Jesse Calvert Hamrick

Hamrick's of California 1850

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Hamrick Family of Jackson Valley, California
circa 1860

The Hamrick Family of Jackson Valley, California

My project is to compile descendants of Jesse Calvert Hamrick/Hambrick  and his wife Elizabeth Wisdom Rhoads/Rhodes who lived in California from 1850 til both were buried there.

My personal Hamrick family history is most interesting to me, as this pioneer family traveled overland by wagon train in 1850 and ended up in Jackson Valley, California, the very heart of Gold Country. I have been able to visit their burial place, the site of their old homestead, and tread in the places they lived and worked. This has all occured for me in the last ten years, which is when I became fascinated with this family and found out I had to know more about my Hamrick's.

Hamrick is on my Mother's side,  my Mother's name was Marylou Wright Baker and her Mother was Lulu Mae Martin Wright and her Mother was born Sarah Ellen Hamrick, the second child born in California to Jesse and Elizabeth, she makes me a 4th generation native Californian, with an additional two more prior  generations coming here and dying here also, hence I have 6 generations of Hamrick's born or buried in California, that is alot of generations of native Californian's, any California historian will tell you, only indigenious peoples will have more than 6 generations here.

My Hamrick's came first to California by covered wagon in 1850 settling in the Jackson Valley, which was at first Calaveras County, and in 1854 the area became Amador County.

Jesse Calvert and Elizabeth W. (Rhodes/Rhoads-cousin to the Donner party RESCUERS) Hamrick were in Missouri for the birth of their children James in 1847 and Lavina in 1849, and as they set off from Missouri for the thousand mile journey to California, Elizabeth was carrying their third child and gave birth to Cosumnes California Hamrick (McMurry) "the minute" they arrived in California, in 1850. Family tradition says "she was the first white child born in the area." The Hamrick's "lived in a gold mining camp near an Indian village, on the banks of two forks of the Cosumnes River." There is a place which fits this description exactly, which is called Yeomet, an ancient Miwok village.

Next Elizabeth had my great grandmother Sarah Ellen Hamrick (Martin) in 1852. Altogether Jesse and Elizabeth had 11 children at their homestead at Jackson Valley, California. Their children were James, known as JimEd, Lavina,  Cosy, short for Cosumnes California, Sarah, Amador Jackson, Henry Clay, Anna, George Prentice, known as Print, Elmer, Edgar Clarence, Cece, short for Cecil.  I have collected about 750 descendants of this family, all coming from Jesse and Elizabeth. The females married prominently in some cases into families with surnames of McMurry, as in Francis Asbury McMurry, this was Cosy's husband, they removed to Yreka area I believe. Anna married a Mr. James, Lavina married Henry Dillian, Sarah married Frank Martin, whose full name was Benjamin Franklin Martin.

Jesse was a gold miner for a short time, he 'rented' his stream, the Jackson Valley Stream to men who would pan for gold there, he made wine in his cellar, we have the copies of receipts for the 'yard sale' after his death, his wife sold off the equipment, he farmed, he quickly passed the requirements to become a Mason and when he died there was a parade thru the town with his body by the Masons, and he operated the "Hamrick Toll Road" which is off the present day Ridge Road in Jackson Valley today, above the Historic Jackson Gate. It is presently  called "Hamrick's Grade Road."

In 1857 Jesse served as a trial juror in Amador County and in 1856 he was the designated district school clerk for the Jackson Valley School. Jesse was a delegate in the 1877 County Democratic Convention, according to the local newspaper, the Amador Dispatch. I have the newspaper accounts of each of these facts. Jesse directly descended from Lord Baltimore of Maryland, the Calvert family.

There is a photo of  Jesse Calvert Hamrick and Elizabeth Wisdom Rhodes Hamrick @ 1870, in the photo page. They are buried in Ione, California with lovely five foot tall marble tombstones and are buried with Nimrod N/M Hamrick and his wife Mariah, who are his parents. Jesse's brothers were George and John and his sisters were Eliza and Jane Hamrick. Another daughter of Nimrod Hamrick is the fifth grave, Julia Hamrick Fairley.

Jesse Calvert Hamrick's grave is in the Pioneer Cemetery in Ione, California, a portrait of him and Elizabeth is held at the California Room, CA State Library, Sacramento, along with a Pioneer Card, that was filled out by a descendant in 1950 for the Centennial, also the Native Daughters of the Golden West have information online regarding this family.

Jesse and Elizabeth's daughter is my great grandmother, Sarah. Sarah Ellen Hamrick married Frank Martin in Amador County, California in 1871 where they had 7 children. Frank Martin had left Keokuk, Iowa in 1861 and headed west by ox train, he settled first of all in the village of Stockton, California and worked driving wagon train between Virginia City, Nevada and Stockton, California, one of the " famed teamsters" of that era. Frank drove the hard wagon trail from San Joaquin to the Virginia City silver mines, during their heydey. He later became a school teacher at the Jackson Valley School in Amador County, California where he met Sarah Hamrick. She was his student. Their marriage lasted for 63 years, until Frank died in 1934. My Aunt Alice remembered visiting with them as a small child.


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