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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pike County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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James W. Hamilton, farmer, Murfreesboro, Ark. In every community and among all classes there are always a few men who seem to become leaders in whatever they do, whether of a commercial or agricultural nature, and these same men are the ones who perhaps unconsciously take a prominent and active interest in promoting any movement which may be thought capable of tending to the welfare of the county or vicinity in which they may reside. Such a one is Mr. Hamilton, who was born in County Tyrone, Ireland, on August 14, 1827, and who was the son of James and Rebecca (Smith) Hamilton, natives also of the Emerald Isle. James W. Hamilton was reared in his native country, received a limited education, and emigrated to America about 1848. After reaching this country, he was engaged in numerous occupations, such as railroading, working at the carpenter’s trade, and car building, until 1861. He then enlisted in the Confederate army, Company A, First Arkansas Regiment, as private, and after drilling for some time at Little Rook, was ordered to Missouri, where his company captured quite a number of Union soldiers. After this they had a lively battle at Oak Hill, and in this our subject received a slight wound. Later Mr. Hamilton was in the battle of Elkhorn and was then transferred to Mississippi, where he took part in the battle of Farmington, then Chickamauga, and there he received another wound, which kept him off the field for sixty days. He subsequently participated in the battle of Richmond, also Perryville, and in 1863 he was in the Georgia campaign, where he was in a fight every day until the fall of Atlanta. After this he was in the battle of Jonesboro, and was then ordered to Vicksburg, Miss., where he engaged in the battle of Baker’s Creek. He also took part in the engagements at Murfreesboro and Franklin, Tenn., and the battle of James town, N. C., where the notice of surrender was received. After the war Mr. Hamilton came to West Tennessee, and worked at brick-making for one year. In 1868 he was married to Miss Sarah A. Bain, a native of Alabama, and the daughter of John and Nancy Bain, who were natives of Lawrence County, Ala., where they passed their last days. After his marriage Mr. Hamilton farmed in Alabama for eight years, and then moved to Lamar County, Tex., where he made his home for three years. From there he moved to Pike County, Ark. (1879), settled on 160 acres of land, and has thirty acres under cultivation, which yields an average of one-half bale of cotton or twenty-five bushels of corn to the acre. Mr. Hamilton is a Democrat, but is not very active in political matters. He is a Mason, having joined that lodge at Burnsville, Miss., in 1866, but at present he holds membership in Pike Lodge No. 91. He is also a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, which he joined in Alabama. His wife and all the family hold membership in the same church. To the marriage of Mr. Hamilton were born six children, three now living: Lenora, Nancy E. and Fannie L. Lenora was married in 1887 to Mr. Robert Willet, who is a farmer residing in this county. The other two children are at home.

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This family biography is one of 71 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Pike County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Pike County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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