Biography of Jesse & Curtis Hammer
Family Reminiscences

By: Dr. M. R. Hammer
(1853 - 1940)

Dr. Hammer's interest in family genealogy spanned more than 50 years. From his first interest in the subject at around the age of 25 (ca. 1880) through the publication of this "small volume" in 1930 he accumulated a large amount of Hammer family information. Here Keith W. Hammer Sr. shares with us the contents of one of the few remaining copies of his Great Grandfather's book.


NOTE: Since Dr. Hammer's Book was released long before computers and computer assisted genealogy was available this INDEX was not a part of his work. However, it may aid you in proceeding through his book.

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[040] [041] [042] [043] [These pages were missing]
[070] [071] [072] [073]

[Life History]

Start Prefix
This is an attempt to copy the book of family history presented to my father. My Great grand father Dr. M.R. Hammer published the original book in 1930. At that time he was 62 years old. I'm sure there are other copies of the book but I'm attempting to bring the book up to date.

Dr. Hammer author of the original book was my great grand father it seems he only put people in his book that he thought made him look or feel good about himself. If he had an argument with a family member they were not included in his book. He also went to great lengths to include people who were doctors, lawyers, ministers and teachers.

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Foreword written by
Dr. M.R. Hammer
Ever since I was about twenty five years of age I have been interested in our family history and have written and have now in my possession the genealogy of most of our family from Isaac Hammer to the present time. I thought I would give a genealogy of the Isaac Hammer family but I found that it would require a book of several hundred pages and outlay of considerable money and the task seemed almost endless, so I gave up. In this brief biography I am giving the genealogy of my own family and that of Henry Curtis Hammer, a first cousin of mine. In order to do so I had to give a partial genealogy of Abraham, Isaac, Elisha, Father and Uncle Henry's families. I have copied from the biography of Seth hammer by his son, T.J. Hammer. I am indebted to Dr. T.B. Hammer, Mr. A.R. Hammer of McMinnville, Tennessee, S.F. Hammer or Orosi, California, Laban Hammer, Henry Hammer, and Dr. I.A. Hammer and A.A. Hammer; I have copied from the History of the United States by Waddy Thompson and many others. Several years ago I organized an Abraham Hammer Genealogy Society. We had a number of meetings, which were all very successful. At three or four of them we had around three hundred people who were descendents of Abraham Hammer. Finally dissension arose. At the very first meeting one of Aaron Hammer's boys, W.A. invited two of his lady friends to attend and at every subsequent meeting we had members of the society determined to bring in their friends which finally disrupted this society. E.C. Hammer and some of the members of Aaron Hammer's family probably had more to do with the breaking up of the society than anyone else did.

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Our last meeting was a success. I disbanded the organization and reorganized a society with the Elisha Hammer's family descendants, but before we met E.C. hammer organized a neighborhood society to meet a few days prior to the Elisha Hammer's family reunion. In a spirit of bravado he wrote me a letter of invitation asking me to come and bring all of my friends. In the old society he was determined and did bring all his wife's relation. This was the bone of contention between the E. C. Hammer and the Aaron Hammer family and I. Where upon I issued an invitation to every Negro in Newton urging them to be present at E. C. Hammer's reunion and on the day of the reunion not a Negro was in Newton. Every one of them was in attendance at the E. C. Hammer neighborhood reunion, with about three hundred white people. It goes without saying that the Negroes had the time of their lives. I don't think I ever saw a madder people than E. C. and his crowd. In as much as he had destroyed the society that I had organized I felt no compunction of conscience for what I did. I don't think that I ever enjoyed a meeting so much in all my life as I did that particular one. Since then the Aaron Hammer family have organized a society to which no one is permitted except the descendants of Aaron Hammer. This is as it should be. Likewise the Jesse-Henry Curtis Hammer family reunion has been organized which permits no attendants except descendants of Jesse or Henry Curtis Hammer. They meet yearly at the residence of Henry Curtis Hammer. I am a member but hold no office, neither will I ever hold one. I have been authorized by the society to publish a biography of Jesse and Henry Curtis Hammer, which I am presenting in this small volume with a few reminiscences of the history of the Hammer family.
September 3, 1930

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Hammer family

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A few descendants of the late Jesse and H. C. Hammer families met at the home of H. C. Hammer Sunday, June 29, 1930, honoring Samuel L. Hammer or Portland, Oregon. At noon a basket dinner was served cafeteria style. The afternoon hours were spent informally, with group picture taken by Fred Hammer of Kellogg, and an organization of the reunion was held. Mrs. P. E. Hammer acted as chairman of the association. The reunion was named the Jesse-Curtis Hammer Association. For the coming year the following officers were elected: President Mrs. P. E. Hammer Vice-President Mrs. Margaret DeShone Secretary Miss Nina Hammer Treasurer Miss Maude Hammer Historian M. R. Hammer, M. D. Plans were made to make the event an annual affair with the next meeting on the 1st Sunday in June 1931. During the afternoon talks were given by S. L. Hammer, Dr. M. R. Hammer and Mrs. Margaret DeShone. Those present included S. L. Hammer of Portland, Oregon, the honoree; Dr. and Mrs. M. R. Hammer of Newton, Mrs. Martha E. Guthrie, Mrs. Margaret DeShone and daughter of Des Moines, representing the Jesse Hammer family. The H. C. Hammer family was represented by the following: MR. AND Mrs. H. C. Hammer, Maude, Glenn and Ira Hammer; Mr. And Mrs. P. E. Hammer, Jean, Nita, and Nina, all of Newton., Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Hammer, Bobby and Colleen, all of Kellogg. Mr. and Mrs. V. J. Hammer and sons, Vernon Dean and Carroll of Reasnor, Iowa.

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Jesse Hammer

Jesse hammer was born October 4, 1820, near New Market, Jefferson County, Tennessee. He died in Richland Keokuk County, Iowa, September 2, 1873. He was the son of Rev. Elisha Hammer, son of Isaac Hammer, son of Abraham Hammer, whose father came from Germany in 1725. He was the father of Dr. M. R. Hammer, the author of this biography.


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Sometime during the year 1725, three brothers arrived from Germany and settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Hammer was the name. I do not know the given name of any of them. However one of them had a son Abraham Hammer, born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in the year 1731. The son of Abraham Hammer moved to Guilford County, North Carolina, in 1760. He was the father of seven children; four sons and three daughters. He was a member of the Friends (Quaker) church. The sons were Elisha, Isaac, Abraham and John, all of whom were born in Guilford County, North Carolina. Isaac Hammer, second son of Abraham Hammer, was born in Guilford County, North Carolina, in 1764. He was married three times and was the father of sixteen children, four by his first wife. Her maiden name was Mendenhall. Their children were Jesse, Elisha, Aaron and Johnathon, and were born in Guilford County, North Carolina. He (Isaac Hammer) moved to Tennessee, Jefferson County. His second wife's name was Hannah Mills. Their seven children were born in Jefferson County, East Tennessee and were Lydia, (who became the wife of Hesakiah Morgan), Henry (who married Frances Perkins), Charity (who died in her twelfth year), Rachel (who married David Beals), John (who died at the age of 28 years, single) Nathan and Laban. His third wife was a widow, Mrs. Mary Underwood; Stanley was her maiden name. Their children, five in number were Hannah, (who married Ezekiel Shipley), William (who died at the age of six years), Jonnah (who died at the age of four), Delila (who died at the age of two years) and Isaac Aaron (this is the first time in the history of the Hammer family that a double name is given.

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Elisha Hammer was a minister in the Friends Church (Quaker) and the second son of Isaac Hammer, and was born in Guilford County, North Carolina, May 1, 1789 and moved to Jefferson County, East Tennessee, where he married Rachel Lewis. They had eleven children, all of whom were born near New Market, Jefferson County, Tennessee. They were Mahlon, Lydia, Seth, Henry, Jesse (the father of the writer, Marion R. Hammer, M. D.), Ira, Aaron, Isaac, Susannah and Polly Ann and for the second time a double name is given to a member of the Hammer family. In the summer of 1846, Rev. Elisha Hammer, with all of his family's, with six wagons left New Market, Tennessee, for Iowa. His eldest daughter, Susannah, had married Charles Janeway. She and her family remained but in 1857 joined the family, who had settled in Jasper County Iowa, in 1847. Rev. Elisha Hammer died in Iowa, May 1, 1847. Rev. Elisha Hammer spent the winter of 1846-1847 at Richland, Iowa. He taught shool during the winter in Richland, in the spring of 1847 he and all of his children settled in Jasper County at Amboy Switch. Jesse Hammer, fourth son of Elisha, was born October 4, 1820, near New Market, Jefferson County, East Tennessee, died September 2, 1873, at Richland, Keokuk County, Iowa, and was buried there. He was visiting at the home of his niece, Betsy Ann Hammer-Mills. Jesse Hammer (father of the author) was married four times. His first wife was Lucinda Hackney and they had four children. Aaron Thompson, born March 10, 1843 and died May 2, 1898 at 4:30 p.m. at the Iowa Soldiers Home, Marshalltown, Iowa. He was buried at Center church in the Friend's cemetary. Five miles southeast of Newton, Iowa. John Henry, born June 16,1845 died at Watsonville, California, April 7,1928 and was buried on the same lot with his brother in the Friends cemetery. They were both members of Co. G. 7th Iowa Calvary and fought against their native state, Tennessee.

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Jesse Hammer's second wife was Margaret Sparks (named after her aunt Margaret Mattews) born October 3, 1830 and died November, 24, 1860, at her home three miles northeast of Newton, Iowa and was buried in Swan cemetery two miles west of Lynville, Iowa, Jasper County. They had six children, all whom were born in Iowa, Jasper County. The eldest, Elizabeth Lucinda Hammer, was born June 2,1851 and died in infancy. Her remains were reburied in the grave with her mother. She was named for her grandmother, Elizabeth Sparks-Mathews and father's first wife, Lucinda Hackney-Hammer. I, Marion R. Hammer, (the writer of this sketch) was born about five miles northeast of Newton, Jasper County, Iowa on January 26, 1853. Samuel LaFayette Hammer, born July 13, 1854 at the old home farm three miles northeast of Newton, Iowa. All of the rest of the children were born at the old homestead. Samuel's address is No.2419 South East 62nd. Street, Portland, Oregon. Jasper Fremont Hammer, born April 8,1856 and died December 27, 1925 and was buried at Ottumwa, Iowa. Martha Ellen Hammer-Gutherie, born May 23, 1858 and lives in Des Moines, Iowa. East Des Moines St. No. 1528 Mary Emma Hammer-Mathews, born June 2, 1860 and died at Winfield, Kansas. Jesse Hammer's third wife was Miss Emma Woodward. They were married at Newton, Iowa, April 19, 1863. They had two daughters, Alta Hammer-Slinker, born May 13, 1864. Ettie N. born August 18, 1865 and died in infancy, buried in Friends cemetery at Center Church, five miles northeast of Newton, Iowa. His fourth wife was a widow. Jane Mills-Hammer, the widow of his nephew Mahlon Hammer. They married at Newton, Iowa, on October 20,1868. They had three children: James C. born October 20, 1869. Frank Vernon born September 30, 1871. Both died in infancy and were buried in the Friends cemetery at Center church.

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Dr. M.R. Hammer
About 1901, age about 48

Dr. M. R. Hammer, son of Jesse Hammer, son of Rev. Elisha Hammer, son of Isaac Hammer, son of Abraham Hammer, whose father came from Germany, was born in Jasper County, Iowa, January 26, 1853. He attended Iowa State University at Iowa City, Iowa Class of 1876-1877. Graduated in Saint Joseph, Missouri, February 17, 1881 from the Northwestern Medial College.

I also graduated in King College in 1889. I am a member of the Jasper County Medical and Iowa State Medical Societies.


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the writer

Dr. M.R. Hammer at the age of 62 years

Today, September 26, 1930, I am 77 years and eight months old, having been born January 26, 1853. I have practiced medicine for fifty-five years. I have been a member of the Board of Censors, Secretary, Vice-President and President of the Jasper County Medical Society, taught Physiology four years in King College at Des Moines, Iowa. Taught Physiology, Anatomy and Hygiene seven or eight terms at the Newton Normal College.

I have nine terms in the public schools in Iowa. I am a dimited member of the Knights of Pythias. I was elected Corner of Jasper County, and served two years. I have been City Health Officer, all together about ten years. I was County Physician a number of years, and am Jail Physician now having at different times served about twenty years. I am a member of all the Masonic bodies, having taken thirty-two degrees in the Scottish Rite. And eleven in the Yourk Rite, in all forty-three degrees.

I was master workman Murphy, Assembly. No. 7. K of L. from December 30,1891 to July 6 1892. By unanimous vote of the Assembly I was voted the gavil with which I presided during the term.

And, Jesse Mahlon Hammer, named after our father and his mother's first husband, was born March 10, 1874. He was a posthumous child born six months and eight days after father's death, that makes Jesse and I half brothers. He graduated at the state College at Ames, Iowa in the Engineering department, and now lives in Chicago, Illinois.


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Aaron T. Hammer, eldest son of Jesse and Lucinda Hammer was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee, March 10, 1843 and was married in Churdan, Kansas. He had one daughter Jesse. He died at the Soldiers Home at Marshalltown, Iowa, May 2, 1898 and was buried at Center Church in the Friends cemetery.

John Henry Hammer, second son of Jesse Hammer, was born June 16, 1845 in Jefferson County, Tennessee. He was married to Eliza Woodward, March 2,1867. They had nine Children: Albert T., Edward A. Lucindia, Carrie O., Martha R., William, Carl, Ferdinand and Chester. (as of 1930) Five are dead and buried at Center cemetery. The living are Albert T., Carrie O., Martha R. and Ferdinand.

Marion R. Hammer, M. D., son of Jesse and Margaret Hammer was married twice. The first time, October 22, 1876 and by this marriage were born two children. His second marriage occurred at Nashville, Tennessee, January 28, 1914, To Laura C. Tunnell, youngest daughter of Maj. A. D. Tunnell, who enlisted in Company I, 29th Mississippi Infantry, C. S. A. as a private, commanded by Col. Walthall of Mississippi. When Walthall was made a Brig. General, he promoted Mr. Tunnell to Brig. QuarterMaster. General Walthall commanded a Mississippi brigade consisting of Mississippi Infantry regiments, among them was his old 29th regiment. To Walthall and his brigade of about 1500 men was given the duty of defending Look-Out Mountain. He was surprised by General Hooker, about 1200 of his men killed, wounded and taken prisoners. The general and about 300 of his men escaped, my father-in-law was on of the latter. This was the so called battle "Above the Clouds". After this disaster, Walthall was promoted to a Major General commanding a division.


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Major Tunnell likewise became Division Quartermaster. Maj. A. D. Tunnell enlisted at the first call in the spring of 1861 to repell the invaders of his beloved South Land. He returned home in June 1865, having given more than four years service in the defense of his country. Marion R. hammer and Laura C. Tunnell were married in the Davidson County Courthouse, January 28, 1914, in Nashville, Tennessee, by Judge Bain, formerly of the 1st. Reg. Tennessee Infantry, C. S. A. Sam Davis belonged to the regiment but not to the same company.

By Dr. M. R. Hammer's first marriage were born two children. Marion R. Hammer Jr., eldest son of Dr. M. R. Hammer, was born in Jasper County, Iowa, August 27, 1878, and was twice married. He has no children. Jesse Marion Hammer, second son of Marion R. Hammer, M. D., was born in Plymouth County, Iowa, Garfield Township, October 22, 1884. He was married twice, the children Marion Emma, and Charles, were by his first wife. They were both born in Jasper County, Iowa. The eldest, Marion Emma was born in Newton, Iowa. August 6, 1906. Charles was born near Kapple station, Jasper County, Iowa, June 25, 1913 and graduated from school June 8 1928. Jesse Marion Hammer second wife was Gertrude Rempp, they were married September 13, 1921, at Des Moines, Iowa.

Samuel L. Hammer, Son of Jesse Hammer, was born on the old Jesse Hammer homestead, three miles northeast of Newton, Iowa, on July 13, 1854 and lives in Portland, Oregon, at 2419-62nd St. Southeast. He was married to Miss Phebe Minthorn at Independence, Kansas, June 2, 1875. Miss Phebe Minthorn was a graduate of the Iowa State University. At the time of their marriage she was Principal of the Indian school at the Osage Mission. Brother S. L. Hammer was the Industrial Teacher, an older sister's husband was the Indian Agent for the Osages. To this tribe, belonged our Vice-President, Curtis. His name was on the


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tribe roster at that time. My brother's wife and the agent's wife were sisters, the former the youngest of the Minthorn girls, the latter one of the elder Minthorn girls. Her second son, Herbert, is President of the United States of America. (This book was written in 1930 when Hoover was in office).

S. L. Hammer's wife, Phebe Minthorn-Hammer, and Huldah Minthorn-Hoover were sisters.

S. L. Hammer and wife, Phebe, were the parents of five children, 1 Margaret, born at West Branch, Iowa, on April 2 1876, P. O. Address 2419-62nd St., Southeast, Portland, Oregon, 2 Pennington Hammer was also born at West Branch, Iowa and Died and was buried at Kingsley, Iowa. 3 Agnes Hammer was born at Kingsley, Iowa, on July 10, 1882. She married O. J. Eskelson and they had five children. 4 Jesse L. Hammer was also born in Kingsley, Iowa, on December 22,1887, address care Myers & Frank's Fifth and Morrison Streets, Portland, Oregon. He is married and has one daughter, Jesse. 5 Laura Hammer was born at Washata, Iowa, in September, 1889 and is a teacher in the Portland schools. She resides at 2419-62nd. Street, SouthEast, Portland Oregon.

Jasper F. Hammer, son of Jesse Hammer, was born April 28, 1856, and died December 27, 1925. Three children, two girls who died in infancy and one boy were born to this union.

Dr. LeRoy Hammer was born August 17, 1886. He had one son, Aaron Edward born May 28, 1913. Dr. LeRoy Hammer graduated at the State University of Iowa in the Medical department. He enlisted in the World War and was commissioned Captain in the medical department and was decorated for bravery while in action. He now lives in Los Angles, California. Martha E. Hammer, daughter of Jesse Hammer, was born May 23, 1858 and was married to Lewis Guthrie, January 18, 1979, who died July 29, 1917. Their children were:


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Margaret Elizabeth Guthrie, Born January 16, 1881. Jesse John Guthrie, born August 4, 1882.

Margaret Elizabeth Guthrie, daughter of Martha E. Hammer-Guthrie, was married twice. The second time to Claude Roy DeShon July 31, 1915. They had a son born September 10, 1916, and died. Louise DeShon was born August 21, 1917.

Jesse John Guthrie, son of Martha E. Guthrie, was married 31,1907. They had four children: Lloyde, Everett, Jeraldine and Cleopha.


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Henry Hammer

Henry Hammer was the third son of the Rev. Elisha Hammer, whose father was Isaac Hammer, son of Abraham Hammer, whose father came from Germany in 1725. He was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee, December 15, 1817. He died at Hammer's Grove December 3, 1879 and was buried at Center Cemetery at the Friend's Church, northeast of Newton about five miles.


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Hannah Mills-Hammer

Hannah Mills-Hammer was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee, Near New Market.
She married Henry Hammer in Tennessee in the Friend's Church by the ceremony of that church on October 10, 1836. She and her husband owned one of the six Covered wagons that came to Iowa in 1846 with her father-in-law, Rev. Elisha Hammer. Her son, Enos, was born December 20, 1846, and was the first Hammer born in Iowa. She was the most beloved woman in the Hammer family. She died August 3, 1899.


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Henry Hammer was born December 15, 1817, in Jefferson County, Tennessee, and died December 3, 1879. He was the third son of the Rev. Elisha Hammer, whose father was Isaac Hammer, the son of Abraham Hammer, whose father came from Germany in 1725 and settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Henry Hammer and Hannah Mills were married in the Friends Church at New Market, Tennessee, by the ceremony of that church on October 10,1837. Hannah was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee, January 15, 1821, and died August 3, 1899 at the age of seventy-eight years, six months and nineteen days. In 1846 Henry Hammer's family joined his father and brothers in their journey to Iowa, reaching Richland, Keokuk Countu in the fall. Their children, twelve in number, were: Zachariah M. Hammer, born January 7,1839 and died March 4, 1924. Ira L. Hammer, born July 11, 1840 and died September 18, 1919. Betsy Ann Hammer, born July 20, 1842 and died October, 1917. Mahlon Hammer, born 9, 1844 and died September 6, 1864. All the above were born in Jefferson County, Tennessee. The other children were all born in Iowa. The first was Enos, born December 20, 1846 and died in the army on July 17, 1864, at Topeka, Kansas. Lucinda Jane Hammer, was born August 2, 1849 and died April 16 1893. Perry M. Hammer, born March 16, 1852 and died August 1914. Lydia E. Hammer, born September 27, 1854 and died August 27, 1913. Elisha Monroe Hammer, born March 16, 1857 and died August 31, 1874. Henry C. Hammer, born May 16, 1862 and resides three miles southeast of Newton. Elizabeth E. Hammer, born February 28, 1865 and died July 4, 1866. Mary T. Hammer. Born May 27, 1867 and died December 1, 1884.


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Henry C. Hammer

Henry Curtis Hammer, youngest son of Henry Hammer and Hannah Mills-Hammer was born in Jasper County, Iowa, on May 16, 1862. He lives about three miles southeast of Newton. He was born at Hammer's Grove.


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Henry C. Hammer, son of Henry Hammer, third son of the Rev. Elisha Hammer, whose father was Isaac Hammer, son of Abraham Hammer, whose father came from Germany in 1725.

Henry C. Hammer married Donna McBee December 1, 1881, at Grinnell, Iowa. He was the father of nine children. Edwin Perry Hammer, the eldest child, was born December 28,1882. L. M. Hammer was born March 5, 1885 and died January 26, 1886. Fred Hammer was born March 26, 1887. Glenn Zachariah Hammer was born June 2, 1892. Bertha Hammer was born November 15, 1894. Ira. L. Hammer was born February 27, 1897. Vernon J. Hammer was born March 20, 1899. Emma Maude Hammer was born May 27, 1901. Clarence Hammer was born September 14, 1903.


Edwin Perry Hammer was born December 28, 1882, at the old Henry Hammer homestead near Amboy, Iowa.

Edwin Perry Hammer was the eldest son of Henry C. Hammer, whose father was Henry Hammer, third son of the Rev. Elisha Hammer, whose father was Isaac Hammer, son of Abraham Hammer, whose father came from Germany.

Edwin Perry Hammer was married to Myrtle Swearengen on December 24, 1907. They have three children: Nina, born December 24, 1909. Nita, born December 26, 1909. Jean, born December 5,1916.


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Ira L. Hammer, (son of Henry Curtis Hammer), was born February 27, 1897, and married to Mabel Wilson on November 24, 1921. Their children are Curtis Hammer, born February 7, 1922. Kenneth Hammer, born September 1, 1927. Noma Hammer, born September 1, 1927, and died September 27, 1927 at the age of twenty-seven days.


Vernon J. Hammer, (son of Henry Curtis Hammer) was born March 20, 1899. He married Irene Hinshaw on October 28, 1926. They have two children, Vernon Dean hammer, born on March 15,1928 and Carroll Irvin Hammer born on August 27, 1929.


Clarence Hammer, (son of Henry Curtis Hammer), was born September 1903. He married Lucille Hinshaw on November 8, 1924. Their children are Bobby Hammer, born May 23, 1926, and Beatrice Coleen, born on June 27, 1930.


Bertha Hammer, eldest daughter of Henry Curtis Hammer, was born November 15,1894. She was married to R. V. Tratchel on August 13, 1919. Their children are: Leland Tratchel, born February 17,1921. Bruce Tratchel, born September 3, 1923. Maude Tratchel, born January 11, 1926. Dona Vee Tratchel, born August 1, 1929.


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In the spring of 1862, father, his brother Isaac, his nephew Jesse (son of Seth Hammer) and John Rogers, started for California in a wagon drawn by four horses; John owning two horses and the wagon, father and his brother Isaac owning the other two horses. They drove through to San Francisco. On the way out Uncle Isaac died and was buried in Nevada. When they reached Salt Lake City they learned that there were two routes to California, the northern and southern route. The northern route had plenty of grass but was infested with Indians, the southern route was not so well stocked with grass. Phillip and William Ritter, brothers who lived near Newton, was in the company and had a number of horses. They wanted to take the northern route on account of the abundance of grass. The company voted to take the southern route owing to there being less danger from the Indians on this route. Another company took the northern route the same day that father?s company took the southern route. A few days later a man, a boy and a mule joined them. Of all of the company who had taken the northern route they were the ones left. The rest had been slain, the stock driven off and the wagons burned. There were about sixty people in the company when they started. The man and boy were out watching the stock when the Indians attacked the train and they hid. After the Indians had left they found this mule, which was the only animal left, and rode across to intercept this other train. The report came back here (Newton Iowa) that father and the Newton people had taken the northern route and were all massacred, and it was many weeks before we learned the report was false. Father and Jesse and


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Mr. Rodgers, and all of them arrived in San Francisco in due time. The Ritter brothers sold their horses and came by way of Panama and New York City.

Jesse remained in California and became quite wealthy but finally died in very moderate circumstances. He was a prospector. The next February in 1863 father left California, came back by way of Panama and New York City, and arrived home in March 1863.

The Rev. Elisha Hammer owned a flour mill in Tennessee, which was operated by his sons, Seth and Jesse Hammer. Jesse, my father, became an expert miller, therefore when he came to Iowa he operated a mill near Oskaloosa, known as Dr. Warren?s mill. He then operated the first mill in Jasper County which was located at Lynnville, Iowa. It was located at the north end of main street in Lynnville. At that time there was no bridge across the Skunk River. Boards about a foot wide were laid across the dam. The patrons from the north side of the river came up the opposite side of the river and carried the grain across the walk to the mill across the river. My father often assisted in carrying the grist to the mill across the river. One day an old farmer came up with a large load of wheat to be ground. It was quite late in the evening, and father being very tried, crawled across the river planks and old farmer said "what is the trouble?" Father said that his eyes were bothering him and that he was almost blind that day. Father got up in the wagon, put the sacks upon the edge of the wagon bed and the farmer took them upon his back and carried them across to the mill. A few days later the farmer returned for his flour. Father, being up town, the owner, J. R. Sparks gave the farmer his grist of flour. The farmer said to Mr. Sparks "who is your miller?" He replied, "his name is Jesse Hammer, my son-in-law." The farmer said, "don?t you think it is very dangerous to let him cross the river and assist in getting the grain across?" Grandfather said, "Why?" The farmer said, "when I brought the grain to the mill he was so blind that he was unable to walk across on the boards." When father returned to the mill, grand-


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father mentioned the matter to him and father said that when the farmer drove up he was so very tried that he felt that he could not assist the farmer across the river with grain so he resorted to that ruse.

For my sons, Marion R. and Jesse M., I paid the initiation fees in the Blue Lodge (Masonry) and also the chapter. I bought the equity of a Taxi line and gave it to Jesse. I paid Marion?s expenses for the first year in law college which were $1200.00. This included about four trips to Oklahoma to take the bar examination.

To my granddaughter, Marion Emma, I have given two lots in the Hammer and Boyd?s addition. To her brother Charlie, I gave $50.00 on the day that he graduated from the country school. (1928 8th grade)


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My father, son of Rev. Elisha Hammer, had an uncle Jesse Hammer, who was the eldest son of Isaac Hammer, Rev. Elisha Hammer being the second son. He also had a nephew Jesse Hammer (son of his brother, Seth Hammer). He has three grandsons named Jesse after him. Jesse Hammer, son of S.L. Hammer of Portland, Oregon; Jesse Marion Hammer, of Newton Iowa, who carries mail from the depot to the Post Office, son of Dr. M. R. Hammer of Newton Iowa, and Jesse L. Guthrie, son of his daughter. Martha E. Hammer-Guthrie, of Cacy, Iowa. He has one granddaughter. Jesse Hammer, daughter of Aaron T. Hammer, One great granddaughter, Jesse hammer, daughter of Jesse hammer of Portland , Oregon.


Isaac Hammer was quite a mathematician. His friends brought him many problems to solve.

An old Quaker (friend) brought him a bundle of twigs, saying "Isaac can thee tell me how much lumber the twigs will make?"

Isaac took a wash boiler, filled it full of water and set it in a wash tub, immersed the bundle of twigs in the boiler of water, caught the over-flow of water in the tub and measured it which gave the dimensions in cubic inches showing the amount of lumber it would make.


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S. F. Hammer, Orosi, California, March 7, 1923, in a letter to me (Dr. M.R. Hammer) said in part, "on meeting your father when I was about three years old, he asked me how my sore foot was getting along?" I supposed he referred to the rattlesnake bite which happened when I was not quite two years old. I do not have any distinct recollection of any person prior to that time. I have been told of his having taken turpentine into his mouth and sucking the poison from the wound and that your brother Thompson was so enraged that he took a hoe and chopped the snake to pieces. (The reason my brother Aaron T. was so enraged was due to the fact that a few months before he had also been bitten by a rattlesnake, on the right wrist. Father followed the same method that he did with his nephew and neither of the children suffered any bad side effects). "But I never really got acquainted with your father until I became a man. In the spring of 1869 when he knew I was aiming to go to Nevada and California, he asked me to take certain messages to my brother Jesse, who was then married and living in Dayton, Nevada. You will call to mind that your father, uncle Isaac, who died near Austin, Nevada, reached California. On the occasion referred to above, your father also gave me some wholesome advice.

As early as the American Revolution, the Society had in this country at least one Hammer family and each succeeding generation to the present time have been Friends. As you know our grandfather Hammer started to preach at the Grove which is now called after his name and that neighborhood has been one of the most moral communities in Jasper County.

I have written you a few things about your father, who was instrumental in saving my life in infancy and whom I learned to love in my early manhood and whom I expect to meet again in that Heavenly Home.

Sincerely your cousin,



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When father and Uncle Seth were operating a flour mill in Tennessee for their father they often shipped flour to New Orleans down the river on a flat boat. They would sell their cargo, also the boat in New Orleans. On one occasion they formed a partnership with seven or eight other men and loaded the boat with flour and other products. The first day down the river one of the partners became very disagreeable and quarrelsome. They stopped at a small village to get some supplies. Father, who was in charge of the expedition, sent the disagreeable man up town for some supplies. As quick as he was out of hearing father made it up with the partners that each one of them should meet him separately and tell him that he looked very badly. The result was that he became quite ill. Father proposed that the partners buy him out, which proposal he accepted and returned home. They went on to New Orleans and sold out their products and their boat at a good profit and returned on the steamboat, finding their partner had fully recovered.

Those leaving Tennessee for the Territory of Iowa in 1846, according to best obtainable information after careful research, comprise the following: Grandfather Rev. Elisha Hammer and his wife, Rachael; his sons, Seth and his wife, Elizabeth, whose family name was Hackney; Nancy, Rachael, Jesse Mills, children of his first wife, deceased (family name, Janeway), Benjamin Janeway, having been left with his maternal grandfather, Benjamin Janeway; Henry and his wife, Hannah, whose family name was Mills, and their sons, Zachariah, Ira, Mahlon, and daughter, Betsy Ann; Jesse and his wife, Lucinda, and their sons, Aaron Thompson and John Henry; Ira and his wife Sarah, and their daughter, Mary Jane; Elisha, Polly Ann, Aaron, Isaac, and grandson Mahlon, the latter five unmarried. Mahlon, the eldest son, and Lydia, a younger daughter, died and were buried in Jefferson County, Tennessee. Aunt Susannah Hammer-Janeway, wife of Charles Janeway, and family remained in Tennessee, coming to Iowa in 1857.


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Laban Hammer and Dr. M.R. Hammer from an old tin-type taken January 26, 1887, Being Dr. Hammer?s thirty-fourth birthday.

Laban Hammer was the youngest son of Isaac Hammer and his second wife, Hannah Mills-Hammer. Laban Hammer?s grandfather was Abraham Hammer, whose father came from Germany in 1725. Laban Hammer liver for many years At Le Grand, Iowa. He died and was buried in the Friends Cemetery there.


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"Battle of Guilford Court House". Green, after resting and recruiting his army, returned to North Carolina to give battle to the enemy. He met Cornwallis at Guilford Court House near the site of Greensboro, on March 15, 1781.

Though Green now had a larger army than Cornwallis could muster, a great part of his force was militia.

After a gallant fight the American line was forced back; yet the British had suffered more than the Americans, losing six hundred men while the Americans lost only four hundred.

Green, not knowing that the advantage was on his side, ordered a retreat. As Cornwallis retained the field he claimed the victory, but his army was so badly shattered that he hurriedly withdrew to Wilmington. As a result, all the state except that town was recovered by the Americans.

The battle of Guilford Court House was one of the severest of the Revolution, and it had a most important effect. Cornwallis could not remain in North Carolina after this battle, and he could not return to South Carolina except by going to Charlestown by sea, so he moved to Virginia.

He left behind him states yet unconquered, and he entered Virginia with forces too weak to cope with Washington."

As we all know, Abraham Hammer, son of the German Emmigrant, was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in 1731 and moved to Guilford Court House, Guilford County, North Carolina, in 1760. His second son, Isaac Hammer was born there in 1764.


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Isaac Hammer was my father's grandfather, and was in his seventeenth year when the battle occurred. He was near enough to hear the din of battle and, no doubt, visited the battle field shortly after it had finished. He seemed to have some difficulty with a British officer and I think it must have happened about this time.
My first cousin, T.J. Hammer, in his biography of Seth Hammer, put it about three years earlier which would make him only fourteen years old, and he further says that he was about eighteen years old when it happened. I have always understood that it occurred just before or after the battle at Guilford Court House, which was April 15, 1781, and Isaac Hammer was seventeen years old.
T.J. Hammer says an incident occurred in the early life of Isaac Hammer, which will be of interest to his descendants. "During the war of the American Revolution, about the year 1778, (1781 my date M.R.H.) the Tories impressed Isaac into the British army. He was about eighteen years of age at that time (born in 1764, he would only be fourteen years old M.R.H.) and being a Quaker, he refused to serve. For such refusal he was struck over the head with a sabre, the scar of which as a memento of his moral heroism, he carried through life. Finally, through the entreaties of his mother, together with his youth and doubtful value as a recruit to the Tory army of George III, he was released, to the great joy of his noble mother and to the satisfaction of his friends, as well as his own." Dr. Isaac A. Hammer told me that his father, Isaac Hammer, was a hatter and fuller by trade. He said that his father (son of Abraham, whose father came from Germany in 1725 never used profanity, tobacco or liquor, nor did any of his children except the Doctor smoked tobacco, and he said he used it to keep him from becoming heavy like his brother Henry, who weighed over three hundred pounds.
Isaac Hammer, who was born at Guilford Court House, North Carolina, in 1764, with his family, including his son,


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This page refers to page 32


Elisha, father of Jesse Hammer (the latter being my father) moved over the mountains to Tennessee; which territory extending from the mountains to the Mississippi River had once been a single county of North Carolina, and which territory that patriotic state had deeded to the general government, thus making it a part of the Public Domain, some years before it became the great State of Tennessee.
Remaining in Tennessee a number of years, Isaac Hammer moved to Anderson, Indiana, where he died.


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Thomas J. Hammer, in his Biography of Seth Hammer Page (1) says:

"Elisha Hammer was a ministerr of note in a religious denomination, oniciany known as one Society of Friends, better known now as Quakers. As a matter of information to those who may read this volume, I will state that Elisha Hammer was about the only preacher in that part of the South who would freely speak against slavery, before the war, with safety. The Friends' well known anti-war principles, no doubt, accounted for his Southern passivity.

Grandfather Hammer's testimony against slavery was not political; but wholly humanitarian, therefore he proclaimed earnestly with all the eloquence God have given him that the "oppressed shall go free." Finally, when he left impressed that his ministry in the South was at an end and fearing that some of his posterity, through marriage, might become identified with slavery, concluded to emigrate to the free North, deciding to move to the territory of Iowa, which decision was carried out in 1846. In testimony of the influence of the Friends, or Quakers, on the the thought of the citizens of Tennessee, Iwill state that the first abolition paper in the United States was published in Tennessee." I will add that he had another reason for leaving Tennessee. He felt, as every one else did, that a conflit between the North and South would happen on the question of slavery.


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Henry Hammer, son of Isaac Hammer, was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee. He was the largest man in the Hammer family. He weighed more than three hundred pounds. He moved from Tennessee to Missouri, and thence to Iowa. He had a remarkable memory. This characteristic was true of all the elder members of the Hammer family, and is yet quite common among the younger members. Owing to his weight he was unable to perform manual labor, hence he visited aroung among the family and entertained the younger members of the different families by telling them historical stories. I pride myself on being a fairly, good Napoleon scholar. When I was a boy and he was visiting at our home I used to sit beside him and listen to him relating incidents in Napoleon's life, all of which in after years I found that he had repeated historically correct.
Dr. Isaac A. Hammer, a brother to Henry, hence the son of Isaac relates the following story: The father, Isaac Hammer, was relating a story regarding the accidental death of a gray horse. Henry remarked "I remember that quite well father." His father replied "is thee quite sure that thee remembers it, Henry?" That Happened just four years before thee was born. Dr I.A. said that he believed that he had the best memory of anyone in the Hammer family except his brother , Henry.
After Uncle Henry had moved to Iowa, notwithstanding his size, he often rode horseback. On day going to the market with a basket of eggs on his arm, riding a horse called "Rock," which was blind in one eye, the horse became frightened and shied to one side causing him to drop the basket of eggs.


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It is said that he never used profanity nor tobacco in his life. Neither did his father or grandfather before him but he came near to using profanity when he said "Sarn thee Rocks, I have a notion to guage out thine other
eye." I think he was the most welcome visitor of anyone whoever visited our home.
He had a son, Henry Hammer. His brother, Elisha had a son, Henry, and the latter had a son, Henry. His nephew Ira, had a son, Henry. His brother, Dr.
I. A. Hammer, was the youngest son of Isaac Hammer, whose father was Abraham, son of the German. He has the distinction of being the first member of the family of having a double name, Issac Aaron. He was probably the most able man in the Hammer family. He graduated in medicine and received the degree of M.D. in his twentieth year. He wore a very heavy beard and his age was never questioned. He studied afterwards for the ministry and was ordained a minister in the M. E. church. He read law and was admitted to the bar. He never entered the ministry as a profession, neither did he practise law. Most of his life he spent in the practise of medicine at Newton, Clyde, Des Moines, and Colfax, Iowa. He then moved to Chicago and practised medicine in Chicago, making his last call January 1, 1895. He returned home about 11:00 o'clock, lay down on a couch and said to his wife, "I am very tried, will you bring me a drink?" When she returned he had passed away. He never used profanity, alcohol drinks, but was the first of the family to use tobacco.
Captain Elisha Hammer was Dr. M. R. Hammer's uncle. He was the son of Rev. Elisha Hammer, whose father was Issac, son of Abraham, whose father came from Germany. Elisha Hammer came to Iowa from Tennessee in the caravan with his father in 1846. He read medicine and was the medical director for a caravan which crossed the plains from Iowa to Pikes Peak. He was a civil engineer and surveyed much of the land in and adjacent to Newton. He was deputy clerk in several of the county offices in Newton, Jasper County.


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He was elected Treasurer of Jasper County. He was a man of unbounding generosity. No man in trouble ever approached him whom he did not try to relieve. When he was treasurer of Jasper County, a great many taxpayers who were his friends were unable to their taxes. When he retired from office several thousand of those tax receipts were found but marked paid on the books, thus, he become a defaulter, which deficit was paid by my father. The county never lost one cent by the transaction. A Newton man relates an incident that illustrates Elisha Hammer's generosity, and his sympathy for those who were in trouble. This man's father was one of Jasper County's pioneers. He bought a farm that was mortgaged, and came near being ruined by it. The mortagage was nearly due, and he hesitated about buying on that account, as it was almost impossible to make loans. The holder of the mortgage urged him to buy the place, and assured him that he could have all the time that he wanted in which to pay the debt. However he at once assigned the mortgage to a friend who began foreclosure as soon as it was due. When Elisha Hammer heard of this outrage, he became furious and advanced the money to pay the debt and thus foiled a villainous conspiracy.
The above Jasper County pioneer's son made the above statement to me in his own hand writing. He also mentioned to me the fact that Uncle Elisha had defaulted, and notwithstanding the fact that he was a life long resident of Jasper County, he had never heard that my father had made up the deficit. I told him to never again to refer to Elisha Hammer as a defaulter, as my father had paid the deficit and the County had not lost one penny by the transaction. If it had not been for Elisha Hammer his father would have lost his home; a farm in Palo Alto township.
Another instance of ingratitude, I will relate: A farmer in Buena Vista township whose taxes Uncle Elisha had marked paid and also trusted for a store bill of $100.00 which he never paid, said to me one day, "Your Uncle Elisha was a very generous man and might have been very wealthy,


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With the opportunities that he had. Draw your own conclusion. I have about concluded that it does not pay to be a good fellow.

G. W. Guthrie tells the following story: I was passing a small brick house located on the northwest corner of the post office lot, the brick house was used at that time as a county office building by Captain Elisha Hammer, and I saw him open the north door and he had one of Jasper County's most prominent citizens by the coat collar and giving him a shove and a kick, landed him in the street.

Elisha Hammer organized Company G, 7th Iowa Calvary and commanded the Company for about two and a half years, and then resigned. They served in Nebraska and Kansas. The Company was organized in March 1863, and went to Iowa City, and were in training until August. From Iowa City they went to Omaha and served three years in Nebraska and Kansas guarding the different points from the Indians.

After Elisha Hammer returned from the army he moved to Oswego, Kansas. He lived there for a number of years and then came back to Des Moines. He was married twice. His last wife was a Taylor, a relative to Governors Bob and Alfred Taylor of Tennessee. Bob was elected on the democrat ticket and Alfred afterwards on the republican. He lived in Des Moines for some time and after the death of his last wife, he went to the Old Soldiers' Home in Marshalltown and died there, and was buried in the Friends cemetery at Center Church.

Up to this time there had never been a member of the Hammer family in the Masonic order. His brothers, Aaron and Jesse soon became members of the order, the latter being my father. Their uncle, Dr. I. A. Hammer, also became a member of the Masonic order. Up Hammer, also became a member of the Masonic order. Up family in the Masonic order.

Elisha Hammer organized Company G, 7th Iowa Calvary in Newton, Iowa, in March 1863. He was elected Captain


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And his first cousin, also his brother-in-law (they had married sisters) Job Bales was elected Lieutenant. Enrolled in the Company were his nephews, Enos, Aaron T., John H., and I. L. Hammer. A. T. was Co. Clerk, the others were non-commissioned officers. They all returned safely home except Enos, who died at Topeka, Kansas with Nostalgia (homesickness).


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Henry Hammer; son of Isaac Hammer. Whose father was Abraham Hammer, whose father came to America from Germany in 1725, was born in Jefferson County Tennessee in 1801. He died in 1874 and was buried in Adamsons grove cemetery, Jasper County Iowa.

He was an uncle of Jesse Hammer, and a brother to Dr. Isaac A. Hammer.


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Rev. Elisha Hammer, son of Jesse Hammer, who was the oldest son of Isaac Hammer by his first wife, whose maiden name was Mendenhall, was born in Guilford County, North Carolina, removed to Henry County, Indiana to a town name Spiceland. Rev. Elisha Hammer was a minister in Friends Society, he helped to found the Quaker Academy at Spiceland. His father, Jesse, was the oldest son of Isaac and our grandfather Rev. Elisha the next oldest or second son. I do not know how many children he had, however, he had one son by the name of Newton Hammer who was born in Henry County, Indiana and died there. Newton Hammer had one daughter and four sons. I do not know the name of the daughter. The four sons were Dr. T. B. Hammer, Dr. Nathan Hammer, Milton Hammer and Frank Hammer. All were born in Henry County, Indiana. Dr.

T. B. Hammer came to Iowa in 1885 and began the practise of medicine at Milo, Iowa. Moved to Indianola, Iowa, in 1888, moved to Des Moines in 1890 where he practised medicine until his death, which occurred in his seventy-fourth year, December 19, 1922 at Des Moines, Iowa, and was buried at Indianola, Iowa. I got most of the dates of our early family from Dr. T. B. Hammer, who in turn got them from his grandfather Rev. Elisha Hammer. I will mention that we had a number of doctors in our family. The two above mentioned, Dr. LeRoy Hammer, (son of Dr. J. F. Hammer), Dr. J. F. Hammer (my brother), Dr. M. R. Hammer (myself), my first cousin Dr. J. F. Janeway, who recently died at Stillwater, Oklahoma, Drs. Joel and William H. Booth of Lebanon, Oregon, who are also my first cousins, the latter being deceased. Dr. Uncle Elisha Hammer and Dr. I. A. Hammer (my great uncle).


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We have had about one hundred teachers in our family and about forty preachers.

The Rev. Elisha Hammer of Spiceland, Indiana and the Rev. Elisha Hammer who came to Iowa in 1846 were grandsons of Abraham Hammer. Their fathers were brothers.

The elder brother was Jesse Hammer and the second was Isaac Hammer. The former was the father of Rev. Elisha Hammer of Spiceland, Indiana. Consequently, the Rev. Elisha Hammers were first cousins. My eldest two brothers, Aaron T. and John H. had a birthright in the Friends church. They both died in the faith. When father married my mother he married outside of the church and was excommunicated for marrying a non-Friend consequently, the rest of the children were born out of the church and remained out, except Samuel L. who we have read married Herbert Hoover's youngest aunt and she, being a Quaker he joined the church, and all of his family were Friends. There is an unbroken chain of four generations who lived and died in the Friends faith.

When the Rev. Elisha Hammer was leaving Jefferson County, Tennessee with a caravan of six covered wagons, he learned that his son, Seth, was in debt several hundred which he paid, thus leaving no debts behind. Afterwards, he showed his confidence in Seth by appointing him administrator of his estate without bonds.

Henry Hammer, brother of Rev. Elisha Hammer, one time was punishing his son Nathan. And he said, "I am not stripping thee for what thee did but for getting caught."

The Rev. Elisha Hammer became a slave owner. At an administrator's sale a number of slaves were to be sold. An elderly negro woman went to the Rev. Elisha Hammer and implored him to buy her, which he did. He erected a cabin on his farm for her to live. He freed her and when he moved to Iowa he left her in Tennessee. She said she was afraid to go to Iowa as she might freeze to "def."


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When Rev. Elisha Hammer moved from North Carolina to Jefferson County, Tennessee, he bought a farm of two hundred and fifty acres which he sold and moved to Iowa in 1846.


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Page 8, Line 6 should read: "The son, Abraham Hammer"; the word "of" should be omitted.

Page 9, 9th line from bottom, should read "two children" instead of "four."

Page 26, 4th line from bottom should read "wash tub" instead of "wah tub"

Page 37, at bottom of page, should read: "Up to this time there had never been a member of the Hammer family in the Masonic order."

The following was on paper just like the book but it was pasted onto the page.

Page 3, eleven lines from the bottom should read others, instead of many others.

Page 18. On the authority of Henry Curtice Hammer I stated that his brother Enos was the first of the family born in Iowa. I have since learned that Seth Francis Hammer, of Orosi, California, son of Seth Hammer, was born at Richland, Iowa Dec 10, 1846, ten days prior to the birth of Enos on Dec. 20, 1846. Both are cousins of the author.

Page 22. Third and fourth lines from the top should read, Curtice Hammer was born Feb. 7, 1923 instead of 1922: and eight lines from the bottom should read, Beatrice Coleene born June 17, 1930, instead of June 27.


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Marion R. Hammer

This story of Marion Hammer is being written by his great nephew as told by his father and others. Pictures are to be of his home in Newton Iowa and a picture of him.


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Marion R. Hammer

This story of Marion Hammer is being written by his great nephew as told by his father and others. Pictures are to be of his home in Newton Iowa and a picture of him.


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Charles W. Hammer

This story of Charles Hammer is being written by his son.


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Keith W. Hammer

This story of Keith Hammer is being written by himself.


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The Life History
Dr. Marion R. Hammer

The life history of Dr. Marion R. Hammer, prominent citizen of Newton, Jasper County, is one of romance and tragedy. Born in this county, the son of very early settlers, his career has been one of strenuous action and full of human interest; but, being endowed with sterling qualities, he has successfully met and overcome many obstacles that would have defeated the purposes of others less courageous. Determining early in life to become a physician, he let nothing stand in the way of his ambition and after years of toil and self-sacrifice he attained the end sought for, becoming a successful practitioner, honored among his fellows. From this position he was stripped of all honors and subjected to such humiliation and disgrace as falls to the lot of a convict, then, to be pardoned by the governor, restored to citizenship, and again win back success and honor. He clearly belongs to that class of men made of the stuff that does not bend easily and who refuse to be downed by untoward circumstances, who, in fact, being natural fighters, thrive on opposition.

Doctor Hammer traces his ancestry back to Aaron Hammer, who was born in Celacia, Germany, from which country he emigrated to America in 1725, settling in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in which county his son Abraham was born in 1731. He adopted the Quaker religion and became a worker in that faith and the next three generations of Hammers adhered to the same. His son Isaac was born at Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, in 1764, whither the father, Abraham, had emigrated with his family. Elisha, son of Isaac, was born in North Carolina, May 1, 1789, and at an early age moved with his parents to Tennessee, settling in Jefferson County. He was a miller and owned a mill on the historic stream of Lost creek. He was a minister of the Friends church. His family consisted of ten children, of whom, Jesse, the father of the subject, was fourth in order of birth. In 1846 the Rev. Elisha Hammer sold his mill. loaded up his earthly belongings and drove overland to Iowa, bringing his wife and six sons, four of whom were married, and they brought their families; also two daughters. The Rev. Mr. Hammer came along, leaving but one member of the family in Tennessee. The Hammers wintered in Richland, Keokuk County, Iowa, where the father taught school. In the spring of 1847 Rev. Elijah Hammer came to Jasper County and settled in the neighborhood of Hammer's Grove and there he organized the Friends Church and became its first pastor, serving without pay, and there he continued to reside until his death, in 1847, and he was buried at Pleasant Plains. He was a useful man and accomplished much good wherever his lot was cast. He was a Whig and a strong Abolitionist.

Jesse Hammer, father of the Doctor, was born October 4, 1820 in Jefferson County, Tennessee. There he grew up, received what education he could in the rude schools of those early days and there he married, his wife dying in early life, leaving him with two sons. In 1846 he joined his father, who decided to leave that country since he was opposed to slavery and his views had been resented by his neighbors, and they all came to Iowa. He settled in Jasper County and was destined to become quite prominent and influential. Here he married Margaret W. Sparks, daughter of John R. Sparks, who owned a flour mill at Lynnville, of which mill Jesse Hammer later became miller, operating the same successfully for a number of years. He later became miller of Doctor Warrren's mill near Oskaloosa. He was owner of two hundred acres of land in Newton Township. He was elected the first sheriff of Jasper County, but refused to serve. His marriage with Margaret Sparks was the first of record in this County. His brother Seth was the first recorder of the County, having been elected in 1846 or 1847; another brother, Elisha, was captain of Company G, Seventh Iowa Cavalry, in the Civil war.

Jesse Hammer was married four times, his first wife having been a Miss Hackney, of Tennessee, and they were married in Jefferson County, Mr. Hammer's wedding suit having been cut out by Andrew Johnson, later President of the United States, who lived in the adjoining County. By his second wife, Margaret Sparks, was born Dr. Marion R. Hammer, of this sketch, he being their oldest child. In all, Jesse Hammer was the father of fourteen children. John R. Sparks, mentioned above, was not only known as the proprietor of the mill at Lynnville but he was also a large land owner, and at one time paid the largest tax of any one in Jasper County. He was prominent in the early industrial life of the County, having established the first flour mill, the first saw mill and the first carding mill in Jasper County, all being erected near Lynnville.

Two sons of his, William Henry and Mathew T., uncles of the subject, were soldiers in the Civil war, having served in the Fifth Iowa Volunteer Infantry; they were captured at Tunnel Hill in 1864 and incarcerated in Andersonville prison, where they died. The death of Jesse Hammer, father of the Doctor, occurred on September 2, 1873, at Richland, Iowa, whither he had gone on a visit.

Dr. Marion R. Hammer, the immediate subject of this sketch, was born January 26, 1853, about a quarter of a mile north of the Amboy school house in Kellogg Township. When he was eight years old his mother died, and his early education was neglected, in fact, at the age of fifteen he could scarcely read or write, but early in boyhood he had shown a preference for the medical profession and would not permit anything to turn him from his course, and he consulted with Dr. I. A. Hammer, a brother of his grandfather, as to the proper course to be pursued and was informed that he must obtain an education, so the boy set about to do so. Saving his earnings by working out on the farm, he attended school ten terms at Hazel Dell Academy and at Lynnville three terms. He also taught one term in the Lynnville Academy and three terms of public school in the County. In 1876-7 he entered the Iowa State University and took his first course in medicine. He studied assiduously and made a brilliant record in his studies, both in the academy and the university, and thus well equipped he began the practice of medicine at Adamson Grove in 1877. Later he located in Reasoner. In order to further fit himself for his calling, in 1880 he entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons at St. Joseph, Missouri, taking the prescribed course of medicine. Before he had finished there was a split in the faculty of that institution and a number of professors and students seceded and established the Northwestern Medical School. Of the seventy-seven students in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, more than fifty went with the new college. Doctor Hammer being one of the number and he graduated fourth in a class of twenty-seven on February 17, 1881. He was elected vice-president of the Alumni Association of the last-named institution. Following his graduation, he came to Newton, locating here in March 1881. In the spring of 1884 he went to Kingsley, Iowa, and taught in the schools there for three terms. He was first principal of these schools for one term. He was appointed professor of physiology of King College in Des Moines, which position he held for four years, and he lectured for two years on diseases of children in that college. In March 1881 he was graduated from the King Eclectic College. He taught the branch of physiology in the Newton College for seven or eight terms. As a teacher he gave the utmost satisfaction in all capacities.

On October 22, 1876, Doctor, Hammer was united in marriage with Mary Emma Dooley, the daughter of a Jasper County farmer, and to this union two children were born: Marion R., Jr., born August 22, 1878, is practicing law in Newton; Jesse Marion, born at Kingsley, October 18, 1884, is farming in Jasper County and is an optician.

In the year 1901 Doctor Hammer was so unfortunate as to become embroiled in a quarrel with a young man of Newton which resulted very disastrously, for a time checking his career, and bringing much sorrow into his life. Doctor Hammer's own story of the troube follows: The two men in question met on the public square and after a few bitter words the Doctor's opponent struck him five times in quick succession, the fourth blow knocking him to his knees; while he was still on the sidewalk, the fifth blow knocked him into the street, some distance from the curbing. His opponent then followed him up and as he approached Doctor Hammer drew a sheathed knife from his pocket and struck him with the knife sheathed, but his assailant continued to rain blows upon the Doctor's head and shoulders. The latter's opponent was a much younger and larger man, twenty-eight years of age, six feet and one inch tall and weighing two hundred and forty pounds, while the Doctor was forty-eight years old and weighed but one hundred and fifty pounds at that time, and was but five feet seven inches in height. Believing that his life was in danger and not being able to cope with his opponent unassisted, he unsheathed his knife and cut him several times or until his assailant desisted from his attack. For this he was arrested, tried and convicted of attempted manslaughter, before Judge Bishop, who was appointed to hear the case and on Friday, March 1, 1901, was sentenced to serve three and one-half years in the penitentiary. The case was then appealed and was sustained by the upper court, and on April 22, 1902, he was taken to Fort Madison by Sheriff Hook and Deputy Agnew, who showed him every possible courtesy. During the first ten months of, his term in prison he was a messenger man or "lumper," and as such was allowed freedom to go to all parts of the penitentiary; the last twenty months he was gate-keeper at the lower gate and was outside the walls every day. His wife remained faithful during his trouble and never ceased in her efforts to work for his pardon.

A petition containing over three thousand names, being one-third of the voters of the County, was presented to the governor, together with petitions from persons from various states of the union to the number of four thousand. The latter names were secured through the editor of the Blue Grass Blade, the Rev. C. C. Moore, of Lexington, Kentucky, who interested himself in the case and espoused it. These seven thousand names were presented in a petition to the governor, asking for his release, and after the men who had been most interested in his prosecution and conviction had joined in the petition, the governor acted upon it, and on September 12, 1904, the Doctor's sentence was commuted to take effect on September 15th, three days later. He had received eight months off for good time. He came back to Newton on the same train which had carried him to prison, reaching home on the 22nd of that month, just two years and six months after leaving home. When the train upon which he was returning arrived at the local station he was met by a delegation of five hundred persons, who tendered him an ovation, assuring him that they believed he had been wrongfully sentenced. On April 18, 1905, Doctor Hammer was restored to citizenship by the governor. The Doctor docs not believe that his case was properly handled by his attorney. After his return home he again took up the practice of medicine, in the same office in the Myers block, which he had retained during his absence; in fact, this has been his office since 1885. He has been very successful since his return home, enjoying a large and growing practice, and he has sent his son, M. R. Hammer, Jr., through Drake University. Doctor Hammer is independent of his practice, but he continues it because of his liking for the work. He owns a good farm near Kapple Station, as also does Mrs. Hammer. He has served as health officer of the city of Newton for two years, and he has been physician to the County jail for four years, all told; at the present time he is assistant physician to the County. He has been president and secretary of the Jasper County Eclectic Society of Physicians and Surgeons, and in 1910 he was elected vice-president of the Jasper County Medical Society. He was president of the Ringsley Medical Society and president of the Teachers Association of that institution. While confined at the state penitentiary he formed a medical society and was made its president. It consisted of five other physicians. At present he is a member of the Jasper County Medical Society, the Iowa State Medical Society and the American Medical Association. He is a dimitted member of the Masonic order, Lebanon Lodge No. 127, at Lynnville, Iowa. He is also a dimitted member of the Knights of Pythias. He belongs to the Pioneer Lodge, Des Moines Homesteaders. Politically, Doctor Hammer was reared a Republican, became a Democrat, afterwards embraced the Greenback theory, and later became a Populist, and is now a Socialist. He voted for Belva Lockwood for President, and is an ardent supporter of woman's suffrage. While he has always been an abolitionist, he is an uncompromising Confederate, and is in possession of the only Confederate flag in Jasper County. Religiously, he was reared a Quaker (Friend), became a Methodist, then a Universalist, later an infidel and now a confirmed atheist.

Past and Present of Jasper County,Iowa, Gen. James B. Weaver, Editor-In-Chief, B.F. Bowden & Co, Indianapolis, IN, 1912.

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Item in "Newton Union Cemetery History & Facts"

Source: Newton Union Cemetery Facts