Kentucky: A History of the State, Battle, Perrin, & Kniffin, 7th ed., 1887, Gallatin Co.
MISS ELIZA HAMILTON is a native of Gallatin County, Ky., and is a daughter of John O. Hamilton, whose grandfather crossed the ocean at an early day in the history of this country, and settled in Maryland. There were born his father and all his older brothers and sisters. His
father, determining upon a change of location, started with his family for Kentucky, then almost a wilderness. Learning, on his way through Pennsylvania, that the Indians along the Ohio River were troublesome and dangerous, he stopped for a year or two at a point in that State called Sherman's Valley. Here, August 25, 1794, Father Hamilton was born. When he was about a year old his father again started for Kentucky, and upon arrival there, settled at a point in Bracken County, five miles back of the town of Augusta, called Cross-Roads, now Chatham, where he lived many years and accumulated a considerable estate. Here
Mr. Hamilton's childhood, youth and early manhood were spent. From here he made one or more trips on flat boats to New Orleans, returning overland and carrying the proceeds of his sales, largely in silver, in saddle bags, a long and dangerous journey in those days. Here for a few years he was in the general merchandising business, and here, in the year 1817, he married Hannah Gregg, a high-minded, warm-hearted woman, a true help-mate, who bore him nine children, and who for twenty years faithfully shared the toils and sacrifices that laid the foundation of his fortune. Of these children four daughters and one son survive, two sons and two daughters preceding him to the grave. It was from this point also that in the war of 1812, when not yet nineteen years old, he enlisted in Capt. Baker's company of Mason County Volunteers, to go to the relief of Fort Meigs, then closely beleaguered by the British and Indians. His company went by the way of Cincinnati. He succeeded in entering the fort, and assisted in its defense. He distinguished himself for courage and activity. At one time, when a heavy fire compelled the defenders to shelter themselves behind the ramparts, the officer in command, suspecting that the enemy was marching
to the assault, asked for some one to mount the ramparts, survey the situation, and report. The danger was so great that no on responded until Mr. Hamilton came by, and, learning what was wanted, sprang immediately upon the parapet, took a rapid look around, and sprang down again. Short as the time was, he was a target for many of the enemy's rifles, and a bullet from one grazed his shoulder. The officer who had asked the service, laid his sword lightly on the mark of the bullet and said, "Ah, my brave fellow, some day that shoulder shall wear an epaulette [sic]." At one time a shell fell near him. Falling, to
escape the explosion, a heavy clod, thrown up by the shell, fell on his back, inflicting injuries from which he, perhaps, never fully recovered. With the relief of Fort Meigs his time of service expired. He volunteered again, however, to go to the assault of Fort Malden, but this being found burned and abandoned, the boy soldier returned home. Mr. Hamilton came to this part of Kentucky in the fall of 1818, buying land at a point on Eagle Creek, in Owen County, call the Jump Off. In the fall of 1819 he bought the farm of Moses Rae, in Gallatin County, and in January, 1820, he moved his family to the latter purchase. On this, or land added to it, he made his home until his death. Several years after the death of his first wife, Hannah Gregg, he married Miss Grace A. Andrews, who bore him a son and a daughter. His taste for reading was formed in early youth, and he retained through life his keen, close observation; his strong common sense, clear judgment and retentive memory, enabled him to gather and carry into the affairs of life an unusually large fund of practical information. He was a natural leader of men, of indomitable energy and will, and for half a century
was prominent in the affairs of his country. He was a warm politician, devoted to his convictions, and so thoroughly posted in the political history of his times, and so clear in his judgment of men and the practical bearing of political questions, that men prominent in the affairs of the Nation--congressmen, governors, senators and
vice-presidents--visited his house, sought and appreciated his advice. He was a man of spotless integrity. For twenty-seven years a magistrate, and at one time sheriff of the county, always having large dealings with the people, and moving, as it were, in the clear light among them for sixty-six years, not a single spot was ever visible upon his reputation for honorable [sic] dealing. He was naturally a
fair-minded man, weighing the opposite side impartially. Persons who expected to find so strong a character controlled by prejudice, were surprised to see every argument in opposition to his cherished convictions fairly and candidly considered. To owe no man anything, to
deal justly with all men in all things, was the honorable ambition of this life. He was a social man of the old-time courtesy; a fine entertainer, with a trait of genial humor that drew friends around, and made his home a social center for many years. But advancing years and increasing infirmities so closely confined him in later years, that
gradually the circle of acquaintances grew smaller. Yet to the last he retained his genial humor, and the social fire in his heart burned clear and strong. He was a man of kindly feeling and generous impulses, yet so unostentatious in his dealing with the poor that few gave him the credit for liberality that was his due. A large loaner of money to persons in Gallatin and adjoining counties, he, at times, held many completely in his power; yet, in all these years, and in all these large dealings, he was never known to oppress. To his assistance, patience and forbearance, many owed their homes, and bore grateful testimony to his kindness of heart. He was a man that veiled his deeper feelings from the gaze of men. Few suspected that through the firm granite of his nature there ran golden veins of tender sentiment, and that the man of strong character and firm will was one whose nature was as genial as the sunshine, and who could be moved to tears by a simple song, who loved the beautiful in art and nature, and who,
"Whene'er a noble deed was wrought,
Whene'er was uttered a noble thought."
stood with uncovered head in reverential appreciation. Mr. Hamilton died December 18, 1885. Miss Eliza Hamilton received a good English education at Carrollton, and at Warsaw College. She owns 135 acres of land, all in a high state of cultivation, having all the modern improvements.