CAPT. JAMES A. HAMILTON
SURNAMES: AUSTIN, THRUM,
residing on Johnson Avenue, in the Cambrian District, is the owner of twenty-one acres, all in fruit-bearing trees, which he bought in September, 1882. The orchard was then but a few months old, and comprised apricots, Bartlett pears, and French prunes. In 1887, from 537 apricot trees, 54 tons were gathered, and sold at $30 per ton—a result of which the Captain, considering the age of the trees, feels justly proud.
He was born in Portage County, Ohio, November 10, 1826. He is the son of Thomas and Almira (Austin) Hamilton. His father died before his birth, and his mother afterwards made her home in Connecticut. James was reared by Albert Austin, an uncle, receiving such school advantages as were common to the youth in those days, and also attended for three years the Suffield school. Early imbued with a desire to learn more of the world, and possessing in a large degree an adventurous spirit, he left home at the early age of eighteen years, and shipped as a sailor before the mast, at Sag Harbor, New York, on the old whaling vessel Italy. His first voyage was one of three and one-half years. Upon his return, he visited his mother, now deceased ; but in love with a life on the "rolling deep," he had not a thought of becoming a plodding landsman again. Strong, trusty, and reliable, he passed the grade of second mate, and in 1854 became master of a vessel. His second voyage was made in the Sheffield; his third, as boat-steerer on the Italy again; his fourth voyage was as second mate of the same vessel ; his fifth, as second mate of the Republic; the next one, as Master of the Prudent; then of the Charles W. Morgan, Sea Breeze, and Northern Light. The last-named vessel was partially wrecked in the North Pacific Ocean, on the twenty-second of March, 1883. Captain Hamilton received great credit for saving his dismasted ship. His last four voyages were made as master of the Emma F. Herriman, the last five years sailing from San Francisco. On the twenty-seventh of July, 1887, he was prostrated with a sickness which at the time it was feared would prove fatal. He was obliged to leave his vessel in the Japan Seas, and returned to his pleasant home, in this county.
Having recovered his usual health, he is now one of the most enthusiastic horticulturists of Santa Clara Valley, and is firmly convinced that his seafaring days are over. He has been remarkably fortunate as a master, never having lost a vessel, nor made an unsuccessful voyage. To the furthermost seas, north and south, visited by the most energetic and daring of whalers, he has taken his vessels. Combining caution with splendid courage, his career as a master is one of which he may be pardonably proud.
At the Sandwich
Islands, in 1868, Mr. Hamilton married Miss Anna W. Thrum, who was born in
Australia, of English parentage. Their three children, Edith, Augusta, and
Robert, all as yet make their home with their parents. The Captain is an ardent
Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
Pg. 625-626SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight