James Lewis Hamilton

ID# 172, (03 or 07 Apr 1867-1944)
James Lewis Hamilton
Photograph courtesy of Jerry Moore
      James Lewis Hamilton was born 03 or 07 Apr 1867 in South Crosby Twp, Leeds & Grenville County, Ontario.1,2 He was the son of Charles Hamilton and Mary Jordan.1 He was baptized on 21 April 1867 in St Edward the Confessor Church, Westport, Leeds & Grenville County, OntarioG.1 He lived in New Westminster, British Columbia, between 1891 and 1893.3,4 He witnessed the baptism of Charles Michael Doyle about December 1892 in St Peter's Church, New Westminster, British Columbia.5 He married Mary Lavina Stewart, daughter of William Stewart and Ellen Donnelly, on 11 October 1901 in Emerson, Manitoba.6

An article in the North Dakota Evening Times, Rugby, North Dakota, on 30 March 1910 read:
"James Hamilton received a broken leg when he fell from a scaffold while working on a hotel owned by Phil Cocking. One of the heavy planks of the scaffolding struck Hamilton just as he hit the ground, the combined forces fracturing the limb."7

An article in the Grand Forks Herald, Grand Forks, North Dakota, on 30 November 1916 read:
"Rugby - James Hamilton of this city was badly injured when a team he was driving ran away, throwing him to the ground."7

The February 6, 1941 edition of The Pierce County Tribune carried a feature story on Jim.

In 1944, James wrote a short autobiography:
"Born 1867, April 3rd, at Leeds Co. Ontario. Came to North Dakota 1888. Homesteaded in Cavalier County, North Dakota, four miles North of Langdon. I had about 40 acres. Broke and sowed it to wheat and every crop was froze. So I thought the country was too cold and I left in the spring of 1891, and went to New Westminster, B.C. The first 3 months I was there I drove team for the Brunette Saw Mill Co. and after 5 months I got a job in the fire hall driving the hose team until the spring of 1893 when I left and went to the World’s Fair at Chicago, and from there I went back to my old home in Elgin, Ontario and stayed there until the following spring, and then I went over to New York State and worked for the Remington Paper Co. at Newton Falls, N.Y., and in 1897 I came to Munising, Mich. and worked in the Lbr [Lumber] Woods until 1900 when I came to St Vincent, Minn. to work in the harvest fields, and I worked there until the spring of 1906 when I came to Crary, North Dakota to work in the Lumber Yard for the St Anthony Lbr yard until 1909. And then I was Night Cop until 1911, and from then on to 1921 when I went to the High School as Janitor, until 1943, in Oct. I went to Seattle to work at the Seattle & Tacoma ship yard, and in Feb. 1944 I got sick and came home, and I have been in the hospital or in bed ever since."
Signed: J L Hamilton.4

He died on 21 August 1944 in Rugby, Pierce County, North Dakota.2 He was buried in Little Flower Catholic Cemetery, Rugby, Pierce County, North DakotaG.2

Sometime after 1959, probably for the diamond jubilee history of Pierce County that was published in 1961, a brief biography was written:
"James L. Hamilton came to Rugby in 1904 to work as second man to Harry Hall at the lumber yard. He was married to Mary Lavina Stewart in St. Vincent, Minnesota in 1901. To this union were born Charlie, John and Lawrence, two daughters, Nellie and Gertrude. Charlie died in 1933, and Lawrence died in 1960. Mrs. Mary Hamilton died in 1959 and Mr. Hamilton in 1944.
For over 20 years, Jim Hamilton was the engineer and fireman of the Rugby schools.
Hamilton was born and reared on a farm near Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. In 1888 he and his brother Jack homesteaded some land 4 miles north of Langdon, North Dakota, just a year after the railroad had come into the country from Devils Lake. He and his brother worked their stakes with oxen. In 1893 Jim went back to Canada, and to the "Worlds Fair" in Chicago, then back to Canada, then worked ten years for the Remington Paper Company in New York - spent several years in the state of Michigan - came to Rugby in 1904.
When Hamilton first came to Dakota in territorial days he took out his first citizenship papers - he didn't take out his second until he came to Rugby. He carried his first papers with him for twenty years, and learned when the territory became a state, Jim had automatically become a citizen."7

Census Records

YearPlaceHead of Household
1871Crosby South, Leeds South, OntarioCharles Hamilton8
1881Crosby South, Leeds South, OntarioCharles Hamilton9
1905St Vincent, Kittson County, MinnesotaJames Lewis Hamilton10
1910Rugby, Pierce County, North DakotaJames Lewis Hamilton11
1920Rugby, Pierce County, North DakotaJames Lewis Hamilton12
1930Rugby, Pierce County, North DakotaJames Lewis Hamilton13
Last Edited=3 Sep 2018

Children of James Lewis Hamilton and Mary Lavina Stewart


  1. [S1427] Volume A, Baptisms, marriages, burials 1846-1868: baptism of James Hamilton; np, St Edward the Confessor RC Church, Westport, Leeds & Grenville County, Ontario. Viewed 2012-2018, at familysearch.org, database: Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923, image 172.
  2. [S1637] James Lewis Hamilton, Death Certificate 2999 (24 Aug 1944), North Dakota Dept of Health, Bismark, North Dakota.
  3. [S441] Letter from Mary Ann Doyle (New Westminster, BC) to Frances Doyle, 16 Feb 1891; privately held by Faye West (Edmonton, Alberta). LET 004.
  4. [S1033] Letter from James L Hamilton (Rugby, North Dakota) to unknown recipient, 1944; personal records of Joanne Wallawine (Seattle, King County, Washington), transcription received from Debbi Lyon-Kirwan 29 Dec 2010.
  5. [S85] Parish Register Entry, Baptism of Charles Michael Doyle, St Peter's Church, New Westminster, British Columbia.
  6. [S1579] James Hamilton & Mary Stewart, Marriage Registration 3 (11 Oct 1901), Manitoba Vital Statistics, http://vitalstats.gov.mb.ca
  7. [S1035] Debbi Lyon-Kirwan, database report, 28 Dec 2010, Twisp, Washington. FTM report "Descendants of James Lewis Hamilton."
  8. [S72] 1871 Census (Crosby South, Leeds, Ontario), Library & Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario C-10001, Charles Hamilton family.
  9. [S73] 1881 Census (South Crosby, Leeds, Ontario), Library & Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario C-13232, Charles Hamilton family.
  10. [S965] James Hamilton, 1905 U.S. Census, St Vincent, Kitson, Minnesota, Ancestry, http://www.ancestry.ca
  11. [S958] James L Hamilton, 1910 U.S. Census (Rugby, Pierce County, North Dakota), Ancestry, http://www.ancestry.ca
  12. [S959] James L Hamilton, 1920 U.S. Census (Rugby, Pierce County, North Dakota), Ancestry, http://www.ancestry.ca
  13. [S960] James L Hamilton, 1930 U.S. Census (Rugby, Pierce County, North Dakota), Ancestry, http://www.ancestry.ca
  14. [S1638] Charles William Hamilton, Death Certificate 491 (20 Jan 1933), North Dakota Dept of Health, Bismark, North Dakota.
  15. [S1639] Mary Ellen Liming, Death Certificate 86 003160 (1 Aug 1986), North Dakota Dept of Health, Bismark, North Dakota.
  16. [S1641] Laurence James Hamilton, Death Certificate 3280 (18 Jul 1960), North Dakota Dept of Health, Bismark, North Dakota.