nance) Hash was born near Richmond Virginia, October 24, 1791, and died in Lawrence county, Missouri, February 24, 1847. It is quite worthy of note that she was one of two girls in a family of fifteen children, she weighing about ninety pounds while her sister weighted considerably more than 200 pounds. Her father, Zachariah nance, was a man of giant frame, he weighing 244 pounds yet not being very corpulent. He was born in Charles City county, Virginia, May 5, 1760. While still a boy he was bound out to learn a trade, but the revolutionary war broke out and he was compelled to enter the army as a substitute for the son of the man to whom he was bound. He served his time out and then re-enlisted and remained in the army until the close of the war. He was in Gen. Wayne's command at the capture of Stony Point and was wounded in the knee, from the effects of which he was crippled for life. He emigrated to Kentucky in 1806, where he lived 26 years, then removed to Sangamon, now Menard county, Ill., where he lived on a farm until his death which occurred December 22, 1835.
About 1820, Philip Hash and family, accompanied by his parents, removed to the southwestern part of Kentucky, which section proved unhealthy for the elder Mrs. Hash, so the aged couple started back to Green County, but Mrs. Hash died on the way and the husband proceeded alone. In less than a year Philip Hash and family started back to Green county and while enroute they incidentally came to the pioneer's hut near where the elder Mrs. Hash was buried. Here they received the first news of the sad end of the aged lady. After hiring the pioneer to enclose the grave with a fence Mr. Hash and family proceeded on their journey to Green county.
In 1822, Philip Hash and family accompanied by Robert, Washington and Eaton Nance (brothers of Mrs. Hash) emigrated to Illinois and spent the first winter in Clary's Grove. The following spring Mr. Hash settled in a little grove about 2 miles from Clary's Grove. Attention is called to the fact that nearly all pioneers from Kentucky settled in the timber; having come from a densely timbered country they naturally shunned the open prairie. the Hash family remained in the little grove about two years and then removed to a log house built by them on land now owned by Mrs. Matilda Dick, having planted 16 acres of sod corn here the preceding spring. The subject of this sketch says he believes this to have been the first house built between Oakford and Beardstown. At this time about 50 or 60 of the Pottawatomie Indians, under Chief Shick Shack were living in the Sangamon Valley. In the winter they camped in the timber near the river, but during the summer months they lived on a hill near the present home of Wm. Lynn. this hill still bears the name of Shick Shack's Knob. Shick Shack was very sociable and was a great friend of the Hash family. The subject of our sketch tells us that his father one time asked the chief why he camped on the hill in summer. The reply was: "The skeeters no bother." Again he asked Shick Shack how he got his water up on the hill and this time he replied: "Hmm squaw do that." The present generation were not first to sing "Let the women do the work." Our subject tells us that when the Indians left the Sangamon Bottom they went to Ft. Clark, now Peoria, and that Shick Shack came to his father's house and bid them all a fond farewell.
While the Hash family was living on the Bottom, Jane, the oldest daughter was married to Zephaniah Gum, a cousin of the late J. B. Gumm, whose name is familiar to all around Chandlerville. The young couple went to Knox county to live and lured by the glowing reports of that section of the state, Philip Hash removed his family to a farm of 160 acres on the head waters of Spoon river within about seven miles of the present site of Galesburg. This territory was the home of the Sacs and Fox Indians and they numbered many more than the whites. Fulton county at that time was a part of Knox county and Lewiston the county seat.
Mr. Hash was able to get no deed better than a tax-title and because of this and the hostility of the Indians, (the Black Hawk war was brewing) he returned to Cass county. This time he settled in Big Puncheon Camp Grove near the present site of Newmanville. While living her the Black Hawk War broke out and Zachariah, who was reaching manhood, wanted to enlist but his father denied him this privilege, but promptly enlisted himself leaving our subject to look after the family.
When Zachariah Hash reached the age of twenty-one his father told him that it would be a shame to turn him out on the cold world without some education; that if he would go to school he would buy his books and pay his tuition, but he must board himself. Grasping the first opportunity to peep into the realm of books as only the frontier youth knew how, the young man worked for his board at the home of an uncle on Rock Creek (between Petersburg and Springfield) and attended the school of another uncle, Thomas Nance, for nine whole months, at the end of which time he was compelled to sever his connection with the school and go to work for his home-spun clothing was giving out. He had started in the class of boys of about 8 years of age and no doubt felt greatly humiliated, but by close application in nine short months he gained a practical knowledge of the "Three R's" and was beginning to study grammar. When he told his uncle that he must quit school and go to work, that kind an shed tears and told him he had just gotten the doors open; that he could teach him more in the next three months than he had in the first nine. But these kind words could not be followed. There was a literary society in the school, of which Abraham Lincoln was a prominent member.
During all these years our subject had been developing into a strong robust man. His muscles were not developed by foot ball and athletics but by hard frontier labor. He knew no clothing but home-spun and home-made; no shoes but home-made, leather home-tanned and but one pair a year. Being the eldest son in a family of fifteen children his shoulders were loaded with responsibility. Nevertheless Cupid also had been busy and when our subject reached the age of 22 he was married to Miss Mary Dick, also a native of Kentucky, born February 16, 1817. Soon after he entered 40 acres of land (now owned by Henry Schaad) borrowing the money and paying 25 per cent interest. While living here, "Uncle Zach," as he is now familiarly known, purchased one of the first diamond plows manufactured by Wm. Sprouse, the inventor, on Rock Creek. This plow was stocked by Samuel Combes an uncle of our subject and ever stuck in the sol of Cass County. It was considered a wonder. Mr. Hash continued entering land until he had 120 acres which he sold for $1200 and purchased the farm he now owns, consisting of about 200 acres, 30 acres of which is under cultivation, the rest being covered with brush and timber, of Charles and Peter Rickard and Socrates Smith. The purchasing price was $3000.
Mrs. Hash died June 22, 1857, leaving the husband, four sons and three daughters to mourn her departure. The next five years of Mr. hash's life were filled with many trials and tribulations as he had his motherless children to care for in addition to the farm work.
On April 3, 1862, Mr. Hash was united in marriage to Mrs. Susan Shelton, a native of Tennessee, born March 17, 1825, died March 1, 1904. to this union were born two sons, both dying in infancy. In the year 1862 Mr. Hash suffered a sorrow such as seldom comes to a parent, - the death of a child each day for three consecutive days. Two of his children are living: Peter, at home and Mrs. John Plunkett, of Ashland.
Mr. Hash has not been actively engaged in farming for the last thirty years although he has lived on his farm until last November when he removed to Chandlerville where he now lives. Mr. Hash's brothers and sisters settled in several different states and territories. Three died in youth. Of those who reached maturity: Mrs. Jane Gum, Thomas Hash, Mrs. Martha Taylor, Mrs. Polly Berry and Henry Hash settled in Missouri, all of whom are deceased except Mrs. Berry, who still lives in Lawrence county; John, Robert and Philip Anderson Hash died in Texas. Mr. Nancy Berry lives in Indian Ty.
Thomas, Philip Anderson and Wm. Hash went to California 1848. Thomas and Philip returned east but William remained and has not been heard of since 1874 when he was in Nevada. James Hash lived at Boswell, Ind., and has been dead a number of years. So that our subject and two sisters are all that remain of a family of fifteen.
Our subject is the last of the 460 first voters of Cass county and perhaps is the oldest man in the county. At the advanced age of 94 years he retains his faculties exceedingly well and is more supple than many men of three score years. That he may be permitted to reach the century mark is the earnest desire of all who know him.