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Narrator: Mrs. Hattie Lamson, 90, Hamilton, Missouri

Hamilton Savings Bank

Mr. Lamson's Funeral

Mr. Lamson was born in New Hampshire 1839 and moved to Illinois as a youth. In 1863 he came to Brookfield, Missouri as a railroad depot employee. In 1864 he came to the little town of Hamilton as depot agent. He held this place till asked to be cashier of the Hamilton Savings Bank May 1878 and was there till his death December 1878. This Bank had been organized about two years before under Ed House of Cameron, Missouri but it was almost failing when Lamson took it. In the short time he was there, he raised the bank stock above par. People who had been hiding their cash around the house now put it in "George Lamson's Bank," because of their knowledge of him at the depot. They had also voted for him as County Judge in 1870 and knew that he was square.

In 1865 in Fairbury Illinois he was married to Hattie Henderson. He wouldn't accept any of her father's money to promote his business. At different times he was partner in the lumber business and the elevator. He must have owned over a dozen pieces of property in Hamilton, then selling at a profit, and he was what people called wealthy those days.

Mrs. Lamson possesses his colored picture taken in 1878 which shows black hair and eyes, red cheeks, full face, and under-chin whiskers in the fashion of the day. He loved gayety, dances, card parties and was of a convivial disposition. His wife was reared by a strict Scotch Presbyterian father; but finally she also grew to believe that dances were not always of the Devil.

When Mr. Lamson died in 1878, his funeral service was held in Rohrbough's Hall (later Andersons) Hundreds were turned away. The religious services were by Revs. W.H. Welton, P.B. West and F.J. Leavitt (all of the town's preachers). The Masonic ritual was used. The town paper of that date said the funeral procession was over one-half mile long with one hundred Masons and fifty in Knights Templar regalia. It was headed by Pryor's Silver Cornet Band of sixteen pieces from St. Joseph Missouri and the paper stated it was the grandest event of its kind ever witnessed in Hamilton.

At his death, Crosby Johnson a lawyer and stockholder, took his place as Cashier of the Bank and Mrs. Hattie Lamson the widow became the first woman to serve as a bank director in the county. She was Secretary of the board and earned two dollars per meeting for the work. Finally the directors meeting was changed from afternoon till night and she dreading the walk home late at night, resigned. John Rohrbough took her place.

When Mr. Lamson was dying, he appointed Wm. Wilmot a leading Mason here to take especial care of his widow. (That was a Masonic duty in those days.) But she soon was able to get along without Mr. Wilmot's financial advice.

When Mr. and Mrs. Lamson first came to Hamilton as a young couple 1866 they boarded at the Hamilton House, then kept by the Mitchell family. It was directly south of the depot and stood on a hill with a long flight of steps down to the tracks. Afterwards Mr. and Mrs. Lamson had rooms above the Kemper store (later the Anderson Corner) on Main Street where Harry Lamson was born 1867, Dr. King was the doctor.

Then they bought the house at the south end of Broadway long known as the Lamson house - now the home of Mrs. Lottie Anderson.

Interviewed January 1934.

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