Biography of Nathaniel Hamlin
Audubon County, IA Biographies


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NATHANIEL HAMLIN. — It is a privilege that many years hence will not be vouchsafed to men to hear the history of pioneer days from the lips of the worthy old pioneers themselves. Nathaniel Hamlin, the first settler of Audubon County, Iowa, was born in Lewis County, Kentucky, March 13, 1814. His father, William Hamlin, was also a native of Kentucky, and was one of the first settlers of Lewis County. His grand father, John Hamlin, of Scotch descent, emigrated from New Jersey to Kentucky. His mother was Mary Smith, a daughter of James Smith, Esq., a native of England, a sailor by occupation. After her marriage to William Hamlin they settled in Lewis County, Kentucky, and there dwelt until the death of William Hainlin, which occurred in 1836 the wife arid seven children surviving. Some years after her husband’s death Mrs. Hainlin came to Iowa, and made her home with her son Nathaniel. She died at the advanced age of 100 years, one month, and a few days. Nathaniel Hamlin was married in Vermillion County. Illinois, April 9, 1840, to Margaret Poague, daughter of Ellen and Margaret (Terrill) Poague. Mrs. liamlin was born in Greenup County, Kentucky, August 12, 1824, but when she was two years old her parents removed to Vermillion County, Illinois. Nathaniel and Margaret Hamlin are the parents of twelve children—Mary M., wife of Isaac Thomas; Hannah M., wife of C. C. Hawk; Sarah H., wife of B. F. Thomas; Malinda C., wife of William Radcliffe; William Allen, married Florence A. Lewis; Martha J., wife of E. S. Calph; Eliza (deceased); Susan P., wife of John Y. Plantz; Clarinda H., wife of John M. Allen; Nathaniel D. married Elva Crane; Fernando B., married Emma E. Kilworth; Robert E., married Sarah Wheeler. Mrs. Hamlin's grandfather, Robert Poague, was a native of Scotland, and her grandmother, Rebecca Poague, was born in Ireland. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Hamlin settled in Vermillion County, Illinois, and there resided until 1844; they then removed to Mahaska County, Iowa, and lived there seven years. September 10, 1851, they came to their present farm - being the first actual settlers in the county of Audubon. Mr. Hamlin first entered 160 acres of land, selecting that on the waters of Troublesome Creek, which is skirted by a beautiful natñral grove. To the south stretches a rich and fertile prairie, making an ideal farmland. Here the pioneer settled and planned his future home. His first house was a double log cabin of two rooms, but these two rooms had the capacity of accommodating a good many persons. This house was for many years the travelers' home, and numbers of people to-day remember the generous hospitality extended by the worthy host and his faithful wife. The first barn was erected the following fall. It and a corn crib, erected at the same time, still stand as monuments to those early days. Mr. Hamlin went to work in earnest, broke out a part of his new farm, and proceeded to place it under cultivation. He found a ready market for most of his produce, especially corn, among the emigrants who were journeying still further westward. During the years when the tide was at its height, Mr. Hamlin remembers many times when forty or fifty teams would camp in his grove on account of the high waters of Troublesome Creek. Mr. Hamlin was elected the first county treasurer, an office he held for eight years. During a part of that time he acted as recorder. He was the first postmaster appointed at Hamlin's Grove postoflice, and held the position until the election of Abraham Lincoln. He has always been an old-style Jacksonian Democrat, and was appointed postmaster under General Taylor's administration. For two years he was county supervisor. Instead of Mr. Hamlin's seeking the office it sought him, and politics was in a healthier condition than it is to-day. During the eight years he acted as treasurer of the county he kept his money in the house. On being asked by the writer if he were not afraid of having the money stolen, he replied that it was quite safe people in those days being generally honest. Mr. Hamlin built the first school house in the county, and he and one of his neighbors furnished eleven children, and paid the teacher. Judge D. M. Harris held the first court of the county in this same school house. Mr. Hamlin was fond of chasing deer and wolf, and always kept a good number of hounds for the purpose, and to this day he keeps three fine hounds for chasing wolves. From the modest beginning of 160 acres Mr. Hamlin has increased his landed estate to 1,400 acres, besides having given to each of his children from ninety to 100 acres. This in itself is a record of industry, thrift aud wise management. Mr. Hamlin has been actively engaged in feeding live-stock, and has annually shipped from one to four car loads of livestock to the Chicago markets. Although in his seventy fifth year he is sound in mind and body, and attends to all his business with the same energy and push as in younger days. He and his estimable wife have journeyed many years together, and peace arid happiness have been their reward. They have sixty three grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon Counties Iowa
W. S. Dunbar & Co., Publishers.
Chiago, 1889.