FANNY POSEY HACKER.
As superintendent of public instruction of Alexander county Mrs. Fanny Posey Hacker has proved herself one of the intellectual, alert and strenuous women of Southern Illinois, and during the third of a century or more which she has passed in Cairo her life has been both domestic and literary, —domestic in the rearing and training of her family, and literary in its relation to the sphere of public education, to the promotion of club work for women, and semi-political in her advocacy of universal suffrage and in her incumbency of an important public office.
Mrs. Hacker was born in 1855, in Henderson county, Kentucky, and the blood of the scions of patriotic Americans courses her veins. The name of Posey has been stamped indelibly upon the communities along the Ohio Valley, where her illustrious ancestor, General Thomas Posey, did his work as a statesman, soldier and citizen. This Revolutionary patriot was a factor in the winning of American independence as a general officer in Washington's army, and was a native son of Virginia. The family lived in Richmond, and some years after the war he identified himself with Louisiana, being elected the first of that commonwealth's United States senators. Subsequently he came up the Father of Waters and located in Indiana and became, in time, governor of that state, and one of the richest agricultural counties of Indiana is named Posey in his honor. From there he crossed the river into Kentucky and entered politics, following his natural bent, and was elected lieutenant-governor of that state. He purchased a large tract of land in Henderson county, established his family upon it, and there the remainder of his life was spent.
Major Fayette Posey, one of the general's sons and the grandfather of Mrs. Hacker, was born in Virginia, was a man with some of his father's military instincts and habits, served as a major of United States troops during the war of 1812, and engaged successfully in farming with slave labor during his active life. His son, Fayette Washington Posey, the father of Mrs. Hacker, was born in Henderson county, Kentucky, reared amid luxuriant environment and lived the life of a gentleman before the Civil war. His sympathy ran with the institution of slavery, and he was properly classed as a confederate,
but he was without the military ambition necessary for activity in the field and he took no part under the “Stars and Bars.” His wife was diametrically opposed in her attitude upon the issues of the war, and would have shouldered a gun in defense of the Union without much encouragement from others. Both she and her husband died at the age of sixty-two years. Her father, Colonel John Sublette, of French lineage, was an officer during the Mexican war.
Mrs. Hacker was the first child in a family of twelve, and her childhood was passed amid the pastoral and agricultural surroundings of an extensive plantation. She was fond of nature and communed with all its forms, learned its varied language and studied in the home under Northern teachers of culture, refinement and education. Her whole being called for life in the open air, where she could hear the music of the winds, mingle with the labor of the field, mount a horse and enjoy the exhilaration of a daylight ride, or where she could climb the tall trees and swing out upon their swaying boughs and laugh at the dangers she encountered. During her girlhood she became a student in a preparatory school at Evansville, Indiana, conducted by Professor Gow, and graduated from the Henderson high school at the age of fifteen years, subsequently taking a post-graduate course. She grew to be a student and to acquire a fondness for imparting knowledge, and when the war made free men of the Negro race, the education of those upon her father's plantation opened a field for the exercise of her talents. While she did not engage formally in the work as a licensed teacher, she lost no opportunity in dropping the elementary principles of an education into the mind of every seeker of school advantages, and capped her career in the proper rearing of her own family of six children.
Mrs. Hacker's election as county superintendent, in November, 1910, as a Democrat, was a surprise to her, as it came from the votes of hundreds of Republicans whose votes controlled the politics of the county. Nevertheless, her success brought her into the very position for which her life work had fitted her, and the office has given her an opportunity of demonstrating the practicability of a few commendable theories, and of making some changes in the conduct of the county schools which have improved their morals. She is reaching school boards and patrons weekly with newspaper articles upon vital matters pertaining to their duties. She is raising the standard of teachers, and is separating the colors and urging the independence of each of the other in their social sphere, so that when her term closes it will have marked an epoch in the common school history of Alexander county.
On March 19, 1877, Fanny Posey was married in Chicago, Illinois, to John S. Hacker, and came at once to Cairo. Captain Hacker has spent his life on the river and for many years has been master of the Tn-State Ferry here. To their home have come: Loulu, who became the wife of A. W. Danforth and spent the first years of her married life in China, where her husband was mechanical expert with the firm of Li Hung Chang, the noted oriental statesman, and who subsequently engaged in commercial pursuits in China and took an active part in church work, but who is now a business man of Lowell, Massachusetts; Miss Daisy, Mrs. Hannah, Gentry Nicholas, Miss Alice and Miss Amanda Dimple, the latter a teacher in one of the county schools. These daughters are all busy with some department of activity, business or domestic, and the son is one of the bookkeepers of the First Bank and Trust Company of Cairo.
Her interest in the work of women in Illinois has ever been near
the heart of Mrs. Hacker, and her connection with the movement for women's clubs has covered a period of many years. She is always a delegate to the state meetings of the society and has frequently represented Illinois as a delegate to the national association. She is a sworn suffragist, and it has been asserted that she would wear the senatorial toga from Illinois in Washington with dignity and ability with the advent of universal suffrage in this state. In her religious conviction Mrs. Hacker is an Episcopalian.