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Reuben Hamilton


Born: 1776, Lincoln County (now Catawba County), NC
Died:  20 Sep 1858, Catawba County, NC



Reuben Hamilton was born about 1776 in Lincoln County, NC.  Thomas was the son of Archibald Hamilton and Mary "Polly" Hawkins.


Reuben married Sarah "Sally" Collier on 10 Jan 1800 in Lincoln County, NC.  Sally was the daughter of Drury Collier.

Children of Reuben Hamilton and Sarah "Sally" Collier
Name Birth Date Death Date Spouse
Ninian Hamilton 1800    
Drury Hamilton 1802 02 Mar 1889 1) Elizabeth Bridges
2) Mary "Polly" Little
Thomas Jefferson Hamilton 1805 Bef. Oct 1883 Delphia R. Blakely
Margaret Hamilton      
Sarah "Sally" Hamilton   15 Oct 1817  
Elizabeth "Betsy" Hamilton 17 Aug 1815 23 Jul 1859 Andrew Yount
Reuben Hamilton, Jr. 1819 Bef. 01 Feb 1877  
James W. Hamilton 26 Mar 1820 28 Nov 1853 Lavina L. Law
Rebecca Hamilton 1820 13 Sep 1846 James Perkins
Nancy Hamilton 22 Aug 1823 Aft. Mar 1849 (Never Married)
The 1810 Census shows Reuben and Sarah/Sally both between the ages of 26 - 44.  There were 7 children already living in the family home: Drury, Thomas Jefferson, Margaret, Ninian, Sally and 2 unknown children.  Since the last of their children were born after 1815, it couldn't have been them.  Reuben's younger brother, Archibald (b. 19 Dec 1785) was living nearby with his wife, Susannah, and their daughter, Mary Polly.

1810 Census

Name Males Females
Under 10 10 - 15 16 - 25 26 - 44 45 & Up Under 10 10 - 15 16 - 25 26 - 44
Reuben Hamilton 4     1 1 2     1
Arch Hamilton     1     1   1  

In 1820, there were 13 people living in the Reuben Hamilton household, including Reuben and Sally.  Unfortunately the Census doesn't provide additional breakdowns.


1820 Census Catawba County Census

Name White Males
Reuben Hamilton < 10 10 - 15 16 - 18 16 - 25 26 - 44 45+
1 2 2 2 2 1
White Females
< 10 10 - 15 16 - 25 26 - 44 45+
2 1 1 1  
Persons engaged in Agriculture Persons engaged in Manufactures
5 1
By 1830, there were 14 living in the Rueben Hamilton household.

1830 Census Catawba County Census

Name White Male
Reuben Hamilton 1 - 4 5 - 9 10 - 14 15 - 19 20 - 29 40 - 41 40 - 59 80 - 89
  1 1   2   1  
White Females
1 - 4 5 - 9 10 - 14 15 - 19 20 - 29 40 - 41 40 - 59 80 - 89
1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1

By 1850, Sally had died.  Reuben's household included his youngest daughter Nancy, as well as granddaughter Jane (Jincy) Elizabeth Hamilton (daughter of Drury Hamilton), her husband Lawson Bynum and their two daughters, Victoria and Ellena.  Reuben's son, Thomas Jefferson Hamilton, and his family were living at the nearest farm.


1850 Catawba County Census at Newton

Name Age Sex Occupation Real Estate
First Last
Reuben Hamilton 73 M Farmer $2000 Catawba
Nancy " 27 F     "
Lawson Bynum 29 M Farmer   "
Jane Bynum 22 F     "
Victoria " 4 F     "
Ellena G.   2 F     "
Thomas Hamilton 45 M Farmer $320 "
Delpha " 45 F     "
Pinkney " 15 M     "
Martha Hamilton 12 F     Catawba
Genelia " 8 M     "
Leonidas " 7 F     "
Jane Taylor 17 F     S. Carolina
Mary Bridges 67 F     Virginia
Sally died on Aft. 18 Oct 1841.  Reuben died 20 Sep 1858.
Reuben lived in the Catawba area of Catawba County, NC, and started the Providence Meeting House on his property.  The church was used by four different religious denominations.
Several years later, Reuben drowned and was buried in the Providence Cemetery.  Even though the church is no longer there, the cemetery can still be visitd.  It is located on Highway 10, about a mile outside of the Town of Catawba city limits.  Several Hamilton family members are buried there in the old cemetery part.

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: April 22, 1818
From: Reuben Hamilton
Living In: Lincolnton, Lincoln County, NC
To: Archibald Hamilton II (Brother)
Living In: State of Indiana, Washington County, Salem Post Office

Dear Brother and Sister -

     I have just sot
(sat) down to inform you that when I left home we was all well for which we ourt (ought) to be truly thankful for - hoping these few lines may find you and your family in good health - I received your letter and was sorry that you did not write more to me.

     You informed me of your accident that happened you on the road - I shall inform you of the 10 accident that befell me on the Wednesday - week after you left this cuntry
(country), which was on the 15th of October - I was setting up a fodder house frame and Hamilton, Sally and Betsey came up to me and was setting inside eating of grapes - and the frame fell down on them and in the space of five minutes Sally was a lifeless corps (corpse) in our arms - and Betsey was hurt sum but not much. I saw it fall on them - I laid holt of the middle pole to lift it off them and I suppose I give myself such a yank that I could not walk but a few steps - and the grief for my child I cannot inform you of - I had sot (sat) in the back fork very deep and rammed it well - and the others I sot (sat) out like the rails and had not sot (sat) in back rails and it busted up hill.  She died all most without a sigh or groan or a bruise - only on one leg the skin was broke - I was sometime before I could do anything - I have had several short hard spells so that I thought I should bid times things adieu - but it pleased the God of heaven to spare me and give my common health again.

     All of your friends is well as far as I know at this time - I have had no letter from Thomas since you went away - Henry Loller and Pega Sherrill is married and went to house keeping where Arthur Moore lived on William Rankins place and in about two weeks they got there house burnt but they saved all the property chiefly and we built them another the next day. We have had very hard frost these mornings and spit snow yesterday morning. I will now inform you about your corn - when the hundred bushels was measured the balance was 42 bushels - corn is very plenty - there is nobody buying hardly and not more than 50 cents asked per bushel - our trade has bin
(been) very good this year - I went to pay Tuell with seed and butter and taller (tallow) and I got 2 dollars for seed and 25 cents for butter and 16 cents for taller - and salt at 90 cents per bushel - and there is many more things that I would be glad to inform you of but time is scarce - I have to tend this week of yung (young) man - I left home a Sunday and this Wednesday morning. I am in Henry Carpenters house at this time and good and confused with people so that I cannot write as I would wish - my writing is bad - I got Ninian's letter Monday morning and he will send you another - I desire to be remembered to the rest of your friends and I want you to write to me soon and let me know how you are doing - I shall come to a short conclusion - remaining your loving brother till death.


Reuben Hamilton
April 22, 1818


Letter # 2

Letter Dated: February 1, 1831
From: Reuben Hamilton
Living In: Hokesville, NC
To: Ninian Beall Hamilton (Brother)
Living In:  Lincoln County, NC

Dear Brothers & Sisters & Friends:

     I have just sot
(sat) down to inform you that we all are in common health at present, for which we thank God for - hoping that these lines may find you and your family in the same state of health. I was very unwell this fall, but I have got better - I was about six weeks that I done nothing of any account.

     Corn is likely to be mighty scarce in our country - it is selling at 62-1/2 cents about here, and up in the mountains it selling for 50 cents. There is a good many of the neighbors gone up after corn.

     Enos Sherrill has fetched three or four loads, and Eli Sherrill has fetched one load and the Bridges has fetched two or three loads.  I cribed my corn about the 20th of November.  I had nine loads of shucked corn - I had one load over my big crib full.  I want to make out on it if I can.  Our winter is very hard - we have had two snows this month - deep - and three sleets.  I have meat plenty, I think, but I think the times will be hard with a number of people in our country this year.

     Our sister, Rachel is in bad fix for corn and meat.  Your friends is all well as far as I know at this time.  I can inform you that James Walker is fairly broke.  He undertook to move Larkin B. Mays in the night in his old trucks and got ketched
(caught) at it and they took him before John Shuford - and he sold his place to Thomas Ward for 150 dollars, and Tom sold it to Isaac Douglas for 181 dollars and he sold it to Jacob Gilland for 27 dollars, but James is out of land and corn and I think not much coming for his place.

     I can inform you that Prudent Shin come home the Monday before Christmas, a widow, and is on her father's hands again and I think they are getting a hand full of meal where they can.  Old Uncle Benny has been petitioning for the neighbors to throw in corn to them - being a couple of good old folks, but I have not said that I would throw in to them till the hickorys gives out.  William Cline that worked for Mack Wilson got drunk and froze to death.  Elitha Sherrill is married to William Hooper.

     I received your lines on Christmas and was glad to hear that you had made your journey safe.

     I saw Yount and told him that I had the notes for him, but he won't deduct any of account out of the price of the wagon. He said if it was not according to bargain you ourt
(ought) not took it - he said he would come by someday and get them, but he has not come yet.  I have not seen Peter Drum yet, but he has got all his tools burnt in his shop.  I sold your barrow to Drury for three dollars and the sow I could not sell for more that 16 pounds of iron, and I took her myself and she is a dear bargain.

     Charles Edwards has got nothing out of Melger.  I have not received one cent yet to pay any of your little debts.  I have one more thing to inform you of.  There is a very bad report been raised about you - Sally was over at old uncle Joseph Sherrill's and old Jane told her that you had carried off two loads of Peter Pope's property for Isaac Robinson, and Lansen was seen carrying off them to your house - and she said there was some person there and saw women's clothes packed up that was not Peggy's, and she would not tell how she saw it done.  She said it would be very well if you had not his debts to pay, and she said there was no doubt but what he went out with you to that country and was there now among you.  We found out that the news started at William Shins - you remember Polly was at your house when your clothes was put up. Lansen stated in his letter to his people that he never heard of Peter after he passed Ashville.

     I want you to state to me whether you ever saw him or not and what you heard from him, and likewise, I want Archibald to write whether he knowd (knowed) of any such a man as Peter Pope coming to your country.  I want both of you to write together and I want it to complain for.  I want to talk some after awhile and there was many other things to say too tedious to mention here.

     Lyda Lollar sent a letter back to her friends. She stated they got out in five weeks and three day and found the friends all well, and doing well.  She stated the hogs was bigger and fatter there in the woods than she ever saw here in pens.  Them and Rozzal parted in Illinois, but for what cause I cannot tell. John Lee is out of fellowship yet.  I want you to write to me immediately.  I shall conclude with my best love to all and good wishes untill death.


Reuben Hamilton
February 1, 1831


Letter # 3

Letter Dated: June 6, 1832
From: Reuben Hamilton
Living In: Hokesville, NC
To: Ninian Beall Hamilton (Brother)
Living In:  Lincoln County, NC


Dear Brother and friends:

     I have some time now - will take my pen in hand to inform you all that through the mercy of God we all are in common health, but myself. I have been unwell for a few days. I hope that these few lines may find you all in good health. 

     I have nothing strange to write to you.  I can inform you that Sally was taken with the bilious fever about the first of October and was ten weeks that she could do nothing and has never been stout since.

     I can inform you that I made no out collecting your money yet - they give me good words but I shall not take them no longer than next Sunday.  Peter Drum says that you promised to wait with him till you come in this country.  I went to see Nicholas Wycough a few days ago and he said that he thought he would have all your money or nearly all of it - he said you had give good indulgence and you should not be disappointed.

     You wrote if any of your friends was coming to send your money to you.  I do not think that there is any chance to send it to you.  I acknowledge I have delayed my time in writing to you, but the times has been crowded with me for a long time. We have cleared 6 acres of ground this spring.

     I may say for us the winter was very cold and I was in the Chawran the 14th day of March.  The weather is at this time cool and dry.  I can inform you that there is no great appearance of good wheat crops this year.  I thought I was a going to raise a good crop but I perceive that the flys has hurt abundance of it.  Corn is worth from 35 to 40 cents per bushel.

     My friends is in common health as far as I know at this time.  My Reuben has been puny this spring and is not able to do anything. I shall inform you about your friends - David Wilfong's wife is dead.  She died the 6th of May.  I saw Phillip Rhendasah last week and he said that he had a woman a living with him.  I can inform you that William Bandy and his family was so much afflicted last winter that the light never was out in the house for three months.  He was sick himself and his second daughter - and Alfred he had fits every night.  The rest of the family was well the last account, I had from them.  Betsy Bandy said she had got a few lines from Hearl and it stated that the friends was all well there.  Catherine Bandy has joined the church - old William Kale is dead.  Abraham Shook is dead.  Lis Plott's wife is dead.  Old Elisha Sherrill is dead. Jefferson went to Salem last September and I have not saw him since - he was well the 9th of April.

     I want you if you intend coming this fall to write as soon as possible and let me know when you will come and I will do all I can do for you.

     We had a good mast* last year - our old hogs is fat in the woods yet, and we have every appearance of a good mast this year.  We have peaches plenty, but few apples.  I shall come to a close with my best respects to you all.


Reuben Hamilton
June 6, 1832


(*nuts accumulated on the forest floor - used as food for hogs.)


Letter # 4

Letter Dated: October 18, 1841
From: Reuben Hamilton
Living In: Lowrances Mills, NC
To: Ninian Beall Hamilton (Brother)
Living In:  Lincoln County, NC


Dear Brother and Sister:

     I now take up my pen to write a few lines to you to inform you that we are all well except my wife.  She is not able to be about any, only as she is helped.  She has lost the use of her hips very much, and has not walked any by herself for six or seven weeks.  It is something like the palsy, her appetite is tolerable good, but still she is getting weak.

     I will now inform you something of our times in our country.  Money is scarce, but we have plenty to live on.  Our season has generally been very wet - wheat crops was only middling and what was made is generally very much injured with the weevil.  Corn crops is good - our fall had been pleasant - we have had but little frost yet.

     I will now say something about my family.  I am lonesome to what I was when you left this country.  My son, Ninian, is in the Mississippi.  Reuben is in South Carolina a working at the house carpenter trade.  James was married on the 5th of August to Miss Levina Laws
(Lawz) - he is still with me.

     I will inform you that I received a letter from Wilson Collier yesterday, dated the 4th of September last. He is living in the Missouri, Madison County, near Fredericktown. He states the country is very healthy and everything plenty - and all are well. They have had twenty children, 11 boys and 9 girls - there is six dead, five boys and one girl.

     I will inform you that William Bandy and family is well.  Also Mr. Bandy informed me that two of David Wilfong's boys had left him and they do not know where they are now.  Your stepmother is living with Washington Miller and is well.  I will inform you that I received your letter dated 26th of August, and was very glad to hear from you all, but sorry to hear of the affliction of your little son.

     You seemed to infer in your letter that you was afraid that politics was about to split us, but in this you are very much mistaken - my friendship to you remains unshaken.  It was only neglect, but I will inform you that I did not vote for General Harrison or any of his colleagues, and I feel thankful to my Maker for it and the longer, the more so.

     I have nothing more to write at this time. I wish you to write to me as soon as convenient - give my best respects to brother Archibald
(II) and family and except for yourself the same - so I add no more at present, but remain your loving brother untill death.


Reuben Hamilton


Letter # 16 from Drury Hamilton to his Uncle, Ninian B. Hamilton,
brother of Reuben Hamilton


Letter Dated: August 15, 1855

From: Drury Hamilton (age 53)

Living In: Newton, NC

To: Ninian Hamilton (b. 1789 - Uncle) (age 66)

Living In: Pekin P. O., Washington Co., Indiana


Uncle Ninian:

     I write a few lines on this slip of paper - in the first place to correct the date of my letter - it should be the 15th instead of the 22nd I did not think of the mistake untill I had sealed it.
(He was 60 mistaken - his letter was dated the 15th; MS).

I will inform you that we have built a church at my father's at the graveyard - it is called Providence. It is lately finished - It is a Baptist church - there is about 40 members in it. They held a protracted meeting there which begun last Friday and lasted five days - several joined and among them was my old father (Reuben Hamilton; RHR). He was baptized yesterday.

     I have nothing more particular to write at this time - only we have had a very heavy rain today, with some hail.

 Write to me as soon as you receive this letter - the last letter you wrote me was three months on the road before it reached me. In the future you will be pleased to direct your letters to Long Island post-office, Catawba County, N. C.


Yours truly


Drury Hamilton




Letter # 18 from Drury Hamilton to his Uncle, Ninian B. Hamilton,
brother of Reuben Hamilton


Letter Dated: January 4, 1859

From: Drury Hamilton (age 57)

Living In: North Carolina

To: Ninian Hamilton (b. 1789 - Uncle) (age 70

Living In: Pekin P. O., Washington Co., Indiana


Dear Uncle, Aunt and Cousins:

     I once more embrace the opportunity of writing a few lines to you to inform you that I am well at present and hope these few lines will find you all in the same like condition. My old uncle, I will inform you that I wrote you a letter about three months ago, but I have received no answer, from which circumstance I have come to the conclusion that it has got mislaid and has never reached you.

 I will in the first place inform you of the death of my dear old Father
(Reuben Hamilton, b.1776/7 - d.9/20/1858; RHR) - he departed this life the 20th day of September last. I think that I informed you in a former letter that he had been in bad health since the last of April, 1957.

     Sometimes he was able to be about and at other times he was confined, for several months previous to his death he was able to be up and about - he came down to see me about six weeks before he died and stayed several days. We saw no alteration in him until one week before his departure. There was a four days meeting at the church at his house - he went out to preaching on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but on Tuesday he said that he felt unwell and did not go out that night. He was taken sick and on Monday following died.

     We charitably hope that from the life that he lived for several years past and the profession he made that he is now where the wicked cease to trouble, and the weary are at rest. He was a 72 member of the Baptist church several years. He is gone and cannot come to us, but we can go to him.

     The friends and connection are all well at this time.

     I will now say something of things in general - our wheat crops was not good- the oats crop was almost an entire failure, owing to the rust which killed it before it was ripe. Corn crops was tolerable - the season was good until the 20th of July. It was then very dry for three months - we have but little cold weather yet - we have had large quantities of rain for two months past. The times has been very hard in money matters for a year or two past, but there seems to be some improvement of late - money is somewhat more in circulation and the people generally are not so much pressed as they have been - we hope for better times now soon.

     Where is my two cousins Ninian B. and David W.? I have not received a line from them in a long time. I would be very glad to read a letter from them again. Please write to me soon and let me know all the particulars.

     I add no more at present, only remain your affectionate friend.


Drury Hamilton


Thanks to Richard Roberts for the additional information on the Hamilton Family as well as the Hamilton Letters rob95536@yahoo.com


"The Hamilton Family", by Norah H. Duncan, Catawba County Heritage, Vol. 1

If you have photos or additional information about the Hamilton family, please contact me.