Robert Hamilton

Robert Hamilton was my fifth great-grandfather (Robert Hamilton – Elizabeth Hamilton Dunn – Robert Dunn – Lulu Dunn Wardlow – Dora Elma Wardlow Ballein – Jennie Esther Ballein Davis – Russell Lee Davis – me).  He was born in Ireland on May 16, 1760, but came to America as a teenager and soon thereafter joined the Pennsylvania Line of the Continental Army. 

Robert first married Susannah Kean, my ancestor, on April 30, 1781.  They had three children, Elizabeth, Robert Jr., and Joseph.  After Susannah died, Robert married Ann Hays on February 23, 1792.  Robert and Ann had one child, William Hays Hamilton.  The Hamiltons moved from Pennsylvania, ultimately settling near Lebanon in Warren County, Ohio.  Robert worked as a blacksmith.
Robert Hamilton
As I am writing this, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of a Civil War pension file from the National Archives on an ancestor on my maternal grandmother’s branch of the family.  Military pension files are interesting not only because of the information they provide on an individual’s military record, but also because they can provide glimpses at an ancestor’s everyday life. 

Robert first received a military pension in 1818.  Below is an excerpt from his pension file, which not only summarizes his Revolutionary Way experience, but also provides a schedule of his property as of the date of the document, August 22, 1820.  Pension files are often difficult to read, so hopefully my transcription is fairly accurate.
Robert Hamilton a resident of [Warren] County aged sixty one years next May, who being duly sworn according to law doth on his oath declare for the purpose of obtaining the provision made by the acts of Congress of the 18th of March 1818 & the 1st of May 1820.  There the said Hamilton enlisted for during the war, on the     day of December 1776 in the State of New Jersey at Trenton in company commanded by Capt. Matthew Henderson in the Reg. commanded by Colonel Richard Butler of the ninth Pennsylvania Regt. in the Pennsylvania line on Continental Establishment.  He continued to serve in said corps to the close of the war when he was discharged from said service in Pennsylvania at Carlisle; he was in the battle of Brandywine & received a wound; - in the Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth & at the taking of Stony Point & at the taking of Genl Cornwallis, also in a great number of skirmishes which I do not particularly now recalled.  This declarant has no other evidence in his power of his services . . . .

. . . I have not nor has any person for me in trust any property or securities, contracts or debts due to me nor have I any income other than what is contained in the schedule hereto annexed & by me subscribed to wit.
80 Acres of land, 30 of which is cultivated, value $800.00
1 Horse creature     35.00
2 Cows     30.00
1 Steer 2  years old     10.00
2 Yearlings     8.00
2 Calves     4.00
3 Sheep     6.00
9 Hogs     15.00
1 Bible hymn book & a few religious tracts     10.00
House furniture     40.50
1 Mans Saddle     8.00
1 Womans ditto     23.00
1 Wheel & reel     3.00
1 Loom & Gears     12.00
1 Wooden Clock & Case     20.00
Farming Utensils     15.75
20 Geese     7.50
Robert Hamilton    $1047.25

Reading the inventory of Robert’s property, I can imagine the Hamilton homestead.  The sights, sounds, and smells of the farmyard.  Robert tending the animals and working in the fields.  Ann seated at the loom or cooking or cleaning.  The evening meal with the ticking of the wooden clock, which might have been their most cherished possession.  Mostly, though, I envision years of hard work in the frigid winters and the heat and humidity of southwestern Ohio summers.

Robert Hamilton died February 24, 1841 near Lebanon, Ohio.  After his death, Ann applied for and received a military pension.  Ann died January 26, 1845.


  1. Hello--I just found your lovely blog as I was searching for information on an ancestor named Catherine Lamb, who may have been the daughter of Nathan Lamb. I can't seem to find a way to email you through your posts, so I thought I'd leave a message here. I would love to ask you a few questions about your research into the Lamb family...could you email me at:

    Best regards,

  2. I just ran across your blog as I have been researching my Hamilton family history. I have run across numberous road blocks when it comes to a George W. Hamilton and his suspected Father, William H. Hamilton who came to ohio and was born in 1796 in Penn. Do you have any more information about the William Hays Hamilton you mention? my direct email if you would prefer to communicate that way is


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