Biography of John A. Hamilton
Arena Township, Mendocino County, CA Biographies





John A. Hamilton. This worthy pioneer and gentleman, whose portrait will be found in this work, was born in Keene, Cheshire county, New Hampshire, April 30, 1827, and was the third son of John A. and Jane Newell Hamilton. When he was only fourteen years of age he went to live with his uncle near Boston. His early education was attained at the Chelsea village school, and at a more advanced age he entered Harvard University, in which he spent three terms. Possessing a restless spirit, the dull routine of a student's life became very monotonous, and at the age of eighteen he began as helping agent for Flint & Peabody, of Salem, Massachusetts, to purchase nuts, hides, and tallow, obtained in South America. This he continued till 1849, when in April of that year he came to California in the old sailing craft, the Cleora. They were on the way one hundred and sixty days, but had a smooth and pleasant voyage. San Francisco was still in its swaddling clothes at that time, as the whole town, did not exceed forty wooden buildings. He followed ship carpentering for the next four months, making his head quarters at the famous Cuningham wharf. November 10, 1849, he started to the mines. The Yuba river was the base of his operations for the next year and a half. In August, 1850, we find him in partnership with one Dr. Wall, erecting a hotel at Onion valley, Plumas county. Here he remained till the spring of 1851, when he sold out and returned to the mines, at this time on the Feather river. He remained here for one year, when he began farming in Yolo county. He changed to stock raising and remained there till 1855, when he purchased his present farm, bringing two hundred and eighty four head of cattle upon it when he came. The stock increased so rapidly that in 1862 he drove a portion of his cattle to Shelter Cove, Humboldt county, but he lost them all, and his brother in law, William Oliver, alao a pioneer, was killed by the Indians. In 1868 he built several schooners, the Maria G. Atkins, of one hundred tons burthen, at a cost of $14,000; this vessel still floats; the schooner Helen, of one hundred and twenty five tons burthen, at a cost of $17,000, was wrecked a year later at the place where she was launched. In 1869 he built the Lizzie Wilde, of one hundred and eight tons burthen, at a cost of $13,000. In 1869 she was sent out under Capt. Jefferson, and nothing was ever heard of her afterwards. He has five hundred and five acres of land in his farm, and is principally engaged in stock raising and dairying. Shortly after coming to Point Arena he was elected Justice of the Peace. April 30, 1853, he married Miss Helen Oliver, a native of Picton county, Nova Scotia, born April 30, 1826. Their children are as follows: Clara, born in Yolo county, January 1, 1854; Robert, born in Yolo county, December 31, 1855; Nettie, born in Mendocino county, March 26, 1857; William, born in Mendocino county, October 12, 1859; Eva, born in Mendocino county, May 17, 1860; Archie, born in Mendocino county, September 25, 1862; Douglas, born in Mendocino county, April 7, 1864.

From:
History of Mendocino County, California
Alley, Bowen & Co., Publishers
San Francisco, California 1880


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