Thomas S. Hamilton

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
December 15, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume II

pg 196

Rev. Thomas S. Hamilton, the able and honored pastor of the Bland Street
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in the City of Bluefield, Mercer County,
was born at Abingdon, Washington county, Virginia, October 17, 1867, and is a
scion of one of the old and influential families of that section of the Old
Dominion state. He is a son of John B. and Anna (Bradley) Hamilton, his
father having been born and reared in Washington County and having there been
engaged in mercantile business at Abingdon for many years. As a lad of
fifteen years, John B. Hamilton ran away from home and followed an infantry
that went forth in defense of the Confederate cause in the Civil war. The
youthful soldier lived up to the full tension of the great conflict,
participated in many engagements, including a number of important battles,
and the bullet which wounded him in one of his hands remained imbedded in the
flesh of the hand until his death in 1905, at the age of fifty-nine years.
His widow attained to the age of seventy-three years and passed to the life
eternal in 1919, both having been devout members of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, South, in which Mr. Hamilton served many years as a steward. John B.
Hamilton was a man of fine mentality and sterling character, was a stalwart
supporter of the principles of the democratic party and was affiliated with
the United Confederate Veterans.

Rev. Thomas S. Hamilton, eldest in a family of five children, received his
preliminary education in the public schools of his native place, thereafter
continued his studies in Emory and Henry College, Virginia, and later took a
law course in historic old University of Virginia. He was admitted to the
bar at Abingdon, judicial center of his native county, and there he continued
in the successful practice of his profession for a period of twelve years.
Mr. Hamilton likewise studied medicine, and thus further broadened his
intellectual ken and practical knowledge-a fortification that has been of
much value to him in the high calling in which he is now serving. Moved by a
fine spirit of Christian stewardship, he finally decided to consecrate his
life to the ministry of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, of which he
had become an earnest member in his youth. He was ordained a clergyman of
the church in 1902, as a member of the Holston Conference in Virginia, and
his first pastoral service was on the Oldtown Circuit of that conference. He
was thus engaged one year, and during the ensuing three years was in similar
service on the Cedar Spring Circuit. He then became pastor of the church at
Wise, Virginia, where he continued his labors two years. For the ensuing
four years he was pastor of Grace Church at Bluefield, West Virginia, and the
next four years found him pastor of Trinity Church in the City of
Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 1916 he came again to Bluefield, where he has
since served continuously as pastor of the Bland Street Methodist Church. In
evidence of the high esteem in which he is held in the community and also of
the estimate placed upon him as a citizen and a clergyman, it is interesting
to record that the Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, every leading civic
organization in the city and all of the other churches of Bluefield recently
sent representatives to the annual conference of the Methodist Church with
insistent requests that Mr. Hamilton be returned to his present pastorate, to
which he was duly reassigned. He is a forceful and eloquent pulpit orator
and an able church executive, so that unequivocal success has attended his
work in his various pastoral charges. His fine intellectual and professional
attainments have heightened his influence in connection with civic affairs.
He was one of the leaders in the movement which caused Mercer County to “go
over the top” in the various lines of patriotic contribution during the
nation’s participation in the World war, he having been one of the most zealou
s of the four-minute speakers engaged in furthering such war service in the
county and having served on many committees in charge of local campaigns in
support of the Government loan, Red Cross work, etc. Mr. Hamilton was
chairman of the local committee which perfected arrangements for the
evangelistic campaign of Rev. “Billy” Sunday in Bluefield. He is a leader in
community sentiment and action , is a valued member of the Chamber of
Commerce, and of the Rotary Club, in which he holds the office of president
of the local club.

On the 26th of February, 1895, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Hamilton
and Miss Aldens Clark, daughter of Isaac Lewis Clark, a representative
citizen of Abingdon, Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton have three sons and six
daughters. One of the sons, Stokes Hamilton, served with loyalty and
efficiency as a soldier in the United States army at the time of the World
war, and received commission as first lieutenant.