Uncle Dave's book

Sunday, August 17, 2014

52 Ancestors #32: Margaret Hamilton

     Margaret Hamilton was my mother's great grandmother. My mother was named Margaret Kells after her father's sister, Margaret Hamilton Kells Key. She, obviously, was named after her grandmother, Margaret Hamilton. I named my daughter, Devin Margaret, the Margaret being for my mother.  So both my mother and my daughter were named, indirectly, for Margaret Hamilton. Three of her daughters named a daughter Margaret, in fact.

     Margaret Hamilton was born on 1 Jan 1817 in Omagh, Tyrone, Ireland, now Northern Ireland. She was the daughter of Archibald Hamilton, mother's name unknown. I have found one reference to an Archibald Hamilton, farmer, of Kingarrow, Tyrone. Kingarrow borders Omagh.  This is a bankruptcy notice from 1824. It may suggest a reason for the move to America. At any rate, I know nothing about Margaret's early life. We know that her sister, Catherine, married Stuart Duncan possibly before June 1836 and that Margaret married Stuart's brother, James. I have a copy of the passenger list for Margaret's trip to America.  She left from Belfast on the ship Herald and arrived in New York City on 28 Jun 1833.  James left from Liverpool on the ship Washington and he arrived 15 Jun 1833. I don't know why they went separately but it appears they planned their trips to coincide. Perhaps James went first to get a bit settled and she followed.

      The only data about their marriage is that they were married in New York City. Their first child known is recorded as born in 1837 so it was assumed they were married about 1836.  However, I suspect they were married earlier, likely shortly they arrived in America. I think they had a son who died early so is not on the 1850 Census and not recorded in family history. But James Duncan is recorded in the New York City Directory in 1837, 1840 and 1841,  He us listed as a mason and is living at 132 W. Sixteenth in 1840 and 1841. This is in the 16th Ward of New York City. In the 1840 Census we find "James Dunkin" in the Sixteenth Ward with 11 male under 5, 1 male 20-29, 1 female under 5 and 1 female 20-29. The female under 5 would be their daughter Catherine born 1837 so  3 years at the time of the Census. So the male under 5 could've been born before Catherine, say 1835 after June so he would've been under 5 still or after Catherine such as 1839. A son in 1835 would make sense if they had married in 1833 or early 1834. I just reread James obituary and it says they had 12 children, there were five boys who died young! So I think they married in 1833!

     The family moved to Forrestburgh, Sullivan, New York where James prospered.  Here Margaret Jane, Louisa Jane, Lydia, Isabella, Mary and George Washington were born.  In 1862, they moved to Hastings, Minnesota and in 1864, they homesteaded at Grove in Stearns County. James received his homestead patent on 18 Aug 1871.  This is where she lived the rest of her life. She died on 5 Sep 1885 of  stomach cancer.  Her obituary from the Sauk Centre 19 Sep 1885 says, "She was a woman universally beloved by her acquaintances for her rare christian virtues."  This is what her husband, James, had engraved on her gravestone:"We have lived together in life/ In death we are not parted/ Erected by James Duncan in memory of his beloved wife, Margaret."

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