Biography of ELISHA HAMILTON, 
Town of MEXICO, NY

Many thanks to Esther Rancier for contributing this information on Elisha Hamilton.  For further information please see the Town Historians or Historical Societies Page.


Many Hamilton families immigrated to North America.  Some settled in Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Canada.  These groups were not related.  Oswego county in the 19th century had many lines of Hamilton's' pass through.   

One of the very earliest settlers in Mexico, was Reuben Hamilton.  He became a powerful leader.  Mexico's famous spy, Silas Towne, died in Reuben's home.   This Hamilton line in Mexico, ended with either Reuben's demise ... or his abrupt departure.  No one seemed sure what happened in 1808.  There is no evidence to date that this Reuben had any kinship with the Elisha Hamilton's yet to arrive.  Reuben Hamilton in 1800 became a Justice of the Peace in Oswego County.  Justice Hamilton's name was surely known to all in northern New York, so few settlers were there.  So when the name Reuben Hamilton was bestowed on a baby boy, born ca. 1828, respect was intended, not a mark of kinship.

George Scriba, the holder of Scriba's Patent, began selling land in Mexico after 1795.  By 1799, Capt. Reuben Hamilton had purchased lot 90, land that later was owned by Asa Davis whose descendants owned it until 1999.  On the same sales list of 1799 was the name of Elisha Hamilton who on 25 June 1798 had purchased lot 44.  This list is the only record believed now existent, that puts the two Hamilton names together.  Elisha never took possession of any land in Mexico, until between 1821/29.

Records in Oneida County show Elisha in the 1800 census and again in the 1820 census. 
Plus, Oneida County took a special census of land owners in 1814, showing Elisha in Floyd, NY.

Elisha Hamilton married Olive Cary about 1797 in Oneida Co.  She was born 25 July 1776, in Mansfield, Tolland Co., CT.  Olive was the daughter of Jabez Cary born 30 July 1727  Windham, CT.  Elisha is believed to have been born about 1772 in Oneida County.  His parents seem to be as yet, unknown.

Olive and Elisha had a son, Richard, who was born 7 June 1798 in Oneida County.   In 1820, Floyd Richard married Agnes Beecher.  They had 8 children.  The four oldest were  probably born in Oneida County. 

 1. Olive Hamilton b.10 March 1822; m. David Wilcox; d. after 1880.  Issue: 3 children.
 2. James Hamilton; m. Maria E. _____ b. ca. 1835 in Ohio.  Issue: 1 child - Alice (1859-1860).  Alice is buried in Mexico   Village Cemetery.
3. Lydia Hamilton b.16 April 1826; m. (1) George Kingsbury who d.1859; (2) ____Mattison; d. 1862.  Issue: 2 children.
4. Reuben Hamilton 1828; m. Amelia C. ______ who d. 1914.  Issue: 5 children.
5. Sophia Hamilton b. ca. 1830 Mexico; d. 1913. Unmarried.
6. Martha Hamilton b.4 September 1832 Mexico; m. Rev. William A. Goodell; d. 1897. 
Issue: 3 children: Ella Fidelia Catherine; Mary Phila Agnes and George William Ellsworth.  George became a farmer; while the sisters taught school.
7. Charles Hamilton b. ca. 1836; d. 1859.  Buried Mexico Village Cemetery.
8. Mary A. Hamilton b. ca .1839 Mexico; m. David Henry Rider of Mexico; d.1912 at Mexico

Olive and Elisha, according to the 1820 census, had 4 males and 4 females in their house-hold.  Another child can be identified as Elisha, Jr.  born 15 November 1814.  This child was part of Elisha's household in the 1830 census at Mexico.  By 1840 the head of household may have been Elisha, Jr. with his mother and father living with him.  This small household had 2 males, 1 older, 1 younger and 1 female.  They lived next door to cousin James Hamilton  In the 1850 Mexico census only one Elisha household was enumerated:

  Elisha Hamilton  35 NY
  Jane                  34 NY
  William H.           5 NY
  Charlotte E.       2 NY

 Elisha, Jr. and Jane eventually had 5 children.

 1. William H. b. 28 August 1845; m. 19 March 1867, Mary Rose who d. 1938.
 2. Charlotte b. 23 July 1848; m. 21 October 1873 Leverett Newton Eggleston.  They lived in Mexico, but were not recorded in the 1880 census.
 3. Ada      b. 17 April 1852; m. 29 December 1869 George E. Cadwell.
 4. Fred     b. 27 January 1857; m. after 1880.
 5. Harriet  b. 18 March 1860 Willard Ward Smith of Mexico.  Issue: 2 sons.

Elisha's wife, Jane was an adopted child of General Bezaleel and Margaret Thayer.  Jane and Elisha married 15 November 1844 and    settled in Mexico where he farmed.

 In 1880 Elisha and Jane still resided in Mexico. Children Fred and Hattie, still lived at home.
Later Fred, was to marry and by 1903, he was a deacon at the Mexico First Baptist Church.  He died after 1920.

Harriet married on 10 June 1880 Williard Ward Smith of Mexico.  They had two sons:
Hamilton Smith b. ca. 1880 and Guy Malcolm Smith b. 1900.  There  are known descendants.
Ada, daughter of Elisha and Jane , married George Cadwell, born ca. 1847, who worked at the meat market in 1880.  They had one son: George Earl Cadwell.

William H., Elisha and Jane's oldest son married 10 March 1867,  Mary Rose.  They lived in Mexico where he was a farmer.  They had one child, Cora, born 21 August 1868.  When Richard and Agnes first came into the Mexico area, they settled about a mile from the village toward Lake Ontario.  Richard had built a frame house.  By the time all 8 of the children were born, the house was crowded.  In 1848 he arranged the building of a cobblestone house with the aid of his sons, James and Reuben.  They took the stones from lake Ontario and used an oxcart to move them 3 miles.  David Wilcox was Richard's architect and mason.  Later this David Wilcox married Olive Hamilton, the eldest daughter.

"The cobblestone portion was built as a square with a wooden ell. Upstairs were 3 big bed-rooms and one little room....  Downstairs were a parlor; living room, and two little bedrooms; those rooms were all the cobblestone part.

"In the wooden part, next to the living room, was a buttery (pantry), Grandpa and Grandma's bedroom was in the back, a dining room in the front, and a small kitchen on the right-hand end with a door leading to a woodshed.

"The kitchen had a big, brick oven where we did all our own baking.  Just outside in the woodshed, was a cistern which held the rainwater.  We used that for washing.  To get water, we had a long pole with a nail on it.  We hung the pail on the nail and tied it to the pole with string.
When we wanted water, we let the pail down into the cistern and drew it up full...."    all of the above was a quote from Lydia's daughter, Agnes Adelaide Kingsbury, made years ago before her death in 1959 as printed in the Mexico Historical Society's, Mexico Memories. 
In a long essay Agnes Kingsbury discussed living with her grandparents.  Her father,  George Kingsbury, had died in 1859.  After her mother, Lydia, married again she had a half-sister,  Emma born in 1861.  The following spring, Lydia died.  The 2 half-sisters went to live with their  grandparents.  In the 1880 Mexico census the Richard Hamilton household was:

  Dick Hamilton  81 farmer
  Agnes [sic]  50 wife
  Agnes [sic] Kingsbury 22 niece [sic] i.e. granddaughter
  Emma Mattison  19      " "     "         "
  Addie Rider  8     "        "     "         "
  Addie Rider was a daughter of Richard and Agnes' youngest child, Mary.  Addie might have been visiting her grandparents when the census taker came. 

After 1879,  Mr. Wilcox who had been living in Syracuse, returned to Mexico and built the wooden part of the house for his family. The Wilcox family as given in the 1880 census:

  David Wilcox  60 builder
  Olive   58 wife
  Henritta [sic]  25 daughter
  Elisabeth  10        " 
There was another daughter, Mamie, not listed.

In 1882 Richard Hamilton died, followed by Agnes' death in 1886.  They were both buried  in the Mexico Village Cemetery.

The Wilcox family lived for a while in their part of the cobblestone house.  Then Olive and Elisabeth, died. Mamie married.  David could not face being alone, so he went to the Masonic home in Syracuse.  Etta, moved in with Agnes Kingsbury.

When Sophia Hamilton, who never married, died in 1913, the cobblestone house was sold.  The house was by then in the town proper on Hamilton Street.  The building was still very much frozen in time.  The kitchen had an iron sink with a pump.  There was a big wood burning 
stove which had a hot water reservoir.  Washdays required a big copper-boiler of water to be hoisted onto the stove. 

Reuben Hamilton, namesake of the early Justice Reuben Hamilton, married Amelia, born about 1828.  They had 6 children: 

1. Frank Hamilton b. ca. 1856
2. Minnie Hamilton b. ca. 1857
3. Clara Hamilton b. ca. 1859
4. Mattie  Hamilton b. ca. 1862
5. Eugene Hamilton b. ca. 1864
6. Charles A. Hamilton b. ca. 1871

By 1880 Reuben and Amelia C. Hamilton resided in Palermo, NY.  Eugene and Charles  were still living at home.

Mary Hamilton who married David Rider, resided in Mexico.  The couple and their children were frequent visitors to the old house.  In the 1880 Mexico census the listing for this family:

David Rider  43 Laborer
Mary            42 wife
Lettie           13 
Chas.            11
Richard           7
Robert            5
Orla               3
Carl             10 mo.

Their daughter,  Addie (Ada Louise) was visiting her grandparents when the census taker came.  She was listed in her grandparents' household.  Lettie died in 1894.  Father, David died in 1898. Mary died in 1912.   Robert died in 1913.  All died in Mexico, NY

Adelbert Orla, son of David and Mary Rider, married Ellen Marie Boucher.  They had 9 children.  Many of whom are still living.

In 1959 Agnes Kingsbury died.  She was one of the last to know personally her grandparents, Richard and Agnes, who brought her up with love and caring.  She could recall the 'switchel', a drink of water, ginger and sugar, a Mexico favorite.  She could still visualize her grandparents after threshing emptying out the straw from the ticks and refilling them with fresh straw for a comfortable night's rest. 

Modern families have loving memories too, but she especially could smell the homemade soap, pig butchering time, dried apples, featherbeds, candles, curing hams and so much more.  It was wonderful that she shared her memories with all.

 -Cary, Seth C. John Cary, the Plymouth Pilgrim.  Boston: 1911.
 -Cemetery Census of the Town of Mexico, Oswego county, New York.  Mexico: Mexico
 Historical Society, 1984.
 -Churchill, John.  Landmarks of Oswego County, New York.  Syracuse: Mason, 1895.
 -1814 Oneida County Census of Land Owners of Land In Floyd.  Available [online] [27 November 2002]
- "Grip's" Historical Souvenir of Mexico, New York.  Syracuse: 1903.
-Hamilton Family Genealogy Forum.  Available [online]
[27 November 2002]
 -Johnson, Crisfield.  History of Oswego County, New York.  Philadelphia: Everts, 1877.
 -Shumway, Bonnie and others. Mexico Memories.  Mexico: Mexico Historical Society
 Publication, 1992.
 -Simpson, Elizabeth M. Mexico: Mother of Towns.  Buffalo: Clement, 1949.
 -Thayer, Bezaleel.  Thayer Family History.  1874.
 -U.S. Census Oneida Co., NY 1800, 1820.
 -U.S.  Census Oswego Co., NY 1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1880, 1910 & 1920.
 -World Connect Project.  Available [online]  [27 
November 2002]

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