Friday, September 27, 2013

William Hamilton, Book Seller

Here is a stereographic image, taken by A.C. Platt around 1880, of William Hamilton and his bookstore in downtown Sandusky. From about 1880 through the 1890s, William Hamilton ran this bookstore in the 100 block of Columbus Avenue. A listing from the 1882 Sandusky City Directory stated that Mr. Hamilton sold wall paper, window shades, and picture frames, besides books and stationery. For a time Peter Schumacher was in business with William Hamilton, but by 1890, Mr. Hamilton was the sole proprietor of the business again. In a closer view of the store, you can see portraits of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington in the window.

According to the historical records of Kurt Boker, housed at the Sandusky Library Archives research Center, William Hamilton was born in Ireland to Samuel and Eliza Hamilton. The family emigrated from Ireland to the U.S. in 1851, and resided at Kelleys Island in 1870. In 1878, he married Julia E. Pool, the daughter of former collector of customs, John G. Pool. They had a family of three daughters. By 1900 William Hamilton no longer ran the bookstore in Sandusky, and he was working as an insurance agent. On April 7, 1907, he died at his Decatur Street in Sandusky, following a lengthy illness. His obituary, which appeared in the April 8, 1907 issue of the Sandusky Register, reported that during the Civil War, William Hamilton had served as the clerk of the steamer Island Queen, during the unsuccessful attempt to free prisoners at Johnson’s Island. He had worked on other Great Lakes vessels as well.

To read more about the plot to free prisoners at Johnson’s Island during the Civil War, see Rebels on Lake Erie, by Charles E. Frohman, housed with the local history books at the Sandusky Library.

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