Saturday, December 1, 2018

Five Brothers

Clockwise from top left, Thomas Glendenning Hamilton, Robert Hamilton, James Archibald Hamilton, John Stobo Hamilton, William Oliver Hamilton

The five young men posing for a studio photograph in turn-of-the century Winnipeg look serious. They probably wouldn’t have been the life of any party, but if you needed help, no doubt each would have stepped up. They were, after all, of Scottish descent, professional men imbued with a strong Presbyterian ethic of hard work and responsibility.

They shared similar square faces, gentle eyes and wavy hair, and if you guess that they were brothers, you are right. They were my grandfather Thomas Glendenning Hamilton (known to his friends as T. G.) and his brothers Rob, Jim, John and Will.

What you couldn’t know is that there is someone missing from this photo: their only sister, Maggie, who died in 1886.

They grew up in Scarborough, Ontario on the land their immigrant grandfather had cleared. Their parents were farmer James Hamilton senior and his wife, Isabella Glendenning. Robert, born 1860, was the oldest, followed by Margaret, John Stobo, James Archibald and Thomas Glendenning. The youngest, William Oliver, was born in 1875.

James Hamilton Sr. was strongly opposed to alcohol consumption and, with western Canada opening to settlement, the family decided to help establish a temperance colony on the Prairies. In 1882, Rob accompanied his father in an advance party, leaving Isabella in Toronto with Maggie and the younger boys. The following year, the brothers and their mother joined James and Rob in the newly founded Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The pioneer settlement faced harsh winters, drought and food shortages, and the attempt to establish an alcohol-free community was a failure. Meanwhile, in 1885, the Northwest Rebellion took place almost on the Hamiltons’ doorstep. The rebels were the Métis people, angry that they were losing their hunting lands to the new settlers. James and Rob served as guides to the government militia forces sent to quash the rebellion, while Isabella and Maggie helped look after the wounded soldiers following the Battle of Batoche.

This may be Maggie Hamilton
James Sr. had an opportunity to go back east with the troops, so he decided to visit his relatives in Ontario. While there, he suffered a massive heart attack and he was buried in Scarborough. The following year brought another blow to the family when Maggie died of typhoid at age 24.

Finally, Isabella and her sons decided to move to Winnipeg. The boys wanted to continue their studies and it had become clear that farming was not for them.

The family members separated for several transitional years. Rob went to Toronto to study for a career as an electrical inspector, while John taught school in British Columbia. Meanwhile, Isabella took Will, who was then about 15 years old, to look for a house in Winnipeg, leaving T.G. and Jim in Saskatoon. In 1891, with their father’s estate finally settled, the two brothers, ages 18 and 21, travelled by pony and buckboard the 900 dusty miles from Saskatoon to Winnipeg.

Back in Winnipeg, Rob helped to support the family while his brothers studied. During their student years, they all helped to pay their own expenses by teaching school.

John was the first to graduate from university, obtaining a degree in philosophy in 1892, followed by a degree in theology in 1895. Jim became a doctor, and T. G. followed his older brother into medicine, graduating in 1903. That same year, John gave up his post as a minister when he finished his medical degree in the United States. Will taught for five years, then articled in law and opened a law firm, Beveridge and Hamilton, in 1911.

Four of the brothers remained in Winnipeg for the rest of their lives, although they didn’t see each other often. Jim, who was single, and T. G. were probably the closest of the brothers, sharing a medical office downtown. Rob and his family lived in another part of the city. A quiet person and in poor health, he did not socialize much with his brothers, and neither did Will. John and his wife and daughter lived in North Dakota, about 80 miles from Winnipeg, and they made frequent short visits to the city.

The Hamilton family plot, Winnipeg
In the 1920s, T. G. and his wife Lillian became interested in psychic phenomena. At the time, this was not unusual: many people wanted to communicate with loved ones who had died in the Great War or the flu epidemic. The couple had lost their three-year-old son to the flu in 1919. They hosted séances at their home almost weekly for more than a decade, and T. G. documented the paranormal events they observed. Jim attended these meetings regularly, but the other Hamilton brothers did not.

Finally, the brothers’ deaths reunited them. They all suffered from heart problems. Rob died in 1923 and Will died suddenly at his office in 1924, at age 49. John died of a heart attack in 1932, Jim in 1934, and T. G. followed in 1935. They are all buried beside their mother, their sister and other family members in Elmwood Cemetery, Winnipeg.

Sources and Further Reading

This article relies on family histories and letters written by my late aunt, Margaret Hamilton Bach, and by Alison Mossler Wright (John’s granddaughter) and the late Olive Hamilton (Rob’s daughter).

James B. Nickels, Manitoba History, “Psychic Research in a Winnipeg Family, Reminiscences of Dr. Glen F. Hamilton,” June, 2007, http://www.mhs.mb.ca/docs/mb_history/55/psychicresearch.shtml (accessed Nov. 23, 2018)

University of Manitoba, Libraries, Hamilton Family Fonds, http://umanitoba.ca/libraries/units/archives/digital/hamilton/index.html (accessed Nov. 23, 2018)

“Louis Riel, October 22 1844- November 16, 1885”, Library and Archives Canada, http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/politics-government/canadian-confederation/Pages/louis-riel.aspx (accessed Nov 22, 2018)











Saturday, November 17, 2018

Timothy Stanley and Hartford’s Ancient Burying Ground



Grave of Timothy Stanley in the Ancient Burying Ground of Hartford
The Ancient Burying Ground of Hartford, Connecticut,1 one of America’s oldest cemeteries, is tucked  beside a historic downtown church2 and surrounded by insurance company office towers and state government buildings. This is the final resting place of many of the city’s founding settlers, and a tall monument lists their names.3 Several, including Bull, Bunce and Mygatt, are on my family tree, but it is the name Stanley that interests me most. Hartford settlers Timothy Stanley (c. 1603-1648) and his wife Elizabeth (c 1602-1678) were my direct immigrant ancestors.

Three brothers, John, Thomas, and Timothy Stanley, with their wives and children, set sail for America from England in 1634. They were part of a wave of strongly religious Puritan settlers who came to New England because they disagreed with the Church of England.

Their father, Robert Standly (c 1570-1605), was a whitesmith (meaning he made things out of metal) in Tenterden, Kent, in the southeast of England.4 Their mother’s name was probably Ruth.

It could not have been an easy voyage for this extended family because John, the eldest of the brothers, died at sea, leaving his three young children to be raised by Thomas and Timothy. The Stanley family spent about two years in Cambridge, Massachusetts where Timothy was granted six acres of land and was named a freeman and admitted as a member of the Congregational church.5

Some Cambridge residents complained that there wasn’t enough land for all the new settlers. Then, after Pastor Thomas Hooker had a dispute with Massachusetts Bay Colony governor John Winthrop, Hooker and about 100 parishioners followed the old Indian trails south to the spot on the Connecticut River (also known as the Great River) that became Hartford.6

Monument listing founders of Hartford
Timothy Stanley quickly established himself as a successful farmer in Hartford, and when a land inventory was taken in 1639, he held nine parcels of land of varying sizes. His house lot, including outhouses and gardens, was about two acres, on the west side of Front Street and with a view of the river. Later, he also bought property in Farmington, about 10 miles away.

The Stanley house was described in 1670 as follows: “It is a small, two-storey building, having on the first floor only the hall and “kitchinn”, the latter serving alike for a cook-room, living-room and parlor. Meager enough is the furniture: a deal table with a “form” or bench for sitting upon at meals, and standing in winter before the great open fireplace….. Such a luxury as a carpet is unknown.”7

Timothy and his wife Elizabeth (whose maiden name is unknown) had seven children. The two eldest, Joseph and Timothy, were born in England; both died very young. Elizabeth, Abigail, Caleb (my direct ancestor), Lois and Isaac were all born in Hartford.8 Timothy also raised his niece Ruth.
Timothy was active in the community. He served on several juries, he served as a Hartford selectman (town official) and was on a committee to distribute land.

As Puritans, their religious beliefs were central to their lives. Puritans believed that man was inherently sinful. Even though they were unworthy, God chose to save some people and to send others to hell, and there was nothing anyone could do to change this. They believed everything happened for a reason. Meanwhile, the Puritans believed in hard work, and in the importance of education.9

Grave of Elizabeth Bacon
Timothy died in April, 1648, at age 45. The inventory of his estate, taken on Oct 16, 1648, totalled £332, of which £167 represented the value of his real estate. The inventory counted household goods such as a bedstead and pillows, a hall chest, kettles and dishes, several books, a warming pan and two muskets. The farm animals included six oxen, several cows, a horse, sheep, pigs and bees.10 The court ordered that all his children be awarded something from his estate, while the house and lands in Hartford went to son Caleb.

In 1661, the widowed Elizabeth married Andrew Bacon and she inherited Andrew’s land in Hadley, MA when he died eight years later. By 1671, when she made out her will, she had returned to Hartford to stay with son Caleb’s family. Elizabeth Bacon died in 1678, around age 76.

While many of Hartford’s early settlers moved to other Connecticut towns, my direct ancestors stayed in Hartford for several generations. Eventually, great-grandson Timothy Stanley moved to Harwinton, CT and then to Wethersfield, and his son, Timothy Jr., settled in Litchfield, CT. Perhaps there are more family graves waiting to be found in Connecticut.

all photos by Janice Hamilton

This article also appears on the collaborative blog www.genealogyensemble.com

See also:

“The Elusive Pamela Stanley,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Sept. 28, 2018, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-elusive-pamela-stanley.html

“Timothy Stanley Jr., Revolutionary Martyr,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Nov. 15, 2013, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2013/11/timothy-stanley-jr-revolutionary-martyr.html

“My Line in the Stanley Family,” Writing Up the Ancestors, Oct. 30, 2018, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.com/2018/10/my-line-in-stanley-family.html


Sources:

1. Ancient Burying Ground http://theancientburyingground.org

2. First Church of Christ in Hartford, established 1632 www.centerchurchhartford.org/about.history.asp

3. Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford, www.foundersofhartford.org

4. Leslie Mahler, “Re-Examining the English Origin of the Stanley Brothers of Hartford, Connecticut: A Case of Invented Records,” The American Genealogist, vol. 80, July, 2005, p. 218.   www.Americanancestors.org, accessed July 24, 2013.

5 Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration: Immigrants to New England, series 2, vol. VI, Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009. 463.

6. David M. Roth, Connecticut: A History. American Association for State and Local History, New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1979, 39.

7. Israel P. Warren, compiler. The Stanley Families of America as descended from John, Timothy and Thomas Stanley of Hartford, CT, 1636. Portland, Maine: printed by B. Thurston & Co., 1887, 228.

8. Anderson, 465. 

9. Francis J. Bremer, Puritanism: A Very Short Introduction, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009, 43.

10. Warren, 226.