The Father of James D. Hamilton of Cape May


Assuming the father of James D Hamilton was living with his wife when James was born, and assuming that James actually was born in Cape Island (Cape May) as he said on his 1850 census, then we are looking for a man living in Cape May in 1818.

James' obituary said he was apprenticed at age 16 as a carpenter in Philadelphia. But his parents do not need to be living in Philadelphia at this time for this to occur.


There is this man who was in Cape May County in 1807 and 1808, but was he still there in 1818. Are there any later tax records available anywhere:

Name: William Hamilton
Residence: 1807 - Lower, Cape May County, NJ
June Tax List, page 3

Name: William Hamilton
Residence: 1808 - Lower, Cape May County, NJ
September Tax List, page 3

(found at


There is this man who was born in Cape May in 1782 and who was a mariner living in Philadelphia in 1809. Did he move back to Cape May?

25 March 1809, City of Philadelphia
before George Heyl, an notary public, came William Hamilton, of Philadelphia, a mariner, and made an oath that he is a US Citizen born in Cape May County, NJ.
He is 27, 5'9", light brown hair, fair complexion, grey eyes, scar on left little finger and near wrist of left hand.

The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Proofs of Citizenship Used to Apply for Seamen's Certificates for the Port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1792-1870

(found at

There are these men found elsewhere on other tax records. If the man in Essex County is the same as the man in Cape May, then he is not James father.

Hamilton, William Morris Co 009 Hanover Twp TX1808
Hamilton, William Essex Co 018 Orange Twp TX1811
Hamilton, William Essex Co 008 Orange Twp TX1812
Hamilton, William Essex Co 007 Orange Twp TX1813
Hamilton, William Essex Co 008 Orange Twp TX1814
Hamilton, William Essex Co 011 Orange Twp TX1815
Hamilton, William Essex Co 008 Orange Twp TX1820
Hamilton, William Essex Co 010 Orange Twp TX1821


If James' father was named William, there is this man. He was an actuary, born in Pennsylvania, with a son who was a bookbinder. But would James have been apprenticed as something besides a carpenter if he were part of this family?

Tax Rolls NJ 1827-1829
William B in Paterson, Bergen County

1830 Upper Freehold, Monmouth, New Jersey

B William Hamilton
1 male 0 to 5
1 male 10 to 14
1 male 30 to 39
1 female 20 to 29

1840 Census Philadelphia North Mulberry Ward, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Willm B Hamilton 1 male 10 to 14
1 male 40 to 49
1 female 30 to 39
1 female 50 to 60
1 person engaged in commerce

1850 Philadelphia Walnut Ward, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

William Hamilton, 60, born in Pennsylvania, actuary at the Franklin Institute
Margaret Hamilton, 50, born in Pennsylvania
Turner Hamilton, 24, book binder, born in Pennsylvania

In 1870 Turner says his parents were not of foreign birth.
Source: 1870 Turner Hamilton Census.

In 1880, Turner says his parents were both born in Pennsylvania.
Source: 1880 Turner Hamilton Census.


There is this man, a teacher born in Ireland, with an apparently small family. But he would have been only 18 in 1807, if the asylum census information is correct. Would he have been on the tax rolls at that age?

1840 Census Paterson, Passaic, New Jersey

William B Hamilton
1 male 50 to 59
1 female 10 to 14
1 female 50 to 59
1 person employed in learned professions and mining

1850 Census Ewing, Mercer, New Jersey, United States, family 227
September 22, 1850
New Jersey Lunatic Asylum

William B Hamilton, 62, school teacher, born in Ireland, insane
Source: 1850 William Hamilton Census.


Or did James D Hamilton's parents arrive in Cape May after the 1808 tax rolls? Here are other Hamiltons on the 1830 Census of New Jersey:

These were eliminated beause there was no male at the right age in the household:
Samuel, Silas, and Benjamin Hamilton.

These have not been eliminated:
Thomas in Stafford
Benjamin in Nottingham
Jacob in Bloomfield


See also Done and To Do in Cape May for James D. Hamilton

©Ed Hamilton
August 15, 2016