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William Givens
Nancy Agnes Bratton
John (not related - DNA) Berry
Janet Givens

Rachel Berry


Family Links

James N Hamilton

Rachel Berry

  • Born: 12 Jan 1792, , Bath, Virginia, USA 3 4
  • Marriage: James N Hamilton on 10 Sep 1818 in , Bath, Virginia, USA 1 2
  • Died: 30 Aug 1846 at age 54 4
  • Buried: , Marion, Iowa, USA 4

bullet  Burial Notes:

aged 54 yrs, 7 mos, 18 days
Portergrove was formerly known as Hamilton cemetery because Robert G. Hamilton, son of James N.
Hamilton and Rachel Berry, gave part of his land for the cemetery.


bullet  Noted events in her life were:

Census, 1840, , Lee, Iowa, USA. 5
Twp 69 North, Range 5 West, page 187
line 6 - James N. Hamilton, 0,2,1,2,0,0,1.....//1,1,1,0,1,0,1....
line 7 - William Berry, 0,3,0,0,0,0,1.....// 2,0,0,0,0,1...
line 8 - George Berry, 0,1,0,0,1,1.....// 2,0,0,0,1....
line 18 - George G Hamilton, 1,0,0,0,0,1....// 0,0,0,0,1,0,0,0,1

Guardian: Samuel B. Hamilton, 5 Mar 1844, Lee County, Iowa, USA. 6 Rachel Hamilton and George G Hamilton of of the county of Lee and Territory of Iowa, are held and firmly bound unto the People of the Territory of Iowa, for the use of Samuel B Hamilton, orphan child of James N. Hamilton deceased,...the above bound Rachel Hamilton who has been appointed Guardian for Samuel B Hamilton...


Rachel married James N Hamilton, son of John Hamilton and Mary, on 10 Sep 1818 in , Bath, Virginia, USA.1 2 (James N Hamilton died on 28 May 1842 in Lee County, Iowa, USA 7 8 and was buried in Pleasant Ridge Township, Lee, Iowa, USA 4.)



1 Carol Vass, Carol Vass (e-mail sources are considered preliminary and as clues for further research.), D: DB p2. Surety: 3.

2 Carol Vass, Carol Vass (e-mail sources are considered preliminary and as clues for further research.), e-mail data from Carol Vass, date unknown Holly did transcriptions. Surety: 3.
Marriage Bonds and Ministers' Returns 1791-1853, Bath co Historical Society, 1978
Pg 53-4 Rachel Berry to James N Hamilton bond 1 Sept 1818, return 10 Sept by
Otho Wade. She consents for self, wit Samuel Berry.

3 Charles E Berry, based on headstone values: aged 54 yrs, 7 mos, 18 days. Surety: 3.

4 Geralyn W. Barry, e-mail of !7 Aug 2007. Surety: 4.

5 United States of America, Bureau of the Census, Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1840. M704, 580 rolls.), Twp 69 North, Range 5 West, page 187; Iowa Territory; Roll: 102; Page: 187. Repository: NARA - National Archives and Records Administration, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20408-0001. Surety: 4.

6 Geralyn W. Barry, D: DB N. Hamilton probate found!.txt. Surety: 4.

7 Geralyn W. Barry, D: DB N. Hamilton probate found!.txt. Surety: 3.

8 Geralyn W. Barry, e-mail of !7 Aug 2007. Surety: 4.
From: Geralyn Barry []
Sent: Friday, August 17, 2007 7:00 PM
To: Larry Milnes
Cc: ceberry;
Subject: some highlights of Hamilton-Berry research trip, summer 2007

Attachments: IMG_3913S.jpg

Hi Larry,

I started writing this Friday, 29 Jun 2007, while on the road heading home to Oregon and finally finished it today. I have a lot more research to share with you, but this is a start at least!

We are finally heading home to Oregon (29 Jun 2007) after an absence of about two months. We have a long drive today - nearly 700 miles from Pella, Iowa to Cheyenne, Wyoming. We got a bit of a late start this morning because we stopped to look for Hamilton graves reported to be in a cemetery south of Pella in Marion County, Iowa. I am very glad we decided to visit this cemetery because we made an important discovery - we found the gravestone of Rachel (Berry) Hamilton, widow of James N.
Hamilton! Her name does not even appear on the listing for that cemetery that I had found at the public library in Marion County, so it came as a happy surprise when I found her stone. I had been wondering what happened to Rachel after she probated her husband's estate in Lee County in the 1840s. I never was able to find her in the 1850 census. Now I know she was already dead by then.

It has been a good week for Hamilton-Berry discoveries. I was able to gather more records for many people I had been tracing. (Finding records is easy; getting them organized takes a lot more time. I'm still working on it...) Some of the records we found solidify what we know already knew about the Hamilton-Berry family of Bath County and should help us trace them backward in time. Some of the new information will also help us locate living Hamilton and Berry descendants of these families, if they can still be found. One of my goals on this trip was to trace other lines down to modern times so we could identify descendants and try to locate them. Some of the people I found obits for died in the 1950s, which brings us closer to possible living relatives. More about that and other finds in future emails.

Below are some of the highlights of the Hamilton-Berry research accomplished on this trip.

1) We found the gravestone of Rachel, wife of James N. Hamilton, died 30 Aug 1846, aged 54 yrs, 7 mos, 18 days (photo attached).
This morning (29 Jun 2007), we found the gravestone of Rachel Hamilton (nee Berry) in Portergrove Cemetery, Marion County, Iowa. I can't really say that I found her grave, however, because I found the stone in two pieces leaning against a building at the cemetery, along with several other pieces of mostly Hamilton-related stones. It is not clear where they came from in the cemetery, but I suspect it was in close proximity to the building, since other relatives are buried in that area and there are several empty spots between them. The pieces were well-protected and therefore in good condition, in contrast to some of the other stones that were upright with even later dates but in almost unreadable condition.

Portergrove Cemetery is located in Marion County, Iowa, very near the border with Mahaska County. It is south of the town of Pella (of window
fame) and west of Knoxville, Iowa; we also visited both towns to do research in their genealogical collections. Portergrove was formerly known as Hamilton cemetery because Robert G. Hamilton, son of James N.
Hamilton and Rachel Berry, gave part of his land for the cemetery.
Robert Hamilton is recognized as one of the first settlers of Marion County, Iowa; much has been written about him in the Marion County history books. We already knew that Robert G. and his brother John B.
came to the area in April 1843 and that they bought land in Marion County when it was first opened for purchase in 1846. It seems that brothers Robert G. and John B. went to Marion County from Lee County, Iowa after their father (James N. Hamilton) died in 1842. Now we also know that their mother Rachel must have gone with them, since she is buried there rather than beside her husband in Lee County (we found his grave too - see 2 below).

2) We found the graves of James N. Hamilton and his mother Mary Hamilton, widow of John Hamilton, who died in the War of 1812 at Brownville, NY (nee McGuffin according to online sources). They are buried in a tiny cemetery in rural Pleasant Ridge Township, Lee County, Iowa, a few miles north of the town of West Point, Iowa. This confirms that John Hamilton's widow Mary accompanied her children when they moved from Bath County, Virginia to Lee County, Iowa. In fact, she is probably the woman age 60-70 who was enumerated in the 1840 census in the household of another son, George G. Hamilton, in Lee County, Iowa.

James N. Hamilton and his mother died within about 2 weeks of one another - James on 28 May 1842 and Mary on 11 June 1842. A daughter of James N. and his wife Rachel also died at this time - 6 yr old Nancy A.
Hamilton died on 4 June 1842. It must have been a difficult time for the family, losing so many at once. I am guessing they probably died of some contagious disease. By the way, all the later obituaries I found for the Hamiltons and Berrys give the name of this cemetery as "Pleasant Ridge Cemetery", but the sign on it says "Woolen's Corner Pioneer Cemetery aka Clark's Point or Price, Established 1836." [I will send photo attachments of these graves in another email.]

3) We found direct confirmation that Robert G. Hamilton of Marion County, Iowa was the son of James N. and Rachel Hamilton. He is therefore the same person who was called Robert M. Hamilton (different middle initial) in the guardianship papers filed in Lee County, Iowa after the death of his father James N. Hamilton. I was already pretty certain of this fact (despite the different middle initial) based on a lot of indirect evidence, but confirmation of it comes in plain English from one of his obituaries (information very likely supplied by one of his daughters - Emma or Elizabeth) and also from the overwhelming additional indirect evidence found on this trip (such as the gravestone of Rachel being in the Portergrove Cemetery, which was originally on Robert's land).

Online sources give Robert's middle name as McGuffin, which makes sense in light of the middle initial M used in the guardianship papers.
However, I myself have not found his middle name spelled out in any original document thus far - only middle initials. He appears often in Marion County, Iowa records as Robert G. Hamilton. If his middle name was McGuffin (reputed to be the maiden name of the mother of James N.
Hamilton), then it seems he might have dropped the Mc- because he used the middle initial G most of his adult life. Dropping the Mc- or O'
prefix was a common thing with surnames in Irish records in previous centuries; it can even vary from record to record, with the prefix included in some records and not in others. Or perhaps Robert had two middle names - one starting with M and one with G - perhaps Given and McGuffin for both of his grandmothers? We may never know. What we do know now is that Robert G. Hamilton of Marion County, Iowa and the Robert M. Hamilton mentioned in James N. Hamilton's probate records are one and the same person.

4) We scanned the Civil War pension application of Gowen Hamilton of Lee County Iowa, whose son Andrew died during the Civil War while fighting for the Union. Pension documents contain statements that he (Gowen) and his business partner George G. Hamilton were first cousins. We have evidence that George G. was a son of John Hamilton and Mary McGuffin; therefore George was a brother to James N. Hamilton, the father of your Samuel B. Hamilton. If Gowen was a first cousin of George G. Hamilton, then his father (who so far has not been identified) was probably a brother of John Hamilton. I am assuming here that they were first cousins on the Hamilton side (their fathers' side), since both George and Gowen have the surname Hamilton.

5) We found graves in the Montrose Cemetery (Montrose, Lee County, Iowa) for known members of the Hamilton and Berry families. We also found the graves of some children of a Charles and Sarah Hamilton who do not appear together in any other records of Lee County that I've found so far. This is definitely a clue that needs to be followed up on! There was a Charles D. Hamilton age 29, born Virginia, who was living with G.
G. [George G] Hamilton's family in the 1850 census in Montrose. In 1860, there was no sign of Charles, but a Sarah Hamilton 40 b. Ohio and Charles Hamilton 7 b. Indiana were living with the Kirkpatrick family in Montrose. Were the Charles from 1850 and the Sarah from 1860 married?
Did Charles marry and die between 1850 and 1860? If so, where? I followed Sarah forward in time. Her son Charles is listed as "idiotic"
in census records, which makes them easy to trace. In 1870, they were in Indianapolis and in 1880, in Martinsville, Morgan County, Indiana. That is the last census listing I found for them. Both George G. Hamilton and his cousin Gowen Hamilton had named sons Charles (b. 1855 and 1853) who died young. Robert G. Hamilton also named a son Charles W. (b. 1851).
Gowen's son George also named a son Charles (b. 1881), so it seems to have been an important name in the family. As I said before, I think this is an important clue!

6) We found graves of related Berry family members in Sandusky Cemetery in Lee County, Iowa. It is located just south of Sandusky, Iowa and north of Keokuk on Mississippi River Road. Charles E. Berry (son of George Berry and Isabel Given of Lee County, Iowa) and his wife Stella M. Newman (1859-1941) are buried in Sandusky Cemetery. They had two
sons: Herbert Newman Berry, who died in Hollywood, California in 1937, and Ralph Leslie Berry, who was living in Kansas City, Missouri in 1930. Both men married but appear to have had no children (a dead end there). Herbert N. Berry was a colorful character who managed an apartment building in Hollywood that was the residence of movie stars, including Fatty Arbuckle.

We found many more documents I haven't mentioned, but I will save those stories for another email.


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