My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., 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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JOHN W. HAMILTON, Justice of the Peace. This sturdy old pioneer of Greene County, whose portrait* appears on the opposite page, has lived in Yellow Springs since 1845, and has held a prominent place in municipal affairs and in society. He has been Justice of the Peace for thirty-nine years, has had the office of Notary Public for a lengthy period, and for twenty years was Mayor of the city. In both physical and mental endowments he was blessed by nature, and although his early advantages were not the best, he secured a good common-school education and upon that foundation has built an amount of information and knowledge equal to that gained by many men whose opportunities seem much greater. The character of the man is displayed in this, and in the enterprise which he has exhibited in worldly affairs and the station which he holds in the community. His home is one of comfort, one of its most noticeable features being that its walls are lined with pictures, indicating the love of the family for the beautiful and artistic.

Squire Hamilton is the son of James and Margaret (Keenan) Hamilton, natives of Ireland, who settled in Perry County, Ohio, in 1828, the father being a farmer. Companions in life, “in death they were not divided,” both dying September 26, 1836. They were the parents of six children, four of whom are living. The birth of our subject took place August 1, 1820, and he therefore began his residence in the Buckeye State when a lad of eight years. He began to carve out his own career in life when eighteen years old, at which time he was bound as an apprentice to a cabinet-maker at Sommerset. After serving two years he ran away on account of ill treatment, and walked on the National road to Bellefountaine, Logan County, having but $1 in his pocket. He worked at clearing land by the acre, then at his trade for a time, and in 1838, went to Shelby County, where for three years he was employed on the Miami Canal, taking contracts to build portions of it.

For three years Mr. Hamilton belonged to the corps of civil engineers under Timothy G. Bates, who worked from Piqua, to St. Mary’s. He then located in Dayton and spent six months in buying horses there and selling them in the East. He then, in 1845, located in Yellow Springs, where he has since remained. He contracted for building a portion of the Miami Railroad, but for over twenty years his business has been the manufacture of brick, and since 18G7 he has made over one hundred miles of turnpike. During the Civil War he was enrolling officer for this township. Two of his sons enlisted in Company D, Forty-fourth Ohio Infantry, and subsequently became members of the Eighth Ohio Cavalry, serving during the war. William ranked as Third Sergeant and Charles was a private; both spent twenty-seven days in Libby Prison, after which they were exchanged. Twice during their army life they were visited by their parents. The father belonged to the “Squirrel Hunters,” which body was called out at the time of Gen. Morgan’s raid.

During his long service as a Justice, Squire Hamilton has tried over ten thousand cases, never having a decision reversed. In one case that came before him, suit was brought for a turkey, and the costs amounted to over $60. He has tried cases where the renowned Thomas Corwin and John A. McMahon plead before him. He has been active in politics, having first given his allegiance to the Whig party, casting his first Presidential ballot for Gen. William Henry Harrison. Upon the disintegration of that party and the formation of the Republican, he became identified with the new political body which embodied in its platform the principles in which he believed. Squire Hamilton has belonged to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for thirty years.

The subject of this notice has been twice married, his first alliance having been contracted in 1841, and his bride having been Miss Ann Hayes, who shared his fortunes until 1870, when she died. The union had resulted in the birth of four children of whom we note the following: William married Mary Haney, and lives at Yellow Springs, their family comprising seven children; Charles married Hester Horney, has three children and also lives in Yellow Springs; James, who is unmarried, resides in New York City; John married Mary Shaw, has five children, and lives at Goes Station. The second marriage of Squire Hamilton took place in 1871, his bride being Miss Elizabeth Musselman, a native of Piqua. This worthy lady is a member of the Christian Church, and a respected and useful member of the community. She has one child, Edward, who is unmarried and lives with his parents.

*A portrait was included in the original printed edition.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

View additional Greene County, Ohio family biographies here: Greene County, Ohio Biographies

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