from "Benjamin Hanks, Sr. of Pembroke, MA & His Descendants Updated October 1, 2005" by Kenneth Gene Carpenter,  527 - 77th Street Niagara Falls, NY 14304 United States

All of the branches of the Hanks Family in England and America seem to have come from the beautiful town of Malmesbury in Wiltshire. It was not far from Malmesbury, in Edington, that in 878 A.D. Alfred the Great defeated the Danes who had ever run the whole kingdom of the West Saxons. All the Malmesbury men that fought under Alfred the Great in this battle, were rewarded with certain tracts of land which are still held by descendants of these old families. Among these so called "commoners", each of whom had 500 acres, were two brothers by the name of John and George Hanks, whose descendants still hold the commoners rights in Malmesbury. King Athelstan the Grandson of Alfred the Great having given them a charter, King John another later, etc. The ancient town of Malmesbury is 96 miles from London. The celebrated Foss road, on the great four military roads which the Romans constructed, runs near Malmesbury, through Gloucester shire, Stow and other cities up to London and York, and into the far north, to Scotland. Malmesbury is also neat and the marvelous ruins of Stone hedge, built it is believed, ages ago the ancient Egyptians who built the pyramids. As the word ank in H "ank" S itself is and Egyptian word meaning soul, it is believed that this family had lived in Malmesbury for long ages. They were a clannish race and for four centuries it is said, many of them never left their native home. It is recorded that one of Hanks family was at one time shot by other members of the family when he ventured to leave the native home and they feared he would "mix the breed". That was nearly a thousand years when it was a crime to leave the town to sleep in King Athelstan time. It was along the old Foss road, that the descendants of the Hanks family traveled when they first left their native heath. So far as the English records have been completed, the following facts have been gleaned concerning their removal. About 1550, Thomas Hanks (1st), moved from Malmesbury with his brother, George and sister Ann, and settled on Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucester shire, England. Thomas Hanks (1st) married had three children., Henry, Marie, and Thomas Jr.. Thomas Jr. (2nd) also married and had four children - Grace, Mary, Thomas 3rd, and Edmund. Thomas 3rd, who is said to been soldier under Cromwell, married and had 4 children -John, Joseph, Thomas and William. Joseph, son of the third Thomas, moved from Stow-on-the-Wold to Donnington (probably the hamlet of that name in the parish of Stow-on-the-Wold), married and had five children, Benjamin, William, Stephen, Hester and Mary. This Benjamin Hanks, son of Joseph, is said to have been the Benjamin Hanks, who, with his wife Abigail Heiford, and with their close friends, Richard and Catherine White (another prominent New England Family), migrated to New England in 1699.

According to Edgar Freeman Hanks, in HANKS AND OTHER ANCESTORS OF MINE, 1968

A descendant of Benjamin Hanks of Pembroke and Easton, Massachusetts, has written that when Alfred the Great defeated the Danes in the year 878 at Edington in Wiltshire, all the men from the ancient town of Malmesbury, in the same county nearby, who fought in this battle, were rewarded with certain tracts of land. Among the "Commoners" each given 500 acres, were two brothers of Malmesbury of the name Hanks.

Unfortunately, the source from which this statement was derived is not indicated. The year 878 if a long way back, even in English history. This line of the Hanks family in England, beginning with THOMAS HANKS, who moved from Malmesbury in 1550, is mentioned by the late Susan C. Tufts as a footnote to her "Benjamin Hanks of Pembroke and Easton, Massachusetts, and some of his descendants" which appeared in the January 1932 issue of "The New England Historical and Genealogical Register." Ending the footnote, Tufts states that nothing has been found to indicate the sources from which the notes of the Hanks Family in England were derived. Tufts does not mention that the notes were collected by a descendant of BENJAMIN HANKS. This descendant could well have been, and probably was, Caroline Hanks Hitchcock, author of the book "Nancy Hanks, The Story of Abraham Lincoln's Mother, published by Doubleday and McClure Company, New York, 1899. Hitchcock's genealogy of the Hanks Family, the line beginning with THOMAS HANKS, is the same in the book "Nancy Hanks" as the footnotes of Tufts, and excepting the Uriah, who married Laurana, the same family tree charted by Hanks and Owen, although the latter's chart goes back a few generations further.

A Uriah and Luraney have appeared in uncorroborated family record, given by the late Edwin P Hanks, as being the first of the Hanks family to arrive in New England. But it has been well established and proven, by Tufts, that the first arrival was Benjamin Hanks, born about 1665 in England.

Whether or not BENJAMIN HANKS was married to Abigail when he sailed from England is debatable. The late Edgar Hanks of Indianapolis, IN, who had conducted some very careful research, gives evidence that John Heiford, a resident of Braintree, MA, on or before 06 April 1667, married Abigail Albins in 1678/79. It was their daughter, Abigail Heiford, who married Benjamin Hanks, Sr. in 1700, at Braintree. From that date on, the early American records are well researched and proved, thanks to Susan C. Tufts.
It is believed that Benjamin and his wife Abigail sailed with their friends, Richard and Catherine White, who, as their old records show, came from London in Oct. 17, 1699, and landed in Plymouth, Mass. This Benjamin Hanks was the brother of William Hanks, who is the Great Grandfather of the mother of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the U.S... (Nancy Hanks) According to the deeds in Plymouth we find that Benjamin first settled in Pembroke county, and among the parish records of Rev. Daniel Lewis, found the records of the birth of his children. These children were all born in Benjamin's first home on the land consisting of 30 acres, being in the township of Pembroke, which township is part of the 35th lot in ye land commonly known as, "Major's Purchase". Here they all lived until Abigail, the wife and mother, died in the year 1725. Two years later, Benjamin married Mary Ripley of Bridgewater, and moved to Boston, where another son, Jacob, was born. In 1736, he moved to Plymouth, where he bought of Robert Bartlett, for the sum of 700 pounds, 7/8ths parts of the uplands and the beach of the island of Saguish, lying and being in the harbor of Plymouth, together with all the dwelling houses, barns and fences on said island standing, and being also 2 pieces of salt marsh and meadow to said island adjoining". He later, June 6, 1745, bought the rest of the Saguish for 80 lbs., "paid by Benjamin Hanks of Plymouth, yeoman, for my one eighth part of the upland on the place commonly known as called Saguish in Plymouth aforesaid, with my rights in the beach". It was here in Saguish, once owned by Benjamin Hanks that Fort Standish was built during the Civil War, and that the French Cable was laid July 27, 1869. From the records we find the history of New England, where they are known as a "remarkably inventive family" and "a family of founders". the first Bell sever made in U.S. were cast on Hanks Hill on their old New England farm. It was on the descendants of Benjamin Hanks, that The Tower Clocks of America, one of which stood where the post office is now in New York City, a unique affair of windmill attachments of bells and chimes made by this family are now ringing all over the world, on the land and on sea, on of them being the bell in Philadelphia which replaced the old Liberty Bell, which hung in front of the Administration Building at the Worlds Fair in 1893 in Chicago. This bell weighed 13,000 lbs. to represent the 13 original states, and was made from relics of gold, silver, old coins and metal sent from all parts of the world. On the Columbia Liberty Bell were inscribed the words, by the 3rd great grandson of Benjamin Hanks of Plymouth, "glory to god in the highest, and on earth, peace and good will toward men; Proclaim liberty throughout the land and unto all the inhabitants there of. " A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another!"

BENJAMIN HANKS OF PEMBROKE AND EASTON, MA., AND SOME OF HIS DESCENDANTS By SUSAN COTTON TUFTS of BOSTON, Mass. BENJAMIN1 HANKS, of Pembroke and Easton, Mass., husbandman, was born in England about 1665, and died at Easton 9 Jan.1755, "in the ninetieth year of his age as he saith" (Easton records). He married first, in England, ABIGAIL HEIFORD , who died at Pembroke 6 Sept. 1726 (Vital Records of Pembroke) ; and secondly, at Pembroke, 23Mar.1727 (Vital Records of Pembroke and of Bridgewater), MARY RIPLEY, widow of William Ripley of Bridgewater, Mass. She died at Easton 21 Oct. 1760, in her 83d year (Easton records). Benjamin Hanks and his wife Abigail, according to a statement in a notebook of his friend, Richard White, "came from London Oct. 17th 1699" and landed at Plymouth, Mass. Benjamin Hanks settled in the western part of Duxbury Mass., in the part of that town which was established in 1712 as the town of Pembroke. The earliest reference thus far found to the land of Benjamin Hanks is in a deed dated 25 Feb. 1713/14, by which John Partridge of "Duxborough" in Plymouth County, for 9 in current money, conveyed to Benjamin Hanks of Pembroke "30 acres of land in Pembroke part of the 35th lot in the land commonly known as 'ye Majrs Purchase,'" bounded "on ye Northerly corner to a Hemlock Tree standing in a Swamp from thence running Easterly 62 Rods to a Stake marked 36.35, from thence Running by ye 35th Lot to a Stake with Stones about it Standing by ye most Southerly Way that Leads to ye Swamp commonly Called & known by ye Cedar Bridge and from said Stake by ye sd Path over Sd Swamp to a white oak tree marked which is the Westerly Corner Bounds & from thence Running Northerly to ye aforesd Hemlock Tree," etc. This deed was acknowledged 16 Sept. 1715 and was recorded 7 Mar. 1715/16.(Plymouth Deeds. 11: 205.) On 24 Apr. 1725 Benjamin Hanks of Pembroke, for 120 in cur-rent money, sold to Isaac Little of Marshfield, Mass., the 30 acres of land, with all buildings, part of Lot 35, where he then dwelt. This deed was recorded 2 May 1738. (Plymouth Deeds, 32: 33.) On 21 Apr. 1725 Benjamin Hanks of Pembroke, for 60, bought of Isaac Little of Marshfield Lot 68 in Pembroke, in the Major's Purchase, bounded west by lot 67, north "from a Stake at N. E. corner of 67th lot on the south side of a cart way ranging e. S.E. 69 Pole to a great horn bound tree marked xxxxxxvli xxxxxxlx standing in the Cedar Swamp; South from S. E. Corner of Sd 67th lot, being a white oak tree marked 67,68 standing on the East side of a hill, E. S.E. to a small white oak marked 66-68 standing about 3 pole from cedar Swamp line, and so on ye same Range home to the Cedar Swamp Line; & from thence the Easterly side bounded by Cedar Swamp Range to the great horn bound tree marked before mentioned," etc. This deed was acknowledged the same day and was recorded 21 Apr. 1726. (Plymouth Deeds, 20:109.) On 30 Mar. 1733/4 Benjamin Hanks of Pembroke, husbandman, for 160, sold to Jonathan Peterson Lot 68, with buildings, fences, orchards, gardens, etc., and his wife Mary released her rights of dower. Benjamin made his mark and Mary signed her name. (Plymouth Deeds, 30: 38.) About 1746 Benjamin Hanks's son Benjamin moved from Saquish Island, in Plymouth Harbor where he had lived since his marriage 1724, to Mansfield, Conn., where he had owned land since 1737; and soon after the departure of his son for Connecticut, Benjamin, Sr., moved to Easton, in Bristol County, Mass., nineteen miles northwest from Plymouth, where his youngest son Jacob, then unmarried, had become a resident as early as 1744. There Benjamin, Sr., built a house for himself, and there he died. Children by first wife, born in that part of the ancient Duxbury which was established in 1712 as the town of Pembroke, their births (except that of Jacob) being recorded at Pembroke.

Notes: New England Historical and Genealogical Register 1932 Vol. LXXXVI
Sources: Charles Rufus Hanks' Research Paper (1935)

Benjamin Hanks, Sr. "husbandman," was born in England, most probably in the hamlet of Donnington, in the parish of Stow-on-the-Wold, county Gloucester, about 1665.

According to an entry in the notebook of his friend, Richard White, Benjamin "came from London, October 17, 1699." (In the same fine handwriting of his proven will, Richard White's notebook is still in existence and contains many items of interest.) Benjamin landed at Plymouth, MA., and settled in the western part of Duxbury, which later, in 1712, was established as the town of Pembroke.

Abigail may, or may not have come with him. The authors have conflicting ideas about this. Whichever is true, Benjamin and Abigail had 12 children. All their births, except that of Jacob, were recorded at Pembroke.

Abigail died at Pembroke on 6 Sep 1726, in her forty-seventh year. At the time of her death none of the girls were married, and all six of them were over thirteen. Jacob must have been only about nine when she died.

Six months later Benjamin married Mary, the widow Ripley, at Pembroke, on 23 Mar 1727. Mary was close to fifty and Benjamin was sixty-two.

To try to visualize Benjamin, one must remember that he grew into manhood in 17th Century England during the Restoration, in the reigns of Charles II and James II. He sailed to Plymouth in the later years of the reign of William and Mary of Orange. There is nothing to tell us of his character, but he must have been a bold man, certainly self-sufficient and healthy, with a strong constitution. According to the various deeds that were duly recorded and authenticated, he bought several tracts of land, and sold others in "ye Majrs Purchase," namely lots 35 and 68. When selling lot *68, it is interesting to note that Mary signed her name, but Benjamin made- his mark. At the time he would have been close to seventy, and perhaps his fingers were stiff, or perhaps he never could write, although his friend Richard White wrote with a beautiful script.

The word "husbandman" basically means farmer. Being a farmer in the first half of the 18th Century meant not only planting and harvesting the crops, but animal husbandry, with horses, cattle, sheep, hogs and fowl. Livestock of all kinds to be raised, slaughtered, butchered, salted and smoked. It also meant grinding grain into meal. He lived in a land of low hills, with coastal dunes, marshes and tidal creeks. The streams of Pembroke run off into salt water, and many of them are tidal, a good way inland.

Benjamin moved to Easton, in Bristol County, MA., where his youngest son Jacob had lived since 1744. Benjamin built his house there when he was eighty-one years old. He died at Easton on 9 Jan 1755, "in the ninetieth year of his age, as he saith." Easton Records.]

Benjamin Hanks Sr. has been identified by a Utah genealogist as the son of Joseph Hanks of Donnington, Glou., Eng., Thomas (5), Thomas (4), Thomas (3), George (2), John (1) of Buckland, Gloucester shire, England, said to have been born in 1470, but no documentation has been offered.