Skip to main content
Use the right side menu to identify relevant boxes and place requests.

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.


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

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


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).


The collection has been arranged into three series.

Series 1
Family Correspondence and Documents
Series 2
Business-Related Records
Series 3

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 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.

Guide to the Hamilton Family papers
Processed by Kathryn M. Wills.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742