THE HAMILTON TOWN COMPANY
Narrator: Mrs. Anna Brosius Korn of El Reno, Oklahoma
Mrs. Korn is the grand daughter of Captain Albert Gallatin Davis the founder of Hamilton and lived in his home till she was married, hence hers is reliable information of the town company who first owned the town.
She says the plan began with her grandfather then a resident of Mirabile and he talked it over with E.M. Samuels of Liberty to start a town along the right of way of the projected line of the Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad, then only surveyed. Accordingly the town company was formed. Mr. Samuels was President. A.G. Davis trustee, G. Bird, John Berry, Michael Arthur, S. McGaughey, S. Ritchie of Liberty, John Ardinger, Ephriam Ewing of Richmond, A.G. Davis and John Burrows of Mirabile, Chas. J. Hughes of Kingston, Thos. T. Frame of Gallatin and Jeff Thompson of St. Joseph.
Most all these men had streets named for them. The present Main Street (not meant to be Main) was named for Mr. Davis because his house was already on it. The Main street at the start north of the depot was named for S. McGaughey but he eventually gained little, for the name is rarely used and the street is unimportant. John Ardinger's street is commonly called Broadway and John Berry's street usually Mill; while Chas. Hughes got a bad deal, for the north end of his street is treated like a back alley and the south end is called Kingston avenue.
Some of these men who invested their money in the land of the town company never saw the town. Some came here for the lot sale. Some lived here. John Ardinger started a restaurant here in 1858 but in the Civil War we find him at Kingston with a store which was the gathering place of Southern Sympathizers. His daughter married Tilton Davis, a nephew of A.G. He is also related by marriage someway to the Menefee family. The Ardingers were fine people.
John Burrows was an early post master here in the Davis store. He also managed the Store about 1859-60 (so active was he that some people in their interview call it the Burrows Store). Ephriam Ewing lived here 1858-60 although his occupation is not known. His family kept a maid Julia Larrimore who became the wife of Dr. Clayton Tiffin here.
Jeff Thompson of St. Joseph was such a close friend of Mr. Davis that he called him Albert and wrote often to him. Mrs. Korn has some of these old letters. One dated 1857 speaks of the Scarlet Fever epidemic which had taken off two of the Davis children. Another dated 1857 speaks of the Kansas-Missouri trouble over slavery. He was Mayor of St. Joseph in 1859 when the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad was completed and he helped start the Pony Express. When the war broke out he became an able leader in the Southern Army. Mr. Davis looked on him as one of the biggest men in western Missouri.
But of course as Mrs. Korn says, the biggest man in the Hamilton Town Company was her grandfather A.G. Davis who built the first home (called the Lone Star Hotel or Davis House), who surveyed the town lots, built the first store (present moving picture site) was the first post master, the first station agent, the first freight agent and before he had a depot to hold his freight would hire a man to watch it till the owner came. He named the town.
Mr. Davis was a loyal Mason and in his Masonic regalia as shown in a picture he was impressive. He did not join a church till in his last years, then convinced that Masonry did not equal church membership he was taken into the Methodist church - a very impressive sight. At his death in 1908 he was accorded every honor possible by the citizens of Hamilton.
Interviewed January 1934.
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