Shadows of the Past
written by B. F. Kennedy
Articles dated: 10 February 1905, 3 March 1905,
14 April 1905, and 12 May 1905


"Franklin Democrat - Shadows of the Past", dtd February 10, 1905.
     When Columbus discovered America in 1492, the steady yeomanry of England, Germany, Scotland, France and Ireland were ripe for change of home and to become emigrants elsewhere and to get from under the hand of oppression. Every where the yeomanry were the bone and sinew of those countries. They constituted the plain, common citizenship, that bore the burdens of war and formed the bulwark of the state and defense of the kingdom. They felt these grievances, and now was opened the out-let across old ocean to the New World, where freedom would be to them and their children.

     The River Severn flows through one of the best parts of England. Its productive bottoms yield the products abundantly that sustain life. From this section of England came the ancestors of the subject of this sketch. In the seventeenth century the Hamilton family, in a colony in the sail ship and shallop of those days, crossed the Atlantic and finding the mouth of the James River sailed up the beautiful stream and landed in the dark, green forest: thence through the forest hunting a location for a homestead. There the fore parents of Micajah Hamilton settled, built up a home and soon prospered. The fore parents, ALEXANDER and ARITHELA HAMILTON, after clearing off the heavy forest on the Virginia home and building up a comfortable house, took the Kentucky fever. Rigging up the old fashioned wagon with bows, sheet and green canoe bed, they started to the new state and settling again, built up a home and were happy. To these fore parents in Kentucky was added Micajah Hamilton, a vigorous and persevering boy, who rapidly grew in strength, and at maturity was a bardy strong man with an iron will that moved him on the right road of usefulness and success through life. There in his old Kentucky home he became acquainted with Miss Elizabeth Luyster, and in the old simple, but best way, they were united in the sacred vows of marriage.

     The young couple at an early date in life moved to Johnson county, Indiana, and settled in Union township. Again in the deep, heavy forest, with willing hands and united zeal, they built up a home soon and were comfortable.  Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton [Micajah & Elizabeth] were not only good workers, but also good and worthy citizens. They were among the founders of Old Shiloh Presbyterian church, which is still standing in Union township. As long as they lived, with the Coverts, the Youngs, the Bantas, the Demarees and the Millers, they were true to their faith and Old Shiloh church lived. But, with the scattering of those six old pioneer families, the church has closed, but the noble, old structure that has been the refuge of man thirsting for the bread of life, is a grand old monument and it tells its own tale of usefulness, and help given to our township, Union, fifty years ago."

[Note: Alexander and Arithela Hamilton may be our earliest ancestors in America, they are not Micajah's parents. This note is placed in just in case this article in given out to others. Do not transcribe without the note. Thank you - Doni Wright]


"Franklin Democrat - Shadows of the Past, dtd March 3, 1905.
     Seventy-five years ago the emigration from Virginia and Kentucky to Indiana was very great. The dense heavy forests of Indiana seemed to open their bosom of welcome to the steady, hardy pioneer family. In the lowly log cabin with all its primitive greatness and humbleness did the foreparents live in peace of mind and contentment in their rude homes. We might note that in that age it was a singular case to find ____ cabins fewer than eight o____ ____ ___me times as many as l______ successfully reared. At the age of manhood and womanhood they settled in life and kept space with the parents. When settled in life, they reared a big worthy family of rugged boys and girls who kept population increasing and who were the sons and daughters of the age that laid the successful basis of government in all its departments. Take a retrospective view back to the founders of Old Shiloh church: The Winchesters, Youngs, Hamiltons, Bantas, Demarees, Coverts and Millers who colonized the southern part of Union township, built up homes, cleared off the heavy wood, built the church and took hold of the opportunities of that age with true devotion to home and family. Those old pioneer families passed on but every one left the next generation that took hold of better opportunities and made a greater advancement in every respect. Only a small per cent of that second generation is still living, but enough to witness the great stride the third generation has made and is making in every occupation. The beautiful mansions, large well arranged barns, the rail road, telegraph, telephone, electric car, R.F.D. Mail and the modern invention of the farm and shop. God's plans are man's opportunities.

     We can only note in this the Hamilton family. Micajah Hamilton took an active part in township affairs and, raised a large family whose history for worth and good citizenship is well known. To Micajah and Elizabeth Hamilton were added ten children viz: Mrs. [Nancy Jane] Isaac Vandivier, John Hamilton, Mrs. [Martha] Rheuben McNutt, Mrs. Rachel Nelson, Mrs. Mary [Ellen] Young, Robert R. Hamilton, Jas. Hamilton, Peter L. Hamilton, Wm. H. Hamilton, and Mrs. [Susan Harper ] John James Vandivier. All of these are living but the three last in this list. Three of these sons were in the late rebellion, i.e. Wm H., Peter L. And Robert R. Hamilton. This is a remarkable family for long life. James, the youngest, is near 70 years of age."

[Note: Peter L. [Luyster] Hamilton was taken prisoner, and died at Andersonville Prison in Georgia. He is buried at the National Cemetery there, grave #7971.  fm Doni Wright.]

[Note: I have entered the first names of the women in brackets - they did not appear in the article. Also, Cornelius Hamilton b. 6 May 1827, d. 29 May 1827, or Elizabeth Hamilton b. 13 Feb 1829, d. 9 Jan 1931 were not mentioned.  fm Doni Wright.]


"Franklin Democrat - Shadows of the Past, dtd April 14, 1905, B. F. Kennedy
      In the last chapter Micajah Hamilton's children were noted. They are very prominent citizens of Union and Franklin townships, and their marriage connections are with the old pioneer families of worth within our county. Not a failure among this large old family is known, nor out of the hundreds of the third and fourth generations are found any truants. Remarkable.

     Wm. H. Hamilton and Charlotte Terrill were married Sept. 4, 1856 [article states 1866, but it is incorrect], and began the battle of life with true courage. At that date the old pioneer usages had not been invaded by the coming changes of a higher civilization. Then those who entered into a wedded life began in the wilderness and lived in the lowly log cabin, and as the duties were many in those days each one was a helpmate in clearing off the heavy forest and building the home. At night the spinning wheel, the reel, the hackle and the sewing by the light of hickory bark or by the tallow candle, or by the greasy rag in the hollow of parts of a gourd or some old tin. But as lowly as were those ways there was happiness, contentment and health. While the young, busy wife was at those duties at night the young husband sat and rocked the cradle and sang the lullabies to the charge lying in the wooden cradle. Again, the work would change. There had been a big log rolling and the great log heaps in the great deadening had to be fired and burned by the trash, brush and heavy chunks that covered the earth. So the man and his wife would often pick around the heaps and set fire, and by the light of the trash and great log heap pick around the next heap by the light. Tired, but happy, they would enter the humble log cabin and sleep sweetly till early morn. But enough of olden times.

     When Mr. And Mrs. [Wm. H. & Charlotte] Hamilton married they settled in the deep, dark woods and began the toll common in those days. Year after year rapidly passed by and the strong determined couple gradually grew in property till they were among the most prosperous. To their children they presented a model worthy to follow. So in the Old Shiloh neighborhood the parents took a leading part in the Presbyterian church and helped to build it. Those two enterprising citizens became restless and thinking they were not accumulating fast enough and probably could better provide for their growing family, they sold and moved to Kansas. After remaining a few years they came back and settled in the old home of their youth, where in a few years Mr. [Wm. H.] Hamilton became one of the largest farm owners in Union township. A few years before this time he became anxious about the Rebellion. He thought his services were needed to support the government, and he enlisted for three years. Hastily making arrangements with his father and mother and wife, leaving everything in order at home, he went to the front and through the great battles till the war was over, when he returned to his family and home. He resumed farming and stock raising and again became in a few years a very prominent farmer within our midst. He was always a kind, courteous and a Christian worker in church and Sunday school; enterprising, helpful to all who were hard run: giving aid and comfort to the poor and needy, and all the while training his large family in the ways of right living.

      To their union were added Mrs. W. B. Vandivier, P. S. [Peter Sherman] Hamilton, Mrs. Joseph Vandivier, Mrs. [Etta] Van Byers, Mrs. [Martha] Wm. Delph, Mrs. [Emma] Dillard Vandivier and Mrs. Otis Vandivier. By noting the children's connections in marriage it will be noticed that all are families of much worth within our county.

     W. [William] H. Hamilton was, a few years ago, taken with rheumatism, and the strong, vigorous man became stiffened in every joint, helpless indeed. But during all his suffering and pain he murmured not, but at all times was the same kind and loving companion and dear parent. He was always a good counselor to his children and encouraged them in all their relations and obligations to family and government. His afflictions paralyzed the muscles and nerves and rapidly went to the vital centers of life. His heart became affected and he gradually sank away into the last long sleep. The good man, the devoted husband, the kind and loving parent and the good and tender friend to the distressed has passed on and is gathered to the saints."

[Note: I do not have the birth/marriage/death data or first names of the children of Wm. & Charlotte Hamilton. Also, their marriage occurred in 1856, not 1866 - it was established many years before the Civil War occurred. Anything in brackets in the above text was added to clarify identity.]


"Franklin Democrat - Shadows of the Past, dtd May 12, 1905
     It will be remembered that the first generation of the Hamilton family came over the ocean to Virginia. The second came from Virginia to Kentucky. The third, represented by Micajah, the father of W. [William] H. Hamilton and Charlotte Terrill married Sept., 1856. Added to this union were Mrs. [Nancy Elizabeth] W. B. Vandivier, P. S. [Peter Sherman] Hamilton, the subject of this chapter, Etta Byres, Martha Delph, Emma Vandivier, Mrs. [Addie Jane] Joseph Vandivier, and Mrs. Blanche C.] Otis Vandivier.

     P.S. Hamilton has made a great advancement on the basis presented by his father. As the careful citizen travels over his county and state he can tell the farm of a man of the fourth generation from one of the fifth. The one of the fifth generation will have a stately mansion, a residence with all modern improvements. Near by will be the large barn well supplied for every kind of stock with stalls, ponds and places for provender [dry food, such as hay, used as feed for livestock]. His farm is surrounded by the wire fencing. His fields are like gardens kept well enriched with the great clover crops etc. His children, the sixth generation, are growing to manhood and womanhood all the while receiving the proper culture in the school, church, and in the home.

     Let the traveler past the old frame with the brick chimney and see the old barn, though large, yet out of date and the old rail fences, he says at once, "Another good citizen of the fourth generation did this building and over yonder on an eminence lives one of his sons." Let us return to our subject and his family.

     P. S. Hamilton and Minerva Vandivier were married Jan. 28, 1880>. To them were add Grace G., Edgar and Edna, twins, Tilson, Mary Ettie, Duncan and Dorsey, twins, and Conrad. All but Edgar and Tilson are living. Mr. and Mrs. [P. S.] Hamilton began married life looking on to the future with hope, confidence and a true aim to do their whole duty as good and worthy citizens. With frugality and industry, they began, and year after year they realized the good results of their battle. Gradually they accumulated much property. Taking an early interest in church they soon became leading members of Beech Grove church and as their children grew they readily entered the classes in Sunday school and became members of church at an early age. In moral sentiment and the great battle to right to wrong doings, we find this family in the lead.

     They belong to the good citizenship of this community, all the while giving aid and encouragement to those in need and distress. Such is a true sample of the fifth generation. Not a failure; so far as history records from the first to the fifth generation in the Hamilton family. The sixth generation of the Miller and Hamilton family - Mr. Byron Miller and Mrs. Grace G. [Hamilton] Miller are first class young people and are making no mistake in their beginning in wedded life. Mr. Miller is of a grand old family and is a practical farmer and one of Union township's best teachers. He is a graduate of Providence High School. Mrs. Milleris a common school graduate and was brought up to do all kind of work as a farmer's daughter.

     In declamation (to deliver a formal recitation, especially as an exercise in rhetoric or elocution) contests she [Mrs. Grace Miller] has always been the winner. In county and township she came out first. On one occasion she was one of the candidates for the first prize in D.C.U. contest and the judges awarded her first place. She is a good worker in the church and Sunday school and she will watch faithfully over their home over which she now presides."  B. F. Kennedy