Hamilton Family History & Genealogy

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William Hamilton was born in County Armagh, N. Ireland on April 10, 1863. He had one brother and one sister. William’s father was named John. The Hamilton’s were Presbyterian. Family records and word of mouth legend show that William decided to immigrate to America as a bachelor in his early twenties about mid 1880’s. Once in America, he worked his way across the country with a mail wagon. It is said he was stuck in deep snow in the mountains for three days while making his way west to California.

William eventually made his way from California to the Pacific Northwest around the time of the Klondike Gold Rush in Alaska. He settled in the Bell-town area of Seattle in 1905 and operated an express business there for several years. He purchased property at the corner of Denny Way and Westlake Ave. N. and erected a two-story frame building. He opened his grocery store in this building and rented out rooms in the upper quarters.

The Hamilton family stories say that William’s family back in Ireland had purchased farmland for him near Armagh. William at 53 was still a bachelor. Apparently his intentions were to move back to Ireland even though he had gained his U.S. Citizenship final papers on April 29, 1914. Unfortunately, William never made it back to Ireland. On the night of March 10, 1917, two men entered William’s store after it was closed, bound, gagged and beat him while ransacking his back quarters of the store. Police believe they must have known about his cache of money that he may have been saving for his trip back home. Bound and gagged, William suffocated in the early morning hours of March 11, 1917. Police found him later that day when tenants upstairs noticed the store didn’t open as usual. The Seattle Times ran a front-page story about the incident on March 12, 1917 in the evening newspaper.

William’s brother back home was so distraught over his brother’s death that he burned all correspondence between them. The plight of William Hamilton and his American travels was lost to the Hamilton family history. All that remained was word-of-mouth recounts by family members, a few noted dates in the family Bibles and three very old photos. Contemporary Hamilton’s did not know for sure where he lived and died in America, where he was buried, etc. To learn of how his great-niece discovered what actually happened to him, visit: [external link] and do a search on William Hamilton. The story is there under “People’s History”
Dec 01, 2002 · Reply
My story is on behalf of my husband, who is searching for his half sister and half brothers, we only found out that they existed just before christmas 2009, so we dont know if these three people know they have three half brothers. My Husband is called David and the brothers are called Ian and Duncan, they were born between 1969 and 1973.
We are looking for the children of George Hamilton and Margaret Palmer who married in Edinburgh in 1962, these children are adults now and maybe have children of their own, the children are called George Hamilton, Catherine Hamilton and Richard Hamilton and were born between 1963 and 1966 all in Edinburgh. Would dearly love to hear from anybody who knows them or knows how we can find them. I look forward to hearing from you. Kathy
Feb 16, 2010 · Reply