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Thomas Jefferson Hamilton


Born: 1805
Died:  1883



Thomas Jefferson Hamilton was the son of Reuben Hamilton and Sarah "Sally" Collier.  Thomas was born about 1805.

Children of Reuben Hamilton and Sarah "Sally" Collier
Name Birth Date Death Date Spouse
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      
Ninian Hamilton      
Sarah "Sally" Hamilton   15 Oct 1817  
Elizabeth "Betsy" Hamilton 17 Aug 1815 Bef. 25 Sep 1860 Andrew Yount
Reuben Hamilton, Jr. 1819 Bef. 01 Feb 1877  
Rebecca Hamilton 1820 13 Sep 1846 James Perkins
James W. Hamilton 16 Apr 1821 28 Nov 1853 Lavina L. Law
Nancy Hamilton 22 Aug 1823 Aft. Mar 1849 (Never Married)

Thomas married Delphina R. Blakely on 16 Nov 1833 in Lincoln County, NC.  Dephia was born about 1806 in Iredell County.



Thomas and Delphia's marriage produced eight children
Name Birth Date Death Date Spouse
Pinkney Hamilton 1835    
Elam (Elum) Hamilton      
Martha Ann Hamilton Oct 1837   James A. Wilkie
Adolphus Hamilton Mar 1839    
C. M. Hamilton (Female)     R. W. Bright
Gaston Hamilton 1842    
Leonidas Hamilton 1843    
Genelia F. Hamilton 1844    

The 1850 Catawba County Census shows Thomas and Delphia Hamilton living at a farm nearby his father Reuben.  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.


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

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.

Thomas frequently referred to himself as "Poor Tom the Tanner" in his correspondences.

Letter # 1

Letter Dated: January 27, 1840
From: Thomas Jefferson Hamilton (age 35)
Living In: Willow Grove, Lincoln County, NC
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Uncle) (age 51)
Living In: Indiana

Willow Grove

Lincoln County, N. C

January 27, 1840


To my good old uncles & aunts of Indiana:

     By our agreement here is my turn to write. Your letter of the 3rd came to hand the 22nd and was sorry to hear of your afflictions - tho I was a little taken with your notion of hunting another country, as I have been of the same opinion for the last 12 months. It may be that we may be providentally blest in traveling together in a year or two. I thought of taking a tour last fall, then it give out. Perhaps we would like the south part of Missouri as it lays but little north of this place. I am told it is broken tolerable, well watered, the rains very good - the uplands generally poor. The creeks and even branches affords bottoms sufficiently for beautiful farms and very fertile. If you go to look at any parts look for me as perhaps you are a better judge of countries than I. Reports says that tanning and blacksmithing is very profitable in the parts I have been speaking of.
(Thomas was a tanner and Ninian a blacksmith. RHR)

     Brother Ning went to the Mississippi last fall - near Holly Springs. Thomas Blakely and wife lives there. They have both been a good deal unwell. My desire is to get ready to move against October, 1841, if possible. Write quickly and let me know how your pulse beats about the parts I have spoken of, and others. I don't know of any other of the friends going to move except Alfred Sherril - he says if he can sell he will go to where I have spoken of, or to the Arkansas that adjoins them.

     I will now tell you something about your Brother Thomas. Tomorrow will be 2 weeks since he bid adieu to Lincoln County. Me, my wife, and 2 youngest children went with him to Salem
(Winston-Salem, NC, now) on a visit - returned last Saturday evening. Uncle Tommy expected to leave Stokes (County) this week. He talks of coming back within 2 years to fetch his 2 little girls to the school (Moravian) in Salem. Our friends in Stokes was all well. Uncle Horatio has failed very much since I left there 7 years ago - both body and mind. I think he will not last much longer - this is his 84th year. (Horatio died two months later - 3/4/1840. RHR)

     I shall now tell you that we are all tolerable well tho our children has the whooping cough - not very bad. We have but 4 chaps yet - Pinckney, Elum, Hamilton, Marthey Ann and Adolphus.

     Should me and my little flock have good health and luck to meet you in Missouri or elsewhere, I will show you some of the finest boys you ever looked at. The friends on both sides are fair, as I have any knowledge, is well. William Bandy's son, Alfred, his daughter, Myra, and his son-in-law, Joseph Sherrill has all joined the church. Joe and Alfred has been preaching a little. I doubt it will not be any general thing shortly. Mr. Ferguson desires to be remembered to you, as all being well - and yours well wished.

     As respects to the circumstances of the friends generally, I expect there is no particular change. As for myself, I have tolerable plenty of the comforts of life - very little in debt and some money owing to me.

     If my recollection serves me right, in some of the news from Blue River, there was some apologies set forth thinking there had been some offense - part by jesting me about my walnut grove, etc. I thought I was known to be a true Republican, allowing everybody to say just what they please, at the same time reserving unto myself a bountiful cup full of the same blessed privilege. No my good old friends just write what you choose - if I get displeased at anything that comes to hand I will let you know by pouncing upon it like a vulture upon his prey, and defend myself Tiger-like.

     As for politics, I leave that for more learned men than myself to talk about - such as schoolmasters and other public characters. Our country abounds with plenty this year. Corn a plenty, at 37 cents; flour from 2 to 2-1/2 dollars per hundred.

     Father says he will try selling your interest shortly. Tell Cousin Tommy
(probably Archibald II's son, RHR) I would like to hear from him and his little flock - how many and what sort. I must now bid you a peaceful farewell for a little while.


Your most obedient friend. Amen;


Thomas J. Hamilton

P.S. Be sure to write me a great long letter shortly - Poor Tom the Tanner.

Letter # 2

Letter Dated: July 25, 1841
From: Thomas Jefferson Hamilton (age 36)
Living In: Willow Grove, Lincoln County, NC
Bowl's Creek Tanyard
To: Ninian B. Hamilton (b. 1789) (Uncle) (age 52)
Living In: Indiana

Willow Grove, N. C.

Bowl's Creek, Tanyard

July 25, 1841


To my good old Uncles, Aunts, and their children, away up North:

     It is a naked shame without any lawful excuse that I have not written sooner in asking you to do better - I pledge a reform on my part. Whilst attempting to call your mind back to your land of nativity, I have to dwell more on adventure than prosperity. All our friends on both sides is tolerable well so far as my knowledge extends. I am in duty bound to relate a most shocking incident - one that is calculated to shower down the most heart rending feelings of any occurance which has ever happened among us. My cousin, your nephew, Elisha Cail
(Kale) was drowned yesterday week in Wilson's mill dam. The circumstances is something like this - him and brother, Reuben, went up to swim and wash their horses. After doing so, Cail wished to amuse himself awhile in the water, but could not swim - therefore got on one end of a plank, Reuben holding the other end with one hand swimming along. By some means unknown he was seen off of the plank strangling and sinking.

     Reuben hurried to his relief - Elisha caught him so both sank to the bottom, Cail holding his dying grip. It was thought neither would rise anymore, but Cail being first strangled, his breath and strength left him first. Rube then rose and with some help by a plank being reached to him, got out badly exhausted.

(Reuben, age 65) is somewhat failing tho works some yet. Mother (Sarah (Sally) Collier) is frail - she was slightly struck with the palsy last winter. One whole side of her was numb and somewhat useless. She can walk about with a stick - goes about amongst us a good deal but has to be hauled. Has frequent sick spells of vomiting.

     Our misfortune must be told next. Last October we had a daughter born - it was given to us very much deformed - not capable of sucking by any means. Hardly could swallow when fed, however, it subsisted on a little tea for 16 days and was taken away from us.

     Early this spring old Evan Sherrill returned home after a stay of 15 years - very frail and almost naked. Brought with him a woman and 5 children. They had to return from whence they came. His arrival was no comfort to his family - all his affections appears placed on his strumpet.

     His good old woman died a few weeks after his getting home. He refused to see her buried.

     Old Jacob Shuford's wife died, I think about a year ago. Paulson Ward last fall his wife, this spring old Lenny Long, and Fred Abernathy's 3rd wife about that time, old Mr. Ingram, the first of May. Old Uncle Enos Sherril the last of March, Old James Clarke a few weeks ago. James Robinson's wife this summer, old Sally Brown the day before. Elisha Cail was drowned. Did we tell you of Uncle Horatio's death 15 or 16 months ago? I forget.

     No bid for your last property - can't be sold for cash. Speculating, selling honey, etc., has been carried on very largely here. Our court docket is crowded with usury cases. Peter Simpson is cited for 49 thousand dollars, John Coulter - 3 thousand. A great many other similar cases. I think the detection of usury will be worth more or as much to this county as the reform that has been promised by the present Federalist Administration. Do tell me how you like the proceedings of this Congress.

     How do you come on a moving? For my part I have given it up for a season. I could not even turn my little stuff into good notes, neither can I think of breaking up without first going to look. I am living plentifully and perhaps gaining a little by a tight squeeze.

     Have you heard anything of Brother Ning? I have not since last January. He was then at Thomas C. Blakeleys, Shelby County, Tennessee, 17 miles from Memphis.

     Corn crops is tolerable promising - oats very good - wheat light, tho I think a little better than last year - corn 40 to 50 cents. Wheat will be a dollar, and quick at that.

    Now my good old uncles, I implore you to harken unto my request - that is to write to me the middle of September. Anything you ask for shall not be withheld that's in my power hereafter. William Bandy is still doing well tho I am afraid his 3 sons-in-law is hardly worth a good tanned sheepskin. Sister Peggy
(Hamilton) is living with Uncle Drury (Collier). I was there not long ago. The old chap holds up tolerable well.

     Poor Tom must stop for want of room or he would keep on a heap longer as I think I could find something that would be new to your ears. Can't some of you come to see us? To shake one of your paws would be better to me than a little of the yellow dust.

     I have asked something about my married cousins away over yonder - I heard nothing. I don't know whether they have any children - how many - or what sort. Perhaps I may yet.


Your nephew, affectionately forever. Amen.


Thomas J. Hamilton



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