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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  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 B. HAMILTON occupies an important place in the farming community of Randolph County and is active in advancing the agricultural interests of township 4, range 5. His father, John Hamilton, was a native of Ireland, while his mother, who prior to her marriage was Miss Isabel Boyd, was born in Ohio. They were married in the latter state, there reared a large family of thirteen children, and there remained until death. They were members of the United Presbyterian Church and stood well in their community.

The five children who are now living of the parental family are, John B. (our subject), Thomas, Johnston, Margaret and Jane. Alexander died while a soldier in the Civil War, in which conflict the three other sons also took part. John B., of this sketch, was born in Coshocton County, Ohio, in 1889, and at the age of sixteen years began to make his own way in the world. He came to Illinois six years prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, and after spending some time in Bloomington made a trip to Texas, and on his return located in Randolph County.

In August, 1862, our subject enlisted in the Union army, becoming a member of Company G, Eightieth Illinois Infantry, which was organized at Centralia. With his company he joined the regiment at Louisville, Ky., and later participated in the battle of Perryville. He was in the Atlanta campaign, and during the conflict at Peach Tree Creek was shot through the right leg, and in consequence was confined in the hospital for some time at Nashville. Later he was removed to Mound City, Ill., where he remained until he was fully recovered, and then rejoining his regiment at Strawberry Plain, Tenn., he went with them to Greenville, that state. On his return to Nashville some months later, he received his honorable discharge, after a faithful service of three years.

After the establishment of peace, Mr. Hamilton came to Randolph County, where he has since been engaged in farming. October 1, 1868, he was married to Miss Sarah M., daughter of Stewart and Sarah (Gillespie) Burns. The father was born June 22, 1793, in County Antrim, Ireland, and the mother, a native of Chester County, S. C., was born August 3, 1802. They were married March 7, 1820, in South Carolina, and on coming to Illinois in 1830, located on a farm in Randolph County, when the country roundabout was very sparsely settled. The father departed this life in the year 1865, and the mother in the year 1890. They reared a family of twelve children, ten of whom are living, the youngest being forty-five years old. Three of their sons, James G., David P. and William G., served in the late war, and the father was a soldier in the War of 1812. Mr. and Mrs. Burns were members of the Associate Reformed Church and were classed among the earliest settlers and well-to-do people of this locality.

Mrs. Sarah M. Hamilton was born April 19, 1841, and has become the mother of two children, Sarah Etta, now the wife of William H. Fulton, and William John, who resides at home. The estate of our subject comprises eighty-six acres, which is the old Burns homestead, and the house which the family occupies was built fifty-one years ago. He devotes his attention to mixed farming, and in the management of his affairs shows that he is possessed of good business talent, and at the same time has proved himself invaluable in the upbuilding of his township. Our subject and his wife are members of the United Presbyterian Church at Tilden, and Mrs. Hamilton is an active worker in the missionary society, in which she has held the office of President for two terms. In politics Mr. Hamilton always votes with the Republican party.

The brothers and sisters of Mrs. Hamilton are, Eliza F., now Mrs. John McDill; James G., who married Mary M. Edgar; Samuel, who married Nancy Cooper; Nancy L., the wife of William B. Taylor; Joseph, who married Mary Lewis; John S., now the husband of Hannah McMillen; Archie, who married Mary B. Hyndman; David P., who married Jane Roseborough; and William G., who married Josephine Tovera.

The Burns family holds a reunion every year, and their sixth annual celebration took place at the residence of our subject October 14, 1893, when a goodly number of the family were in attendance. A double interest was attached to the meeting, inasmuch as it was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton. After an excellent and bountiful dinner, James G. Burns, in behalf of the donors, tendered numerous valuable wedding gifts to the couple, who in return responded in a pleasant manner. After a most enjoyable time the company adjourned, deciding to meet the following year at the home of Mr. Hamilton.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

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

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