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History of Madison
County, Iowa, 1915.

Biographical.  Volume 2.


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Joseph E. Hamilton.

The history of business enterprise in Winterset would be incomplete and unsatisfactory were there failure to make prominent reference to Joseph E. Hamilton, who is one of the leading citizens of Madison county, actively and successfully identified with real-estate interests and with banking.  His resolute purpose and intelligently directed efforts have enabled him to carry forward to successful completion whatever he has undertaken and his name has long been an honored one on commercial paper in this part of the state.

Madison county is proud to number Mr. Hamilton among her native sons, his birth having occurred in Walnut township on the 14th of October, 1864, his parents being Joseph C. W. and Mary (Draper) Hamilton.  The father, a farmer by occupation, was born in New Jersey and during his infancy was taken to New York by his parents, who removed to Fayette county, Ohio, when he was a child of five years.  There he was reared upon a farm with the usual experiences that fall to the lot of the farm lad.  While still living in Ohio he married and in 1852 he came to Iowa, settling in South township, Madison county.  In the spring of 1864 he removed to Walnut township, trading two cows for a tract of forty acres of land on which was a small log cabin, but no other improvements.  With characteristic energy he began the development of his farm and brought his fields to a high state of cultivation.  He taught one hundred and thirteen terms of school, all in the vicinity of his home, and thus greatly advanced the intellectual standards of the county as well as promoted his farming interests.  He died in 1893 at the age of seventy-three years.  He was then teaching and his son Joseph E. Hamilton, completed his term.

In his political views the father was a democrat and he held various township offices, the duties of which he discharged with promptness and fidelity.  In his business affairs he won a substantial measure of prosperity and was the owner of two hundred acres of valuable land at the time of his death.  Reared in the Presbyterian church, he always adhered to that denomination and he took a very active part in church and Sunday school work.  His wife was a native of Fayette county, Ohio, and became one of the pioneer women of Madison county, arriving here in company with her husband in 1852.  She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church and died in that faith in 1887 when fifty-eight years of age.  By her marriage she became the mother of eleven children, nine of whom reached adult age, while two passed away in infancy.

Joseph E. Hamilton was reared upon the home farm and was educated n the public schools.  When eighteen years of age he began teaching in the district schools of his native county and divided his time between educational interests and farm work.  He continued upon the old homestead until 1900, when he went to Boulder, Colorado, where for about a year he engaged in the real-estate business.  At the end of that time he established his home in Winterset, where he engaged in the real-estate, abstract and loan business in partnership with his brother, S. M. Hamilton.  This partnership was continued until 1909, when Joseph E. Hamilton purchased the interest of his brother and has since been alone.  He became one of the leading real-estate men of the county with a clientage scarcely equalled by that of any other in the same line of business.  He thoroughly informed himself concerning land values, knew the property upon the market and so directed his interests that substantial success resulted.  In 1913 he became one of the organizers and principal owners of the Security Loan & Title Company of which he was elected the president.  Upon the organization of this company he turned his abstract, loan and insurance business over to it and he now devotes his time to real estate.  He is also a well known figure in banking circles and in 1912 was elected vice president of the First National Bank.  His discrimination is keen, his judgment sound and his enterprise unfaltering and thus he is winning success in all of his undertakings.

On the 14th of October, 1888, Mr. Hamilton was united in marriage to Miss Katherine M. Dick, a native of Des Moines county and a daughter of J. P. and Sarah (Frank) Dick.  They have three children:  Ernest C., who is a graduate of the State University of Iowa and is now associated with his father in business; and Frank S. and Clarence E., both of whom are students in the State University of Iowa.

In his political views Mr. Hamilton is an earnest democrat and keeps well informed on the questions and issues of the day, but has never sought nor desired public office.  He and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and they occupy a prominent position socially, having the esteem and warm regard of all who know them.  Mr. Hamilton has been a lifelong resident of Madison county and his record is one which reflects credit upon the spirit of enterprise which has ever dominated this section of the state.  He early recognized the eternal principle that industry wins and industry became the beacon light of his life.  Close application has characterized all of his dealings and in all of his business affairs he has followed constructive measures until he is today recognized not only as one of the most successful but also as one of the most honored residents of Winterset.



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