A prominent man in the political questions of his state, a potent factor in the up building of Nez Perces County, a cultured gentleman, a patriotic citizen, a loyal friend and an esteemed member of society, the subject of this sketch is properly entitled to representation in the history of his County.
Thomas O. Hanlon was born in Dublin, Ireland, on July 18, 1846, being the son of Francis and Ann (Bradley) Hanlon, natives of Dublin, Ireland. The father was thirty years warden of the Mount Joy prison in Dublin, but is now deceased. Our subject received his education in a private academy in Dublin and when fifteen came to the United States. Landing in Brooklyn, he at once set to finish the trade of carpenter, which he commenced in his native land. He continued in this until the breaking out of the Civil War, and then enlisted promptly in the Thirteenth New York Cavalry, in May, 1863. He joined his command at Fallschurch, Virginia, and then transferred to Battery E, First Artillery. Frank E. French was first lieutenant.
Our subject acted as artificer for three years. He participated in the battles of Gettysburg, the Wilderness, Spottsylvania and Cold Harbor, also in the Shenandoah campaign, including the battles at Frederick City, Fisher’s Hill, Opack creek and then the battery operated with an independent brigade until the close of the war. At one time his command was ordered to Camp Barry to recruit. He was wounded at Fairfax Court House, by dirt thrown from a bursting shell, which cost him the sight of his left eye.
Following the war, Mr. Hanlon returned to Brooklyn and followed his trade and contracting until 1867, when he went to Sioux City, Iowa, thence to Manistee, Michigan, and there spent seven years contracting. Also he served as County clerk one term and County superintendent of schools one term. Next we see him in Medford, Wisconsin, and four years he contracted there. In 1889 he went to Tacoma, and in that city and its suburbs he spent seven years. He was town clerk at Orting six years and built the Soldiers’ Home there. In 1895 Mr. Hanlon came to the reservation and secured a claim, the date of filing being November 18, 1895. In the spring of 1901 Mr. Hanlon platted ten acres in the northeast corner of section twenty-one, of township thirty-four, in range one, and in honor of President Mohler, of the O. R. & N., who has endeavored to bring railroad facilities to this County, Mr. Hanlon named the town Mohler. He has several buildings, as general merchandise, drug store, dwellings, and so forth. He himself is occupied in operating a furniture store, is postmaster, notary public, justice of the peace and insurance agent. Mr. Hanlon is a man of good business qualifications and his efforts are praiseworthy in promoting the town.
In the fifth session of the Idaho legislature Mr. Hanlon was a potent factor, having been elected by the Republicans of this district, as he is a staunch representative of Republicanism, and in this house he was a strong candidate for speaker, but the fusionists overcame his party. The act granting attorney’s fees in suits for debt, the free home bill and the amendment to the school laws were all bills introduced by our subject. He did efficient service and won many plaudits. Mr. Hanlon is a member of the G. A. R., and has always been active in that capacity, having been deputy inspector for Washington and Alaska, as well as aide de camp on the staff of the commander in chief of the G. A. R., having rank of colonel.
On September 4, 1876, Mr. Hanlon married Miss Ella, daughter of George and Sallie (Hoogaboom) Bolles, natives of New York. Two children have been born to them, Cora E., wife of Wallace Masterson, a farmer on the reservation; Nellie, single. Mrs. Hanlon has one brother, Nelson, and one sister, Mrs. R. Smith. Mr. Bolles enlisted in the Seventh Wisconsin in 1861, and served four years, being in the battle of Gettysburg.
Mr. Hanlon is a member of the Echo Lodge, No. 60, of the I. O. O. F., at Mohler. He has held a membership in this order since 1863, is past noble grand and also chief patriarch of the encampment.
Source: An Illustrated History of Northern Idaho, Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties, Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903