The St. Andrew’s Society and the Ancient Order of Hibernians were founded by Scottish and Irish emigrants. The purpose of both fraternal organizations was to provide support for other emigrants from their respective homelands and to preserve their culture.
Besides having a common purpose, they also shared a greeting, “Caed mile failte” or “A hundred thousand welcomes.” Both organizations are alive and well today.
The 1890s were the golden years of the St. Andrew’s Society in Council Bluffs. William S. McMicken was one of the most active members — celebrating St. Andrew’s Day with an annual banquet and dance, and annual picnics at Fairmount and Bayliss Parks.
Besides Sarah and William McMicken serving in leadership roles were several early citizens previously featured in this column: Dr. O.W. Gordon, prominent physician; Andrew Graham, known as the Father of the Park System; John T. Oliver, merchant taylor, and his wife, Isabella, sister of Andrew Graham; and; J.J. Stewart, stockman. Others were A.G. Gilbert, J. P. Greenshields, Dr. P.J. Montgomery and Judge Walter I. Smith.
The St. Andrew’s Day events were reported in grand style by The Daily Nonpareil, with one announced as “Celebration to be given in honor of the chosen patron to watch over the destinies of the people of the thistle and heather”, and concluding with, “Such another night will not soon fall to the fortune of the jolly Scots.”
William S. McMicken was born in Scotland in 1822. He came to this country at age 24, according to his obituary, and settled in Chicago where he was in business for a number of years. Census records refer to his occupation as “capitalist”.
In 1852, McMicken married Sarah Reid who, at age 13, had come to this country with her parents in 1839. The family settled in the Chicago area. Sarah and William had two daughters — Grace and Ida — who married brothers Alfred Phineas (A.P.) Hanchett and William Hanchett.
A.P. Hanchett graduated from the Chicago Medical College in 1878 and married Grace McMicken the following year in Aurora, Illinois. William married Ida in 1880.
By 1883, the families had all moved to this area. Dr. Hanchett and Grace came to Council Bluffs in 1880 and eventually lived at 120 S. Fourth St. Dr. William Hanchett and Ida lived at 821 Pine Street in Omaha. William and Sarah came to Council Bluffs in 1883 and made their home on Pierce Street until 1890 when they built their new home at 523 Fourth St.
William and Sarah were involved in the real estate business, served on the board of Jennie Edmundson Hospital where Dr. A.P. was a practicing physician and were active members of the community.
Ida and Dr. William Hanchett had two children, Hope and Reid. Grace and Dr. A.P. Hanchett’s children were McMicken Hanchett and Alfred P. Hanchett.
According to her obituary, Grace was active in music and literary circles, was one of the 1896 organizers of the Women’s Club of Council Bluffs, which became the Booklovers Club, and was one of the organizers of the Council Bluffs Garden Club. She was president of the Council Bluffs Chapter of the Army and Navy Auxiliary during World War I and was a member of the First Presbyterian Church.
By 1904, Dr. William Hanchett was living in Los Angeles; Ida and her son, Reid, were living at 523 Fourth St. and teaching in Council Bluffs schools. William and Sarah were living at 120 S. Sixth St. with Dr. McMicken Hanchett and his wife, Alice.
Perhaps the McMicken and Hanchett legacy was best known in Council Bluffs through the work of Dr. McMicken Hanchett, the son of Grace and Dr. A.P. Hanchett. When he retired at age 70, he had practiced medicine here for 29 years, according to the March 20, 1952 edition of the Daily Nonpareil. He was the physician for the Iowa School for the Deaf all 29 years, following his father who had held the position for 39 years — for a total of 68 years of their service at the school.
Dr. McMicken attended the Council Bluffs High School and Rush Medical College in Chicago, interned at Cook County Hospital, taught at the University of Chicago and Rush Medical College, and returned to Council Bluffs when his father retired in 1923.
He became affiliated with the Council Bluffs Clinic in 1932, was a staff physician at Jennie Edmundson Hospital, was president of the Rotary Club and served on the library board. He was a major in the Medical Corp and a surgery consultant in World War I and an elder at First Presbyterian Church.
Dr. McMicken Hanchett died in Council Bluffs on March 11, 1962; Alice died on May 28, 1965 in Lake Forest Hospital. They had no children. Both are buried in Lake Forest Cemetery in Lake Forest, Illinois.
Ida died in 1927 and is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Omaha. Grace died in 1933 and Dr. A.P. Hanchett died in 1935. Grace died in 1913 and William died in 1916. All are buried in Walnut Hill Cemetery.