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David Wilfong Hamilton - Page 2


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

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 "Bert" 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  

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 # 24

Letter Dated: February 15, 1880
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 41)
Living In: Scandia, Kansas
To: Lillie Belle Martin, b. 29 Aug 1859 (Niece - age 20)
Ninian Stephen Martin, b. 21 May 1862 (Nephew - age 17)
(Children of Isaac & Candace Hamilton Martin)
Living In: Indiana

Scandia Kansas

February 15, 1880

Miss Lillie B. and Mr. Ninian S. Martin

My Dears:

     Your very kind letter of the 21st of March came to hand on the 31st of the same, and was very entertaining. I am glad to know my letters are sufficiently appreciated to elicit such happy response. Surely we may contribute to each others enjoyment. And certainly if your enjoyment is as great as mine the benefits are mutual. I am sorry both of you do not attend school this winter, that is if you have a good one. It is quite beneficial to keep "brightened" up. One hardly knows what will come to pass - what uses there will be for reserved forces. I have found it necessary, in my experience, to be ready, and then the little knowledge we may obtain is a fund to draw upon when desiring consolation, though not the unfailing source it is one of the means to the end.

     I am sorry that your father should lose one dollar in his trade for he certainly earns every one he strives for. The market has not been so fluctuating here - has remained quite steady at $3.50 to $4.00. Most of our hogs are slaughtered at Atchison, Kansas, and shipped direct to Europe, as the house is a branch one of an European firm and have special facilities for shipment, hence commands a steady market.

     Well I presume your grandpa feels well in his new coat. In four days more he will be 91 years old. I think it such a pity he is so unhappily tied up that he can't move hand and foot.

     My school: I work all the time - almost - to keep it running, and to save one or two obstreperous calves that will have to go out - to grass - and making a success of it. I have eleven young men most of whom are larger than myself, and five young ladies besides several Misses, and on down to five year olds - in all - thirty-two. But, as the school is uniformly booked, I am enabled to class them to good advantage. I try to blend the textual with the topical so as to incorporate a ready and practical knowledge of the branches studied. Try to inculcate a spirit of investigation according to the best Normal methods. I flatter myself I am doing as well as most of the teachers. We have monthly reviews and make reports of the same. Had one last week and find the average 95%. Then we have semi-weekly literary and rhetorical exercises. Last Thursday eve we had a spelling school which was an entire success. It consisted of spelling, reading a paper, and declamations interspersed with vocal music. Most of the exercises were impromptu hence fresh and crisp.

     I missed your soprano and Maud's
(Carrie Maude Martin) alto. One week from next Friday eve, we have another, and if I don't mistake some of the natives will be surprised for " Ann" (Achsa Ann Martin Hamilton) (your aunt) will be there. In four weeks we expect to give an exhibition on a grand scale. We have the material and might as well use it. I would be so glad to have you and Maud here to sing for us.  We have some fine young men and women here but I don't think they can sing with you.

     Well it is Monday morning now and I'll finish this by itemizing. Have just received a very kind letter from Cousin William Hawkins
(William Lytle Hawkins). He has a family of four children living and one dead - a rare gifted one in music. His oldest is younger than myself. So “Allie” Martin is married and to one of my many writing pupils. I boarded with his father's family while teaching. "Johnie" Ayers was a small boy, that is, not grown then. His people are well-to-do farmers and I presume he is a fine young man.

     I was in Scandia on Saturday. That is the day farmers go to town here to trade, and of course, the day for sharpers to be out. Well, there was one there and he "took the folks in" and gave them away in this wise. He was rigged with a fine pan of horses, a "grab-bag" and some prize tickets. he mounted his buggy, vended his tickets, some drew, till he got a big bite, then put the whip and left the crowd in amaze for a moment, but cries of hang him, indicated they had been sold. But he was soon gone. So Kansans are green too.

     We have all had bad colds, but are better now. Hope this may find you the same. Mention out respects to all of our old friends, and write soon. I will send copies.



Your affectionate Uncle,


D. W. Hamilton


Letter # 25

Letter Dated: February 24, 1895
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 56)
Living In: Belleville, Kansas
To: Candace Hamilton Martin (Sister - age 53)
Living In: Indiana

Belleville, Kansas

February 24, 1895


Dear Sister & Family

     The weather that never failing subject always to be used as an ice-breaker in the way of introducing a conversation is just the right kind today to move on me to write you. In the place of it's being "the worst blizzard of them all" it's just the reverse. February seldom affords such a soft balmy day. It is fairly intoxicating, so springlike. So I was moved upon to write. I write letters and write letters in business, send bills for work done, and answers to questions in regards to titles to real estate through the week time, but when Sunday comes I want to talk. I attend church about twice each Sunday, but stiff choir singing, stately sermons made up of general platitudes, and today as it was the never failing theme of "Missions", "it just broke me in two". If it had not been for old "Greenland's Icy Mountains", thawed out by the whole congregation joining in, it would have been a "freeze out" sure enough for me.

     So, while the rest of the family reads and meditates I'll let some of my pent up thoughts run thithermore on paper. Since I last wrote you we had a touch of a blizzard on the 7th, that for it's size was the biggest of it's kind, I ever witnessed. It struck us about 5:30 in the morning and was a terror. The dust and fine sand mixed in with hail and snow to pepper made it the most unusual storm I ever saw here and it grew in intensity as it grew older. It had been unusually dry all winter and for the most part warm, and so when it did come, and they do come occasionally, it was fearful. Think of dust, sand, hail and snow hustled along driven at 40 to 50 miles per hour, filling the place where the sky should be overhead, so full and darkening all around so that we had to light our lamps at 2 p.m. to do our common housework, and the mercury running down to 20 below, and think what little we know whence it comes or whither it tends. But reports come in and we have it light as compared with the other part of the "Great Central Basin". The blizzard moved on to the southland and you and everybody in the wake felt it's touch. In the lower latitudes there was more snow. it made me think of the three last days of December, 1863, only differing in this - then there was a deep snow in Illinois and it blew three days, but the frost was just as penetrating. The hydrants of our water works froze up in many places over town - a thing it had never done before, and such a time as we had.

(Achsa Ann Martin. RHR) was sick with a cold and me and the girls had to sit up and keep the fires going all night. But we pulled through that night, have saved the flowers also. A week later "Ma" was taken worse again and for two nights we had to watch with her, that is, stayed up and give medicine. But she is practically over it. "Ma" in our family is the one that is never sick so to speak, and of course " all hands on deck" to take care of her.

(Donald Wilbert Hamilton. RHR) (Son of Will & Ann. CDL) and Daisy (Daisy Henrietta Hamilton. RHR) (Daughter of Will & Ann. CDL) had vacation during the two days of the blizzard. But we have all lived through it. The snow has melted and gone and to look upon the face of mother earth today you would scarcely suspect such a passion of storm had ever darkened her fair brow. Now I have thus written descriptive from inspiration produced by the contrast of the weather. Sometimes I am a little weary of the reoccurrences of these blizzards - but where shall we go to avoid some freak of the elements. Have thought of going to California some day, but nature has it freaks there and associations may not be congenial and we have staked our all here.

    But what I do want before I change for the Pacific coast, if ever I do, is to visit my birthplace, visit the birthplace of my father and mother. On paper that is not such a hardship - on the railroads once with your passport at 3 cents per mile and that perhaps reduced and under way, miles, hills, rivers, mountains, time all vanish, and the thing is done. Yes, I want to do and see all that, now that the cruel war is over, I want to see the Hoosier hills, valleys and streams, people, and homes; cross the beautiful Ohio's shining water, wander through the bluegrass regions now so famous of "Old Kaintuck" - pull over the mountains on through the passes, and get into the salubrous climate of the French Broad Valley
(NC ?) where our parents came from. I suppose my senses have become somewhat quickened by recent reading of various magazines on the subject. I read Bill Nyes description of Ashville, N. C. and read it as all others do because it was funny, humorous. But when others began to write it up in the magazines, it began to come nearer to me.

     Impossibilities began to vanish, expenses to dwindle, miles shorten, and ages in which to do, lessen down to a few days - and so, out of reverence and love for the parents, and the general climate that gave health to body and nurture to the noble impulses of their generous hearts - and a desire to see it and study it, and recall some of it's hallowed associations; and it's modern vestments, is the one ambition of my remaining years.

     I am prompted and moved to take it all in next fall should I live to do so. I want to gather up a record of our ancestors, and to do that want to be put in touch with any one and all of our relatives however distant.

     If George K. Vanderbilt, the great millionaire of New York, could find so much there to induce him to invest his millions in building and improving in that perfect climate, I want to see it.

     Buncombe County, where Ashville is, is just west of Catawba and Lincoln counties, and as the map shows it, can't be over 30 or 40 miles so the connection can be made easily.

     Now what I want to know is whether you have of knowledge of any of our distant relatives and their P. O. address. I have lost track of them, but it is my wish to take advantage of the reduced rates that always comes to those who attend the G.A.R. reunions - travel some next fall and accomplish the one purpose of my life. I have worked hard, kept close, raised my family, till now they are self-sustaining. Have done for this country and town much, and now if I can will see something and look for business as well. Have invested some money here that has not paid large dividends - have over $2500 cash in abstract business and if I can dispose of that, desire to change where I will realize better pay. Ten dollars per day is occasionally made, but I should do $10 every day.

     Well - I have written at length - Sunday, March 3rd. I failed to finish my letter so today have some more weather news to relate. Following the intoxication of last Sunday's balminess, a very May day on Monday evening, rain began to fall and it continued so to do with slight intermission for over 20 hours, and the frost being about all out of the ground the rain penetrated and the earth was made wet to a greater depth than for years previous. Since, we have had cloudy and variable weather until today. Well! it's the old-fashioned snow and blow and while it isn't as cold as the "blizzard" it is disagreeable. The children came home from their schools and are here yet. Have about 3 or 4 weeks to teach. Lou
(Louise Hamilton. RHR) (Youngest daughter, still living. CDL) is taking private lessons in telegraphy from the night operator here in company with his wife and is quite proficient already.

     Had a good weeks work, looked through the proceedings of two cases in Probate Court as to settlement of estates thereof, etc., and charged accordingly. But my life has been one of education - toil, and still I am digging. It may be this is the fountain of perpetual youth sought by DeLeon.

     Something new - Well - I did not go to church today so stormy like.

     Now, I think I have written enough to get an answer - or at least my money's worth of postage. To close up - how are you getting along? and how are all the children and children's children, the old neighbors and the new ones, relatives near and distant, friends near and remote?

(Merdella Idumea Martin, mother of Dessie Mildred Markland Skelly who gathered most of these letters and originally typed them. RHR) has made commendable progress in letter writing - really begins to talk on paper and writes a good hand - one thing she spells well. How natural it is for some - all of my children are good spellers in their composition. "Bert" is less handy than the others but can make a good off-hand speech.

     Now I have interwoven inquiries with the web of statement so much and have loaded it with verbosity for which I bear accusations - and you see it's natural - so I presume you will have to dig for the gist of it, but may be you will take the fill for the deed and make due allowance. Would like to know how "Sam" Baker is - "Millie"
(probably Jane Mildred Baker. RHR), "Polly" (probably Mary "Polly" Mahala Hamilton Baker. RHR), "Doc" Baker and family, etc. Hoping you and all of yours are well and enjoying the comforts of life. 


I am as ever, your affectionate bro. (brother),


D. W. Hamilton


Letter # 26

Letter Dated: May 17, 1896
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 57)
Living In: Belleville, Kansas
To: Candace Hamilton Martin (Sister) (age 54)
Living In: Pekin, Indiana

May 17, 1896

Belleville, Kansas


My dear sister and family:

     This is the day - and may be the hour - at which Della
(Merdella Idumea Martin), in her's of the 5th, informs me she gets another man, a new home, and joins destinies with another, and vacates another chair in your home circle. But, this is not new to you, it would be to me, as yet no one has trespassed the threshold of our house in matrimonial conquests, that is to say none of ours have married. I think you will likely miss her but there is a satisfaction in knowing they are "settled" and doing for themselves, and such things have to be sometime. We all join in wishing them much joy and happiness.

    I regret very much that I have been unable to see you at home once more as mother and daughter. She has been so kind and faithful to write all about her family and neighborhood. Lilly
(Lilly Belle Martin) was very kind to write, but since her family cares have grown she seems to have forgotten me. I hope Della will occasionally remember us. In the meantime, I shall address her at "Halo". Please state where that is.

     Our children, Bert and Daisy are out of school. Bert from Central Normal College, at Great Bend, and temporarily engaged on a farm - will teach this fall again. Daisy closed her school in the country a few days ago - will apply for one of the city schools here. Cora K. starts tomorrow for Prophetstown, Illinois, to visit her "Aunt Kate" who is quite unwell and sends for her. She will be gone several weeks. We will miss her as she is a main stay for the others.

     Jennie Martin, Allen's widow, a sister-in-law, has been visiting us the past week and just left this morning on her return home to Atlantic, Iowa.

     We have had an abundance of rain the past month and the earth is thoroughly wet, as it has not been for four years. Crop prospects are very flattering. If we have a wet May we generally have good crops. At no time since I have been in this state have times been so stringent for money as for the past six months.

     I have given about all of a personal nature that I have at present, and shall write soon to Della at her new home. In the meantime I shall want to hear from "the old house at home" and hope to learn of the boys' prosperity and good health.


With good wishes to all I am as ever, your brother,


D. W. Hamilton


Remarks: The Della referred to above was Merdella Martin who married Arley Markland on May 17, 1896 (mother and father of Mildred Skelley). The wedding occurred at home - originally the home of Ninian B. Hamilton, Sr. Later became the home of Isaac and Candace (Hamilton) Martin. Still owned by a descendant of the original Hamiltons. MS


Letter # 27

Letter Dated: January 15, 1901
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 62)
Living In: Belleville, Kansas
To: Virgil Clyde Martin (b.12 Jan 1868 - age 33) & Homer Martin (b. 03 Feb 1871 - age 29)
(Newphes; Sons of Isaac & Candace Hamilton Martin)
Living In: Indiana

Belleville, Kansas

January 15, 1901

Dear Nephews:

     I have fumbled around my pockets and have gotten something of a pen with which to write you a letter, and maybe I can be heard and you can read. Don't you think I never write no more, I do.

     I write about three sets of letters to my own family - and those of a Sunday and nights, but this is an off night - and as Della said you were stacking
(sulking ? RHR) because I had not written to you, here goes. I think I have answered all letters from you tho. But I shall not scruple about it, but write. You know writing is my forte. I write a great deal, a part of it is for money of course, and a part is to show my good will. I wrote to your mother some days ago and presume she has gotten it ere this.

     The weather, the crops, and Kansas politics are each and all, fruitful themes - in fact old themes. We have had them all singularly and collectively. To be particular, we have had a mild winter so far. Not much of the old-time early settler blizzard style. Had a nice old-fashioned snow fall last week and it "laid" so as to afford fine sleighing and it was used to a finish. Every thing that would run through snow, on snow, or under snow, was brought out and put to use. I can't imagine where they all came from or where the style was invented, or how long ago first discovered, but were used to a finish, till finally one lot of little boys - in trying to hitch onto a passing vehicle, missed connections and sleighed on the front part of their pants. That made the spectators hilarious with mirth but I felt sorry for them. The snow was mixed with mud - I pitied them in their pursuit of fun, and their mother's for the extra washing up, it would take. But the snow has gone away since and the sport of that kind is over for the present.

     It would scarcely be pertinent to write about crops in midwinter, but suffice to say last year's crop is pretty well in crib, in hogs and cattle, or in money and some of that spent - in circulation.

     There seems to be no lack of ready money and as readily used paying expenses, old debts, and buying more land to raise more corn, to feed more hogs, etc. Hogs are in and around $5.00 per cwt., corn 25 to 30 cents. Cattle are not quite so high in proportion. But I understand there are more cattle than ever being fed this season.

     Now I don't mean to appear to be too hilarious over the general political results, but we are Republicans all through, in Kansas again - the legislature, executive and judiciary - all our way for the first time in ten years. We "feel our oats" about it and when the whole state feels it, credit abroad that went a glimmering when Populism held the sway, has come back, values are raised, and is it wonderful, we feel good! Our governor was re- inaugurated yesterday without any particular show, and no guns if you please. I have just been looking over the papers this evening and note the difference in the style of inaugurals in the different states. Illinois had a great display over "Judge Yeates- war governor's" son and mother and wife, etc.

     W. T. Durbin, your governor, is a fine looking man and a statesman - was a boy when I stayed all night in New Philadelphia at his fathers in my young days. His father was a Methodist and so was I, and that was how it happened. Was at Quarterly meeting and he entertained some of us.

     Well I am pretty much alone this winter. My wife is with Lou at Chanute, Kansas; Daisy at Enterprise, and Hamilton, Bert at Langden, Reno County - all working for corporations at good wages. Bert and Lou each get $50 per month, Daisy, $43. That leaves me only Hamilton, Cora for  a housekeeper. I look for some them home next week on a visit.

     I will enclose you a copy of a letter I received in reply to an inquiry I sent in regard to Uncle Tommy Hamilton's descendants in and formerly of Gnadenhutten, Ohio.
(see preceding letter dated December 18, 1900. RHR) Your mother will probably appreciated it. Yes, I mean if possible to visit you and am looking ahead to the time. Can't just say when it will be, but in the meantime keep up a cheerful expectation. Well it is getting late about bedtime, and hoping this will fully explain - and receive a prompt response,


I remain as ever, Your Uncle,


D. W. Hamilton




Letter # 28

Letter Dated: Se4ptember 22, 1901
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 62)
Living In: Belleville, Kansas
To: Candace Hamilton Martin (Sister) (age 60)
Living In: Pekin, Indiana

Belleville, Kansas

June 5, 1859

Dear Sister and family:

     While the soft sun shine is warming up the south winds in playing through the trees and over the fields, and bearing evidence of life; while the ringing of the church bells, the rumbling of the railroad cars of incoming trains; while our Daisy now at home on a brief vacation is strumming a familiar old hymn on the guitar - I bethink me, I will write you a letter and direct it to you but mean it for the boys and all.

     I wrote to Della a few days ago, but I always feel as though I have now but one sister of our father's family, and I should not neglect her. It will be going over a well "beaten strain" to write of the weather during the past unparalleled hot summer - suffice it to say - we have lived through it and still here - and you may ask how are we fixed "out in Kansas". Well, about as usual, that is, have something to eat, no grasshoppers either, some old weather chroniclers say it was the hottest since 1860 - and yet "there is corn in Kansas". A magnificent wheat crop, the largest ever raised - so we'll feed the hungry elsewhere. There is still some old corn some four years old among the farmers. The oats crop was pretty good. Alfalfa hay, that is a new crop here, straw, etc., will afford feed for cattle and horses, so we'll not call for aid. We may not fat as many hogs as some years. The recent rains have greatly improved the fall feed and facilitated fall sowing of grain, so that a much larger acreage of grain will be put in. Potatoes are scarce and high, $1.50 per bushel, but melons - my! The Republican valley, low sandy lands, similar to your White River bottoms, produced mints and mints of melons and they were shipped everywhere. Then we have peaches, yes, home grown peaches right at our door, in our own dooryard, planted by our own hands, nurtured and defended by the same, for the itchy fingers of the peach thief is at work when the temptation is so great. But we shall have several bushels on our own trees. I wish you could be here and eat peaches and cream with us.

     But the greatest of all calamities - the fiendish assassination of our beloved President McKinley - weights like a great pall upon us all. It is and has been the one and only theme of conversation, all alike lamenting it. While there are no anarchists here, it has been reported one man said he "was glad of it". He was a native born American, worked on the R. R. track. His companions promptly proceeded to put a rope around his neck and proceeded to a place where suspension was possible, and they gave him a choice - get down on his knees and pray God for forgiveness or go up by the neck, and he prayed, and it served him right - no time to be foolish.

     Well, I see I am on the "home stretch", last page of my accustomed space. I write four pages for my Sunday letters. While I am not certain of it, my folks are planning for me a visit to you this fall. It may not come to pass, so don't build on it. It would afford me much pleasure to once more see the old home, hills, valleys, rivers, and springs - the resting place of our loved ones - commune with the living and shed a silent tear in memories of the long ago.

    I hope this will find you, as it leaves us, all well and may the blessings of God in his infinite love attend you. Write when you can. 


Your brother,


D. W. Hamilton


Letter # 29

Letter Dated: June 11, 1903
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 64)
Living In: Belleville, Kansas
To: Candace Hamilton Martin (b. 1841) (Sister) (age 62)
Living In: Indiana
Belleville, Kansas
June 11, 1903

Dear Sister and family:

     Yours of the 4th was received in as short a time as could be expected under the circumstances - the floods being the hindrance. Never since I can recollect and that was before R. R.'s, telegraphs, and telephones, have we been so delayed in getting news from the outside world.

     But now that the waters are subsiding and getting within the channels, and the bridges are being repaired, and the trains set agoing, we begin to get our mail, papers, and letters - so with the expectation that our talk can be heard by you beyond the flooded district, I will proceed to answer yours of the 4th. Rest assured I am always glad to get your letters. It is a long time - '79 coming 24 years since we met and parted, and we are older now and have passed through many vicissitudes of life. Life is ever fraught with changes, trials, the best we can make of it - and now that we lift the scroll of memory and look back what a panorama rises to our view, we touch the vibratory chords, and the faces we knew, the greetings we met, the songs of praise we heard. Yes, all that made young life and it's associations enjoyable, glinted with the poetry of imaginations start up and revivify our lives. These are the attainments to well spent lives, and should be a stimulant to good living. But how about those who have led the contrary? The remorseful rebound of bad living is the fateful recurrence and comes to view somewhere daily.

     Friday p.m. - I was interrupted in my theorizing and the spell is broken, so I will proceed in whatever may present itself. Will say your remarks about "Polly" and "Sam" move me to say that I have been living in this town over 22 years and there are not half a dozen families here now that were here when we moved to the town, and the names of many I was once well acquainted with in a business way have dropped out of memory. I presume the many people there I was acquainted with are mostly gone. How is Millie Hamilton's family? Are any of them at the old place? Have they been caught with the "rest-less-ness" to go West and grow up with the country? A mighty big thing this filling up since you and I began looking over the maps of the "Great American Dessert". But we are here to live, make the most of it, and lucky are we if we can keep in the procession. I do find myself sometimes living in the past - but then - when we meet again and I am planning it, we can talk it all over.

     The principal hindrance has been nobody can fill my place in my work. Sometime ago I thought I was in a fair way to sell out, my books and all, and that would relieve me and I would take a vacation, visit you, as well.

     I have pulled and written up the records of this county for over 22 years. Am tired of the business while it is "bread and butter" I admit. But "rest-less-ness" has come upon me, and what talents I have can be exerted in a different channel. My object is to change business and location - we are having sunny weather now and the farming element are at work on their crops. I am told that the prospect for grain is fine, some are planting corn yet, cultivating and haymaking all come together just now. I shall have to close now. I have just received a good long letter from Della and will write to her a little later on. I am sorry I fail to interest "the boys" but we can talk it over when we meet. I, too, have had some letters from cousin, H. L. Hamilton
(Hiram Lewis Hamilton, b.7/15/1834 - d.4/6/1916. RHR) of Ohio, and I think I am owing him one now. Now that "the flood" has practically subsided will write to him too.

     We had sent to James Vicks Sons, Rochester, N. Y. for some roses and the mail they were in was caught by the flood. Finally they got here yesterday "water-logged" but may survive it. Great heaps of flooded mail has been received here, but some never - I presume never will be. But as you have read the dailies it is useless to rehearse. I will mail you a "Mail and Breeze" what has about the most reliable account I have read. The Denver dailies, the first we got are absolutely out of all reason and truth in many things. We are getting our K. C. & St. Louis dailies right through now.

     Hoping you are well, and that this intent will be received in the same spirit it is sent - I close.


Your brother,


D. W. Hamilton


Letter # 30

Letter Dated: June 12, 1906
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 67)
Living In: Chanute, Kansas
To: Virgil Clyde Martin (b. 12 Jan 1868) (Nephew) (age 38)
Living In: Indiana
Chanute, Kansas
June 12, 1906

Dear Nephew and all:

     I have neglected for quite a while yours of the 20th inst. received in due time. I have waited for something rich and racy and rare to turn up, that I might be so, but, as yet it is not in sight.

     I have been hoeing in the garden and turned up ground and some weeds and worked up some perspiration if not an inspiration. But then it has to be done by somebody. We are having growing weather now and harvest time on hands in the farming vicinity. Haven't gone out to bind yet. When I was younger I would lay down my good pen and go out and help the honest farmers harvest their grain. But now it is different. The harvester is run by steam or power of some kind and does it's own binding, and I'm without that chance, and then I am retired and tired.

     I know you think I ought to make that long talked of visit and this is about the time to get the special rates arranged for the Home Coming Kentuckians. While you may be one of the descendants, and can claim your right, all I can do would be to have claimed an opportunity at special rates, and way back weeks and weeks ago I thought I would. But as time passes and the start to be made, there are impediments in the way. It costs and I am not the producer I once was - and while the children on whom I depend would furnish it, I am reluctant to ask it and then I am not as rugged and venturesome in travels as I was years ago, so can't get up the courage. I know I never could get cheaper fare but there will be a jam. I would enjoy nothing more than to sit down and chat with you, especially you my only living sister. Candace, you and I could talk over early school days, and compare the scenes with that written up by Edward Eggleson in his famous "Hoosier Schoolmaster".

     By the way, a Doctor Duncan of this town now, and raised at Columbus, Indiana, has just gone back there. He told me the scenes of the Hoosier Schoolmaster were laid in that vicinity. You may remember our father had at one time two uncles, "Mat" and "Joe" Hawkins up near Columbus.

     Well some of the names of characters in the Hoosier Schoolmaster are Hawkins and Flat Creek, etc., in place of Flat Rock creek. So his and my rehearsing set me to reading up that old book, also Eggleson's "End of the World". I have read the "Circuit Rider" too. I once know something about the Circuit Riders but we don't have them now. It is pipe organs and trained orchestras to do for at church now a days. Of course we have D. Ds to entertain us with flights of oratory, burnished with fine rhetoric. But that don't draw the young Americans like the Sunday base-ball games does here.

     From 500 to 800 go out every Sabbath p.m. to their grounds and they whoop and yell there for hours - and for the money there is in it, same as horse racing. The churches are attended by old men and women and young girls, but too few young men, business men ever attend.

     Well I have thus far not touched much upon the items, Clyde, of yours - and I hope you do not think me unappreciative of the same for I always am and I may yet make good those expectations of a visit. Now, my sister, I want you to "chirk up". My wife thinks she is just as good as she was at "sweet sixteen". She will be 70 in November and "holds out" remarkably for one of that age. Our Daisy and husband are still at Silvan Springs, Arkansas, and seem to like it. How as intelligent a Kansan as she is, could become a contented Arkansasan, is a mystery to me. If they could sell though they would come here. Bert is still in the lumber business at Kinsley, 200 miles west. V. C., you are younger, used to travel - get up an excursion and come and see us. Write anyway. With kindest regards to all - I will close now.


Your Uncle.


D. W. Hamilton


Letter # 31

Letter Dated: December 17, 1906
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 68)
Living In: Chanute, Kansas
To: Virgil Clyde Martin (b. 12 Jan 1868) (Nephew) (age 38)
Living In: Indiana
Chanute, Kansas
December 17, 1906

Dear Nephew:

     In my address on my envelope I was trying my pen on new combination. I think the Postmasters can read it, anyhow will risk it. Will try and note your kind letter of the 10th at hand, also papers received just before - all of which is very interesting to me.

     Well "the world do move".  Especially that part where old Green's Station was - a pretty large plat - several acres.  And what has become of the beechwoods down the R. R. track?  Well, I am glad you have prosperity, and no liquor sold.  That old town site of Pekin - across the river - was a fearful place when they were building the R. R.  Yes, I well remember old Blue River for miles up and down, had many adventures in crossing it.  My brother, N. B.
(Ninian Beall Hamilton, b. 14 Mar 1835, CDL), and I went to school at old Mt. Washington, to W. M. Alvis, the winter of '52 and '53, and sometimes had to stay over there as "the water was up" and were afraid to risk "the old canoe" our carrier.

     I notice an article in one of the papers you sent from Lewis N. Smith, our teacher at "old Peughs" - I meant to make it Pews - meeting house in '51 and '52. If I had his P. O. I would write to him, "I like him".

     Thursday 20th - Well I laid this by for a more convenient season, and expected to give a full write-up of what I saw and heard of Octave Chanute, for whom this city was named. He was here on Tuesday, p.m. I went down to the hotel where he stopped. I was introduced to him by, Mr. Beach, as a prominent citizen of this place. My! it took my breath. He is an old man 75 years of age, lives in Chicago, Illinois. He told me he first saw Chicago in 1854, and this part of Kansas 38 years ago, as a railroad engineer in locating the first road. I attended the lecture at the theatre that evening, was greatly disappointed in the lecture, that is, in the delivery. It was non-hearable, unintelligible to the large audience. It should have been a moving picture illustration of aerial navigation, but the picture didn't move.

     Well, yesterday our boy. Bert, pulled in for a visit - will be here till after Christmas, and he and mother are now talking, visiting , and I am straying out long enough to get this in some shape to mail. I received one from Della today also. Will try and assemble myself together and be more newsy. Your letters are very welcome. Write again. Weather is clear and milder.


Your Uncle,


D. W. Hamilton


Letter # 32

Letter Dated: January 1, 1908
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 69)
Living In: Chanute, Kansas
To: Candace Hamilton Martin (b. 1841) (Sister) (age 66)
Living In: Indiana
Chanute, Kansas
January 1, 1908
"A Happy New Year to All"

Dear Sister and family"

     Nineteen hundred and eight comes in and stays - very fair and fine as far as the weather is, and finds me improved in health. I am troubled by catarrh
(inflammation of the mucous membranes, the nose or throat. RHR) and some weeks ago took a severe cold and was quite sick.

     I took treatment for it and am improving. Christmas day was very warm - some variation since - but today is mild again.

     The other members of the family are well as usual. Old Santa was good to us. It was not the  hanging up of the stockings exactly but the gifts came - $5 dollar gold pieces under our plates.

     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.

     I have discussed some of the happenings of those decades but not all of them. That would be too voluminous. Still I am living and have the aspirations of life, the ties of kindred, the hopes of reassociations - even in this life and in that great future.

     Thurs. 2 - Well I cannot follow the decades further at present. To do so lifts a great scroll and the memories simply overwhelm me. But we are built that ay - refer to the past.

     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.

     Well, I must tell you I attended the first of a course of lectures by Rev. John P. D. John, L.L.D., at the M. E. Church last night. Subject, Jesus the Sun of Righteousness. There was a chorus of singing first that was fine, not exactly the same as our old "protracted meetings" at old Pews - better educated - more artistic. But the women took off their hats, men always do of course. The lecture was very impressive, listened to by a packed house, and the house is big. They will be continued till Sunday night. It is really evangelistic work.

     Well I presume I have wearied your patience long enough so will close for this time. Hoping we may meet again -


I am -  Your Brother,


D. W. Hamilton


Letter # 33

Letter Dated: April 1, 1908
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 69)
Living In: Chanute, Kansas
To: Virgil Clyde Martin (b. 12 Jan 1868) (Nephew) (age 40)
Living In: Indiana
Chanute, Kansas
April 1, 1908

Dear Nephew and folks:

     This is "all fools day" I know, but I am not going to play it on any of you - just simply to acknowledge receipt of yours of the 22nd, which came to hand in due time. I am always glad to get your letters. They talk of old home scenes, breathe the spirit of kindred ties. We are all hastening I know, but I love to have the lid raised and view the memories that rise. They are ever there and we are built to see and love them.

     I will also mail you two of the old Republic County papers - Telescope and you can read some of the old county. I landed in March 1871. I was "ducked" in that county, March 25th. Stage we were in ran off a bridge while crossing a creek, and we all - horses, stage, driver, self, and family went down 12 feet to the water, and into the water three feet. We pulled ourselves out, all wet, went to house close by to dry up. The driver went to fix up his rig. This was on Saturday. He came to hunt us up and take us on on Sunday about 24 hours after. Then we started for the Republican valley - about noon got there - got dinner and started up the Republican River to Rocky Ford 7 miles - our final destination. Got there before sunset - did not cross the river but stopped with an old Norwegian family overnight. Slept on beds on the floor of the old log cabin well. In the morning I dismissed the hackman - took chances with an old teamster that came along. The water rose almost to the top of his wagon box but we had high seats and held up our feet. And that was how I crossed the Republican River, March 27, 1871. O, but I have seen a whole lot since and if I could be with you face to face could thrill you with my stories. Well I have taken up two pages and aid but little.

     On first page of oldest paper you will read a thrilling sketch of early times. Some of those Indian fights were about two miles up from where I crossed the river and some two years before. But we had no fears of Indians though there were but about 800 people in the county at that time. Now the whole state is peopled.

     Peach trees, apple trees in bloom - strawberry vines in our garden - yesterday a sunny summer day - today cloudy, cold, and people wearing furs and overcoats here. So much for the Ozarks.

     You ask about the dairy business here - well there are dairies and dairies, and a place of 10,000 will need some. The "henry" business is quite a business too. In the suburbs there are hen ranches kept in fine order up to date for the dollars in it. House building here still is being pushed.

     We have been here 4 years today and do not see any let up in improvements. The streets are much more improved when we came.

     There are a good many idle men too, to be seen, notwithstanding the work on the big cement plants and all other plants. A few words about the family now - Bert is at Larned, Kansas, manager of a lumber yard there at good wages. Daisy (Hadaway) our only married one, came up from Silvan Springs, Arkansas, in January. her second baby was born February 20th. Yesterday they "packed-up" and started for their home. Lou K. her oldest past three is a very bright child - makes me think of our first one, Edith.

     The W. A. Graves you mention - was he Wade Graves of old? There were three brothers, Tom, Wade, and the other have forgotten his name. Well I will close my scattering remarks. Just received Della's letter today and will answer it soon. When I get a paper of this place that will be of interest may send it too. Write and send me whatever papers you wish to - all interests me. Love to all.


Your Uncle.


D. W. Hamilton


Letter # 34

Letter Dated: October 8, 1908
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 70)
Living In: Chanute, Kansas
To: Candace Hamilton Martin (b. 1841) (Sister) (age 67)
Living In: Indiana
Chanute, Kansas
Octoer 8, 1908

Dear Sister and family:

     This is a fine October day - sun is shining and hence makes it better for me to write.

     And another thing it is the month of my birthday. The day, the 5th, last Monday - 70 years old. Who would have thought I would have lived to see it. Much has passed in that span of time too much to rehearse, but of course it was made enjoyable to me by the home folks. Some nice gifts - this nice paper and envelopes among the items, and it shows off my fine Spencerian cures to a better advantage. Well, don't I hold my own well? Fifty years ago I started west, thirty- seven years last March, I started for the "Great American Desert", Kansas, and found a new country. But it has grown up since and now we have the "old settlers reunion" - had one here and I was one of them. It would be too tedious to go into detail. We had a dinner at the Carnega Hall, speeches and much talk, and every one seemed to enjoy it. But I never forget the scenes of my boyhood years - going and coming over the hills, crossing the "branches", creeks, and rivers - and - building air castles.

     Jane M. Baker wrote me the other day, a good long letter and recapitulated much - she writes well for her age. Of course the boys and Della keeps me posted about the "old home". But things have grown up here too.

     Last Sunday was all Rally Day in the Sunday schools here. It was at the M. E. Church Sunday School. It was a crowded house - little girls and boys up and on to old gray-headed men and women, nearly 1000 of them. They sang, spoke pieces, and the orchestra led out. I thought what a contrast in the environment and equipment - but it was the souls expression same as of old. In the afternoon, the football players, young men, flocked past our house west to the athletic park - for money. They make a big noise, disturb us old folks that never go. But as they are out of the city limits the police have no authority over them. That class of persons don't go to church or Sunday School. It is a very rough - degrading sport, and all in our enlightened day. Well, I must hurry this for the mail carrier will be here.

     Our girls are at their "old stand" in the W. U. T. O. (Western Union Telegraph Office). Daisy and family at Silvan Springs, Ark. She has two lovely little girls. We expect them here on a visit. Our "Bert" (Don W.) at Larned, Kansas, manager of a lumber yard.

     I see by my last "Advocate" that Berry Hamilton was allowed to withdraw under conditions, etc., that is, he is not free. A J. C. Baker goes to Urbanna - it's Trinity - Is that "Sammy's" son? Well, I will close for the present hoping you are well.


Your brother,,


D. W. Hamilton


Letter # 35

Letter Dated: November 5, 1908
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 70)
Living In: Chanute, Kansas
To: Virgil Clyde Martin (b. 12 Jan 1868) (Nephew) (age 40)
Living In: Indiana
Chanute, Kansas
November 5, 1908

Dear Nephew and folks:

     While the sun shines I will write, we depend on the weather at my age. Now that the election is over "counts" all in - Taft to be next president - "the government still exists at Washington" - "We can rest on our oars". Well it was one of the hottest campaigns I ever passed through take it all around.

     We in Kansas are Republican yet. Legislation in the 50's the "Kansas and Nebraska Act" brought about a new party - the Republican party, and a wonderful growth has followed. Nebraska has gone for her son, William J. Bryan, three times nominated for president and beaten every time.

     But Kansas did not go with him this time. One old man said today to be funny - "We have not heard from the Feegees yet". Well New York is "coming out too". Your old Indiana appears to be in doubt yet - looks like a Democratic state again. But old Missouri was "showed". Well I must not write it all up.

     We are having very pleasant weather now. Lately have had some heavy rains but no freeze-ups. Work is going on. - on the streets - at the factories and some buildings - and money plenty. (I am not making abstracts though).

     Our Daisy and her two little girls are here from Silvan Springs, Ark. on a visit - came Sunday. It gives us old folks something to do to "pet" them. Our Lou, the telegraph operator was kept busy till 3 o'clock Wednesday, a.m. handling reports out of election. Of course got good extra pay. Our Bert has the best trade in lumber at Larned, Kansas, he ever had any time in experience. Well I hope now that the election is over you - some of you - will write again. Letters from there are always gladly read. A visit from any and all of you would be gladly received by,




D. W. Hamilton


Letter # 36

Letter Dated: April 1909
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 70)
Living In: Cahanute, Kansas
To: Homer Martin (b. 03 Feb 1871) (Nephew) (Age - 38)
Candace Hamilton Martin (b. 1841) (Sister) (age 67)
Living In: Indiana
Chanute, Kansas
April 1909

Dear Nephew and folks at Home:

     Your card, The Old State House at Corydon, came in due time and was perused with much interest. But that is an ancient looking building and no mistake. Ben Shively drumming up for Bryan! Well they will quit drumming for Bryan sometime, and look for other material. I see Bryan still keeps on drumming tries to make capital and money out of the Chautauquas. But I don't believe the Americans want his Populism.

     You seem to be on the hunt for cattle yet. The people of this great country get too much for their cattle, hogs, hens, wheat and corn to throw it all up for Populism now. There are too many wheat kings - Pattens - now to throw business away to socialistic isms. Well, these U. S. have grown and yet there is room. There must be correct business methods, and laws, to protect them.

     Old Indiana has grown much since that old State Capital was built. I have seen the one at Indianapolis, but not Corydon. Kansas has grown too in the 38 years I have been it's resident, and yet there will be more growing. Springtime is here now. The rains have come and the green life is on the boom. I am not in close touch with farming, but presume the corn is planted. The big plants - factories, in and around town are booming. Many of them have come since we did five years ago.

     Many fine dwellings have grown up too. So our oil and gas basis has got in the work.

     Candace, there is a Wilfong here - now Police Judge - haven't made his acquaintance, nor found out whether he is akin to our mother's people. It is a very rare name.

     Well, Homer, you are young and used to travel, wish you could take off a little time and come and see me. My health will not permit the rush of travel I once indulged in, still, I am hopeful yet of seeing you all, but don't build too certainly as to the time. We have had lagrippe
(influenza. RHR) and catarrah (inflammation of the mucous membranes, the nose or throat. RHR) to tackle us down of late.

     Hoping you are all prosperous and happy, and may you continue so. I will close for the present.


Your Uncle,


D. W. Hamilton


Remarks: Populism which is an unheard of word to many of this generation is the doctrine of the People's Party, organized in the United States in 1891, to advocate public ownership and operation of railroads, telegraphs, control of ownership of land, etc. MS


Letter # 37

Letter Dated: August 13, 1910
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 71)
Living In: Chanute, Kansas
To: Virgil Clyde Martin (b. 12 Jan 1868) (Nephew) (age 42)
Living In: Indiana
Geneseo, Illinois
February 2, 1871

Dear Nephew and all the folks:

     Yours of July 24th received and now before me for acknowledgment. I am glad to hear that your "mamma" is improving in health and I hope ere this Della's are all over with the measles and Jane too. She, (Jane B.) lived a long time with out them. I should think with "Berry's" help hoeing she could have them at her present age.

( Ninian Stephen Martin, b.5/21/1862 - d. 1/23/1937. RHR) little girl - well, I don't hardly ever see "Ninian" in writing, never get the "scratch" of a pen from him. I hope Maybel (Mabel Latona Martin, b.3/4/1897. RHR) will get over it soon. Accidents will happen to the best of us all through life. No, I don't forget the old home and see it so often with memory's eye. Yet to see it now - which I would like to - would see a great many changes. The spring water may still run down but those big old forest trees are supplanted by peaches and clover. Well your folks utilized the big walnut and poplar trees years gone by and now the orchards and clover take the place. When I was young and looked forward - Brown, John - (the abolitionist) John Brown was here in the "Great American Desert" trying to keep out slavery, and I read of it at the time. He was considered a great hero and martyr of his time. Now free Kansas is going to commemorate his sacrifice the last of this month at Ossawattoma, about 40 miles up north of us, and Theodore Roosevelt, the great African hunter and our former president, will make the big speech. I heard him in Belleville in '96.

     Well politically, Kansas is a free state and prosperous too. We have a man in town here what knew John Brown - was a grown up boy there in that vicinity - and now he has written it up for our paper. He lives on the same block we do. His name is J. M. Massey, owns and runs a clothing store here. he says, Brown never owned a "foot" of Kansas land. But Brown will live in history.

     Well, I must close and mail. I was told the other day by a business man that I was the best penman in town - but by penmanship is not wanted as it was years ago - no revenue from it. I wish I could go and see you all. Homer must be very busy shipping cattle - he don't write. Hoping all are well again and that you all may write. I will close and mail.


Your Uncle,


D. W. Hamilton


Letter # 38

Letter Dated: November 11, 1910
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 72)
Living In: Chanute, Kansas
To: Homer Martin (b. 03 Feb 1871) (Nephew) (Age - 39)
Living In: Indiana
Chanute, Kansas
November 11, 1910

Dear Nephew and folks:

     Yours, Homer, of the 7th came to hand in due time and was read with much satisfaction. Glad to know you had such a fine crop season and that you are still active in the cattle trade. There must be dollars in it, else you would not be in it. I am glad to note the improvement in your mother - my sister's - health. I know a man here who was afflicted the same way with gall stones. He went through the operation of an extraction of the stones and now is well as an old man could be. A good physician might do the work with safety. It would relieve her of that trouble. O, I often live over our early days - as the visions flit up. We are thus constituted and for why? I, too, would like to see her again and talk over old times. It would be a great pleasure to talk over - not twenty years ago, but fifty years ago or more, when we were just growing up, "going to school and meetings" over those hills and hollows. But I can't do as I once did.

     I am glad to know you get good prices for cattle. it must result in a good percent for you.

     Well the strange things will occur to you to, seeing that glass worker from Chanute, Kansas. I frequently see some one from old Indiana - and then we can talk. A man by the name of Green who grew up west of Salem - a neighbor to Lewis N. Smith, one of my teachers taught at old Pews meeting house - lives down street. is old Lewis N. Smith still there? We, Green and I, often meet and talk. To meet someone you can talk with is quite a pleasure.

     Well, 50 years ago this election, I voted my first vote for a president - old "Abe" Lincoln, served as clerk on the board at old Spring Hill, Illinois. Twenty-five years ago, I was elected my first term as Register of Deeds, Republic County, Kansas. Am still alive but not running for office. The younger want the places. This year we in Kansas had a hot time running for the several offices. Old Republican went Republican for all but three. Thus county for all but two. The state is Republican, but by reduced majorities. There has been a great overturn politically in many states. Rooseveltism has a hard set-back in N. Y. state. Well, maybe the government will still exist at Washington. I can't go over all of it in this hurried letter, so will wind to a close soon.

     I never knew of such mild weather in autumn as we are having here now. We need rain.

     Hoping you are all well and that you will write sooner again, I will close.


Your Uncle


D. W. Hamilton


Letter # 39

Letter Dated: February 14, 1916
From: David Wilfong Hamilton (age 77)
Living In: Pittsburg, Kansas
To: (Nephew - not sure which one)
Living In: Indiana
Pittsburg, Kansas
February 14, 1916

Dear Nephew:

     I can't write letters as I once could, but will acknowledge receipt of your very kind letter of January 31, received in due time. I am always glad to read letters from the old homeplace. I am getting old, but I recognize the names I learned when I was young - I mean after I began to grow up.

     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.

     This is quite a business town, the biggest I ever lived in. Has over 20,000 population. Coal is a large production here. They have big schools houses and churches too. The big First Methodist Church, half a block from this place. It is very large - half a block long. I don't know it's seating capacity.

     My pen and ink won't do, so I'll cut it short now. I am glad to hear from you and would like to get a letter from Della. I hope you will succeed in your business right along. With best wishes for all, I will close now.


Your Uncle,


D. W. Hamilton


Remarks: This is the last letter of David W. Hamilton that was found in the collection. He lived ten more years - died at the age of 87. MS


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