During the American Civil War, at age eighteen, Septimus Hanna enlisted in the Illinois Volunteers and was quickly elected captain of his company. At age twenty-three, a year after being admitted to the Illinois bar, the young veteran was appointed judge of the county court at Council Bluffs, Iowa. Clearly there was something about the man that gained the attention and trust of others.
A quarter of a century later—less than six years after he began a serious study of Christian Science—Mrs. Eddy took note of Judge Hanna's moral and intellectual fiber and appointed him Editor of The Christian Science Journal. She would later say of him, "He is morally statuesque!" Quoted in Clara M. S. Shannon reminiscences, p. 21, Archives and Library of The Mother Church
Something of this uprightness of character stands out in a letter he wrote in 1896, in which he demurred at a proposed increase in his salary: "I fear if I have any larger income I shall become worldly, and may be thought mercenary." Judge Hanna letter to Mrs. Eddy, April 11, 1896, Archives But more than moral rectitude defined Hanna's character. From 1892 to 1902 events tested him in ways that the war and the courtroom never had. Spiritual discipline was the order of the decade; The Mother Church had to be organized and established. He had enlisted to help in the work—and work he did!