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Ninian Beall Hamilton, Jr. - Page 3


Born: 14 Mar 1835
Died:  05 Feb 1869


These letters were written by the children of Ninian Beall Hamilton, Jr. (b. 1835)
and Rebecca Lovina Cannady Hamilton from 1880 to 1896.


Remarks: This letter was written to Lillie Belle Martin, daughter of Candace Shuford Hamilton Martin,
by George Harding Hamilton, oldest son of Ninian B. Hamilton, jr. (was called Hardie by his parents)
He died Oct. 6. 1882 at the age of 24. MS


Letter # 39

Letter Dated: April 19, 1880
From:  George Harding Hamilton (son of Ninian Jr. & Lovina) (age 22)
Living In: Mt. Vernon, Missouri
To: Lillie Belle Martin (Cousin & Daughter of Candace Hamilton Martin) (age 21)
& Ninian B. Hamilton, Sr. (b. 1789 - age 91)
Living In: Pekin P. O., Washington Co., Indiana

Mt. Vernon, Mo

April 19, 1880


Dearest Cousin:

     I have just received your welcome letter with two others and what good news they contained, our long lost brother
(the only brother he had was: Melvin Leroy Hamilton b. 12/11/1861 - d. 4/30/1935. RHR) has wrote to us. I received a letter from him and one from Edie (probably his sister, Edith Lucina Hamilton b. 8/7/1866 - d. 6/6/1931. RHR) with yours. Three most welcome letters. Had just received one from Gracie (his other sister, Hattie Grace Hamilton, b. 11/30/1864 - d. 12/14/1885. RHR) yesterday. Yours, Bennie's and Edie's were sent to (Sound or Round) Grove and I get my mail at the above address. Bennie (Melvin Leroy Hamilton's nickname. RHR) is in Lincoln, Nebraska, has been there since last May. He went there from Ohio, where he was working near Defiance. Lillie, I am almost happy I will get to see him this fall if everything works out right. I have been sick for two weeks past, but did not quit work until last Monday. Came very near having pneumonia fever, am very weak but will go to work Monday. Well Cold old Wells, JoJo Wells - I waited very impatiently for your answer. Lillie I think I can sympathize with you in your trouble and anything you may tell me will be read with the interest that is natural to any one who is interested in a near relative. Lillie, I love my cousin and have that deep interest.

     May 2nd - I will now attempt to finish your letter - or mine to you. I have been delayed from finishing my letter by the press of work. Last Sunday I had to build fence the Saturdays storm had blown down. I had not forgotten Lish
(Elisha B. Hamilton) as perhaps he has found out by this time.

     I have a very severe cough and have had for a number of weeks. I hope Grandpa is well.

     To Grandpa - Well Grandpa I haven't been in the habit of writing very much to you, but will try and let you all know where I am at, at different times. I have some very good news to tell you.

     I received a letter a short time ago from Bennie
(Melvin Leroy Hamilton). He is in Lincoln, Nebraska - he has been since the last of May in that city. He went from Ohio to where he is now, one year ago.

     He went to Ohio from Illinois where I was, he was near Defiance
(Ohio). I am doing very well - I get the best wages of any hand in the country - I get two dollars more on the month more than anybody I have heard of, and Grandpa I have got the Boss corn rows - they are a quarter of a mile long and as straight as a line, a forty acre field as straight as a line both ways.

     I expect to get with Bennie this fall and then we will stay together all the time - we will in the course of time go to California where we can be with the girls. I hope to get to see you all before we go. I hope you are well. Good-bye.

Yours -

Geo. H. Hamilton


Letter # 40

Letter Dated: May 30, 1880
From:  (Hattie) Grace Hamilton (daughter of Ninian Jr. & Lovina) (age 15)
Living In: Burwood, California
To: Ninian B. Hamilton, Sr. (b. 1789 - age 91) (Grandfather)
Living In: Pekin P. O., Washington Co., Indiana

(1879 or 1880, maybe earlier; MS)
(Now that we know Grace's birth date, from the text of the letter,
we can pretty well assume that this letter was written in 1880; RHR.)


Burwood, California

May 30, 1880


My dear Grandpa:

     I have just received a letter from Hardy
(George Harding Hamilton. RHR) giving me your address and I thought I would write you a few lines. We are all well at present. We expect Uncle Shuck (Daniel Shuck. RHR) home from the East tomorrow evening.

     I like California - it is a splendid country - my health has been better since I have been here than it ever was before. I will be sixteen years old the last day of November, tall and slim - I still have the same yellow hair, while Edith's
(Edith Lucina Hamilton) is quite dark. Edie will write some to you.

     I can just remember when Mother
(Lovina Cannady Hamilton), Edith, Hardie (George Harding Hamilton), Bennie (Melvin Leroy Hamilton) and I were there just after my Father dear (Ninian B. Hamilton, jr.) died. It seems oh so many long long years since they died leaving us children alone in this cold world. We were of course fed, clothed, schooled, but there was something lacking, and I have learned by sad experience what that is, a child wants someone to love, and someone to love them, like a mother - something I have never had since mine died.

     Well dear grandpa I will close for this time. You are now very old - perhaps we will never see each other again. I hope you can answer my letter. I suppose you know that we don't know anything about Bennie.

Write soon -

Grace Hamilton


Remarks: The above letter did not have the year on it in which it was written, but in it she states that they do not know where Bennie (Melvin Leroy Hamilton. RHR) is at that time, and by reading the preceding letter from George Harding Hamilton we learn that in April 1880 he had just heard from Bennie, so it can be assumed that this letter was written before 1880. It was written to Ninian B. Hamilton, Sr., her grandfather. MS


Letter # 41

Letter Dated: May 5th, 1883/84
From:  Edith Lucina Hamilton (daughter of Ninian Jr. & Lovina) (age 16)
Living In: Woodbridge, California (San Joaquin County)
To: Ninian Stephan Martin (Cousin; Son of Candace Hamilton Martin) (age 21)
Living In: Pekin P. O., Washington Co., Indiana

Woodbridge, California (San Joaquin County)

May 5th, (around 1883 or 1884)


Dear Cousin:

     In your letter to me you wanted to know if I was alive, I guess that you surely think that I am dead or very nearly so at least since I never answered your letter. I am alive and well. I wrote you a long letter since I received yours, but I put it in a drawer and forgot it and never sent it.

     This is a terrible day out here - it is raining and the wind is blowing tremendously. This country becomes more like the Eastern States every year. It thunders, lightenings, sometimes snows and hails.

     You wanted me to tell you of the good times I am having. I have had a very good time staying at home this week and sewing, etc. There was a Musical Convention at Stockton this week and as most of the students wanted to go we had vacation. I do have good times though. On Christmas I spent several days with Bennie (Melvin Leroy Hamilton. RHR) and Grace
(Hattie Grace Hamilton. RHR). They live about forty-two miles south of us. Bennie is the kindest of brothers; he gave me for a Christmas present - a beautiful dress; and Grace is forever giving me something nice.

     Grace's baby is so pretty - he has light curls, coal black eyes, and very fair complexion. Her husband is very kind to her. He likes me too Grace says!

     Well now I will describe myself - my homely little self. I am indeed ugly and I know you would think so too if you could see me. I have blue eyes, tolerably fair skin, plenty of freckels and am below the medium height; as for hair I will send you a lock of it and you can form you own opinion about it.

     My! How it rains or rather how it pours! The poor little chickens - how I pity them. I'm glad that I am not a chicken. Nin
(Ninian Stephan Martin) do you remember me? I remember when I was at your home and your father's house was being built. I remember that there were several children and that I squalled a great deal. But as to the children I do not know how many nor which is which, and which is the other; but now I want you all to write to me soon and give an account of yourselves. I guess my cousins think I am a terrible cousin but I promise not to be so wicked hereafter and write oftener and better, but this old pen will scarcely write at all. Girls and boys all write and write soon.

     Well Ninian I have no sweet fellow so therefore I can't write about him. I am glad your girl is so sweet. Tell her to write to me, will you? I hope she will make you a good wife. Be true to her and treat her kindly. This letter is to all of you with much love, 

I am affectionately -

Eda Hamilton


P.S. Can any of you give any information concerning uncle D. W. Hamilton (David Wilfong Hamilton)? The last two letters I wrote him he never answered. Please send me his full address if you have it.




Letter # 42

Letter Dated: November 1, 1887
From:  Melvin Leroy Hamilton (son of Ninian Jr. & Lovina) (age 26)
Living In: Fresno City, California
To: Homer Martin (Cousin; Son of Candace Hamilton Martin) (age 16)
Living In: Pekin P. O., Washington Co., Indiana

Fresno City, California

November 1, 1887

Mr. Martin, Homer Martin:

Dear Cousin:

     Your most welcome letter was received in due time, was glad to get a letter from you. To tell the truth I had almost forgotten you and Martin, Clyde. You was such little chaps when I was there.

     You must be a great big boy now. I only weight 143 lbs. - I am what you might call a light weight.

     Well, I suppose you would like to know what I am doing. At present I am working at the carpenter trade - the firm's name is George W. Mead & Co. - fruit and raisin packers. They have a large packing establishment here in Fresno. I expect I will work for them all this winter. I am getting $2.00 per day. I have to pay $4.00 per week for board, so you can see I don't make much. Next spring I will get $3.00 per day if I stay with the company I am working for now. I have got me a horse and buggy and I go riding nearly every Sunday. I have got a nice girl and I expect I will get married this winter.

     I am getting about old enough now - will be 27 years old the 11th of December. This is a good country out here. There is land out here that is worth $1,000.00 per acre - there is some that is only worth $20.00 per acre.

     There is a great many vineyards around here. There is several large winerys near Fresno - they make all way from one to four hundred thousand gallons of wine to the winery.

     Well cousin it is getting late and I will have to close. Give my kindest regards to all the folks and to you Father and Mother.

     Hoping to hear from you soon, I remain ever your cousin -


M. B. Hamilton


According to Skelly History of Hamilton's he was named Melvin Leroy Hamilton at birth, and was called Mellie in earlier letters. He had his name legally changed to Ninian Bennet Hamilton and was called Bennie. He did marry Emma Victoria Koster on May 23, 1888. RHR


Letter # 43

Letter Dated: January 21, 1895
From:  Edith Lucina Hamilton (daughterof Ninian Jr. & Lovina) (age 28)
Living In: Fresno City, California
To: Candace Hamilton Martin (Aunt - age 53)
Living In: Pekin P. O., Washington Co., Indiana

Fresno, California

January 21, 1895


My dear Aunt and Cousin:

     It is a shame that your letters have been so long left unanswered, and every time I receive a letter from either of you I think I will answer it immediately, and then something hinders me, and so it goes from day to day. This afternoon, however, I am not busy, so I will again take up the thread of our correspondence.

     First of all, I wish to thank you Aunt Candace, for the letter you sent me, which Papa
(Ninian B. Hamilton, jr. RHR) wrote so many years ago. I have but one of Momma's (Lovina Cannady. RHR) letters and the letter you sent me is the only whole one I have of Papa's.

     When I was at Uncle Wills
(David Wilfong Hamilton. RHR) in Kansas, I found some scraps of letters Papa had written to Uncle Will and which was in a pile of rubbish dumped out to be destroyed. I sometimes wonder whether Uncle Will could have cared much for Papa; but then, after all, I believe he did and would have cared more for me if he had had a different wife (Achsa Ann Martin. RHR). I don't know how you stand on this subject, but I'll give you my views on the matter. Perhaps you are not personally acquainted with his wife. Well, I am but I am not proud of it. She is a smart woman, I'll admit, but I never liked her. She and Cora (Cora Catherine Hamilton. RHR) could be just as nice as could be - whenever they wanted to work you for some favor. It always provoked me so much to see how Uncle Will would let his wife "wind" him around her finger, as the saying is, and while Uncle Will is a good man I don't believe he would have been the poor dyspeptic and glum sort of a man he is, if he had had a different wife. Take Uncle Will Bert (Donald Wilbert Hamilton. RHR) and Daisy (Daisy Henrietta Hamilton. RHR) and yes, I will say Louie (Louise Hamilton. RHR) too, - I like them of the children, Daisy especially. But Cora, I just could not and would not tolerate - and I shall not begin to tell you here how she treated me while I was there. Uncle Will wrote me a very nice letter about two years ago, but I never liked the way he treated Cousin Elsie (probably Mary Elsie Martin, daughter of Delilah "Dovey" Ann Hamilton. RHR) when she left there, to go to Wichita. I am glad that Elsie arose above it and showed them she could live without them. I often wonder how they live.

     Uncle Will is not able to do hard work and I presume his wife makes the greater part of the living.

     Uncle Will wrote that Daisy and Bert were teaching. How Bert ever managed to get a school is beyond my comprehension. Daisy, though younger, was far ahead of him in all studies for Bert, though smart enough, was simply too lazy to do anything at all. But I guess they got where it was either work or starve and as he probably thought the latter too much trouble, went to work. There is one thing however that can be done in Kansas that can't be done in California, and that is fifteen or sixteen year old children possessing the first rudiments of a common school education, can manage to get a school in Kansas, but not so in California. The rules and laws are very strict in this state, and they should be in every state.

     How are things in Indiana? From all accounts through the papers they must be as hard if not harder than here in California. Some here claim that it is a little better than it was, but, I don't see much if any change. I still hold my position and am now far into the fourth year in this office.

     Auntie and Uncle Shuck are living at their home in Woodbridge near Stockton in this state. I paid them a 3 weeks visit this summer after having visited the mid-Winter fair at San Francisco. My cousin Hattie Mobley (whom Auntie Shuck raised) is very low with consumption, and I daily expect to hear of her death. She will leave nine children, six girls and three boys, the youngest being now eight months old and the oldest will be 18 years, February 4th. The third child, Blanche, is now in Indianapolis, Indiana, having gone east with her Father's mother (who lives in Columbus, Indiana) and went to visit her Mamma's sister Mrs. Sallie Forbes at 177 Christian Avenue, Indianapolis, and they would not give Blanche up. She went east to stay a year, but may be called home sooner on account of her Mamma's illness. I wish you could see Blanche. She is a dear and lovable child 15 years old.

     How far are you from Indianapolis? I live in hopes of visiting all my relation in Indiana and other states some day, but just now it looks very unpromising. I have quite a burden on my shoulders now as I look out to quite an extent for Meryl Dotson, Grace's little girl, who is now 10 years old. Her Father has had difficulty in keeping up for the past 2 years and he has to pay Meryl's board, besides provide for her and her brother, Claude, and he has a hard time doing it. I have about clothed Meryl the past year, making as well as buying her clothing, and now Auntie and Uncle Shuck who are both old and have poor health are not in the best of circumstances, and I have to help them out too. I only hope that my health, which has been good the past year, will permit me to keep it up as long as necessary.

(Melvin Leroy Hamilton who changed his name to Ninian Bennett Hamilton. RHR) is up in the mountains and for lack of something better to do is working on a ranch in the hills plowing.

     It has been over two years since I saw him. He, like my brother-in-law, has had a struggle to keep things going for a couple of yeas. But then Ben always was unfortunate. He has had so much sickness in his family and then there were months and months that he could not work on account of a broken arm. It is too bad that Ben was never educated. He could have done almost anything and is so quick in matters of calculation. he is a splendid carpenter, as it is, but he gets so few opportunities to show his skill even in that one thing.

     Now, I have given you quite a family history and I hope it will suffice for all members of the family. And I would be so pleased if all would write to me and not feel slighted if I don't answer for a long time and to each one individually. So please let each one have this letter to read and I ask that each take it as intended for himself and herself. So with love to each and all of you, and hoping soon to receive lots of letters from that part of the country, I remain,


Your affectionate niece and cousin,

Edith L. Hamilton


Edith L. Hamilton
c/o George E. Church


P. S. Aunt Candace, if you have any more of Papa's letters which you can spare, I would appreciate so much to get them.


Letter # 44

Letter Dated: September 17, 1896
From:  Edith Lucina Hamilton (daughterof Ninian Jr. & Lovina) (age 30)
Living In: Fresno, California
To: Candace Hamilton Martin (Aunt - age 55)
Living In: Pekin P. O., Washington Co., Indiana

Fresno, California

September 17, 1896


Dear Aunt Candace:

     It has been a long time since the package of letters, including yours, was received, but I think when I have told you all that has occurred since then you will pardon me for not answering your letter sooner and thanking you for the letters.

     About the time your letter and package came, a young lady who had been rooming with me was very sick and my time was all given to her for a couple of weeks or more. Then about the time she was able to be up and around again I was taken sick from waiting on her so long. I had pneumonia and typhoid fever and am not strong yet, as the sore spot in my left lung bothers me so much, especially when I take a little cold. I was in bed 20 of the hottest days this summer. I was out of the office about two months - one month sick and one month spent with my relatives in Stockton and Sacramento, and with friends in San Francisco trying to regain my lost health and strength. I am much improved, but don't expect to be as well as I was before for a long time as my nervous system seems shattered almost. So you see I have been busy in some way or another since the letters came.

     How glad I was to get those letters! It seemed almost like talking with Papa and Mamma. It gave me such and insight to a part of their lives which I never could have gained in any other way.

     Ben is living with me now. He has not been well at all as he had a slight sunstroke in the hills before coming down last July. Otherwise, he is quite well, but pretty idle these days as it is so hard for one out of employment to get work. We hope every day he will get a good job so he can remain here and we be together. You don't know what a comfort it is to me to have him here. You know I am hardly acquainted with Ben as we have been together so little in our lives. He is a good carpenter and we figure on building up a little house of our own one of these days.

     Do you know what has become of Elsie Martin? I have not heard from her for nearly a year though I have repeatedly written to her and sent her a little package last Christmas, of which I never received any acknowledgment and have wondered if it could be that she never received it. I feel ashamed to write again, but don't understand why she don't answer some of my letters.

     I have so much to do that I make a poor correspondent these days and consequently have gotten out of the way of writing to Aunt Dovey. Her other girls I am not acquainted with, and they are so busy I feel it is useless to try to get anything out of them in the way of correspondence, though I would like to hear from them. I presume you hear from them frequently. Give them all my love when you write and tell them to jog Elsie's memory in regard to answering my letters.

     Uncle and Auntie Shuck live in Sacramento this year and I spent about 2 weeks with them this summer. Uncle still preaches. Auntie has very poor health. It will never be anything else. She was 71 the 9th inst. I have not your letter before me now, so don't know whether you asked questions or not. My one great desire is to be able some day to get enough money to visit all my eastern relatives and get acquainted with them. Please tell Della to write as I enjoy her breezy little letters so much. Write as often as you can. It makes me feel like I have left a few ties that are of some concern to me.


With love from Ben and myself, I remain your niece -

Edith L. Hamilton

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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

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