Stephen H. Hamilton, who has so capably and acceptably filled the office of prosecuting attorney of Washington county, was born at Columbus, Wis., December 18, 1845, a son of William H. and Adaline (Palmer) Hamilton. His paternal ancestors were natives of Ireland and his branch of the family was founded in America by his great-grandfather. His grandfather, James Hamilton, was a babe when his parents emigrated from the Emerald Isle, during the latter years of the Seventeenth century. His father, William H. Hamilton, was born, reared and educated in the State of New York, was admitted to the bar and married there. He removed to Racine, Wis., in 1841, where he practiced his profession for many years. He retired from active labor in 1890, and died in Fremont, Neb., in 1906. He married Adaline Palmer, a daughter of Alvah Palmer, a native of Vermont and a descendant of one of the Colonial families of Massachusetts colony.
Stephen H. Hamilton was reared in Columbus and Madison, Wis., and acquired his education in the public schools. On the call of President Lincoln for volunteers, in 1861, young Hamilton, then but a boy of sixteen, enlisted in defense of the Union, becoming a private in the Twelfth Wisconsin artillery, being mustered in on March 3, 1862. With his battery he took part in the various engagements with Grant on the Mississippi, and was with Sherman on his march to the sea. During the Battle of Altona Pass, Georgia, at which time he had attained the rank of sergeant, his brother was killed at his side. For conspicuous bravery during this engagement he was commissioned captain by Governor Fairchild. His commission was unusually worded and we give it herewith: "State of Wisconsin. Louis Fairchild, Governor. To all to whom these presents shall come, Greetings: Know yeThat I do hereby confer on Stephen H. Hamilton late a Sergeant in the rank of Captain by Brevet to rank as such from September 19, 1862, in recognition of distinguished gallantry and coolness under fire displayed by him a1 the Battle of Iuka, where after the infantry on the battery's right had been driven back, and the 10th Iowa Infantry and one section of the 12th Battery alone stood their grounds, Sergeant Hamilton to give by his example courage and steadiness to the men loaded his gun 'by detail' amid a shower of bullets. At the Battle of Allatona, Georgia, October 5th, 1864, Sergeant Hamilton's brother was instantly killed while pointing the gun; and the sergeant sprang forward, took his brother's place, finished sighting the gun and continued to direct it until the end of the engagement. Signed, Louis Fairchild, by James K. Proudfit." Captain Hamilton was mustered out on July 27, 1865. On completion of his military service he returned to his native State and located at Madison, where he engaged in buying grain. In 1869 he started overland with a prairie schooner for Kansas. He had married meanwhile and his family accompanied him. He wintered at Wetmore, Kan., and the following spring entered a homestead near Clifton, Washington county, which he mortgaged as soon as possible in order to buy a law library and begin the study of law. He farmed his homestead, raised stock and also studied for admission to the bar, attaining this goal in 1884. He was elected to the office of county attorney of Washington county in 1886, and re-elected in 1888. At the expiration of his second term he located for practice at Clifton, where he remained engaged in his profession until he entered, in January, 1913, the county attorney's office for a third time, having been elected in 1912. In his profession Mr. Hamilton is recognized in his home county as one of the leading members of the bar, enjoying a good substantial practice, because of his close attention to his work and honesty and fair dealing with his clientage. He is giving an exceeding able administration of this department of the county's business and carries the respect of all of the classes, is an honest and upright citizen, and is well qualified in his profession. Since attaining his majority, he has been an ardent supporter of the policies of the Republican party, and has been an active and influential factor in local and State politics. He has attended, as a delegate, numerous county and State conventions of his party, and was elected a delegate to the Republican National convention at Chicago in 1904, which placed in nomination Theodore Roosevelt. He was, for twenty-five years, city attorney of Clifton, and served as mayor of that city several terms. He is a member of Sedgewick Post, Grand Army of the Republic, of Clifton.
Mr. Hamilton married, at Madison, Wis., December 24, 1866, Miss Francis L. Stiles, daughter of Ira F. and Rebecca N. (Fargo) Stiles, both of whom were natives of the State of New York. To this union have been born seven children: Albert A., a resident of Kansas City, Kan., employed in the postal service; Gratia, the wife of John Petty, a farmer of Barnes, Kan.; Edith, the wife of P. C. Swan, of Washington, Kan., an automobile salesman; Geneava, the wife of William Van Coyoc, a physician of Clifton, Kan.; Howard, proprietor of an automobile garage at Clifton, Kan.; Marie, the wife of G. C. Kirkpatric, of Seattle, Wash., and Frederick, who died in infancy. The family have long been prominent in the social circles of Washington county, and the Hamilton residence is known for its gracious hospitality. Mrs. Hamilton, is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and active in her home congregation.Pages 518-520 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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