The Hamilton Family of North Carolina

Goodwill Genealogists Featured Family

The Hamilton Family of North Carolina

by Gordon Hamilton

The following photographs are from the Gordon family tree, and tell something of the life of Black Americans from the western part of North Carolina:  (Polk, Henderson and Rutherford Counties…)  Some chose to stay and some migrated to western and northern states around the time of World War II. The Hamilton branch of my family can be traced back to Levi Hamilton b 1815 and Annie Lewis who had 7 children:  Markus, Annie, John, Tabbie, Delia, Lee and Ellen Hamilton. (Markus C Hamilton (1847 – 1924) is my great-great-grandfather)  They became members of communities like Rutherfordton, Cool Springs, Spindale, Chimney Rock, Gilkey, Union Mills and Green Hill North Carolina. (Levi had an 8th child Dora Hamilton born 1880 with his 2nd wife Rachael ) Our (known) history spans from the early 1800’s, through slavery, emancipation and the struggles that followed, to my own family and the success we enjoy on the shoulders of those who came before us….

The first 10 photos are of the Dalton family from Polk County, North Carolina.
Taylor Nichols “Pete” Dalton was the husband of my father’s sister, Elsie Lee Hamilton Dalton, and was known to me as “Uncle Pete”. His brother, John, served in World War II and fought in Italy where he met his wife, Jina Giovanni. Black Americans were limited in their opportunities to advance in rank so we were all proud to know that he was a corporal in the US Army. He also had a “T” patch on his arm indicating the specialty of “Sharpshooter”.


1. John Dalton stateside after World War II.
2. John Dalton in younger days.
3. John Dalton as a businessman in New Jersey
4. World War II Romance
5. John Dalton, wife and kids in New Jersey.
6. Major Dalton, raised Pete and John in rural North Carolina.
7. Pete Dalton
8. Uncle Pete Dalton. Lifetime resident of Tryon, North Carolina. Civic
and religious leader.

The remaining 7 photos are of my father, Artie Hamilton, and his father and grandmother. My father was Student Body President of University High School
in West Los Angeles
in 1948. His father, Arthur, was a chef that worked
for many hotels and families in North Carolina and Los Angeles. He once
cooked for President Roosevelt at the Lake Lure Hotel in North Carolina.

(updated 29 Aug 2011)

 (click thumbnails below for full views)

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8 Responses to The Hamilton Family of North Carolina

  1. Gordon Hamilton says:


    Glad to share with you what I have learned and looking forward to hearing about the Hamiltons of Chimney Rock. I’ve sent an email to your address.

  2. sally sullivan krakow says:

    Uni High ’48 classmate: At our 50th reunion he took me out onto the dance floor for quite a spin, and we exchanged life stories…..”so far”. I was impressed with what a success he had become. Always a gentleman. I don’t know if it matters to you now, but he was also the first black student body president, and that was a big deal then.

    This is a great family history you’ve put together. Is Artie still living? I’m amazed at how many of the class of ’48 are still functioning!

    • Gordon Hamilton says:

      I remember your reunion. Dad and I played in the golf tournament in the morning and I had the chance to meet many of the people he has always talked about. Yes, he is well and living in an adult care facility in his hometown in North Carolina. My next trip there will bein April and I’ll be sure to tell him “hello” for you. By the way, he gave me his 1948 Chieftain (yearbook) and you have a very nice senior picture in it.

  3. Brenda Faye (Dalton) Craig says:


    I enjoyed looking at your photos. I am curious about a possible family connection. Do you know who Major Dalton’s parents were? Most of the Dalton family in Polk County descended from David Dalton Jr & Sarah Robinson, who were early settlers from Virginia to Rutherford Co, NC, then later settled in Polk County. I saw the online obituary for Major’s wife, Mary Sue & the fact that they lived on the same road that David Dalton Jr lived on generations earlier caught my eye. I do know there were mixed marriages in David Jr’s family, some with Cherokee natives. I descend from Thomas S Dalton, who was a brother of David Dalton Jr. I was born & raised in Rutherford County, NC, although I now live in TN. Most of my family still lives there in NC, so I still come back to visit as often as possible. The Dalton family has been difficult to research, but I do have quite a bit of history on our entire line that came from Albemarle Co, VA & settled in Rutherford County in 1780. I would love to hear back from you!

    • Brenda,

      Here is the family in 1880
      Home in 1880: Mayo River, Patrick, Virginia

      Robert Dalton 38
      Martha “Mattie” Dalton 26
      Major G. Dalton 12
      William H. Dalton 9
      James Dalton 7
      Mary L. Dalton 6
      Ida E. Dalton 3

      by 1900 Major is married:
      Home in 1900: Statesville, Iredell, North Carolina
      Major Dalton 33
      Jennie Dalton 29

      by 1920 he has a 2nd wife and children:
      Home in 1920: Tryon, Polk, North Carolina
      Major H Dalton 50
      Mary Sue Dalton 32
      Taylor Dalton 13
      John Dalton 12
      Thelma Dalton 14
      Hilda Dalton 12

      hope that helps.

      my email is

    • Gordon Hamilton says:

      I have very little information about Major Dalton lineage and glad to know that you have researched the Dalton family. Do you know anything more about Robert and Mattie? And anything more about David Dalton?

      • Brenda Craig says:

        Hi Gordon,

        I’m so sorry to take so long to reply! I do not get email alerts when a post is made here, so I have to just remember to check back occasionally to see if anything new is here. You can email me directly if you’d like. I placed my email address in the previous post.

        After seeing your reply today, I have started doing some more research on it again. I am finding some very interesting, but confusing info as well. I noticed in the earlier census reports that Major & his parents are listed as black for race. Then, in the 1920 census, he & his family are listed as Mulatto, which is what I suspected (1/2 white & 1/2 black).

        Of great interest to me is that in the 1880 Patrick Co, VA census, Robert & Mattie are living next door to Lucy Gilbert, who was age 82 & widowed. Also in Lucy’s household was Lucy’s daughter, Emily Dalton & grandchildren James W Dalton, Bell F Gilbert, Robert M Gilbert (who I figured out was actually her grandson-in-law & married to Bell) & Elizabeth Dalton. After a little research & IF I have this all correct, it appears Emily Dalton was actually Emily F Gilbert (daughter of Samuel Lafayette Gilbert & Lucinda “Lucy” Sharp). Emily married James William Dalton, the son of Coleman Jefferson Dalton & Dolly Shelton. Coleman Jefferson Dalton was the brother of Benjamin Dalton, who fathered James Lewis Dalton of the infamous Dalton Gang outlaws. Coleman Jefferson Dalton & Benjamin Dalton were sons of James Dalton & Agatha Patterson. I have long suspected the Dalton Gang descended from David Dalton Jr of Rutherford County, NC, who came there from Albemarle Co, VA. I’m still working on it, but trying to sort this all out & figure out a possible connection with Robert Dalton & those Dalton & Gilbert families he lived right next door to in Patrick Co, VA. I will let you know what I find.

        Also, I found an interesting newspaper article about Major Dalton in the Landmark newspaper archives of Statesville, NC dated 19 Jan 1904. If you will send me your email address (or simply email to mine so I can reply), I will send you the entire article, as well as more info on David Dalton Jr. He had a grandson, Robert who fits the age, etc & I’m looking in to the possibility that is your Robert. I’ll work on all of this as time allows & see what I can come up with.

  4. Thanks Gordon!

    We appreciate your effort and are happy to host this tribute to your family…..

Comments are closed.