Farmer, Soldier, and Postal Carrier
William Joseph Hamilton was born on July 23, 1890 in Allenton, Michigan to John Downie Hamilton (1842-1904) and Nettie Orilla Rowley Hamilton (1852-1928). He joined three older sisters – Edith Anna (1879-1962), Florence Sarah (1881-1961) and Estella Grace (1882-1961) – and had a younger brother, Frank Ronald (1893-1955) [Norm Hamilton’s father].
His grandparents, William Bruce Hamilton Sr. (1800-1886) and Jean Downie Hamilton (1806-1890) came to Almont from Scotland in 1841 and settled in Berlin Township on Marr Road near the Wilson Farm.
His father farmed in Berlin Township until his death. After his father’s death, the family moved into Almont on East St. Clair Street. William went to work as a clerk at the Post Office. In 1916, he shifted to being a Rural Route Carrier.
Prior to World War II, William helped found the first Boy Scout Troop in Almont and was the Troop’s first Scoutmaster. One of his sisters did the same thing with the Girl Scouts.
As the country entered World War I, his brother, Frank Ronald Hamilton, was drafted into the Army and became an airplane mechanic. He was sent to France in February 1918.
William received an induction notice a couple of months later. He believed that he would not be drafted because he was helping to support his mother. However, he was still inducted into the Army in a unit of infantry and was sent overseas in August 1918. Because he was the Scoutmaster, the community held a send-off party for him.
With the end of World War I on November 11, 1918, both brothers remained in France until June 9, 1919 when they returned on the same ship, the S. S. America.
Upon arriving back to Almont, William went back to work at the Post Office but as a Rural Route Carrier and Frank initially worked as an electrician.
William married Zelma Mae Taylor on June 24, 1920 in Almont. Zelma was born November 7, 1894 in Almont to Thomas James Taylor (1866-1947) and Margaret Angeline Noble Taylor (1868-1939). Thomas was born in Almont but Margaret was born in Canada. William and Zelma had one daughter, Wilma.
Brother Frank got married on August 7, 1920 to Eunice O. Root (1897-1977) in Almont. In 1921, Frank joined William as a Rural Route Carrier for the Post Office. They started delivering the mail from a horse and buggy. They moved up to a Model T Ford which had side curtains instead of windows and finally to a car with roll-up windows. There were times when they finished delivering the mail on foot, especially when there were heavy snows. They both retired in July of 1954.
William died on January 20, 1955 and was buried in the Hough Cemetery. Zelma died on September 3, 1966 and was laid to rest next to William.