Hamilton memorialized at cemetery
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 by Berneta Peeples
Sam Houston Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas dedicated the third City of Belton Historical Marker memorializing the association of General/Governor of Texas Sam Houston with the city March 2 at East Belton Cemetery.
The marker gives directions to the grave of Jeff Hamilton, "friend/slave of Sam Houston." Jeff Hamilton, the 12-year-old black child Houston purchased at a slave auction in Huntsville, is buried on the main road through the cemetery. About 50 people interested Belton history attended the dedication. Sarah Dorn read brief history of Hamilton's life. Genevive Gregg of Temple, great-granddaughter of Jeff Hamilton talked about Hamilton's life in the Houston household. He became a member of the family, she stressed. Hamilton lived in Belton and Temple after coming to Belton when Baylor Female College moved to Belton from Independence.
He was a long-time employee of what is now the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. During the 1936 Texas Centennial Celebration, at the age of 95, Hamilton made many speeches throughout the state. In 1935 the Sam Houston Chapter DRT held its April meeting at Hamilton's home to celebrate his 95th birthday. An official Texas Historical marker honoring Hamilton is on the campus of UMHB.
Saturday's program was attended by members of Sam Houston Chapter DRT, area chapters of the Sons of the Republic of Texas, Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution.
Mary Ellen Valentine, president of the DRT chapter, presided. The marker was unveiled by Les Hallbauer, who designed and supervised construction of the the three DRT markers in the city, Genevieve Gregg, representing the Hamilton family and Berneta Peeples, representing the local chapter.
The other DRT markers in the city are at sites where Sam Houston made two political speeches. One is at the corner of N. Main St. and 1st Ave., where Houston made a campaign speech when he was running for governor in 1858. The second marker is on Central Ave., opposite the Bell County Courthouse where he talked against secession of southern states at the start of the War of the Northern Invasion.