Hamiltons and Wallaces



Lancaster Co., PA and Jefferson Co., OH and South Carolina


Harriet E. Wallace



The Hamiltons and Wallaces are two of the oldest, most prominent, and most numerous families of Scotland.  Both families lived in the southern or “lowland” part of Scotland.

The ancient family of Hamilton received a grant of land for a small lordship in his domain from the Earl of Leicester.  Their coat of arms indicates a close connection with the family of the Earls of Leicester. It is from this family that the Scottish Hamiltons are descended.  Many of them were influential in the courts of England and Scotland maintaining very large estates.  They were part of the aristocracy and nobility of early English and Scottish history.  At least six members of this family were undertakers who undertook the task of accepting large tracts of land in Ulster to which they moved tenants and other Scots in the early 17th century in an attempt to plant Scottish settlements in that area.  To determine which Hamilton family in Ulster this family belongs seems almost impossible.  James Seawright felt that they were descended from Sir James Hamilton, Earl of Abercorn.  However, in 1622 the name Hamilton was one of the five most common Scottish names in Ulster, and in 1630 it was one of the four second most common names.  Many were related in one way or another.

The Wallaces descended from Richard Waleys or “Richard the Welshman”, born at the beginning of the 12th century, who went north from England and Wales with his friend, Waiter, son of Alan, who became a steward to King David I of Scotland; hence Waiter’s surname became Steward or Stewart.  Richard of Wales became known as Richard Waleys and eventually with changes over the years, the name became Wallace.  The first tract of land granted to Richard was in Ayrshire and was eight miles long and three wide.  Richard was the great-great-grandfather of the Scottish hero, Sir William Wallace.

Our families of Hamilton and Wallace migrated from Ulster to colonial Pennsylvania with the flood of Scotch-Irish who left Ulster in the 1720’s to escape religious and economic oppression.  Although Penn’s Quakers believed in religious tolerance, they did not wish to have these “Strangers” amongst them, and urged them to go far away to the frontier. Here the Scotch-Irish established their free schools and Presbyterian churches.  It was this tough, hardy, broad-shouldered, strong minded breed who developed the frontier and pushed it farther west.  It was they who provided protection for the Quakers against the Indians, who were the most ready to fight for freedom when the call came from Boston for the Revolutionary War, and who gave us our civil rights and life and government as we know it.  They with the Germans established Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1729.

William Hamilton (d. 1781) was in Lancaster County by 1733.  According to dates on his tombstone he was about 13 at that time.  It is believed that he had three brothers, John, Hugh, and James, and two Sisters, Ann and Mary.  Mary is mentioned in his will.  All were born in Northern Ireland.  He married Jean(Jane) McIlwain, and they had seven children. The two of special interest to our Wallace family are William (d. 1840) and Ann.  William Hamilton (d. 1781) was a land speculator and farmer and had extensive land holdings in Leacock Township.  His home property was directly east of the Leacock Presbyterian Church.  On 5 October 1745 he was appointed Coroner of Lancaster County.  In 1767 he purchased the Three Crowns Tavern (inn) on the Duke of Cumberland Road near the Church. He was prominent in the affairs of the County and of the Church.  He died 17 October 1781 and his wife, Jean, and son, Hugh Hamilton, were his executors.

When the Revolutionary War broke out, William Hamilton (d. 1781) was overage to be a volunteer, but his sons were ready to defend freedom and individual rights.

James Hamilton, son of William, studied medicine with Dr. Shippen in 1774.   As soon as he heard of the battles near Boston, he returned home and raised a company of volunteers who elected him Lieutenant.  He fought in the battles on Long Island, around New York City, and across New Jersey where he was taken prisoner of war.  In Stirling’s division he crossed the Delaware on Christmas Eve, 1776, and participated in the capture of the Hessians.  By this time he had become a captain and on December 10, 1778 was promoted to Major.  Through these battles he became one of General Washington’s favorite officers.  He then participated in the important battles in Virginia and the Carolinas and was present when Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown.  To him were given the honors of planting the Stars and Stripes on the ramparts and of receiving the flag that Cornwallis surrendered.  He remained in South Carolina after the War where he married Elizabeth Lynch, daughter of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence from that State.  Their son James Hamilton, served as a major in the War of 1812 and was elected Governor of South Carolina in 1830.  He became known as “the Great Nullifier” He later moved to Texas where he fought in its war with Mexico and still later received other honors.  This branch of the family remained in the South.

William Hamilton (born about 1747 and died 1840) served ably and well in the Revolutionary War, and a DAR marker has been placed at his grave in the cemetery of the first United Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Ohio.  Like his father, he was a land speculator and had extensive land holdings.  On the death of Hugh Hamilton in 1804 and Jean (McIlwain) Hamilton Wilson in 1808, William became successor executor of his father’s estate.

He married Maria Barbara (  ?  ) and they had five children, among them, Mary, born about 1770 and died about 1861, and William, born about 1770 and died about 1870.  In 1809 he decided that he wanted to join the members of his family who had moved west to Jefferson County, OH, and he turned his appointment as executor of his father’s estate over to his nephew, John Hamilton, son of his brother, Robert.  Soon after that William and Maria Barbara did move to Jefferson Co. and purchased land in Steubenville and Knox Township.  In August of 1820 they gave son, James, land in Steubenville for $2.00.  Maria Barbara Hamilton died soon after this, and on 18 January 1824 William married Mrs. Mary Drennan.

They had two daughters, Sarah and Mary.  On 1 March 1833 William and Mary Hamilton gave 160 acres in sect. 28, T. 10, R. 3 to William and Mary Wallace for “love and affection” and $1.00. After William Hamilton died in 1840 his wife, Mary, lived on the family estate the remainder of her life with daughter, Sarah, who had married Rutherford McClellan. Daughter, Mary Hamilton, never married, and she, too, lived with her sister, Sarah, until her death.

William and Jean (McIlwain) Hamilton’s daughter, Ann, married James Wallace.  They lived in Lancaster County on land owned by her father. They had 11 children, among them Hugh, John, and William.  It was William Wallace who married his cousin, Mary Hamilton, and eventually brought his family to Jefferson County.  John Wallace also married a cousin, Ann Hamilton, daughter of Ann (Hamilton) Wallace’s brother, John.  They, too, moved to Jefferson County.  In his will William Hamilton (d. 1781) left Ann (Hamilton) and James Wallace the land on which they lived so long as Ann lived.  On her death it was to be sold and the proceeds divided among her children and her husband.

William Hamilton (d. 1870), brother of Mary (Hamilton) Wallace, was a prominent physician in the early days of Jefferson County.  He started the college that was built in Richmond.  He married Margaret Norton 12 March 1812, and they had five children.  During his live he lived in Steubenville and Mount Pleasant where he and Margaret are buried in the Seceder Cemetery.

Mary (Polley) Hamilton and William Wallace were married in Lancaster County, PA.  Four of their children were born in Pennsylvania, including William, James, John, and Hamilton.  John lived just over ten months and is buried near his Great Grandfather Hamilton in the cemetery of the Leacock Presbyterian Church.  Six of the children, George Washington, Sarah, Hugh, Ann, Rebecca, and Elizabeth were born in Ohio.  William Wallace died without a will.

Hugh Wallace was born in 1819 at the family home in Jefferson County, Ohio.  On 13 May 1841 he married Martha (Stone) Ellis.  She had had two sons by her first husband, William and Reuben Ellis.  Hugh and Martha Wallace had eight children.  In 1865 she died of breast cancer. On 13 June 1868 Hugh Wallace married Lydia Burris. They had two daughters, Eva and Carrie.  Lydia died in July 1874.  On 12 May 1878 Hugh married Mary E. Welsh in Van Wert County, and she brought a long, involved suit against him before the year was out for his ill treatment of her.  On 11 September 1868 Hugh purchased the NW~, Sect. 5, T 2 S, R 3 E from John Calhoun.  On 11 February 1847 Congress had granted a patent to one John Ferguson for this land as an award for military service.  He assigned it to John Calhoun who was given the patent for the land 1 July 1851 by President Millard Filmore. Hugh Wallace moved his family there about 1871, and his descendants have lived on that land continually to the present.

About 1900 there appeared in newspapers an advertisement for the descendants of William Hamilton who had given a 99 year lease on property in Philadelphia that had become very valuable.  Our families were sure this was their ancestor, William Hamilton.  As young men, my father, C. Earl Wallace, and his brother, Hugh J. Wallace, traced the family, and the one clue that my father gave me, besides a chart with names and relationships, was:  In Philadelphia they found William Hamilton never married.  In Lancaster, they found William Hamilton had married and had a family.  Indeed, this is true, except that there were at least three William Hamiltons who owned property in Lancaster County at the beginning of our Country, not necessarily related, and many in the other counties.

William Hamilton in Philadelphia was the grandson of Andrew Hamilton, prominent Colonial lawyer, adviser to the Penns, and defender of Peter Zenger. William’s uncle, James Hamilton, and son of Andrew, was also a bachelor. He designed the layout of Lancaster town and was a governor of Colonial Pennsylvania.  This family is written up in many places.  This William Hamilton was very wealthy and owned large tracts of land in Philadelphia including his beautiful homestead, the Woodlands, and some properties in Lancaster County, especially Lancaster town.  At his elegant home he entertained all the leaders at the founding of our Country and foreign dignitaries.  This Hamilton family was of English descent rather than Scottish.  So far as I have been able to ascertain there is no connection between our Hamilton family and that of Andrew Hamilton.


Ann Slutz – Sarah Grimm – Carrie Sitzler – Harriet Jackman – Albert Wallace – William Wallace – Hudson Wallace – Abraham Wallace – Eva Wyburn


Nora Wallace – Nellie Wallace –  Walter Wallace – Allice Wallace – Katie Wallace – Hugh Wallace – Nettie Grimm – John Grimm – H. Gertrude Jackman – Bertie