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Below is a family biography included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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JOHN M. HAMILTON, Bloomington. Mr. Hamilton was born at Richwood, Union Co., Ohio, May 28, 1847; his birth-place, or the habitation in which he first saw the light of this world, was a rough-hewn log cabin, located in the deep beech woods of that section of Ohio; he is a direct descendant of that branch of the old Scotch family of Hamiltons which more than a century ago planted itself as a part of the advance guard of civilization in Maryland and Virginia; his father was one of twelve children—ten sons and two daughters, who are now located in different parts of Illinois and Ohio ; in 1854, John emigrated with his parents in a, covered wagon, to Marshall Co., Ill; here his father purchased a large farm, but the business crash of 1857 swept nearly everything out of his possession, and John and older brother were compelled to support, by their own labor, the entire family. In 1864, when but 16 years of age, young Hamilton enlisted and served for a year in the Union army; returning home he taught a. district school in the winter of 1865, meantime continuing to prepare himself for college, snatching such moments from labor as he could, for the cultivation of his mind; from the sale of a piece of land given him by a well-to-do uncle, a small amount saved from his earnings as a teacher, and a contribution from his father, John raised sufficient ready funds to enable him in September, 1865, to start out upon a classical course in the Delaware (Ohio) Wesleyan University; and, in 1868, he graduated third in a class of forty-six students, receiving the degree of A. B.; in 1871, he received a second reward for his perseverance by having the affix of A. M. bestowed upon him by the same institution; he at once began the study of law in earnest, but his finances being exceedingly low, he was compelled to accept a position as Principal of an academy, at Henry, Ill.; he was at this time so sorely pressed for means that he found it necessary to negotiate a loan of $50 from an aged lady friend to defray his current expenses until such time as he should draw his salary; on account of serious illness, Mr. Hamilton, in the spring of 1869, was compelled to resign the position of Principal of the academy; he then prosecuted the study of law at home, in Marshall Co., slowly regaining his health in the meantime; in the month of August, 1869, Mr. Hamilton came first to Bloomington, and through the influence of a recommendation from the entire Faculty of the Ohio Wesleyan, obtained a situation as tutor in the Illinois Wesleyan; here he was occupied for three hours each day in hearing classes recite in Latin; he had not relinquished his law studies; but every leisure hour was put in faithfully with the books, and, that he might have the benefit of a valuable library and ripe experience, he entered the law office of Weldon, Tipton & Benjamin; in the spring of 1870, he drew yet nearer the cherished wish of his life, being at that time admitted to the bar; soon after, he began practice with Weldon & Benjamin on a salary; in October, 1870, the present firm of Rowell & Hamilton was formed, being third in order of the oldest law firms in the city. In 1876, Mr. Hamilton’s friends placed him in nomination as a Representative in the State Senate, to which he was elected for four years; he has served on the following committees: Judicial, Revenue, Education, State Institutions, Municipalities, Elections; he introduced and secured the passage of the bills establishing the new Appellate Court; as a member of the Committee on Revenue, Mr. Hamilton took a prominent part in the warm fight of that session between the people and the great corporations of the State, when the latter endeavored to escape taxation; it is needless to say he was on the side of the people; as a member of the Committee on Public Institutions he visited and examined them all, and reported on their condition; he was instrumental in obtaining the most liberal appropriation for the Normal University that has been obtained for that institution for a number of years, increasing the regular appropriation by $2,500. In 1879, he was elected President of the Illinois State Senate, by the Republicans in caucus, unanimously; in 1879, he was elected Vice President of the Illinois State Bar Association.

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This family biography is one of 1257 biographies included in The History of McLean County, Illinois published by Wm. LeBaron, Jr. Co. in 1879.  View the complete description here: The History of McLean County, Illinois

View additional McLean County, Illinois family biographies here: McLean County, Illinois Biographies

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