Schuyler Hamilton Settlement
Location: Site of home was in Ramsey about
100 feet west of the Depot, on the south side of Route 64.
Date: Built perhaps about 1810.
Owners: Schuyler Hamilton bought the land
when that part of the County was included in the bounds of Scott Co. He
willed it in 1861 to his sons, Lewis and Andrew Jackson. No account of
their disposal is recorded in
Wise County although the village of Ramsey
is located upon this tract of land and it has been subdivided into lots
and sold to various parties.
Description: The Hamilton House was considered
a very good house for the early pioneer home. It was a two story, three
room, hewn log house. One room on each floor in the front part and a kitchen
built to the rear. It
had a stone chimney, mud dobbed, at the end
of the front part and facing West. The kitchen part also had a stone chimney
at the back facing the mountain. The family cooking was done on this fireplace.
The house had glass windows, yellow poplar blank floors and batten doors.
It was ceiled overhead with yellow poplar planks. Clap board roof. The
front of the house faced north and had a full length porch across the front.
Up Clear Creek, at the site where the old Band Mill once set, was a one
story, two room hewn log house that Lewis, son of Schuyler Hamilton, lived
in. This house was small like many of the early log cabins
and had puncheon floors, clapboard roof,
batten doors and only wooden shutters for windows. Near by this house was
another log cabin of about the same architectural design as the Lewis Hamilton
house that was occupied by his brother John. These two cabins were probably
built in he late eighteen forties or early eighteen fifties. The
three houses have long since been torn away. No vestige of their foundations,
chimney rocks, etc. can be found at the site.
On Clear Creek,
and near the last two mentioned cabins, was a small hewn log grist mill
that was run by the Hamilton Brothers. It was an undershot wheel, short
sluice way and mainly a corn mill although some wheat and much buckwheat
was ground here. There was no Bolter for bolting the flour. This Mill was
running during and after the Civil War, but the date it was started has
not or cannot be established.
Just south of the Lewis Hamilton house
stood another small log building that was used by Schuyler Hamilton and
his sons as a "Hattery". Nathan Hamilton later became known as the best
Hatters in Wise County. In this Hattery they made both wool and fur hats.
These fur hats were made of fox and coon fur. They
were called "Smooth Casters" and were considered
much better and lots dressier than the woolen hats and sold for $3.50.
They were lined with choice tanned leather and sometimes with the better
quality homespun cloth.
The woolen hats were mostly lined with cloth,
with a good leather sweat band. These sweat bands were usually made from
the hides of wild animals, as the leather tanned from these was of much
finer texture, thinner and softer than that of cow hides, although cow
hide leather was used for this purpose too. The price of the woolen hats
ranged from one to a dollar and a half.
Both wool and fur
hats were formed around different size wooden blocks that were called "Hat
Blocks." An early as 1843, Schuyler Hamilton was taking hats to Bickley
Mills, (at the present site of Castlewood), and selling them in exchange
for other necessities and staples. The Hamilton Hats were well
known and worn by most of the people for
Historical Significance: Schuyler Hamilton
was born in 1789 and married Susannah Dotson, a daughter of Simon and Phoebe
Hollingsworth Dotson. He settled at the foregoing place and lived there
until his death in
1861 and was laid to rest in the old part
of the Laurel Grove Cemetery at Ramsey. No marker was placed at his grave
so the exact location is unknown. (The grave has since been located and
He preceded his
wife to their final rest about ten years. To this union were born seventeen
children, one set of triplets, two dying in infancy and the other fifteen
children grew to maturity.
Besides being a
Hat Maker and farmer, Schuyler Hamilton was a Fifer (musician). He served
as a Sergeant in the War of 1812 in Captain Neill's Company of Virginia
Militia, enlisted at Lee County Courthouse, July 20, 1814 and served until
January 31, 1815, when he was discharged at Norfolk, VA.
He was a Judge in
an election held at the home of Phillip Counts near Gladeville, October
5, 1836, along with four other early settlers to Superintend the separate
election for Senator in the month of November next. He was one of the first
Deacons of the Big Glades Baptist Church at Gladeville, elected May 1,
Lewis Hamilton was
born in 1825, died 1894-96. He was married to Susannah Hatfield of West
Virginia. First settled at the foregoing place and later lived on Black
Creek, Wise Co., VA.
John Hamilton was
born in 1835. Married Rebecca Wells, March 20, 1852. Rebecca Wells Hamilton
was born 1835, died 1882. Neither of these two brothers took any active
part in the political affairs of the county.
The Nathan Hamilton House
was a son of Schuyler and Susannah Dotson Hamilton. He settled on what
is now known as the Meade Fork of Bold Camp about 1840. Built with his
own hands a two-story, five room hewn log house, later weatherboarded,
ceiling it with whip-sawed poplar lumber. The house is two-story, three
rooms down and two upstairs. Faces east, with porch on front. The building
is in form "T" but the back is only one story. It was sold by John Hamilton,
youngest son of Nathan, to Samuel Meade,
about twenty-five years ago. Has been occupied
by Meade since.
To the north, about
fifty yards, stood a building used by Hamilton for his hat shop. He was
the only hatter to ever follow his trade in Wise County, and for many years
about the Civil War days, made all the hats worn by the men in this section.
Thomas Ally, who lives on Mill Creek, once wore one of the Hamilton hats.
He made them narrow brimmed and square topped. Some of them weighted three