Hamwood is the birthplace of exceptionally talented women artists, and writers such as Eva, Letitia, and Caroline. Amy Hamilton helped set up the Yorshire WI in the War years. Pioneering men such as George Hamilton headed to Canada and set up family timber mills at Hawkesbury near Quebec. His house in Quebec was also called Hamwood. Other family members in Canada became Senators, John sat on the Board of Directors of the Bank of Montreal. Another George Hamilton founded Balbriggan and changed the once small fishing village into a thriving cotton industry and established the harbour there. Charles William was an expert advisor on agriculture and arboriculture advising many of the large Estates within Ireland at a time when much planting was being carried out, but more importantly he helped formulate the Agricultural Societies set up to educate farmers about new more efficient methods of farming. He did much to try and persuade the then PM William Gladstone to act against the threat of the potato blight that led to the Famine. From the early days of Hamwood, the role of advisers to the Dukes of Leinster fell to the head of the family and this carried on right through until the demise of the Leinster Estate in the 1950's.
Hugh Hamilton 1572-1655
The Hamiltons were established in Scotland for some 300 years before arriving in Ireland. Their Scottish ancestor Sir James Hamilton of Evendale had 4 sons, the youngest of whom Hugh emigrated to Ireland. In 1616 Hugh became ‘denizen’ of Ireland…
Alexander George Hamilton 1640-1676
Son of Hugh, settled at Killyleagh, Co Down and married Jean Hamilton.
Their daughter Jane married William Sloane brother of Sir Hans Sloane whose collections formed the British Museum.
Hugh Hamilton 1664-1728
Son of Alexander. Married Mary Ross of Rostrevor, an heiress. They lived in Ballybrenagh, Co Down.
He had 3 daughters and 2 sons, George and Alexander.
Alexander Hamilton 1690-1768
Settled at Knock Co Dublin and married Isabella Maxwell of Finnebrogue. Became M.P. for Killyleagh from 1730-1761. Became wealthy owning town lands worth £50,000.
Of his children his eldest son Hugh became Dean of Armagh then Bishop of Ossory. He was a professor of Mathematics at Trinity College.
George became M.P. for Belfast 1769-1776, settled at Hampton Hall, Balbriggan, and built the fishing village into a flourishing town with cotton mills, and a trading port which he had built as well as a lighthouse. The firm Smyth and Co traded for 200 years and Queen Victoria was a client. George was made a Baron in the Court of Exchequer Belfast.
Anne, one of the daughters married Colonel Henry Caldwell, who fought in Canada under General Wolfe and they settled near Quebec. As Wolfe’s ADC he was sent to England to announce news of the victory over the French at Quebec, where Wolfe died in battle.