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HAMILTON'S STONE WORKS ARE AMONG LANDMAKRS
September 5, 1985


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Pix #1 - A familiar scene at the entrance of Fountain Cemetery. The arch and fence were designed and constructed by Bradfield Hamilton.

Pix #2 - Viewers will also recall the boat at the cemetery, constructed by Hamilton. It might well be termed "the boat of life on the waters of time".

Pix #3 - The home at North Union and Ash Streets where the Hamilton family lived. The stone fence surrounding it was built by Hamtilton.

Pix #4 - Bradfield Hamilton in his yard on North Union Street.

Pix #5 - The Hamilton's mausoleum at Fountain Cemetery, where the remains of the family are deposited, the repository built by Bradfield Hamilton.

Pix #6 - Della Hamilton in bed in her home on North Union Street where the last years of her life were spent.

The world is filled with wonderful creations...some by God, and others by men. One of those creations is the human mind, that through the eyes and memory, we retain what we see and hear.

Thousands of people living in Fostoria and the surrounding area, have visited Fountain Cemetery, many of them hundreds of times. By doing so, they have passed under the stone archway at its main entrance on Van Buren Street.

No one knows how many of those visitors have wondered about that unusual entranceway and how it came into existence...who designed and built it.

Like many others, I too have passed under that archway many times. I do not recall when I became aware that a man by the name of Bradfield Hamilton was responsible for not only the archway, but the rest of the stone entrance, also the stone boat in the center of the enclosure, wher flowers are planted each spring.

HOW THIS ARTICLE CAME ABOUT

Sometime in the past year or so, I promised myself to do an article about Hamilton, known to most as "Brad", about his accomplishments, family, etc. Today you are reading what is generally unknown, except by a few, discovered by inquiry. Even though some readers may have known Hamilton, only the few, mainly relatives still living in Fostoria were able to provide the interesting information uncovered.

Instinctively, I knew that Hamilton had to be a stone and brick mason of great ability to design and build such unusual objects, illustrated by the accompanying photos with today's article.

My first telephone call was to Chet Kieffer, one of Fostoria's contractors for many years. Yes, he knew Hamilton...knew he had constructed the cemetery objects...also the fence around his North Union Street home, but beyond that he knew very little about "Brad" the man, or family.

My friend Ray Coburn, past mayor, I thought might know about Hamilton. He did, and put me in touch with Mrs. Robert Corwin, 631 Woodward Ave., who it turned out was a niece of the Hamiltons. She in turn put me in touch with Mrs. Dorothy (Hampshire) Merrit, 318 W. Lytle Street, a great niece of the Hamiltons.

And so with that beginning, I was able to gather the data for today's article, for the pleasure of Potluck readers..

HAMILTON HAD BRITISH HERITAGE

Bradfield Hamilton was born in Canada Oct. 26, 1856, and died in Fostoria on Dec. 14, 1935. He was the only son in a family of four, being a twin with his sister Ann. The other two sisters were Laura and Lettie. No one seems to know the exact place of birth of the Hamiltons.

None of those interviewed for this article knew much about Hamilton's British family, except that his sister Ann was married to Sir Hugh Graham, Atholaton, holding the title of governor-general.

Among Mrs. Merritt'c collection of keepsakes about her great-uncle was a clipping from The Daily Review informing readers that Bradfield had received a Christmas present from his sister and brother-in-law consisting of $25,000 in British bonds. Bradfield's twin was known at Lady Ann.

According to Mrs. Merritt, Lady Ann was an author. She said one of her books, donated to Fostoria's McClean Library. At this point in time the book is no longer among listed volumes there.

HAMILTON WED LOCAL GIRL

Bradfield Hamilton was married to Della Jones, one of five daughters of Mr. and Mrs. John Jones, well-known in Fostoria at that time.

In later years, according to my informants, Mr. Jones had a brick house built for their residence on East Tiffin Street, the place where Clarence Huss presently lives. It is not known if Hamilton did the brick laying for that house.

As far as can be determined through my conversations with Mrs. Corwin, Mrs. Merritt, and Chet Kieffer, Hamilton's speciality was the unusual type of construction, such as exhibited in the accompanying photos...also indoor fireplaces, that were much in mogue and desired back then.

Mrs. Corwin recalls that Hamilton built an outdoor baking oven for bread and other food items, at one of the Jones' properties on Sandusky Street, where the Tom Miller family now reside.

Incidentally, speaking of John Jones family, they had a son, John H. who was better known to some of today's readers, even though he has been deceased for many years. He was the well known contractor in Fostoria, and the father of Paul, Alice, Carl and Dorothy. Paul followed in his father's footsteps and continued the contracting business started by his father.

DAUGHTER DIED AT AGE 18

The Hamilton's only daughter Amber, died an untimely death at age 18. According to informants, the death of Amber brought on a morbid condition in Della Hamilton her mother, resulting in her spending many of her last years in bed, even though she had no physical sickness. She died July 10, 1934.

Amber's death combined with the burden of caring for his wife during her last years, resulted in the death of Bradfield on Dec. 14, 1934.

In addition to the arch, fence, and boat constructed by Hamilton at Fountain Cemetery, and the fence at his residence, he also constructed several small masoleums at Fostoria Cemetery, including one for his family, shown by the accompanying photo, as well as others.

HAMILTON MASOLEUM BUILT BY BRAD

The Hamilton's family masoleum is located directly in the rear of the large holding vault (building), located close to the original part of Fountain Cemetery. Their mausoleum can be identified by the family name on it as well as the inscribed names of the three on them, also their birth and death dates.

Both Mrs. Merritt and Mrs. Corwin told me that the stones used to construct the cemetery masterpieces, also the fence around his home on North Union Street, were a variety of small meteorites, shipped here from New Jersey.

One matter I can verify is that the cemetery arch and fence was constructed by Hamilton in 1917 when Frank Kelly was service director and S.D. Newman, was cemetery superintendent.

Others who have lived in the property at North Union Street since the death of Hamilton are: The Richard Shultz family, who purchased it in 1935 after the death of the Hamiltons and stayed there until they sold it to the Lloyd Creeger chose the house as good place to raise a family and is currently updating it with alterations and improvements.

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