Monday, February 2, 2009
Louisa Ward Hamiter's Lone Tombstone
Louisa Ward Hamiter, wife of David W. Hamiter, was born on November 29, 1830 in Alabama and died on May 14, 1870 in Scott County, Mississippi. She was only 40 years old. Her tombstone stands alone, with no other family members buried near her in Eastern Cemetery in Forest, Mississippi, located in Scott County. Louisa's husband, David, died on May 7, 1892, and is buried in the Houston Cemetery in Chickasaw County, Mississippi near one of their children.
Louisa and David Hamiter were likely married in Alabama, since the U. S. Census of 1850 shows Louisa, 19 years old, and her husband, David, 31, living in the Southern Division of Pickens County, Alabama. Their only child, a son, Everitt N., had been born the year before in Alabama. According to the census, Louisa was born in Georgia, and her husband had been born in South Carolina. David worked as a "warehouse keeper," and their real property was valued at $1,400. Although most of the Hamiter's neighbors were farmers by occupation, two nearby neighbors were merchants, and it is likely that David Hamiter worked for one of these individuals. By 1860, Louisa and David were parents of three children, Everitt N., 11, John W., 7, and Martha M., 2. They were still living in the Southern Division of Pickens County, and they received their mail at the Vienna, Alabama post office.
At a time I have been unable to determine, but sometime between 1860 and 1870, Louisa and David Hamiter moved their family from Pickens County, Alabama to Scott County, Mississippi. By the time the U. S. Census was taken in 1870, Louisa had already died, and her husband was living with two of their three children in the Hillsboro Community, where he worked as a schoolteacher.
I was unable to locate David W. Hamiter again on a U. S. Census, so I am uncertain if he ever remarried. I did, however, find one of the children from Louisa's marriage to David. In 1880, John W. (William) was shown on the U. S. Census taken in Lowndes County, Mississippi, as a dry goods store clerk living in Newton, Mississippi. William resided in the household of T. H. Ottenstein, a 22 year-old Bavarian-born store clerk. Because of the Hamiter family's German origin, Ottenstein may have been a cousin. The two men lived adjacent to Thomas Clark, shown on the census as a "store owner," and Clark may have been the owner of the dry goods store where the two young men were employed.
The surname of Hamiter is an uncommon one in Mississippi today. While the Hamiter family continued to increase in size in Pickens County, Alabama during the 1800s and well into the twentieth century, only a small portion of those families migrated elsewhere. The families who did move from Alabama, however, seemed to move westward into parts of Louisiana and Arkansas and further north into Indiana and Illinois.