Kawartha Lakes Public Library Digital Archive
Theodore Thorne Hamilton Collection
Text in this Collection was primarily provided by Jim Hamilton, 2013.

Photographs, postcards and documents in this collection belonged to Theodore Thorne Hamilton.

Digital scans were provided to Kawartha Lakes Public Library by Jim Hamilton, 2013. Original photographs, postcards and documents were donated to Trent University Archives by Jim Hamilton.

William Henry Hamilton c1913
William Henry Hamilton c1913 Details
The Hamilton Family

William Henry Hamilton was the sixth child of Robert Hamilton [c1824-1865] and Jane Cullen [1828-1906], and the grandson of Alexander Hamilton.

Alexander Hamilton came to Canada from Ireland in 1832 to take up a land grant as a commuted pensioner of the British Army, in which he served from 1805 to 1817 in the 52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot, and again from 1819 to 1821 in the 8th Royal Regiment of Veterans. Alexander was at the Battle of Waterloo, for which he was granted the standard two year credit to his pensionable service. He first settled on the South Half, Lot 4, Concession XII in Emily Township. After four years, he established that this parcel of land was unfit for cultivation (it remains unused scrub to this day) and was granted the East Half, Lot 7, Concession VI in Verulam Township, on what became known as the Military Line because of the number of British military pensioners who settled there.

William Henry Hamilton, 1926
William Henry Hamilton, 1926 Details
The W. H. Hamilton Business

A brief history of William's business in Bobcaygeon is provided in Amy Ellen Cosh Memorial Bobcaygeon History by Dorothe Comber, The Bobcaygeon Independent (1972), page 26:

The south of the G.W. Taylor stores was long occupied by the Wm. Hamilton business.

Below the Lock
Below the Lock Details
The saw mill was located until 1869 just east of "Buckeye". On a Sunday some boys entered the mill and by accident started the machinery. John Ritchie was killed and William Hamilton was injured. He never fully recovered and kindly friends helped him become a storekeeper. Tupper and Thompson had the store with patent medicines. Wm. Hamilton entered as a clerk, and later took over the business which he continued until his death in 1928, aged 72.

When Irvine Junkin's store and post office was burned in 1889 he placed the post office at the back of the Hamilton store. All across the back of the store was a complete partition with postal boxes and a small opening to show the face only of the postmaster or clerk.

The post office was moved two doors south and Mr. Hamilton used the whole store. He sold newspapers, books, stationary and gifts. Miss Nora, who helped her father, continued the business in the name of her father. Her sister, Blossom, Mrs. Gordon Moore, brought in her late husband's business in 1938. The two sisters ran the two businesses until both were sold to Ross B. Forbert in 1947.

[Note: the post office actually burned in August of 1887.]

From Bobcaygeon: the hub of the Kawarthas by W.D. Thomas:

The other two stores in the Taylor block were separated by a stairway leading to the second story, where G.W. Taylor had his office. To the left of the stairway was the bookstore of William Hamilton, who sold newspapers, stationary and school supplies. The business remained in the family until after the Second World War, when Ross Forbert purchased the store for a china and gift shop. The rooms above Hamilton's store were the first location for the Bobcaygeon Public Library.

William's stationary business, which catered to the active summer tourist trade, accounts for the large number of postcards in the Theodore Thorne Hamilton Collection.

Theodore Thorne Hamilton, Endako, British Columbia
Theodore Thorne Hamilton, Endako, British Columbia Details
History of the Collection

The items in the collection belonged to Theodore Thorne Hamilton [1890-1959]. After he died, his belongings were kept by the woman with whom he had lived for several decades. She died in 1966, and the trunk containing her and Thorne's memorabilia was stored in her sister's attic, where it remained until it was unearthed by one of her grandsons, while researching his family history. We connected through Ancestry.com; he was anxious that Thorne's memorabilia go to a family member, so I [Jim Hamilton] agreed to take it.

I [Jim Hamilton] received Thorne's memoriabilia in 2013--all stored in the proverbial chocolate boxes! It turned out to be a treasure trove.

- There are a large number of family photographs and formal portraits, dating from the early 1900s to the 1950s. Some are notated; the majority aren't. I've spent several months sorting those which I [Jim Hamilton] can identify, but have hit the wall on some, and am looking to connect with people who can help me complete the task.

- There are photographs taken around Bobcaygeon in the early 1900s, including: several of young people swimming (possibly at the foot of Mansfield Street, where the Hamiltons lived); the steamer Lintonia; one of Christ Church and another of Thorne's confirmation class seated in front of it [17 May 1904].

In monetary terms, the most valuable items are undoubtedly the postcards. As noted, William Henry Hamilton's shop sold newspapers, books, stationary and gifts. He appears to have done a booming trade in postcards during the summer tourist seasons. The collection includes cards which Thorne kept as reminders of home, and others he received from his father and family. Most date to the early 1900s: views of the lake; Christ Church; the fire hall; the locks; Rockland House; lake steamers; early aerial views; etc. There are several cards obviously produced from family photographs (including Thorne's confirmation class), which appear to have been made for distribution to the extended family. There's also an exceptional packet, imprinted Souvenir of Bobcaygeon, Ont., of ten tinted postcards of Bobcaygeon which was printed in France.

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