Hamlin, John

Born: 1800-10-25 Hampden County, Massachusetts

Died: 1876-03-29 Peoria, Illinois

Flourished: Peoria County, Illinois

As a young man, Hamlin traveled throughout the eastern United States peddling merchandise from a wagon. He came to central Illinois in 1819 and settled at Fort Clark, which is now Peoria, in 1822. That same year, the governor appointed him as a justice of the peace for the newly formed Fulton County, which then included what became Peoria County. Hamlin worked for the American Fur Company out of Chicago and later established a trading post near his home at Fort Clark. He eventually established several outposts and stocked them with goods purchased in St. Louis and Chicago and transported on the rivers to Peoria. In 1825, he built the first frame house in Peoria. On April 5, 1827, he married Cynthia Johnston in Sangamon County, Illinois. He also served as a director of the Second National Bank and the Savings Bank of Peoria, as well as a trustee of the town of Peoria. Voters elected Hamlin to the Illinois General Assembly, where he served one term in the House of Representatives (1834-1836), representing Peoria, Jo Daviess, Putnam, La Salle, Cook, and Rock Island counties. He also served in the Senate in three General Assemblies. During the tenth and eleventh (1836-1840), he represented Peoria and Putnam counties. In the twelfth (1840-1841), he represented Peoria, Putnam, Marshall, Bureau, and Stark counties. In 1860, Hamlin gave his occupation as "gentleman," and he owned $35,000 worth of real estate and $7,000 worth of personal property.

Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Sangamon County, 5 April 1827, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; History of Peoria County, Illinois (Chicago: Johnson, 1880), 656-57; Illinois House Journal. 1835. 9th G. A., 1st sess., 4; Illinois Senate Journal. 1836. 10th G. A., 1st sess., 4; Illinois Senate Journal. 1840. 12th G. A., 3; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Peoria County, IL, 205; Gravestone, Springdale Cemetery, Peoria, IL; Peoria Daily Transcript (IL), 31 March 1876, 4:3-6.