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David Wilfong Hamilton - Page 1

 
 

Born: 05 Oct 1838, Indiana
Died:  26 Mar 1926, Kansas

 

                                     

"The pen is mind speaking to mind and heart to heart!"
David Wilfong Hamilton
April 11, 1875

 
 

David Wilfong Hamilton was born 05 Oct 1838 in Indiana.  He was the son of Ninian Beall Hamilton (b. 1789) and Mary Margaret Wilfong.

 

David's other siblings included:

Name Birth Date Death Date Spouse
Mary Susannah Hamilton 26 Jul 1825 10 Jun 1827  
Delilah "Dovey" Ann Hamilton 20 Nov 1828 30 Jan 1901 John Stephen Martin
Reuben Hamilton 06 Feb 1831 1838  
Rebecca Juliana Hamilton 13 Jan 1834 01 Feb 1834  
Ninian Beall Hamilton 14 Mar 1835 05 Feb 1869 Rebecca Lovina Cannady
David Wilfong Hamilton 05 Oct 1838 26 Mar 1926 Achsa Ann Martin
Candace Shuford Hamilton 23 Jul 1841 26 Oct 1913 Isaac Hiestand Martin
George Washington Hamilton 28 Jan 1844 15 May 1862  
 
 

In June 1859, David Wilfong Hamilton was working as a Clerk in a store.  He married Achsa Ann Martin on 04 Aug 1859.  "Ann", as David Wilfong called her,  had black raven curls.  She was the daughter of Nathan Martin and Sarah Trimble.  She was born 16 Nov 1836. 

 
Will, as he was called by Ann, owned property and worked his farm.  He also taught school in order to obtain additional income.
 
 
Children of David Wilfong Hamilton and Achsa Ann Martin
Name Birth Date Death Date Spouse
Edith May Hamilton 19 Sep 1860 20 Dec 1863  
Cora Catherine Hamilton 14 Nov 1862 09 Mar 1931  
Margaret Trimble Hamilton 12 Mar 1865 26 Aug 1873  
Percy Allen Hamilton 05 Oct 1867 14 Apr 1879  
Arthur Douglas Hamilton 04 Mar 1870 05 Apr 1879  
Donald Wilbert Hamilton 19 Jun 1872    
Daisy Henrietta Hamilton 22 May 1874 08 Jun 1950 F. M. Hadaway
Louise Hamilton 12 Aug 1876   (Unknown) Meigs
Rose Hamilton 21 Aug 1878 06 Apr 1879  
 
 

What hardships they endured when it came to their children.  Of their nine, only three survived to adulthood: Cora Catherine Hamilton, Daisy Henrietta Hamilton and Louise Hamilton.  There is currently no indication when Donald Wilbert Hamilton died.

 

In the Spring of 1879, all of the children came down with diphtheria.  Arthur, baby Rose and Percy died from the disease.

 
 
Early Deaths of 5 of Will & Ann's Children:
Name Birth Date Death Date Age at Death
Edith May Hamilton 19 Sep 1860 20 Dec 1863 3 years old
* Margaret Trimble Hamilton 12 Mar 1865 26 Aug 1873 8 years old
** Percy Allen Hamilton 05 Oct 1867 14 Apr 1879 11 years old
** Arthur Douglas Hamilton 04 Mar 1870 05 Apr 1879 9 years old
** Rose Hamilton 21 Aug 1878 06 Apr 1879 7 months old
 
* In Letter # 16 (Below), Will discussed the death of his daughter Maggie
who died from the same disease as sister, Edith May Hamilton.

** In Letters # 22 & 23 (Below), Will discussed his distress over the deaths of Percy, Arthur and Rose
 from diphtheria.

 
 

In Letter #8 Will described their daughter, Edith (Eba) as having yellow hair.  Since Ann had raven black hair, Will must have been the DNA provider for the blonde hair.

 
 

Information concerning Will's adult children from a letter written by David Wilfong Hamilton dated January 1, 1908 to his sister, Candace Hamilton Martin

     I hope you had a happy New Year with your 24 grandchildren. I am glad to know they are good to grandma. We have 1 granddaughter, our Daisy's and she is a great pet. We look for them from Silvan Springs, Arkansas, soon. None of my other children have ever married, not for want of chances either. They are intelligent, well educated, very well equipped for the work of life. Bert is a lumber seller, and goes into a new yard at $100 per month - Lou an expert telegraph operator - stayed with them during the strike some time ago and was rewarded by double pay, $132 per month for two months. Cora is getting quite proficient too.

 
 

Information concerning Will's adult children from a letter written by David Wilfong Hamilton dated February 14, 1916 to a "Nephew"

     I was 77 last October 5th. Lou married in 1914 and she and husband found work for them, and came here on December 10, 1914. They get good wages.  Our only living son, Bert (Donald Wilbert Hamilton. RHR), was married a short time ago, and now they live in Provo, Utah - he at his business, selling lumber. They had been acquainted for years. He is past 43, is a good salesman and the company thinks so, and keeps him. I do not know how long he may stay with them.

 
 
By the end of 1870, Will and Ann had moved their family to Kansas.  He had purchased land and was farming.  He was also appointed as Post Master in 1871.
 
From a letter written by David Wilfong Hamilton dated January 1, 1908:

     "Well, I have been running over the decades in the eights. In 1838 in October I came to life. In 1848 a school boy going to old Buena Vista - and in that summer to Jane Wood's school. In '58 at Hartsville University, and in the spring and summer took lessons at carpentering with Rickard Brothers. In the fall to Geneseo, Illinois - got among the Yankees for the first time and attended the seminary there, superintended by a New York City man. In '68 was living in Geneseo. In '78 was doing a healthy business on the farm in Republic County, Kansas. But changes came, I had political aspirations for better work at better pay - so in '80 went to the county seat and worked in the Register of Deeds office, was elected in '85 and re-elected in'87, so that I was in my second term in '88. In '98 I was appointed Deputy Register of Deeds and worked then, but in 1908 I am out."

 
 
 
 

The following is a series of letters transcribed by Mildred Skelly and Margaret Gaston in the 1960's and 1970's and added to by Richard Roberts in the 1990's and 2000's as additional letters became available. No changes were made to the spelling or grammar, but paragraphing was added to make reading easier.

 
 
 
 

Letter # 1

 
Letter Dated: October 29, 1857
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 19)
Living In: Hartsville, Indiana
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Father) (age 68)
Living In: Indiana
 

Hartsville, Indiana

October 29, 1857

 

Dear Father:

     I now take my pen in hand to drop you a few lines to let you know how I am situated. I arrived here on Tuesday night
(10/27/57; RHR) after dark. I walked from Columbus till within about 3 miles of Hartsville - I got in a wagon with some young ladies and gentlemen that were coming to the Temperance lecture (by Miss Filkins).

     I found Nin
(Ninian B. Hamilton, jr., b. 14 Mar 1835, age 22) and Bine (Lovina Cannady) and went home with them. Got acquainted with Pa Cannady's folks and have staid with them till this evening - I have moved to Riley's Row. Pa Cannadys are fine people and treated me with kindness. I think Nin has done very well in getting Bine. This evening they started for Williamsburg to their school. They left many friends here that wish them well and seemed to regret to see them go. Nin got several letters of recommendation as there is some contention about the school there.

     I am going to board at Riley's at $1.50 per week for 4 months which is $24.00 which I paid today. I expect I will have a time of it but it was the cheapest. Pa Cannadys have $2.00 per week, but let me tell you boarders will fare well there. I had almost concluded to board there but I could not have staid but 3 months, so I thought I would take the cheapest place and stay one month longer. I bought a scholarship or rather paid the interest on one which was $3.50. I have for my roommate Lemuel Baker, one of Nin's scholars. I am somewhat acquainted with him. He arrived here on Wednesday. I think he is a clever boy as we have been cutting wood together today. We get our wood for cutting - by giving one load for hauling one.

     Quite a number of students have already arrived here. We expect a large school this winter.

     My health is good - I was somewhat fatigued by my long walk
(about 20 miles; RHR), but soon got over it. I hope you are all well and that you are getting along very well with your work. I have been around and got acquainted with some of the folks and feel very well satisfied. I will close for the present.

     Write soon to me.

 

 

I remain, Your son,

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 2

 
Letter Dated: January 4, 1858
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 19)
Living In: Hartsville, Indiana
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Father) (age 68)
Living In: Indiana
 
 

Hartsville, Indiana

January 4, 1858

 

Dear Father:

     Doubtless you are somewhat lonely since another one of your children has left your fire-side. Therefore, I thought I would communicate to you a few thoughts. One by one your children are leaving and soon the domestic circle as once was, will be broken up save probably one only son who, it is hoped , will protect your declining years. As for myself, I cannot tell yet what I may do. It seems as though I must go on. My heart seems to pant for another sphere of action than that of settling down for life at the present time. My conscience tells me otherwise and so do other persons. I believe my chances for usefulness, if properly attended to, would be as fair as others, that have preceded me.

     But under the present existing circumstances; being compelled to see to your protection, and knowing that my assistance on the farm is necessary to clear up for what has been done, I would fain cease to long for anything more than a life of quietude so that I could be near when the last flickering spark of life was being blown out, and your spirit taking its everlasting flight to God from whom it came. But my mind is not settled yet to be contented with a life on a farm, nor do I think my physical body can endure the toil and exposure the farmer is subjected to.

     I will just say I expect to work at home next summer, although if I had not spoken to Uncle for ground and promised to help you out of the present embarrassing circumstance, I should have sought some other occupation that would have brought me a due recompense and not endangered my health. But to something else.

     I left Salem on Monday morning and traveled though the rain all day - we left our horses near Vallonia, and walked to Brownstown (4 miles) to get on the night express (which came about 11o'clock).
When we got there we were cold, wet, and hungry and no fire in the depot to warm us.

     We got permission to warm at the fire-side of a gentleman not far from the depot. At last we got on and rolled to Seymour where we had to lay by till nine next morning. We had to lay in the depot (there being an eating saloon kept there, we took a cup of hot coffee and some cakes) and listened to the foul curses of a poor drunken wretch who cursed and raved the whole night like a madman.

     I assure you I did not sleep much that night. We left about nine and arrived at Columbus about ten o'clock. We had to walk 15 miles through the mud that evening and when we got here we were almost exhausted. There was no school last week - the Brethren having a protracted meeting.

     Dismissed the school on Tuesday morning. They have had quite an interesting time, several have joined and several professed to get religion.

     We resume our recitations again today. I will say I have subscribed for the Newspaper, Western Christian Advocate and you may expect it at Pekin shortly. You can have the pleasure of reading it as our other paper has ceased. I will just say if you can raise $5.00 in 3 or 4 weeks, I will be glad - and send it out in a letter, registered. I am very anxious to know what Can
(Candace Shuford Hamilton) and Isaac (Isaac Martin) are doing. Write and tell me the news - excuse my badly written letter. I have got a poem I expect to read next Friday evening and wait for criticism. It is pronounced by some to be very good. This is flattering indeed. I close now, but remain you son -

     
 

I close now, but remain you son -

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

This letter finds a 19-year-old Will in Geneseo, Illinois, just finishing up high school exams where he is a student in what appears to be an all male school.  From his correspondence with sister Can, he seems to be well liked by the other students.

 
 
 

Letter # 3

 
Letter Dated: April 2, 1858
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 19)
Living In: Geneseo, Illinois
To: Isaac & Candace Hamilton Martin (Brother-in-Law & Sister) (age 24 & 16)
Living In: Indiana
 
 

April 2, 1858

Geneseo, Illinois

 

Dear Sister & Bro:

     It has been a long long while since we received your letter and it has been neglected till now - I am going to answer it. You know, darling sister, I am always punctual to my friends and more so to my dearest darling sisters and brothers. Yes and to her "With heavens light beaming on her Brow", dearest to my heart - too pure, too heavenly to stay mid scenes like these - the idol of doting friends so formed for a purer bliss. Well dearest sis pardon me for luxuriating under the sublime influence of love, but such evanescent streams are out - gushing and uprising in blissful regions of the ideal.

     Such are the fruits of the inspiration created by the excitement just passed. O, Can
(Candace Shuford Hamilton) we have just had a glorious time. School closed yesterday. The examination of the high-school department took place Thursday - a good many spectators were present and the examinations were thorough - not wishing to boast at all but to cleave to the truth strictly I would just say I claim the highest of any in the school for deportment. The private monitors reported me twelve times for good deportment which was two times higher than any other - the next 10. The report was read before the audience. I should not have told this but it does my heart good to know that it isn't like it used to be in old Hoosierdom - it does me good to know that my schoolmates love me and though some of the young men are wicked they have ever paid marked respect to me since I came among them. I have been going 5 months to school and have had a great deal of pleasure with the scholars and believe it not it is not like it used to be in Indiana (you know what). But that is an item only.

     Last night we had a grand exhibition. O, Can you never saw such, there. We had our exercises in the large Congregational Church, a large stage was erected and a splendid curtain hung up and then we exhibited. The house was crowded - church full - some 800 persons perhaps. The Exercises continued till nearly twelve o'clock. I took part in a long dialogue and had written out a long oration for the occasion and committed about half of it, but had not time to get the rest. I wrote it at the request of the principal and he was anxious to have me speak it but I could not afford to botch it before so large an audience, so I omitted it. There were about 100 actors - a great many beautiful girls - all dressed in white with roses (artificial) to adorn their brows. No town I have ever been in can produce so many pretty girls and all so cheerful and familiar, you had better believe I made it interesting with them. We were all huddled together behind the curtain and of course we talked as much as we pleased. If it had not been for Dove
(Delilah (Dovey) Ann Hamilton) I'll bet I would have went home with one, well I would - she was all right the dear little angel - as sweet, O, hush, Can.

     The Geneseo band gave us music. Admission 10 cents. But it is passed and gone - one of the happiest seasons in my life. It will be a bright spot in my memory and I will hail it as the life-giving impulse to future pleasure and usefulness. Darling sister, I do not know when I will see you again.

     Perhaps I will go west early in the season - at least next fall if father does what he said he would.

     Though I have reason to think there are one or two here whose hearts beat warm, yet the sweet innocency of one I long have known is dearest to me - you know what I mean. A short time ago I got a letter from that source so pure very outgushing of a sweet mind. O, I love innocency and I am going to claim it - thats all.

     There is a man going from here soon to Omaha, and wishes to have a civil companion. If I had the money I would go with him. Darling sister and brother don't think I have grown careless about my native hills and friends which causes me to talk of going to Nebraska but I must do something now. I love my father and brothers and sisters with deep-rooted affection, but I cannot be with them all the time. Perhaps I have finished my education now I have studied Rhetoric and Algebra. The Rhetoric I have mastered as far as necessary and Algebra I am nearly through that. And then besides I have learned a great deal about reading, so little thought of there.

     I have not heard from Father for some time - tell him if you see him soon he need not mind that I wished him to do about the present - but I want some help this fall. He promised to help me and I'll need it. Give him my best love and accept a due portion yourselves.

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 4

 
Letter Dated: December 28, 1858
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 20)
Living In: Geneseco, Illinois
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Father) (age 69)
Living In: Indiana
 
 
Geneseo, Illinois
December 28, 1858
 

Dear Father:

     Your letter came to hand last evening and was pursued with pleasure. I was glad to hear that your health was good, but sorry to learn that Uncle and Aunt had been unwell. Old age is making it's inroads. Soon they will cease to be stricken with infirmities by the interposition of Providence in their removal from the cares of life.

     I was glad to hear that you had done so well with your hogs - that you secured your pay, etc.

     I hope Benton has formed a firm resolution to do good. He once before embraced religion but retrograded I fear. I hope religion will take a rise there as it has been so dull and lifeless.

     You speak about going to the old lady's farm and of Isaac's
(Isaac Martin) intention to come on the old farm. I think it a good plan to get Isaac or some trusty person to go there. As to myself it would not be convenient to work there as I would have to procure a team at some cost which would not be expedient at present. And then besides I want to go farther west to look out a place to settle and make arrangements to that effect. Nin (Ninian B. Hamilton, jr.) talks of coming west in the spring. Perhaps we will look farther for a home.

     If I could have $100.00 to enter some land in some place, I would settle myself. One hundred with what I can make will secure me a home. I am this far and do not wish to return without doing something - perhaps I will go to Nebraska if all things are favorable, before I return as I'm desirous to settle. Let me know your opinion about things and if possible render what is necessary. Say nothing about my intentions. John
(John S. Martin) is going to write so I must close with a word to George (George Washington Hamilton). Give my respects to the friends in general and accept my best regards for your peaceful decline in old age.

     Write soon.

 
 

Your affectionate son -

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 

P.S. I weigh 142-1/2 lbs.

 
 
 

Letter # 5

 
Letter Dated: June 5, 1859
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 20)
Living In: Geneseo, Illinois
To: Isaac & Candace Hamilton Martin (Brother-in-Law & Sister) (age 25 & 17)
Living In: Indiana
 
 
Geneseo, Illinois
June 5, 1859
 

Dear Sister & Bro:

     I believe, as I have a few spare moments, I will scribble a few words to you in reply to yours which is now before me.

     Bill Strouse, preaching! Well, it's strange! I hope he is a good man now. He did not used to be. Whew! Whoa! Whoa! Cat and Manda married! Slick times there now. Flannel will be a good price for certain now. And old Cind is gone too "Good like a day" and Lottie likely to be: "to-whit! to-whee! Will you live with me - is the go, hey.

     Isaac
(Isaac Martin) has planted some corn I suppose. I wish he may have a good crop. I helped plant about sixty acres myself this spring. Worked myself down nearly keeping up with a plow. Then I went fishing on Rock river - a stream nearly a quarter of a mile wide in places. We caught some large fish, sure some of that would have weighed six pounds, I presume had we weighed them.

     I am about commencing to clerk in a store. I was to see the firm this morning and one of them told me he expected to me the berth. However, he will let me know tomorrow or next day.

     Father sent me $15.00 but I will postpone going to Kansas now and visit you as soon as I can.

     I was sorry to hear of father's grief and ill health. I am sure he is dear to me and I love him - an affectionate father, and if my return will be a solace to him in his decline I shall by all means try to come, though I thought I must do something for myself, hence I wanted to go to Kansas as such a good chance. But the man is gone now, that I was to go with.

     There is a small farm here that can be had for $15.00 per acre that with some improvements will soon be worth $30.00. Two hundred dollars would get 40 acres
(40 x $15. = $600.00 ? RHR) which would be worth more than a quarter there. I would like to get 8 of it - the whole piece if I could.

     My woman
(Achsa Ann Martin) and myself expect to start down there in August or September. We have fixed August as the time we will get married. However you will learn in time. She is a number one, Can (Candace Shuford Hamilton)! Black raven curls! Natural ones too, good scholar and sharp. We have been together nearly three weeks, she left here this morning on the stage for home. I took a fancy to her in preference to Somer. Somer kept writing to me till some time ago. She never gave me entire satisfaction that she would have me, so I dropped her. This girl is much better educated, and has a better mind, so if nothing uncommon occurs you will see us. I hope you will keep this as a profound secret, as I don't want anybody to know anything about it at all.

     We have a good Sabbath school here, I think. I have learned a great deal since I came to this place, in the ways of the world. They are all live Yankees here. I think the society is much more refined than there generally, but it is hard to get money, sure. Dove
(Delilah (Dovey) Ann Hamilton) is a going to write too she says. This is full I must close. Please write soon sister. I hope you are well.

 
 

Good day -

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
David and Achsa have been married for about 6 months at the time of Letter # 6.
 
 

Letter # 6

 
Letter Dated: April 29, 1860
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 21)
Living In: Spring Hill, Illinois
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Father) (age 71)
Living In: Indiana
 
Spring Hill, Illinois
April 29, 1860
 

Dear Father:

     After a pleasant travel of about fourteen days I arrived safe in Geneseo, thence here on Rock River. The roads were very good there being only a few bad sloughs on the road. We staid in Livonia\, IN Livonia
(Indiana) the first night - next morning we drove to Lost River (Indiana) where we stopped till 3 o'clock. That night we staid one mile west of Orleans (Indiana). We slept in the wagon and it stormed all the night, but our horses were in the dry. The roads were muddy the next day, but notwithstanding we drove about 26 miles and staid in Martin County (Indiana) Wednesday night. Thursday we drove 32 miles to get to Uncle Tommy Greens. The old man has done well by leaving the barrens. They gave me some corn and oats. I had bought a sack of bran so my oats and bran lasted me till I got to Uncle James and Uncle Johns near Lacon (Illinois), which is only two days drive from Geneseo (Illinois). But to go back Friday night we stopped on the canal eight miles south of Terre Haute (Indiana). We drove through that city Saturday morning. It is a beautiful place in and around there. We crossed on the large toll-bridge. The river was all over the bottoms for a mile out, steamboats were running - we saw one going down the river.

     Just as we were leaving the bottom a "confidence man" stopped us - was in great distress for money. He said he was moving and one of his horses had given out and he had bought another for which he paid $80.00, but lacked 20 of making the payment so he offered to pawn a gold watch! I told him I could not do anything for him, and it was no use asking any more, so finally he left but I never saw his camp on the road. I had read the papers a little too much to believe him and I could see he was lying all the time.

     Saturday night we staid in Paris
(Illinois), this state - about 28 miles drive that day. The Methodists have the finest church there I ever saw, with a town clock attached. Sunday we entered the first large prairie which was about 12 miles across. We stopped at a house and slept in a bed. We crossed the worst slough we had to encounter Monday night there - had quite a storm - we staid near Sidney (Illinois). Tuesday we staid near on between Urbana and Bloomington (Illinois). Wednesday staid close to Bloomington which by the way is one of the finest places I ever saw. There are several colleges there, and there is the best farming land around there I ever beheld any place. Friday about noon we arrived at Uncles near Lacon. We stopped until Monday. We got to Geneseo Wednesday.

     My little mare held out fine. She got her hind foot over the halter and hurt her hind foot but did not lame her. About a day after we started George
(another horse?) took the "distemper" but I doctored him up and he got well and looks fine now the admiration of all. We staid two days and nights in Geneseo. I got my sewing machine that Nin (Ninian B. Hamilton, jr.) got the shotgun for, and then we came up here. They were looking for us. I tried to get some land about Geneseo but the spring has been so fine all the ground was taken up. I do not know where I will get land to till this summer yet unless I get some here.

     Father
(Nathan Martin, Achsa's father) Martin gives glowing accounts of Kansas - says he will go with me to Kansas this fall and get land and help me build a house on mine. Probably we will go. People say they never was a better prospect for crops than they have here now.

     I went to hear our Methodist minister, Mr. Walbridge, today at the new school house in Spring Hill. It was a good sermon such as I love to hear. Today I have been thinking of Indiana - I may say there is not a day but what I think of you. I hope you are enjoying the sanctuary today, and I feel that if we meet not on earth again we may meet in that far off country where separations and strifes are unknown. I had a presentment when we last parted that we probably would not meet again in this life. But it is not possible for us to be together always. Wherever I tread on this wide earth a father's anxious care for his children's welfare shall not be unheeded. It is possible that I am erring at times, but none fill my mind so con as a pious father - may the Lord bless and keep you.

     I have written so much I must stop soon. John
(John S. Martin) and Dovey (Delilah (Dovey) Ann Hamilton Martin) are well and want to see you. They treated us very well. I will write to George (George Washington Hamilton) and the rest soon. Good-bye -

 
 

Write Soon.

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 

P.S. My expenses, including some things we bought, were about ten or eleven dollars, (trip to Indiana). Monday night - I have been harrowing corn ground today. I have rented some ground that was broken and was nearly ready to plant. I expect to work about 15 acres - my horses work fine. Tell Ike (Isaac Martin) I would not take less than $125.00 for my mare. She is in better order than when I left. I have been furrowing off with George (his 2nd horse) - he works well and looks fine. Father (Nathan) Martin has done and is doing a good part by us. He wants to live with us. I will write to George. Write soon.

 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
                                       
 

Letter # 7

 
Letter Dated: May 20, 1861
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 22)
Living In: Spring Hill, Illinois
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Father) (age 72)
Living In: Indiana
 
Spring Hill, Illinois
May 20, 1861
 

Dear Father:

     I received your very welcome letter a week ago today, and truly I was glad to get a letter from your own hand once more, and that your health was much better than it used to be. I received one from Nin
(Ninian B. Hamilton, jr.) at the same time. It seemed to be a great pleasure to have you visit him. They were all well but Bine (Lovina Cannady Hamilton) who had been chilling.

     Our health is good and our baby
(Edith May Hamilton, 9/19/1860 - 12/20/1863; RHR) grows fast, she weights 21 lbs. was eight months old yesterday and can "creep" some. She is very intelligent and I believe she grows more handsome. Your potatoes were good. Well I have a lot more, I wish you had some for they are no sale here at all. Corn is worth about 14 cents per bushel good currency.

     We are experiencing one of those hard financial crashes that almost amounts to mination
(the copyist finds no such word in the dictionary - mina means an ancient money of varying value and minacious means menacing or threatening - take your pick. MS) on account of southern stocks. So many of our free banks were secured by southern stocks and the credit failing has reduced the number to a small number. Exchange has been all winter from 7 to 10 percent prem. (premium). Now we can't get exchange at all hardly. Hence the low prices of everything. I have corn to sell but don't take Illinois currency for it.

     You talk about mustering every Saturday. Well it naturally makes my blood boil to think that your tottering frame must beat the tread once more to sound the march in defense of your homes, your children and your hearthstones. These are perilous times and men are hurrying off to the seat of war. John and I both enlisted in the Geneseo Rifle Company but the company was not accepted.

     We have a home guard at Spring Hill drilling every Saturday. Our county
(Whiteside) furnished two companies, now in Camp Dement at Dixon, in Lee County. They are the crack companies of the regiment. It is thought the regiment will be removed to Rock Island where there is to be an arsenal. I see in Kentucky a large majority went for the "Union" and Gov. Magoffin modified his tone.

     Last Friday I took upon myself the sacred obligations of the Independent Order of Good Templars Independent Order of Good Templars at Spring Hill. They have a strong lodge there that has been in operation more than 18 months. It is a nice moving institution that has done much good in this vicinity and county.

    You said something about a land trade. Well I kept my own counsel and did not trade for I foresaw the hard times and still keep my land in Iowa. I think I have made $250.00 in getting the Iowa land
($120) as it is on an important railway running from north to south through the best part of the state namely the Cedar Valley. It is also near the junction of the Dubuque and Western R. R. I think I shall make Iowa my future home. It has good laws - the Banking school - and Prohibition Liquor law. In the school and temperance laws she takes the lead of Illinois and her population in the last decade over 200 percent in greater ratio than in western state. I bought a fine young bay horse five years old this spring larger than old George was, for which I paid $135.00, the same as I paid for George. He is much abler to work - I have plowed and harrowed about 70 acres with him for one of the team all the while and he is all right now. I am not quite done planting my ground is plowed and some planted. We had rather a late spring on account of the wet weather, but most are getting their corn planted. I have six acres of nice wheat. I hear farmers say they never saw better prospects for wheat that now. There is a greater amount of small grain sown than usual here.

     I wish you could be here to see our green waving seas. I am in debt some for my horse yet. I paid some on him and aim to pay it all off this fall if crops hit. I shall teach this winter if possible. I can spare the time better.

     It is getting late - have heard two good Methodist sermons today. I take the Advocate and Repository and hear from Indiana. I have occupied more space than I intended. I will write some to George
(George Washington Hamilton) perhaps Ann (Achsa Ann Martin Hamilton) will write some too. Give my best love to all the family and accept my sincere love yourself.

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 8

 
Letter Dated: December 21, 1861
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 23)
Living In: Spring Hill, Illinois
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Father) (age 72)
Living In: Indiana
 
Spring Hill, Illinois
December 21, 1861
 

Dear Father:

     I am still on the land and living. I don't get any news from any of you and for all I might know you are all swallowed up in the whirlpool of secession. That these are pretty tight times I will not doubt but surely I ought to hear from my own family. Candace
(Candace Shuford Hamilton) and Ike (Isaac Martin) have never written a letter to me since I left. Is there a cankering animosity corroding the life springs of family love or even respect. I hope and pray God that I may not live and die with a hatred from a brother or sister. I know there is something not right. I have looked and written and expected but naught has come. You, father, are old but the rest are young and they might write once or twice a year. It's reasonable.

     Our winter so far has been very pleasant. We had a little snow in November but for three weeks past the sun has shown and is warm as April. It is colder and cloudy today. We look for snow.

     Ann
(Achsa Ann Martin Hamilton, b.11/16/1836 - d.1927; RHR) and little Mary Edith (Edith May Hamilton, b.9/19/1860 - d.12/20/1863. Do not know where the “Mary” came from, maybe a typo by Mildred, perhaps should be “merry”? RHR) are at Geneseo visiting and will stay till after Christmas. Everybody loves our "Eda" - she is so pretty, good and smart. She is real fat, rosy cheeks and yellow silky hair, and eyes sparkle like diamonds. When I am away all week teaching school and come home she leaps into my arms and loves and caresses me fondly. She is very dear to me. I assure you Ann has better health than she has had since we have been married. Father Martin (Nathan Martin) has returned from Kansas in poor health. Times are pretty hard but I hear no murmuring.

     Every thing we sell is low and everything we buy is high. But we are not much distressed about the war and there is no great excitement here.

We have some religious interest in our midst - the Methodist commenced a protracted meeting at my school house some two weeks ago, and from thence they moved about 80 rods to the Dutch Church and are still holding there. Quite a number of experienced religion and several have joined the English church.

     The Temperance reform is doing wonders in this state and indeed in many of the western states. There are nearly 500 lodges with an aggregate of about 10,000 members. The greatest obstacles are winesellers, winemakers and United Brethren. But we prosper over all opposition. I see things in a different light in regard to the secrecy of the society. There is nothing injurious in it and it is very efficient for good. Last Sunday I heard an old school Presbyterian preach on the doctrine of election which was the ablest I ever heard, even if he did say that man was a free moral agent - he tried to prove that God's foreknowledge of events was the decree, and man might work and yet be lost - that man must do and yet come to naught - that Man could do and yet be lost. These are my criticisms - they may be wrong.

     I am editor of our lodge paper "The Templars Advocate". The Brethren of the church here try to pressure me that I am in the wrong business - that is farming, that I have the ability for other things. I have learned a great deal by not being wished into things unprepared.

     George
(George Washington Hamilton), I have one of the best school houses in these parts - it is about as large as Mt. Washington (Indiana), seated with desks, blackboards, maps and a bell.

     I have a desk with a lock. There are desks enough to seat about 70 scholars. I have 34 scholars now and will have 50 in all. I have them so classed off that they move according to military tactics. The school keeps very good order. We have singing once or twice a day. It is not like it was at Providence. They were so contemptably green there they did not know what was good. I have been teaching a month and have not taken a switch in the house yet and have a better school that I ever went to at home by a long ways. So much for living among the yankees. George, come out and see us some time soon as you can. Ann often wishes you would come and see us.

 

D. W. H.

 
 
 
 

Letter # 9

 
Letter Dated: February 2, 1862
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 23)
& Achsa "Ann" Martin Hamilton (age 24)
Living In: Spring Hill, Illinois
To: George Wahington Hamilton (Brother & Brother-in-Law; age 18)
Living In: Indiana
 
Spring Hill, Illinois
February 2, 1862
 

Well George,

     Here I am once more going to chat with you. It puts me in mind of old times to set down and read a letter from you. I like talking letters that tell the news and your last two have been interesting in that way. I wish I could interest you as you do me but I fear I can't.

     I am well pleased to hear that father is doing or living so well these hard times. There is no need of his wanting anything if all things are managed right. I write to him once in a while but as yet have received no answer.

(Correspondece changes from Will to Ann at this point in the letter)

     Will did not chat long did he? - but as he was obliged to start to his school he told me to finish, and as we are one it does not make much difference. I received your epistle Thursday and Will on Saturday and we answer on Sunday, so that is almost as good as you.

     We have lots of snow yet, no thawing, plenty of sleighing. Generally twenty below zero, and we go to Lodge and meeting also to spelling school. The Sharon school house was burned up last week! A hole in the bottom of the stove let the coals through and it just went in! We are not having much to talk of except war news - our army is cleaning the rebels out slow but sure.

     Last week a young man's body came to his parents to be buried. He enlisted in New York and his regiment was sent to St. Louis. His parents moved here a few weeks ago and in a few days they received their son's body.

     It would have been better if Zach Baker had never been born than to live and die a drunkard.
(Valentine's (Baker) brother who crawled into the neighboring cave while intoxicated and was drowned. MS)

     Will is getting along fine with his school - he has grown men and women attending - he does not use a whip scarcely at all. He is getting up a writing school also. He wants you in your next letter to tell what became of Manoah Martin - if he went to war, and if Louise is married to Milt Hallett. What is Sam driving at and old Aunt too. So you see if you answer all his questions it will take you all night - and some old peach in the bargain to clear your head.

     It is no harm to hug the girls provided they are willing, and you don't break their ribs, but you had better be careful, if one hugs you, you are a goner. A great many have died since we left and so it goes. Some are married and got a "family" on hands. The world is ever changing yet always the same.

     Times are said to be pretty hard just now as it is tax paying time - corn 10 cents per bushel, pork $2.00 per cwt., beef $2.25 gross, wheat 60 cents - so it goes, but people dress as well and have a much to eat as they ever did in spite of war. There was a great deal of sugar cane molasses made in our state and some of it is as clear and fair as the best southern syrup I ever ate. Any of it is good enough for use and I notice that some farmers in the south part of our state are going to raise coffee and cotton - if they succeed it will be a great source of wealth. May
(Edith May Hamilton, b.9/19/1860 - d.12/20/1863; RHR) has waked up so I must close up and hope you will reply soon as we are glad to get your letters as they are full of news to us.

     
 

Your brother and sister,

 
 

Will & Anna

 

P.S. I intended writing to Can (Candace Shuford Hamilton) & Isaac (Isaac Martin) today, but was called away visiting so I must send this to the office without writing to them, but will write next time if possible - in the meantime I hope she will write to us. Give love to all our folks.

 

A. A. M. H

 
 

Remarks: The above letter was written to George Washington Hamilton about three weeks before he entered service (2/13/1862) in the Civil War. Three months later George was dead - having died from effects of measles. MS

 
 
 

Letter # 10

 
Letter Dated: June 13, 1862
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 23)
Living In: Portland, Illinois
To: Isaac & Candace Hamilton Martin (Brother-in-Law & Sister) (age 29& 20)
Living In: Indiana
 
Portland, Illinois
June 13, (Friday) 1862
 

Dear Bro. and Sister:

     At home again tired with the days labor. O dear, teaching is so perplexing. But, that does not weigh so heavily as the news your letter brought me yesterday. It struck me with extreme anguish to hear of his
(George Washington Hamilton, b.1/28/1844 - d.5/15/1860; RHR) dying far from home, and the tender words of a kind father, which he I infered, so much longed for during his illness. I weep while writing and can only find relief in out- gushing tears - I weep because he was young, far from home and friends, and I fear without any hope of immortality beyond the grave. God only knows, I don't. And I weep because of the grief of father. His comforts were few at most and to have a son far away, languishing and dying, is more than he can bear. Last Saturday I was at Geneseo - saw the last letter he wrote to Dove (Delilah Ann Hamilton, b.11/20/1828 - d.1/30/1901; RHR), the last any of us got. I got his address last Sunday (June 8, 1862) and wrote him a letter. But one thing is left us, we have the comfort that he died in defense of his liberty. This war is dire and thousands of hearts among the living are wrung by it's consequences. But the instigators will reap their reward.

     We are keeping house this summer in a large two-story brick. Our house is shaded with large hickory trees, interspersed with lilacs, tamaracks, spruces, etc. I made garden also, have lettuce, peas, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes and corn growing. My potatoes and corn are growing fast.

     The school house is over two miles from this place, so I have quite a walk of morning and evenings. My school is large, over fifty scholars in all - forty-three today. I hear 32 recitations in all.

     The people f the district are nearly all old settlers and wealthy - hence aristocratic, so I have to keep a stiff upper lip.

     O yes, that young soldier
(probably referring to Can's new baby boy, Ninian Stephen Martin, b.5/21/1862; RHR) - I hope you are doing well and would infer you were from your writing. Well success to you and yours. I would like to have that little duck of yours here with mine just awhile, mine is so lonesome. I must stop - tis night.

     Sunday morning - Yesterday I spent running around, got some currants, gooseberries, etc. - visited and back home. One week ago I was at Doves - she has any variety of flowers in her dooryard.

     Afternoon 6 o'clock - I have been to preaching twice since morning. I went six miles this afternoon to hear a good old Presbyterian, heard a good sermon and rode home with the preacher. This has been a pleasant day to me, but tomorrow my vexations commence. My dear sister comfort our dear father. I long to see him. I hope George's body can be brought home and interred by mother. You could find out by writing to the captain of his company where he was buried, or if you write to the hospital surgeon at St. Louis, they have the names, the regiment, the company, and the residence of each soldier. If I had the means I would go myself and get it.

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 11

 
Letter Dated: March 31, 1865
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 26)
Living In: Lost Rive, Indiana
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Father) (age 76)
Living In: Indiana
 
Lost River, Indiana
March 31, 1865
 

Dear Father:

     Your letter came to hand today. I have to state that we have another fine girl - a real pretty babe, born Sunday, the 12th, while I was down there. Ann
(Achsa Ann Martin Hamilton) is doing well, was kindly nursed, and will be able to travel in a week or ten days. Cora (Cora Catherine Hamilton) is well, was sick while I was there. My health is poor yet - some days feel well and work, then I am laid up. My last trip out here made me sick. Last night I had the neuralgia. I took quinine and morphine to ease it - today I feel trifling.

     Dr. Childs of Claysville tried to hire me to teach a select school of young men and women - would go $50.00 to furnish me a house and would have if I would teach. I would have, but few scholars and plenty of time to exercise, but I don't feel like it now.

     I had thought of going down there tomorrow, but don't know as I will now. We will be at Saltillo the last of next week, come Thursday or Friday. It will be too much trouble to get around there with all our little folks. I wrote to Nin
(Ninian B. Hamilton jr.) two weeks ago, but nothing from him yet. We call the babe Margaret (Margaret Trimble Hamilton b.3/12/1865 - d. 8/26/1873; RHR).

Nothing more at present.

 
 

Your son,

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 12

 
Letter Dated: April 1, 1866
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 27)
Living In: Spring Hill, Illinois
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Father) (age 77)
Living In: Indiana
 
Spring Hill, Illinois
April 1, 1866
 

Dear Father:

     It has been some time since I have heard from you and also since I wrote to you. So I thought I would write a few lines of what I have done and seen.

     Two weeks ago last Thursday
(March 15, 1866; RHR) I and another neighbor took our satchels in hand and started to Iowa to see lands, etc. We passed through Galena, the city of the hills, crossed the river at Dubuque - crossed most of the way on ice. Took the Dubuque and Sioux City R. R. - landed at 5 p.m. in Waverly, Bremer County, Iowa - one of the coldest days in winter. But we had a good warm supper and bed so rested well. Saturday morning at 6 we took the stage for Nashua, 20 miles north - well it was cold but the stage coach was full so we kept from freezing.

     Bumped along at a slow rate - got there at 12 o'clock, cold and hungry. Then I was eighteen miles east of my lands, so we ate dinner took our satchels in hand, and on foot we started for the place.

     Walked 6 miles out on the prairie and staid all night with a good old Methodist. It was six miles from his house to the next settlement but we stemmed it, stopped and got some bread and milk of a Dutch woman which lasted us till we got to Marble Rock, about 3 o'clock.

     This is a little town the size of Martinsburg, 5 or 6 miles east of my land. Monday morning we took a walk out to look at the country, stopped at an old settlers house, the nearest to the land.

     His sons kindly offered to show us the land so we all took a walk out 3/4 of a mile and I stood on my own land the first time - as beautiful rolling prairie as I ever looked upon - splendid soil with a running stream of water across one end of it. The R. R. (Rail Road) Charter lays a line across on my north line - the present highway running west. It is altogether a valuable location but too far from timber - it is four miles.

     Well we went back to the neighbors, took dinner, and started back to town, the latter place we made by three o'clock. Tuesday morning we started for the county seat which we made by three o'clock - distance fourteen miles - all on foot and that too facing the storm.

     Charles City is a nice town on Red Cedar river with good water power. One thing those rivers have good mills on them. There is a good water mill five miles from my land - two saw mills, same distance.

     Well in short my trip paid me well, but it was a little too cold so I have sold out for cash - will buy here some place when I get suited. I sold well. That region is a splendid one, I may buy nearer the county seat - I have not decided yet.

     Cora
(Cora Catherine Hamilton, b.11/14/1862 - d.3/9/1931; RHR) and Maggie (Margaret Trimble Hamilton, b.3/12/1865 - d.8/26/1873; RHR) are well. I am quite well - I think this climate suits me the best, air is so pure.

 
 

Love to all -

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 13

 
Letter Dated: February 13, 1867
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 27)
Living In: Spring Hill, Illinois
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Father) (age - a few days before turning 78)
Living In: Indiana
 
Spring Hill, Illinois
February 13, 1867
 

Dear Father and All:

     It has been a long long time since I heard anything from any of you - in fact I have not had a letter from any of you since I left last August. The last I heard was soon after Ninian
(Ninian B. Hamilton, jr.) had been there the last of October. While I was in Rockford I wrote one or two letters but got no answers. I wrote to Jacob Wiers and after a long time got a reply, and that is the last I have heard from that part of the state. I hear from Nin (Ninian B. Hamilton, jr.) frequently.

     Well I staid three months in Rockford, had trouble about collecting my pay, and left the 29th of November, since which I have been teaching here and there, making something, but working hard.

     I have traded my land in Iowa for a house and two lots in Geneseo. The house is new, only built last fall - 14 x 24 - 1-1/2 stories high - brick walls and cellar. A good stable with floors in it holds four horses very well. There is ten good apple trees that are bearing some fruit. It is considered a good trade. It cost me $800.00. I gave some boot but it is available now and it is a rare trade.

     We are all well now, though we have had some sickness this winter - Cora
(Cora Catherine Hamilton) and Maggie (Margaret Trimble Hamilton) were both sick last week. I had to call the doctor for Cora - She had her old bronchial trouble that she used to have. She talks about her Grandpa Hamilton in "Teanna" (Indiana), is learning fast to spell and sing - talks plain and is a good girl. Maggie is very much like May, only stouter - learns everything very fast - is a good child.

     John
( John S. Martin) and Dovey (Delilah (Dovey) Ann Hamilton) are getting along very well. I taught school in Geneseo and staid there with them. Our winter has been pretty cold, the mercury running down to 22 degrees below zero. The ground has not been soft since the first days of December.

     Another one of Ann'
s (Achsa Ann Martin Hamilton) sisters, Henrietta (Martin), died the 15th of January - none left now but Ann and Kate (Kate Martin). She was the youngest - about twenty years old. Died with consumption. She was taken about the time I started to Indiana last summer and never did any more work and when I got home in August was in bed most of the time till she died.

     Her end was peace - she was a good girl. Father Martin
(Nathan Martin) is breaking fast and will not last many years. He talks of going with us to Geneseo. He is so much attached to the children that it will be so lonesome for him he says.

     Our house will be empty by the first of the March then we will go to housekeeping again for the first in three years. I should like to see you all but if we can't see each other we might write. Get Sam Baker
(Samuel Lafayette Baker) or some one to write for you so that we may hear. I am hurried a good deal and it may be you will find some trouble with this. No more at present - I have laid off to write a good many times.

     Write soon - this is intended for a family letter.

 
 

Your son,

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 14

 
Letter Dated: February 2, 1871
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 32)
Living In: Geneseo, Illinois
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Father) (age - 81)
Living In: Indiana
 
Geneseo, Illinois
February 2, 1871
 

Dear Father:

     I have now some time to write you a few lines. We are tolerable well at present but have been sick more than usual this winter. The doctor has been in two or three times and we have had medicine a time or two, but our little Homeopathic man brings us out all right very soon and now Ann
(Achsa Ann Martin Hamilton) and children have gone to Kates to spend two weeks visiting.

     Father Martin
( Nathan Martin) and Kate's husband started to Kansas yesterday. Father Martin sold his farm and now is going to buy out West. I and family follow in about four or six weeks. We are to have a home at last. I have had better success than usual teaching this fall and winter but I pay $5.00 per month rent and that comes anyhow and four children and ourselves to eat and wear more than one or two used to, and now it is about time to stir out. I expect to earn what I can with my pen. It has been bread and raiment to me and mine when all else seemed to fail. I have earned a good many hundred dollars (with) it.

     Our winter has on the whole been pleasant - the fall very much so. A little more than two weeks ago we had a tremendous snow storm. Snow fell to the depth of 26 inches on a level. On one side of our house was a drift nearly six feet deep, but it was not so cold. The mercury has not been but ten below zero and but little wind.

     Business is very dull - the worst I seen since '60 and '61 - a standstill, now that Paris has surrendered we hope to look up.
(Franco-German War effectively ended with the surrender of Paris on January 28, 1871. Peace Treaty signed May 10, 1871. RHR)

     We have heard from Bine
(Lovina Cannady Hamilton) lately - she wants to sell out and go West. Now we would like to get a letter from you, before we start. You will be 82 years old in a few days a long time to live, but I pray your sun may go down serenely.

 
 

Your affectionate son,

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 15

 
Letter Dated: February 2, 1871
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 32)
Living In: New Scandinavia, Kansas
To: Candace Hamilton Hartin (Sister) (age 29)
Living In: Indiana
 
New Scandinavia, Kansas
February 2, 1871
 

Dear Sister:

     I want to send you some of our flowers so I write some too. Don't think we are too far apart to write to each other. I believe I am more faithful to my friends than they are to me.

     We have been here over two months, and when we came thought it wild - thought there might be Indians and buffaloes there out west. Have seen everything but the Indians. When we came here there was but little of the prairie for six miles west of us taken. Now every quarter section of government land is taken as a homestead and you can see plows going on almost every piece of land.

     There are some splendid sections of State land with timber on them near that would make Isaac
(Isaac Martin) a splendid stock farm for $3 or 4 per acre. I wish you were here. I have never met with a better class of persons in my life. I went right to work writing have work all the time, and all seem willing to support it.

     We have a cow and calf, some chickens, and about 30 acres of crops out which look splendid.

     We have a splendid season, everything is just growing right up. I think it the most healthy place I ever saw or lived in. Ann
(Achsa Ann Martin Hamilton) and the children have much better health here than they had in Illinois.

     Tell Isaac that stock require but little feed in the winter time. I have seen cattle this spring that never had anything all winter but prairie grass - think of that, and now they are rolling fat. It is the most nutritious grass I ever saw.

     I am teaching at the County seat, Belleville, and at our P.O. address. I mean to try and get in the clerk's office in a year or two. I have the Circuit Clerk, County clerks, and several others of the dignitaries for my pupils. I think this beats anything I ever saw for the wild flowers. I send you some "sensitive" plant flowers or mimosa. Many others are found in flower gardens east.

     I hope to hear from you soon and some day you and Isaac come and see us. Hoping you are all well, I close by sending love to all.

 
 

Every your brother -

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 16

 
Letter Dated: September 12, 1871
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 32)
Living In: Mimosa, Republic County, Kansas
To: Isaac & Candace Hamilton Martin (Sister) (age 30)
Living In: Indiana
 
Mimosa, Republic County, Kansas
September 12, 1871
 

Dear Brother and Sis:

     It occurs to me that I am in debt to you one letter at least. I received one from Lillie Belle
(Lillie Belle Martin is Candace's eldest daughter) dated July 22nd. I have not had much time to write when I felt like it since then, but now I will try. We have had two letters from H. H. Cannady since the death of the widow Hamilton ( Rebecca Lovina "Bine" Canndady Hamilton or Mrs. Ninian B. Hamilton, Jr. MS) asking what among other things shall be done with those orphan children, but I found it difficult to answer. We would like to take one of them if we were better situated, will anyway if some difficulty is found in getting a home suitable. We are just commencing in a new country and have some of the hardships - Home to build, break fence, and raise some crops and will have to go short perhaps a year or two. Have eight in family and while it is true we have had assistance from Father Martin (Nathan Martin) we may be left flat again. I still wish to do something for them. Should any of my present prospects be realized I would be safe in so doing and do justice to the child. Daniel Shuck, I think, will look to the matter. I feel much interest in knowing they have good homes.

     We are situated on the west bank of the Republican River living on Father Martin's claim
(Quarter Section) and I have homesteaded on the claim next west so we together have 320 acres in a body. The house we live in is a frame of pine. I am building a log one on mine just to hold it.

     The summer is waning into autumn and we know now something of what a season is in Kansas. The season has been pretty good and fruitful on the whole. Winter wheat was good, averaging about 22 bushels. Corn, sod, about 40 - old ground 60 or 75. Squashes, melons potatoes where the bugs let them alone and vegetables of all kinds. The season has not been as dry as in Illinois this season and last, and now we are having plenty of rain. There are some cases of ague
(malaria RHR) now which is a surprise to the oldest inhabitant. But we are healthier than we were in Illinois, have a drier air, more even temperature, and better water and all the elements necessary to a rapid development of the country. We have a good sandy loam with clay bottom, good building stone in the streams, and timber such as ash, hackberry, elm, box elder, oak and cottonwood. The timber is somewhat more scrubby than yours. The grass is splendid, the winter mild, and many don't feed at all. But I have helped to make some forty of fifty tons of splendid hay for three families. We live near the great Texas cattle trail over which passes thousands of cattle north. I have seen six thousand on one herd. The cheapness of putting these cattle into market and the large profit in return, is the excitement here.

     The population is make up of all classes from all parts but as a general thing they are good industrious people, and are developing the country rapidly. We are to have a railroad in our valley next year, and then we expect better times. I have received the appointment as P.M. (Post Master) for the postoffice named at the head of this six miles above Scandinavia. Am on the track for the County clerkship with fair prospects. If I get it I am fixed for business. I shall try and remember Lilly
(Lillie Belle Martin). Please write soon.

     We are all well.

 
 

Yours,

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 16

 
Letter Dated: August 27, 1873
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 34)
Living In: Mimosa, Republic County, Kansas
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Father) (age - 84)
Isaac & Candace Hamilton Martin (Sister) (age 32)
Living In: Indiana
 
Mimosa, Republic County, Kansas
August 27, 1873
 

Dear Father & Friends:

     Death has been in our midst again, this time our darling Maggie
(Margaret Trimble Hamilton), our little invalid. She went sooner than we expected, but we did not expect her to live long. About two weeks ago she became worse, that is, her old spinal trouble began to distress her more and more. The doctor was called in and present, but with little relief. Her distress was pain in limbs and stomach. Blood was out of order and needed vitalizing, lungs, lower part - all closed up so that they could not do their work in purifying the blood. Limbs and body swelled.

     She was unable to lie down and sleep, because of pain and suffocation and finally we had to hold her up while she slept a little. On Monday last there were evident signs of the coming dissolution. Monday night she suffered for want of breath, her limbs and body much swollen - we held her, fanned her, and thus passed the night - her gasping for life.

     Tuesday morning ere dawn she expressed a wish if it were not wicked, she would like to die before tomorrow morning and be at rest - said, "I am glad I have such a kind papa and mama to take care of me, and indulge me, etc." It would be too tedious to give you all she has said. She was a darling child, a hopeless invalid for life - but in that crooked, suffering body was the sweetest spirit, a bright gem in a crooked casket. Being frail in body she was confined to the house, her books, her toys and her mother. Like May
(Edith May Hamilton) in looks, turn of mind and spiritual development but stronger in vitality and will force - she withstood disease longer. She knew or seemed to know, some days before hand that she could not live long, hence made disposition of her books and toys.

     She died Tuesday morning at 10 o'clock and was buried Wednesday afternoon beside her gandpa on this farm. She was his favorite. May
(Edith May Hamilton), Mother Martin (Sarah Trimble Martin) all gone together now to that better land I trust. The funeral sermon was preached by Rev. Holland, a man that makes me think of old father Shanks, so kind, and ripe in goodness. The neighbors were kind to us.

     We feel our loss, but her life physically was one of suffering, her mental and spiritual grew to womanhood. Could a little girl 8 1/2 years old possess a holy and sanctified spirit fully adopted into the loving favor of God. I have no doubt of it as she gave ample proof of it. I am led to ask further how young may a child be to be led to Christ, with the first budding of the young flower, the opening of the young mind to earliest impressions. Shall we thus early lead them? We miss our May
(Edith May Hamilton) and now our Maggie, but they are away from pain and sin.

     We expect a mill company to put up a mill here before a great while. We have the only water power on the river near this place. I wish you could come and get a part of the section north of this place. It would just suit for stock - $4.00 per acre.

 
 

Your son and brother,

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 17

 
Letter Dated: April 11, 1875
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 36)
Living In: Mimosa, Republic County, Kansas
To: Isaac & Candace Hamilton Martin (Sister) (age 33)
Living In: Indiana
 
Mimosa, Republic County, Kansas
April 11, 1875
 
Mrs. C. S. Martin (Candace Shuford Hamilton Martin)
 

Sister and Family:

     To write letters is to give and receive pleasure or should at least. One now dead and gone, has said of the pen that it is "mind speaking to mind and heart to heart". It has been a long time since last July, I have forgotten the date of that letter. Now, I know that some of you are blessed with capacity to write. You must know that it makes one feel neglected for some cause or other, Now this is not just right - especially in times of sickness or distress. At such times it is a duty. I haven't heard a word from you or father whether you are sick or alive or he is, whether trouble has come upon any of you, etc.

     Well I suppose I must write of ourselves. The winter was, indeed, long and tedious, the coldest and hardest on man and beast I have ever seen in Kansas and hung on two weeks later than usual. The ice cleared out of the river March 12th, two weeks after the usual time. Since that we expect the Easter storm. We have had nice weather - some heavy rains with thunder storms, a little unusual at this season. Most of the farmers are done sowing spring wheat. I am not quite, as I have been sick a part of the time. Fall wheat and rye look fine. If the fall and spring grain make a crop there will be a big crop indeed.

     The health of the country for the last two months has not been good. Almost everybody has been troubled with a cold, inflammation off the lungs or "epizooty" as some of the doctors call it - like that that troubled the horses two years ago. Some deaths from "spotted fever". Our family, from self down, have had the peculiar cold, each one in turn, going to bed. We are better now, but my trouble seems to be longest.

     Well I suppose you naturally ask how we bridged the calamity over. Not so bad as represented you will think. Well, we are thus far but to have scene presented beforehand for reenaction - I pray never to have it. Not one in ten could have got through without suffering great distress, had no assistance come to hand. Undoubtedly some would have perished - the best to do, barely lived. Help came in different ways from other places. Friends east sent in boxes of clothing, provisions to friends individually here. Agents went abroad and solicited for relief societies here.

     Carloads were received by the hundred in this state and apportioned to each county. but by far the most effectual help rendered has been by money sent. As soon as it was known that relief money was coming in the merchants stocked up as good as usual, ready to pick it up. There was less bother, less loss about it. Government issues rations to some counties west of this. Our state legislature did nothing for us, although a $100,000.00 lay in the treasury, too contrary or selfish.

     To get seed and provisions till harvest was the great trouble. We have had a supply of clothing distributed, some provisions - about enough to last a week or so longer. Then all public aid stops. There has been no meat given out in this town - to be no government rations issued in this county. Nine-tenths have but little to eat but their milk, butter and eggs till crops are raised. We lost 4 head of hogs, traded our last cow and calf that we might save the team and get grain to put in a crop. Have suffered much, fear we will have to move. We live from hand to mouth, some days nothing but bread and water, that is lately, for John
(John Martin) and others of Ann's (Achsa Ann Martin Hamilton) brothers helped us to most of our living through the winter. We feel that they have done all they can in justice. If God permits us to prosper we will return it. We have garden seeds for a good garden sent us. I think we will have corn from Kate. But provisions we have not, no milk or butter, no meat, only flour till next week. Now this is the situation. I ask a loan of a few dollars such as you feel you can spare till we can harvest a crop. There is no money to loan here at any figures.

     I cannot possibly live and make my crop without some assistance in provisions. Now I don't think I shall write anymore and humiliate myself by asking fruitless for help till our crops can be made available. If we cannot raise a crop this year we will get out. In kindness -

     
 

Your Brother -

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 18

 
Letter Dated: May 23, 1875
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 36)
Living In: Mimosa, Republic County, Kansas
To: Isaac & Candace Hamilton Martin (Sister) (age 33)
Living In: Indiana
 
Mimosa, Republic County, Kansas
May 23, 1875
 

Brother & Sister:

     Your kind favor of the 4th inst. was received in yesterday's mail and perused with interest.

     Also, one a few days before from father, to which I have already written a reply. I am glad to hear from you all. It is useless to complain of the defective transmission - yes worse willful mismanagement of postal affairs. But it works dreadful hardships when things vital are at stake, and we are all expectation. I make it a practice to write again till I find my correspondence is not wanted.

     The items of your letters are everything to us, and I could only wish them to come thicker and faster. First, and above all health is improved - but sorry to hear that you, Isaac,
(Isaac Martin b.5/14/1833 - d.3/25/1891. RHR) have such poor health. Run down with the cares of life. I think you might renew your youth by a "turn out west". You would have a little more out-door exercise in the circulating air. In this place, let me say bring along some of that lean stock and turn it on our pasture.

     I have 120 acres left of sod unbroken, 640 just north of me that "corners" with 1000 more and right along side is the river to wash down the grass when eaten. Frost don't nip our feed. it lasts all winter.

     That old-fashioned Methodist meeting - letter from Uncle David Wilfong, for whom I was named - should think he would write to his "namesake". He must be old as he is next older than mother
(Mary Margaret Wilfong b.10/14/1800 - d.5/15/1853. RHR), who were she living, would be near 75 years old. Father (Ninian Beall Hamilton b.2/19/1789 - d.1/31/1882. RHR) still lingers, a connecting link between a past age and the present, seemingly enjoying the fullness of old age. It was news to me that he had gone back to the old place. It is all right I presume but I could wish that all of his children could be situated nearer to him to minister to him and not throw it upon strangers. There are but three of us left and it seems hard that a strange fatality should separate us so widely. It seems I am fixed here, you there, Dovey (Delilah (Dovey) Ann Hamilton Martin), in Illinois. But it seems to be irrevocably so - I might be vain enough to wish you all settled here, but his removal here would probably be inexpedient.

     I often think of brother Ninian's
(Ninian B. Hamilton, jr.) orphan children, never hear from them - don't how they are situated. Do they know their father has a brother that has an abiding love for them, for the sake of hallowed memories of the departed, as well as the relation he bequests them, intensely more binding in their state of orphanage. If it is ever possible for me to visit you all I shall hunt them up, and if possible let them know that there is a heart that feels for them. but I must shift a little, I find myself tarrying too long by the wayside. My thoughts come quicker and my tongue (of the absent) clumsier.

     You speak of severe weather, loss of crops by frost - of which we had read in the paper - and hard times ahead, for which you have our sympathy. On the 5th page I will commence my story and see it hangs together.

     That last season was a calamitous one to Kansas, there is no doubt. her interests, progress and prosperity received a fearful shock, but we hope to live over it. It is only one year out of fifteen of such a failure. The whole of the western part, embracing in area one-half of the state and population estimated at 150,000 has been settled within the last 5 years principally since we came, many of the counties west, in the last 2 or 3 years, by homesteaders, men of small capital, just enough to start.

     A team, few head of cattle or stock some money to live on the first year, till they could break, start a rude cabin or "dugout" as many of them did, when I see you I will describe it more carefully.

     Consequently, the first years crop is short sod corn, next year with cash used up they commence the fight. To get seed, farm tools, clothing, increase cattle and hogs, so as to have something to sell to meet these bills is the beginning of real work to many. We can raise grain here, there is no doubt of it. There is scarcely a better place for stock
(save in the climate of California) as was fully tested here last winter, in the wintering over of a great many head of cattle, without grain at all. But the trouble was - here the greatest number of the people were new settlers, means exhausted in "start in", depending on "sod" crops. Or the older ones having nothing but wheat for everything, bread, seed, feed, clothing, debts and taxes. There would have been a surplus of wheat in this country, if the people had not been compelled to fat and feed hogs for meat, and it is poor stuff at that, horses too had to be fed to work. Some sold to pay debts, get clothes, salt, etc. Barely enough to sow was had at seeding time. That is, I speak of this country. But very little "did" wheat was distributed. The main object was to have wheat to sow again. Through various ways a good breadth of grain was sown and never was prospect more pleasing than at the present time. Then comes the "stumper" if your are so well fixed up for seed, have sown so much, have fed it, sold it, why need charity from abroad. Well, thousands upon thousands did not have one-half enough to do them, thought then they would have to abandon their only chance for a home. If they lived through one winter, they needed to prepare for the next, seed to sow and plant. And I tell you the prospect is fine now for crops of all kinds, garden stuff is coming on - can use it in a few weeks. Such seeds were in a large manner donated to us.

       Stock is scarce, hogs especially. There are not enough left to meat the people next year. I had ten but two left. It will be the middle of August before we can thresh and still later before we can get any meat at any price that is raised here. Bacon-poor stuff at that, can be bought for 18 to 20 cents per lb., flour $2.50 to $3.00 - very many will be hungry for bread before it can be threshed. The merchants will not trust out. There is no money to loan only in one way. Bankers in New York City have sent out agents to cut the throats of poor suffering people here, who will mortgage everything rather than starve. They charge 25 per cent and take the interest in advance. I went last week to borrow some but can't nor won't stand the rates or terms. I would give 15 or 20 per cent and give as good security as can be had in the state - a mortgage - but I want some chance too. I need money for provisions till my crop is available, but I don't want to gratify such a set of cut-throats. I need some money badly to get me through, would pay good interest, but there are no banks here - no one else loans.

     Conclusion - Tuesday I must close as it is about mail time. We would be glad to have a letter from the children too.

     They write well. I have written more at length about this state than I will again. We are all well. Give our love to all the friends. Tell Harriett Baker
(Harriett Green Baker) that her brother, J. M. Green, and Ann's (Achsa Ann Martin Hamilton) brother are neighbors in Chillicothe, Missouri.

     
 

In love, Your Brother -

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 19

 
Letter Dated: February 8, 1876
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 37)
Living In: Mimosa, Republic County, Kansas
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Father) (age - 87)
Living In: Indiana
 
Mimosa, Republic County, Kansas
February 8th, 1876
 

Dear Father:

     I have missed your letter for some time and knowing that you can't write yourself or read very well, I am not so much surprised. I wrote you in the fall about our sickness in family. Well, it continued until the 1st of December and was pretty hard on us. Besides the bodily pain and suffering it caused the anxiety of mind, the delay of necessary work went hard, but we have got along. I got the house replastered, the corn gathered, and now am out teaching some writing schools in order to help along. By this means I get clothing for the family. Farm products bring so little (except hogs of which I have none to spare) that I have to resort to that faithful friend the "pen" to aid me in this time of need. I raised more wheat and corn than necessary to consume - had to sell some wheat on account of sickness, but the corn brings such a trifling price (in store goods) that it is foolish to sell it - only 15 cents. Wheat now 50 and less - hogs commence at 8 cents now down to 5 cents - these are the means of raising ready cash. But still the people are in good spirits. The winter has been very mild.

     Why, the 1st of January farmers were plowing and with the exception of a very few days a man could work in his shirt sleeves. Two or three days of last week were about the coldest but Sunday and Monday were just as lovely days as ever I saw.

     I went home on Sunday morning and found the family troubled with colds. Percy
(Percy Allen Hamilton) was very hoarse, but was much better when I came away yesterday. The winter has been dry and warm - no rain, snow or mud, and work of all kinds goes on.

     A railroad surveying party crossed our river at our ford a few days ago and say they will build it inside of 18 months. Will bridge the river on the Island and the presumption is that we will have a town. A fine water mill is now being built on one corner of our farm on the river. It was commenced two years ago but suspended on account of the grasshoppers. it will be ready for the next crop.

     I had a letter from Candace
(Candace Shuford Hamilton Martin) a few days ago which said you were troubled about us. Don't fear, we have our hardships but the prospect brightens, and I am pretty plucky to make something if anybody does.

     And, at the same time I might be able to do something if you need it. I may see you this spring if you and I live. I propose visiting you this spring if health permits, teaching as a business. I can rent out my farm to a good advantage and have no stock so can work that to an advantage, so I thought I would travel and teach some and rest up this season. Get someone in whom you have confidence to read and write for you and let me hear from you soon.

May God be with you is my prayer.

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 20
This letter (actually 2 in 1) are from WIll & Ann's sons, Percy & Arthur,
to their cousin, Ninian Stephen Martin, son of Isaac & Candace

 
Letter Dated: April 24, 1878
From: Percy Allen Hamilton (b. 05 Oct 1867) (age 10)
Living In: White Rock, Republic County, Kansas
To: Ninian Stephen Martin (b. 21 May 1862) (age 15) (Cousin)
(Son of Isaac & Candace Hamilton Martin)
Living In: Indiana
 
White Rock, Republic County, Kansas
April 24, 1878
 

Dear Coz:

     You wrote my papa a long and interesting letter and he delegated me to answer it. My letter will be a homemade production without any of the polish obtained from being educated at a public school.

     We live about sixty rods from the river and our land corners on an island. There are beavers on the river. They cut trees two feet through. Then they cut the limbs and carry them into their dens and eat them - rather the bark and buds. Then they carry the limbs outside and drop them. Sometimes they accumulate them in great piles and people get a wagon load of wood to burn. Our books of history tell us they make dams, but it is not so, for they pile up the limbs on dry land as much as in the water. They have awful strong teeth and jaws and big heads. The tail is flat and long. They use their tail to steer while swimming, but not for a trowel. Indians say beaver tail soup is a great delicacy but I have never had a chance to taste it.

     But Papa helped a bachelor get away with a baked skunk on Sunday for dinner. Hoosier boys call 'em "polecats". They are a pretty little animal with a bushy tail and soft fur, which is sold in the market for "Black Marten". They are out on damp days and feed on bugs and ants. Ma killed one with a stick and it stunk worse than a beer garden. They are death on road rats - they soon clean out the rats, but I don't think they eat them.

     Woodrats are big as a muskrat. They live in the timber and pile up sticks and bark against a tree six and eight feet high, and they'll come into the house and carry off spoons, shoes, or cloth or anything. One got under our floor one night and next morning there were no potatoes in the tub or tallow on the shelf, and some clothes left on the grass was gone. We dug into his nest and found all safe. A skunk got under the house and Mr. Woodrat had to emigrate to another country. One came at mama with it's mouth wide open - she let it come up and killed it with a stick of stove wood. 

     Lots of snakes. Pa found a mother rattle-snake and her ten young ones - she swallowed them quickly to keep 'em out of danger but pa chopped her in two pieces and killed the little ones. Some naturalists say they don't swallow their young, but they do!

     Lots of cotton tails and jack rabbits. These last are large and run like a deer, are hard to get at to shoot. They burrow in the ground in what are called "warrens" and people dig them out and kill them. Then there are the cowardly coyotes - his howl is worse than his bite for they won't bite you unless you put your hand in their mouth. But they will trot behind you when you are out on the road at night. But they are as fond of chicken as a boy, and they are not particular as to it's being setting hen, old rooster or young pullets. They burrow in the ground and the boys dig them out and have the young ones for pets. They won't be tamed and if you come near one it will snarl at you.

     There were wild cats here too, but they are all killed off now. There are geese and cranes and brandts here by the thousands spring and fall, and ducks too. There are loons but they stink so that nothing but a buzzard can eat them.

     Now, if you want to know about the prairie dogs come out here and I will show you one. My Mother won't nurse a cat but nurses as nice a little girl as ever you saw. She tells stories and sings songs - she sings "Hold the Fort" and a dozen more or so - Daisy
(Daisy Henrietta Hamilton) sings too. Arthur (Arthur Douglas Hamilton) wants to write so I'll close -

     My love to your papa and all.

     Papa
(David Wilfong Hamilton; RHR) copied part of my letter cause I blotted it.

 
 

Percy A. Hamilton

 
 

Percy's little brother, Arthur, wrote the 2nd part of this letter.

 

     Well Nin (Ninian Stephen Martin), Percy (Percy Allen Hamilton) told you about all the wild animals except the couger or American Lion that papa heard howl one night as he was coming home afoot from White Rock. He wasn't afraid but I think my hair would turn white if I should hear one. One of our neighbors, a woman, drove three young wild cats (kittens) up in a tree and helped kill 'em.

     If grandpa
(Ninian B. Hamilton, sr.; RHR) lives to be a hundred years old, as I hope he will, I am coming to see him, if I live. I'd like to see a man that the sun shone on for a hundred years.

     Mamma
(Achsa Ann Martin Hamilton; RHR) has promised Percy and I a gun when she gets her money from Indiana. We could kill lots of game. Every fellow out here has a double barrel shot-gun and Percy can tell you all about the size and shape of every kind of gun - he studies them so much and wants one so bad.

     I am sick today, so I got someone to write for me, but I am going to sign my name so you'll know I can write.

     My little brother is named Don Bertie
(Donald Wilbert Hamilton; RHR), and my little sisters are Louie (Louise Hamilton; RHR) and Daisy (Daisy Henrietta Hamilton; RHR). I am eight years old.

 
 

Arthur D. H.

 
 

Remarks: These letters were priceless to the recipients for both boys died in June, 1879, as well as the baby sister, Rose (Rose Hamilton; RHR). Percy was 12 - Arthur was 9, and the baby 10 months. All died of diphtheria. They were the children of David Wilfong Hamilton and Achsa Ann (Martin) Hamilton. MS

 
 
 
 

Letter # 21

 
Letter Dated: February 19, 1879
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 40)
Living In: Mimosa, Republic County, Kansas
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Father) (age - 90)
Living In: Indiana
 
White Rock, Republic County, Kansas
February 19, 1897
 

Dear Father:

     This is your 90th birthday - more than usually falls to the lot of man. Lillie
(Lillie B. Martin; RHR) wrote that you were well and was coming down to eat turkey today. How I would like to be with you there or here, either one. I have been going all winter and not there yet, but I have to wait the turn of affairs there and besides there has not been much of the time that I could leave home with safety, owing to sickness which has troubled us more or less all winter. There has been a great deal of sickness and some deaths from diphtheria, croup and scarlet fever. Scarcely a family escaped some of the symptoms of the above diseases. But it seems to be abating now. The winter was pretty cold - steady cold - but not so stormy as I have witnessed - considerable snow fell. The mercury ran as low as 18 degrees below zero.

     But stock looks well and I think the peaches are not killed yet. We had the January thaw and few got in a hurry to sow wheat but little as yet is sown. The children are going to school now.

     I will give you some of the prices as they are at present; hogs, $3.00 per hundred; beef cattle, $2.25; milk cows, $20 to $30 each; horses $75.00 to $125.00, they are higher in proportion than anything else. Wheat, 45 cents to 60 cents per bushel; corn 15 cents; rye, 20 cents to 25 cents; butter, 15 cents and eggs, 10 cents. The hog and grain crops were large - hogs went as low as $1.60 per hundred. This was for a short time for the railroad was completed about the 1st of January to one of our towns six miles from our farm and it created a better market at once. The hogs are shipped to Atchison, Kansas where one of the largest packing houses outside of Chicago, is paying equal to that of the older cities. Hog-feeding here pays well as corn is easily produced cheap. Several men in our township raised over 1,500 bushels of corn and turn off from 25 to 100 head of hogs per year.

     Just now there is much talk of more railroad building. Some viewers drove around here looking around. The present railroad will move on from it's present place - Scandia. We can see the smoke, hear the whistle as the train comes up the valley to it's present terminus. I tell you times don't look as they did when we first came. But we still have some deer left - one was killed day before yesterday near here.

     From the best information I can get, I believe you are entitled to a pension as an "1812" soldier, that is, if you were mustered in service 14 days you can get a pension. Back pension which would amount possibly to some hundreds of dollars, which, if you apply for you can get without cost. You ought to get it now. I will send the Pension Commissioner's instructions, take them and go to some J. P.
(Justice of the Peace) near there and make out your claim. You ought to attend to it now. I have always thought you were mustered in, if so for 14 days, you are entitled to your pension.

     I live in hopes of still seeing you this spring.

Please write soon.

 
 

With love to all, I am your son,

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 22

 
Letter Dated: April 1, 1879
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 40)
Living In: White Rock, Republic County, Kansas
To: Isaac & Candace Hamilton Martin (Sister) (age 37)
Living In: Indiana
 
White Rock, Republic County, Kansas
April 1, 1897
 

Dear Brother & Family

     While the sick ones are resting, as I am watching I'll write a little. We have our trial of sickness now - five out of seven down with the diphtheric. Arthur
(Arthur Douglas Hamilton) was taken down one week ago last Thursday - he was first of all - watched him night and day and now we think him convalescent, but may not be out of danger yet. has been very sick, apparently more so than May (Edith May Hamilton) was when she died. But the treatment is different and he has a good constitution. Yesterday (Monday) Cora (Cora Catherine Hamilton), Percy, (Percy Allen Hamilton), Daisy (Daisy Henrietta Hamilton) and the baby (Rose Hamilton; RHR) all came down - had their fever and are now resting. It is almost daylight. I have been up a good share of the night alone. We have no help at watching. Folks are afraid of diphtheria here, a good many have died with it. But Dr. Scott who lives on the "quarter" next west has been kind and attended. Has given the best known remedies and by the mercies of our heavenly Father we may be restored to health. He has our lives in His hands. Arthur was of the malignant type, the others he seems to think have it much milder. We will notify you of the outcome.

     We are looking for some money from Mr. Teagarden on the Trimble estate and are needing it so bad now. It seems like we cannot wait longer, but do not see how it can be hurried up. It does seem that if we ever get anything from that we ought to now.

     Very destructive fires have swept over portions of our county and done much damage. The grass was big and dry and the winds have been unusually high - as a consequence the destroying fiend has stalked forth with unimpeded velocity. One night last week fire got away just across the river, swept over a large tract of country and played havoc. Burnt out a number of men of their stock, grain and improvements, all within sight of us. All carelessness of some rascal who should pull hemp. One family barely escaped in night dress, with their lives. Down below here sometime ago a woman and child were burned. It is said 15 horses were burned last week. We are not out of danger ourselves.

     Well it is daylight now, I'll have to close. If you should be in the vicinity of Livonia, Isaac
(Isaac Martin), I wish you would see Samuel R. Teagarden and see for us how he is getting along in raising some money for us. I fear we shall need some before we get it. You have not felt afflictions hard probably as I have and do not realize what hangs over you as I do. Through flood, famine and fire thus far and death staring at us when the children are almost large enough, some of them, to take care of themselves. Let us pray that enough, some of them, to take care of themselves. Let us pray that this cup pass if possible - but the Lord's will be done.

     Write soon.

 
 

Your Brother

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 
 
 

Letter # 23

 
Letter Dated: April 13, 1879
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 40)
Living In: White Rock, Republic County, Kansas
To: Isaac & Candace Hamilton Martin (Sister) (age 37)
Living In: Indiana
 
White Rock, Republic County, Kansas
April 13, 1897
 
Mr. Isaac Martin & Family
 
 

Dear Bro & All:

I wrote under great precipitation the fore part of last week. I had no envelop, so committed it with others to Dr. Scott, our attending physician to mail. It did seem as the terrible malady would sweep us all off and I scarcely knew what I was about. He said he enveloped it and mailed it to you, said something about inserting a line on his own responsibility, and such things go out and form an impression in regard to the neighborhood. Now Dr. Scott and family have been very kind and attentive in this our stricken condition and he to relieve us of some of the burthen, as he thought, proposed to see the expense paid. I knew or realized but little of the proposition at the time as I had all I could stand under at the time. I have heard that the doctor proposed to put the expense on the county as we were in temporary want and nothing was available. It unquestionably meant funeral expenses, because he is not unduly alarmed. We have credit at the store and get goods there. It was our seemingly helpless condition and the apparent apathy of some of the neighbors to render help, that moved the doctor. That such a movement was premature is undoubted.

     It is believed by some and I have been careful to verify it, that we will have some money before a great while, that we are, but temporarily, sorely distressed. The doctor says, "of what use will thousands be unless we have it in our distress". I wrote you some time ago about the need of it to hurry up Teagarden. He has a purchaser for our share - wanted our lowest terms - I have sent them.

     The rest of the heirs don't want to sell and enjoin us not to let our distress be known. I presume they think it may be prejudicial to the settlement, but certainly we can not endure longer waiting for money we need and must have.

     I can scarcely dwell upon the desolation that the malady has wrought. Arthur
, (Arthur Douglas Hamilton) was a fine specimen of a boy just past nine - such wondrous noble countenance, full of light and joy. His was a happy combination of beauty and strength - a cheerful, happy heart - conscientious, he exhibited at times, some rare graces and was a general favorite. Baby, (Rose Hamilton) was delicate - not yet 8 months old. Arthur died on Saturday, the 5th, at 1:15 p.m. Baby on Sunday at 6:30 a.m. That the remaining sick ones might not be affected too much the burial of the two took place at 3:00 p,m. same day, and it was wise too. When I last wrote I really believed Percy, (Percy Allen Hamilton) would not be alive now, but he is though very prostrated - there is hope of his recovery. Cora (Cora Catherine Hamilton) is much prostrated but is hopefully improving. Daisy (Daisy Henrietta Hamilton) cannot talk much above a whisper but is gaining some.

     Louie
(Louise Hamilton) is improving. It fell like a great bolt upon Ma and I have some fears yet of the result Sunday night. All are resting comparatively quiet. I hardly knew what to write when I wrote last. I have written this early again to explain my last. I would have been glad to have some friend with me. You can little imagine the desolation we feel as the ruthless hand of death takes your loved ones in such quick succession.

     Oh! it paralyzes! Could tears but flow - the pent up feelings might find a vent. But to be dumb - silent - it is painful.

     I have so often written our circumstances, at one time or another, big with hope, then dashed down that I suppose my friends think me a batch of contradictions, but such are the vicissitudes of life and fortune - mine seemingly the most varied. Of course we would be so glad to see our friends and relatives but we also recognize the fact that they have duties at home.

     I will be glad to hear from you soon.

 

Your Brother,

 
 

D. W. Hamilton

 
 

Wednesday the 16th

 

     We buried Percy yesterday at 4 o'clock. He died Monday (April 14) evening at 10:15. Cora is gaining slowly. The others are doing well. I have nothing from Teagarden. Can you send us money and save us the shame of the county paying it? I will arrange with Teagarden when he gets it to refund it. I can't help the mortification now.

 
 

Do write soon.

 
 

D. W. H.

 
 
 
 
 

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Thanks to Richard Roberts for the additional information on the Hamilton Family
as well as the Hamilton Letters
rob95536@yahoo.com
                                       
If you have photos or additional information about the Hamilton family, please contact me.