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James A. Hamilton
Born June 29, 1858

In the half century and more that Clay township has been the place of residence of James A. Hamilton, many changes have taken place which have advanced its value manifold. These he has witnessed and in these he has participated, for the greater part of the one hundred and sixty acres he owns today were obtained by his father when he came first to Jones county to better his fortunes. Sloan Hamilton, the first of his branch of the family to settle in this county, was born in County Antrim, Ireland, September 7, 1832. In 1847 he came to America, locating first in Connecticut, where in 1853 he was married. That same year he started for Iowa, and after his arrival bought first a tract of timber land, which he cleared and prepared for cultivation. In 1875 he purchased eighty acres of prairie, to which two years later he added another tract of eighty acres. In 1886 he bought another farm of eighty acres, but afterward sold forty, so that he owned two hundred acres all told. Mr. Hamilton had begun life in this country almost penniless, but the gradual accretion of land just enumerated evidence with what success he pursued his vocation as a tiller of the soil, and indicate the prosperity which graced the declining years of his life. He knew well the value and necessity of hard work, but be also knew that industry without purpose and thrift accomplished little. He never left a task, however difficult, until he had accomplished his end; and he never permitted his labor, any more than his savings to be wasted through thoughtlessness. He died May 4, 1903. His wife, who was Miss Nancy Johnston, in her maidenhood, was also a native of County Antrim, where she was born May 25, 1829. She came to America in 1847 and became the mother of seven children, of whom two are deceased. The others are: Mrs. A. Dewitt, Mrs. John Young, Mrs. James Smith, James A. and Thomas W. Thomas W. resides in New Haven, Connecticut, where for many years he has been connected with the Bethel Presbyterian church. Mrs. Hamilton passed away January 17, 1891.
James A. Hamilton, the subject of this sketch, was born in Clay township, June 29, 1858. He attended the district schools in the vicinity of his birthplace and he was early called upon to assist in the work of the home farm. Indeed, almost his whole life has been devoted to agricultural pursuits, and the greater part of it has been spent in the operation of the farm, or a part of it, on which he now lives. As his father advanced in years our subject shouldered the heavier cares, which had formerly devolved upon him and after his death fell heir to one hundred and sixty acres of his land holdings. Eighty acres of this con stitute the old homestead, while forty are in timber.
Mr. Hamilton has pursued general farming but he has also given considerable time and attention to the raising and feeding of hogs, cattle and horses, finding that both adjuncts of his business have rendered him large returns for the amount of labor he has spent upon them. In the cultivation of his fields he has spared neither industry nor study to reap the largest harvests possible; and in his stock industry he has employed means of housing and caring for his animals and of feeding them which have proved efficacious for the purpose for which they were designed. Progressive, energetic and a good manager, Mr. Hamilton well merits the position he holds in the agricultural community of Clay township. His success is representative of its best interests.
On the 7th of May, 1887, Mr. Hamilton was married to Miss Jennie Edwards, who was born October 17, 1866, and is a daughter of Green and Minerva Edwards, who lived in Jones county, during their lifetime. Her father was a soldier in the Union army during the war of the Rebellion, being corporal of Company E, Fifth Regiment of Veteran Volunteer Cavalry. He was honorably discharged from service in 1865 and died in 1869. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton are the parents of seven children: Elsie, M., born June 19, 1886; Blanche, born May 8, 1889; Al, born August 17, 1892; Hazel H., born August 9, 1894; Max D., born November 14, 1899; Mildred, born June 11, 1902; and Teddy R., born February 17, 1905. The children are being educated in the public schools, and Blanche is a graduate of the Onslow high school and is now engaged in teaching.
Mr. Hamilton has consistently given his support to the candidates of the republican party ever since he has been old enough to vote. His adherence in matter of religion has been accorded to the Presbyterian church, and his life has been ordered in harmony with its teachings. While the extent of his farm proclaim the success with which he has pursued his chosen calling, this is perhaps indicated in an even greater degree by the fine quality of the buildings he has erected upon his place. These are modern in every respect, his home in particular attaining to the highest standard of convenience, for in addition to other suitable appointments it is provided with an excellent furnace, which heats it throughout.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 485.


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