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Hamilton Family papers

 Collection 0026-MDHC
The papers of the Hamilton family of Charles County, Maryland, pertain to family members as well as other contemporary leading figures of Charles County. The collection consists primarily of correspondence and addresses such topics as tobacco and agriculture, family matters, slavery, and Catholic schooling, as well as national events such as the Civil War and the development of the West.

Dates

  • 1803-1923 and undated
  • Majority of material found within 1827-1883 and undated

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Duplication and Copyright Information

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Extent

109 Items

Scope and Content of Collection

The Hamilton Family papers date from 1803 to 1923, although the bulk of the collection spans the period 1827 to 1883. The papers include correspondence; financial, legal, and land records; and a photograph.

Most of the correspondence consists of personal letters sent by the Hamilton children to their parents in Port Tobacco. The letters were typically written while the children were attending various academies and colleges. Topics covered include Catholic schooling at Mount de Sales Academy, Mount St. Mary's College, and Georgetown College; family matters; and national events, including the Civil War and development of the West. Other personal correspondence includes ten letters from Rebekah M. Wilmer to F. Hill Hamilton, possibly a cousin, written in 1909.

The collection also contains business documents and letters concerning the commercial dealings of John Hamilton and other Charles County, Maryland, figures including Charles A. Pye and John Adams. Among the business records are items from the mercantile of house of Neale, Harris, and Company, which addresses tobacco and other agricultural trade, particularly transactions between Charles County farmers and Baltimore agents, and a financial ledger belonging to John Hamilton which lists transactions such as slave purchases, farm product sales, expenses, and disbursements to his children. Other topics include personal indebtedness and the resettlement of a slave.

Family History

The Hamilton papers document the life and times of the family of John Hamilton, a Roman Catholic planter from Port Tobacco in Charles County, Maryland. The Hamiltons were descendants of John Hamilton, a Roman Catholic émigré who settled in Charles County in 1674. By the early nineteenth century, Hamilton's progeny were affluent planters and landholders in Charles County. According to the 1860 United States census, John Hamilton (1798-1883), the great-great grandson of the immigrant, owned nearly ninety slaves and held land valued at $75,000. Hamilton's farming ventures focused mostly on the production of tobacco and other crops.

John Hamilton married a distant cousin, Anne Catherine Hamilton, known as "Nancy." The couple's daughter, Eleanor, died at six years of age. After Nancy's death in 1827, John married Henrietta Spalding Jameson, who died shortly thereafter. This union produced no children. In 1835, Hamilton married Mary Emily Hawkins, who bore nine children: Mary (b. 1837), Francis Patrick (b. 1839), Katherine (b. 1841), Elizabeth or Lizzie (b. 1842), John Edward (b. 1844), William (b. 1846), John Paul (b. 1848), Samuel Henry (b. 1850), and George Ernest (b. 1853).

Arrangement

The collection has been arranged into three series.
Series 1
Family Correspondence and Documents
Series 2
Business-Related Records
Series 3
Photographs

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The University of Maryland Libraries purchased the Hamilton Family papers from Wyngate Manuscripts of Bethesda, Maryland, in 1990. The financial ledger in Series II was donated in April 2010 by the Strasburg Community Library, Strasburg, Virginia.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital copies of select letters in this collection are available at http://digital.lib.umd.edu/ in the University of Maryland's Digital Collections.

Separated Materials

The photographs have been separated and placed in the Photograph collection.

Processing Information

Materials in the collection were separated into three series. All materials, except the photographs, deed, bond, and map have been arranged chronologically within each series and placed in acid-free folders in an acid-free box. The 1803 deed, 1818 bond, and 1918 map have been encapsulated and placed in a map case. The photographs have been separated and placed in the Photograph collection.
Title
Guide to the Hamilton Family papers
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Kathryn M. Wills.
Date
1999-11-01
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

Contact:
University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742
301-405-9212