Every effort was made to make this information as accurate as possible, and discrepancies between sources were resolved as best as possible. Major sources for information include interviews, primary documents, and information extracted from books like “Hamner Heritage: Beginning Without End” by Geneal Hamner Black and Mary Clark Ryan (1981).
History Of The “Hamner” Name
The “Hamner” surname originates from northern Wales and is a dialectal variant of the “Hanmer” surname used within the region.
The “Hanmer” name is thought to have derived from the name “Hagenamere”. That name is thought to have been the name of a Mercian lord who would have been part of one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy between 527 through 918. The “Hagenamere” name is a combination of the historical Germanic name “Hagena” (adopted into Old English around the seventh century) and the word “mere”, which is a lake that is broad in relation to its depth.
Locational surnames such as “Hanmer” were first used by local landowners or by the lords of the manor for identification purposes during the Middle Ages. The use of surnames increased as individuals moved from one area to another (usually in search of work).
Despite their importance, Welsh surnames are relatively few in number. However, they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations for several reasons:
For all of these reasons, the surname “Hanmer” has been spelled a variety of ways — Hanmere, Hanmare, Hanmair, Hanmerr, Handmer, and many more.
“Hamner” seems to have emerged when settlers came to The New World. In 1634 and 1635 the prevalent spelling seems to have been Hanmer with both a George Hanmer and a Thomas Hanmer appearing in records along with a Henry An’mer. When Humphrey Hanmer moved from Wales to Virginia, the “Hamner” name shows for him in records from 1640. This seems to be the beginning of the change to the present Hamner.
However, there are many variations of the Hamner name found throughout early American records because officials were not well educated and spelled most names as they sounded. Hamnere, Hammer, Hanmer, and Hanmore are all probably variations of the Hamner name. Most pioneers were of little help in getting their names entered correctly as they were uneducated, and they had no way of being certain their name was being properly spelled. Many records show only an “X” mark, indicating the subject was unable to sign their own name.
Another contributing factor is that all early American records were handwritten. While some records are written in beautifully formed script and are easily read, others are impossible to decipher. This is especially true in poorly written records where it is impossible to tell whether the intended spelling was Hamner, Hammer, or Hanmer.
The Hamners In England
The earliest periods of the Hamner family are difficult to document. As to be expected, many records that would detail the family’s history from that time no longer exist. The family practice of giving male members the same name generation after generation also complicates documentation. It is not unusual to find fathers, sons, grandsons, nephews, and cousins all bearing the same name.
Despite these challenges, records for the Hamner family stretch back as far as 1190 when the family resided in England. The 1803 book “The Baronetage Of England, Or, The History Of The English Baronets, And Such Baronets Of Scotland, As Are Of English Families” by William Betham and 1877’s A Memorial Of The Parish And Family of Hanmer In Flintshire, Out Of The Thirteenth Into the Nineteenth Century” by John Lord Hanmer recount much of the family’s time prior to America.
(1190 – ?)
Gilbert was born in 1190 in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England.
He married Lady Gilbert de Macclesfield in 1214 in his hometown. They had one known child during their marriage, Roger de Macclesfield.
Gilbert died in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England at an unknown time.
Roger de Macclesfield
(1215 – 1246)
Roger was born about 1215 in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. He was the husband of Isabel de Macclesfield, and together they had one known child, Thomas de Macclesfield I.
Roger died in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England in 1246.
Thomas de Macclesfield I
(~1225 – 1310)
Thomas I was born sometime around 1225 in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. As an adult he was thought to have been a joint lord of Stavelegh and bailiff of Macclesfield between 1270 through 1280. He was the father of two children:
The Hamners In Wales
Thomas de Macclesfield II
(1242 – 1300)
Thomas II was born 1242 in Macclesfield, Cheshire, New Hampshire, England. He married Millicent Hanmer in 1259 in Macclesfield, Cheshire, England.
Thomas II was an officer in the army of King Edward I of England and participated in invading Wales at the conquest’s beginning in 1277. Neighboring Wales had been divided between native Welsh principalities and the territories of the Anglo-Norman Marcher lords. The leading principality within Wales was the Kingdom of Gwynedd, led by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. Gwynedd princes had gained control of the greater part of the country, making the other remaining Welsh princes holders of land by feudal tenure on conditions of homage and allegiance. English monarchs had made prior attempts to seize control of the native Welsh territories, but it was not until Edward’s war of conquest against Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (“Llywelyn the Last”) of 1277 to 1283 that this was achieved on a lasting basis.
Thomas II was granted the lands comprising the Parish of Hanmer in Wales for his service to the king when Welsh political control of the area ceased. He took up residence in Maelor Saesneg commote, and in 1284 the area was amalgamated into the new county of Flintshire along with other royal estates within the region.
John Upton, Vicar of Hanmer
(1277 – 1309)
John was born in 1277 in Hanmer, Flint, Wales, and he was the first to use the name “Hanmer” after the lands his family inherited.
John became Constable of Caernarfon Castle, a medieval fortress in Caernarfon, Gwynedd. Located in northwestern Wales, it was a motte-and-bailey castle from the late 11th century until King Edward I replaced it with its current stone structure in 1283. The Edwardian town and castle acted as the administrative center of northern Wales, and as a result the castle’s defences were constructed on a grand scale.
Following the Edwardian conquest of Wales, members of the Hanmer family married Welsh heiresses descended from Rhys Sais or Tudur Trevor. John was married to Hawise Verch Einion, who was the daughter of Einion Ap Gwilym. She was born about 1280 in Powis, Montgomeryshire, Wales.
John and Hawise had three children:
John died around 1308-1309 in Carnarvon Castle.
Sir Philip de Hanmer
(1300 – 1328)
Phlip is thought to have been born between 1300-1305 in Hanmer, Wales. He is also known as “Philip Hannemere”.
His wife was Annes ferch Dafydd. Philip had four children:
Sir David Hanmer
(1328 – 1383)
David Hanmer (also known as David Hannemere) was born about 1328 in Hanmer, Flint. He married Angharad verch Llewelyn Ddu in 1357 in Glyndwrdwy, Merionetshire. Together, they had five children:
David practiced law as a profession, and he served as Sergeant 49 under Edward III (1375-1376), King’s Sergeant I under Richard II (1377-1378) and Judge Of King’s Bench 6 under Richard II (1382-1383). His name appears as an advocate in the Year Book, Hilary Term 1374-1375. He sat with Mons Johan de Cavendish and others in a case concerning a grant of the late King Edward II to Lady Elizabeth Plantagenet in 1378-1379.
David passed away in Hanmer in 1383. Documents from 1388 designated alimony to his widow Anghara with Owen Glyndwr as a trustee.
Sir John (Jenkin) Hanmer
(1370 – 1429)
John Hanmer was born about 1370 in Hanmer, Flint, Wales. He was married twice:
Like his father, John embraced the legal profession. According to “Shropshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, Shrewsbury” (1904), John likely studied law in the company of Owen de Glyndwr (his future brother-in-law) and Tudor de Glyndwr (Owen’ brother). All three appear in the record of the famous Scrope And Grosvenor trial. This trial was held by the Court of Chivalry to determine which family, the Scropes or the Grosvenors, had the right to bear the the shield blazoned Azure:
The disagreement between the two families over the shield began in 1385. When King Richard II invaded Scotland with his army, two of the king’s knights — Richard Scrope (1st Baron Scrope of Bolton from Bolton in Yorkshire) and Sir Robert Grosvenor from Cheshire — realized that they were both bearing the same coat of arms. When Scrope brought legal action to claim the arms for his family, Grosvenor maintained that his ancestors had come to England with William the Conqueror bearing these arms and that the family had borne them since. The case was brought before a military court and presided over by the Constable of England. Several hundred witnesses were heard. In 1389 the case was finally decided in Scrope’s favor, but Grosvenor was allowed to continue bearing the arms within a red border for difference. Neither party was happy with the decision, so when King Richard II gave his personal verdict on May 27, 1390, he confirmed that Grosvenor could not bear the differenced arms. His opinion was that these two shields were too similar for unrelated families in the same country to bear.
John died in 1429 and was honorarily referred to as “gwyl Saint” by his countrymen.
(1395 – ?)
Edward Hanmer was born about 1395 in Fenns Hall, Flintshire, Wales. His wife was Margaret Gethin, and they only had one son, Gruffudd Fychan Hanmer.
Edward died at an unknown date in Fenns Hall, Flintshire, Wales.
Gruffudd Fychan Hanmer
(1436 – 1501)
Gruffudd Fychan Hanmer was born about 1436 in Fenns Hall, Flintshire, Wales. He was married to Margaret Lloyd, and they had three children:
Gruffudd died in 1501 in Hanmer, Flint, Wales.
(1464 – 1568)
Jenkin Hanme was born about 1464 in Fenns Hall, Flintshire, Wales. He died in 1568 in Wales.
Jenkin married Margaret Dymock, who was born about 1472 in Wellington, Shropshire, England. They had five children:
William of Fenn’s Hall Hanmer
(1499 – 1570)
William Hanmer was born in 1499 in Fenn’s Hall, Flintshire, Wales. He died on April 9, 1570 in Flintshire, Wales.
William Hanmer II
(1538 – July 18, 1589)
William II lived in Flintshire, Wales and had two children:
He died on July 18, 1589.
William Hanmer III
(March 20, 1563 – September 24, 1620)
William III was born March 20, 1563 in Flintshire, Wales. He married Eleanor Hanmer on September 23, 1581 and died September 24, 1620 in Flintshire, Wales at the age of 57.
The Hamners In The United States
(1592 – 1645)
Humphrey was born in Wales on April 29, 1592, and he is commonly referenced as one of the forebearers of the Hamner family in America and for beginning the modern “Hamner” surname. He is said to have immigrated from England or Wales with his two sons: Nicholas and another son whose name is unknown.
While there is no record establishing the date of the Hamner’s arrival, Humphrey’s name is mentioned in the York County Records on April 8, 1638 (“Virginia Magazine of History and Biography”, Volume 5, Page 362). Most likely, Humphrey and his sons arrived in Virginia’s York County earlier than 1638.
Huphrey was a communicant of the New Poquoson Parish Church. Legal notes dated February 2, 1646, mention his will bequested a Holy Communion silver service with this parish church. He died as Humphrey Hamner in New Poquoson, York County, Virginia.
(1640 – 1703)
Along with his father, Nicholas Hamner is also credited as one of the forebearers of the Hamner family in America.
Nicholas Hamner and his brother settled in Virginia. The brother (whose name is unknown) is said to have been very wealthy, owning many acres of land and other assets. At his death he was either a bachelor or had no children.
Though Nicholas was not as wealthy as his brother, he accumulated an estate that was recorded when he died in 1703 in York County, Virginia, and his death is recorded in the Burton Parish Church records.
These records also list the death of “Joan Hammer” in 1692. She was the wife of Nicholas and is thought to have been Joan Turner, who came to the United States in 1635. No record is known to exist to substantiate her name, but some credence can be given to support this theory by the fact that at least three generations of Hamner men were named Turner.
Nicholas Hamner Jr.
(1672 or 1681 – 1730)
On November 24, 1704 (a year after Nicholas’s death), Nicholas Hamner Jr. and Thomas Fear Jr. petitioned the York County Courts for an appraisal and inventory of the estate of Nicholas. Since next of kin usually instigated proceedings in estate settlements, it is likely that Nicholas Jr. was the son and Thomas Fear Jr. was the son-in-law of Nicholas. They were also generally appointed to appease the estate since they were most familiar with the property of the deceased.
The petition suggested Nicholas Jr. was engaged in the dairy business and perhaps did not farm, since no farming tools were included in the appraisal. The fact that he owned 30 head of cattle and some of his furniture was in the “Dary” would indicate that this was probably his source of income.
Other articles listed seem to indicate that Nicholas Jr. was perhaps from a family of some cultural background and that he was not illiterate. Books were scarce, and though they were rarely given much value in estate appraisals, the owner considered them prized possessions. Since Nicholas Sr. owned six books as mentioned within the petition, we can assume he could read and had been educated. Perhaps he even brought the books from his old home.
The rugs, old table linens, and indentured servants also mentioned in the petition would probably mean Nicholas Sr. belonged to the upper class, though he was not wealthy. There is no indication that he inherited the fortune reputed to his brother.
Nicholas Jr. must have been of age in 1704 when he petitioned the court for a settlement of his father’s estate, which allowed him to likely inherit 500 acres of land. It is known he had a son (Nicholas Hamner III) born the year his father died in 1703. No record has been found giving his wife’ name.
Nicholas Hamner III
(1703 – February 22, 1794)
Born in 1703, Nicholas Hamner III was the son of Nicholas Jr. Nicholas III and three of his sons (Robert, Henry, and William) moved to Albemarle County and established their homes on the Hardwire River.
Nicholas III had three other sons (Nicholas, John, and James) and probably four daughters.
Nicholas III died without a will on February 22, 1794 at 91 years old. A copy of the appraisal of his estate suggests he was a planter.
Nicholas III is thought to have been the Nicholas Hamner who signed the Declaration of Independence of Albemarle County, though it could have been his grandson Nicholas. The Declaration was a statement that the signers “renounced all Allegiance to George The Third, King of Great Britain” and declared they would “be faithful and bear True Allegiance to the Commonwealth of Virginia”. Many of the 207 signers were connected with the Hamner family through marriage, and members of the Marks, Moore, Harvie, Gilmer and McGehee families were among the group who moved to Georgia with the Hamner family. Both Nicholas III and his son Captain Nicholas had been declared patriots for their provision of supplies to the Colonial Army.
Near Carter Bridge is located the old Hamner Cemetery and home place. At the entrance is a stone with the word “HAMNER”. The cemetery is surrounded by a rock wall with a number of tombstones. Many have fallen in disrepair and are overgrown with brush. In the center are four stones which seem to be handmade field stone. Two have no names, and the other two are inscribed “H.H.” and “W.T.H.”. Two Nicholas Hamners are interred there (probably the Nicholas who died ~1794 and either his son Nicholas or his grandson with the same name). The “H.H.” is thought to be Henry, and the “W.T.H.” to be William, who were both sons of Nicholas III. The chimneys of the old homestead still stand nearby.
(1729 – 1788)
William Hamner was the fifth son of Nicholas III. He was a planter in Albemarle County, owning 700 acres on the Hardware River. He sold this land, about 1500 acres on Totier Creek in 1782, probably building his home on this property.
William married Mary Elizabeth Henley, the daughter of Leonard Henley Jr. and Miss Richardson. Mary Elizabeth had five brothers (Richard, Samuel, Turner, William, and Leonard), and two sisters (Anne and Henrietta). William and Mary Elizabeth passed four of these names down to their own children.
William was proclaimed a patriot, along with his father and his nephew Nicholas, for the food and supplies he furnished to the Revolutionary army.
William and Elizabeth disposed of their many acres of land and their slaves to their children by deeds of gift and by William’s will which was written December 25, 1787 and probated to the Albemarle Court in July, 1788.
(December 27, 1752 – 1845)
Turner Hamner, the son of William Hamner and Mary Elizabeth Henley, was born December 27, 1752 in Albemarle County, Virginia. The land he inherited was located on the Hardware River, and he was living there at the time of his father’s death in 1788.
Turner married “Nancy” Ann Moore in 1774. She was the daughter of John Moore and Mary (Bullock) Moore. The Moores were large landowners in Albemarle County and took a prominent role in the affairs of that county. Nancy Moore’s mother & father were parents to 10 children.
Turner, like his father and grandfather, was a planter. He and his family lived on the land he inherited from his father until after the Revolution.
Though there were few battles fought in Virginia, the Virginians sacrificed much to feed, clothe, and arm the rebels. Turner is not known to have served in the army, but he furnished aid to Washington’s soldiers in the struggle to free the colonies from British rule.
Tobacco was the main crop of Virginia, and it had become a currency long before the war began. There was much trade between the colonials and the European countries, especially with Holland. Tobacco was accepted as payment for many necessities not available in America and the many luxuries the planters could afford by this time. The Navigation Act, which forbade the colonists from selling their tobacco to anyone other than England and ruled all tobacco was to be shipped by English ships, did much to curtail the income of the planters and was one of the causes of the Revolution.
It is likely that both Turner and his father raised tobacco, and tobacco was likely a large influence in Turner’s decision to move to Georgia. The land was growing less productive as they planted tobacco year after year. Rather than lose the tobacco income by planting other crops to rebuild the land, it was more expedient to acquire new land.
Soldiers returning to Albemarle County quickly spread the word of the land they had seen in Georgia. There were plentiful forests to furnish lumber for homes, large areas that were free of underbrush and scrub, and rich red soil that held promise for bountiful crops.
Georgia was offering free land to veterans and making grants to settlers to entice them to the state. These offers prompted a small group of Albemarle men to visit Georgia and to purchase land on the Broad River in Oglethorpe County. As they returned for their families, others joined them with their families, friends, and neighbors. Soon the small beginning became a community of old Albemarle County residents. As each new group followed, they were welcomed by the others into the settlement. All along the banks of the river and its tributaries sprang the new homes of the Meriweathers, Taliferros, Gilmers, Marks, Harveys, Moores, and Hamners.
Turner Hamner sold his 270 acres of land in Albemarle County to Jeremiah Cleveland on October 5, 1795 for “300 pounds current money of Virginia”. On January 26, 1796 he received a grant of 840 acres in the Goosepond section of the Broad River.
Susannah Bullock Hamner, the tenth child of Turner and Nancy, was the last child of the couple to be born in Virginia. Her birth occurred November 16, 1796, giving evidence that the family had not yet departed for Georgia by that time.
Much preparation was necessary before their journey began. Many possessions had to be disposed of since there was limited space in the wagons that would take them south. Food had to be gathered and prepared for the journey.
There were only old Indian trails that had gradually widened from the settler’s traffic through the wilderness, and the only means of transportation was by carts or wagons. For protection from the Indians and to aid with the wagons and animals, most settlers traveled in wagon trains much like those later settling the West. It is likely that Richardson Hamner (Turner’s brother) and his family traveled together to Georgia, and there perhaps were others with them in the caravan.
The long train of wagons, loaded with farm tools, furniture, food, and clothing stretched out ahead. The most probable time of this move was the spring of 1797. By June 1800, Lucy Patterson Hamner was born in Georgia.
The Georgia Land Lottery of 1804 added more land to the family holdings in Oglethorpe County. Richardson Hamner was allowed two draws of 202.5 acres each, and his son Wingfield drew the same amount. John and William, two of Turner’s sons, received land in the same lottery. Turner was also given two draws to add to the 840-acre grant he had previously received.
The Virginians who migrated to Georgia did not live in the towns, preferring the rural life and keeping mostly to themselves. Once their homes were established, they settled into a society of their own. It was here the tradition of Hamners marrying their cousins began to show strongly. Parents often arranged the marriages of their children and were likely to choose a family member. They were assured by this method that the prospective bride or groom was well known to the family, that their customs, standard of living, and property bequeathed to their children would be preserved within the family. Long after Hamner children choose their own spouses, this tradition continued.
It is interesting to note the many times more than one child married into the same family, suggesting that once the family was approved for the first child, others followed. The strength of this tradition is shown by the fact that most of Turner and Nancy’s children married in Georgia, and four of those children married cousins.
Both Turner and Richardson and their sons continued their farming operations in Georgia but on a much larger scale since they now owned more land than they had in Virginia. They also increased the number of slaves.
Still, it was only a few years until the Hamners were again seeking a new home. Perhaps they were not as successful in Georgia as anticipated. We can only speculate as to the factors that motivated their next migration. We do know that Turner’s son John sold his property and left Georgia for the Mississippi Territory sometime after 1809. He may have influenced other members of the family and the Virginians that the area soon to become the State of Alabama was more attractive than their Georgia site.
Soon, other family members began to follow. Henley (son of Samuel) was there by 1814, and two of John’s sons, Richard Harvie Hamner and Daniel Gaines Hamner, also moved to Madison County, Alabama. The John Moore, J.W. Mann, Fleming Jordan, and Henry Harless families were among others who migrated westward.
After Alabama obtained statehood in 1819, these early inhabitants were followed by a flood of settlers from the seaboard states. William (Turner’s second son) moved to Alabama not later than 1818 or 1819 and lived in the Birmingham area (then known as Elyton) before moving to Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. Turner and “nancy” also made a stop in Elyton before settling in Tuscaloosa.
Tuscaloosa County records show that both Turner and William (son of Turner) were in Tuscaloosa and obtained land there in September of 1821. William purchased two parcels of land, both 79 & 100 acres. Turner also bought two parcels of similar sized. Turner paid a total of $990.32 for his land, and William paid $1,124.38. Both William and Turner made other purchases in the area, adding considerably to their original grants.
(June 25, 1789 – 1825)
Matthew Hamner is the sixth child of Turner and Nancy and was born June 25, 1789 in Albemarle County, Virginia. He accompanied his father and the rest of the family when they moved to Georgia in 1797.
He married Sarah “Sallie” Spikes in Oglethorpe County, Georgia on June 22, 1811.
Land records show Matthew purchased land in September 1812 and then later sold the land to his brothers (Turner Hamner Jr. & Samuel Hamner). This transaction was witnessed by Matthew’s brother-in-law, John W. Mann.
Matthew then moved his family to South Carolina but then back to Georgian in Putnam County where at least three of his six children were born.
The six children were listed in the Marion County, Georgia 1840 census:
Matthew died in Putnam County, Georgia in 1825.
Matthew’s wife Sarah had been born on June 17, 1789 in Virginia. Federal census records show that she lived in Marion County, Georgia 1840.
She passed away on September 18, 1849 in Buena Vista in Marion County, Georgia.
(April 12, 1824 – February 28, 1884)
William Hamner was the sixth child of Matthew Hamner and Sarah “Sallie” Spikes. He was born on April 12, 1824 in Putnam County, Georgia.
On November 5 of 1847, William married Sarah Boten (Batement). Together, they had at least 10 children:
William’s most noteworthy contribution is he moved with the family from Georgia to settle in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
The dates of when this move began to Louisiana are not known, but it took a while to complete. The Hamners likely took residence in Alabama first as Lorenzo was born in Pike County, Alabama in 1858, and the 1866 Alabama state census list the Hamners as residents of Pike.
The move to Louisiana concluded no later than 1870 as a residence list for the post office has the Hamners listed as living in Bienville.
William died February 28, 1884 in Buelah, Bienville Parish in Louisiana. Sarah passed away February 7, 1891. They are buried next to each other at Mount Lebanon Cemetery, located 2.5 miles outside of Gibsland, Louisiana in Bienville Parish. William’s sister, Elizabeth “Betsy” Hamner, is also buried with them.
Lorenzo Pierce Hamner
(December 23, 1858 – March 3, 1891)
Born to William and Sarah Jane Hamner on December 23, 1858 in Pike, Alabama, Lorenzo spent his life in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
Records from the Appointments Of U.S. Postmasters show he was a resident of Buelah in Bienville Parish on February 11, 1884.
Lorenzo was married to Kittie Bennet Moreland (February 4, 1864 – July 20, 1911), and together they had a son, William Leslie Hamner.
Lorenzo died on March 3, 1891 at 32 years old. He is buried with his parents and many of his siblings at Mount Lebanon Cemetery outside of Gibsland, Louisiana.
William Leslie Hamner
(April 28, 1886 – February 10, 1957)
Born on April 28, 1886, William Leslie Hamner (commonly referred to as “Leslie”) is the only child of Lorenzo P. Hamner and Kittie Bennet Moreland. He was the owner of the only “general store” in Gibsland, and during the depression he acquired many tracts of land by foreclosure as he took mortgages on property which local residents gave in exchange for merchandise. It later turned out that the property he acquired held abundant reserves of natural gas.
William married a school teacher, Grace J Girod (September 5, 1888 – August 12, 1976), on April 12, 1912. Together, they had three children: William Hamner, Charles Francis Hamner, and Lucille Hamner. Another baby died shortly after birth in 1913.
Their son, William, died unexpectedly in an accident at age 17. He was swimming in a pond and broke his neck when he dove into the water and struck a hidden log. It is said Leslie became a different person after the accident and never got over the death of his oldest child. Leslie and Grace were divorced around 1932, likely brought about by William’s death.
The divorce split the family. Leslie’s surviving children, Lucille and Charles, seldom saw or spoke to their father. The court awarded Grace the gracious amount of $10.00 a month in alimony, forcing her to live with her daughter Lucille until her death.
Ruby Hamner was the second wife of William Leslie Hamner. They were married shortly after his divorce from Grace. She had a daughter from a prior marriage, who was later adopted by William.
William Leslie Hamner died from lung cancer on February 10, 1957 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He is buried in Shreveport at Forest Park Cemetery (3700 St Vincent Avenue).
Leslie’s will left nothing of his estate to his natural children. However, Louisiana law prevented him from completely disinheriting them. State law mandated each child receive 2/9 of his estate.
Charles Francis Hamner
(October 20, 1920 – June 29, 1974)
Charles Francis Hamner was born on October 20, 1920 in Gibsland, Bienville Parish, Louisiana. His parents were William Leslie Hamner and Grace Girod Hamner. He was their youngest child and had two older siblings, William and Lucille.
When his parents divorced when he was about twelve, Charles moved with his mother to Shreveport, Louisiana to live with his older sister Lucille and her husband, Kenneth Cole. He attended Byrd High School, and it is there that he met Dorothy Halley, who he married on February 24, 1939. At that time he was working for a newspaper, The Shreveport Times, as a District Manager and in charge of the delivery routes. A son, Robert William Hamner, was born on October 12, 1940.
On October 22 of 1942, Charles enlisted in the Army Air Corp and learned to fly. When he completed flight school, the Army Air Corp sent him to England as a member of the 8th Air Force where he flew B-17s. He rotated home in early 1945, was discharged, and went to work with Eastern Air Lines as a co-pilot on April 20, 1945. A second son, Kenneth Dale Hamner, was born on October 5, 1945.
Charles and his family moved around extensively due to his job. Pilots were paid based on the type of equipment they flew and whether it was daytime flying or nighttime flying. He “chased the flying” and moved often to fly the higher-paying larger airplanes and during the nighttime as much as possible.
Charles was first based in Atlanta, transferred to New Orleans in 1946, transferred to Houston in 1948, and was then assigned to Pan American and flew airlift out of San Francisco for three months at the start of the Korean War from June to September 1950. He was transferred back to Atlanta in 1951, transferred to Boston in 1959, transferred again to New Orleans in 1963, transferred again to Atlanta in 1965, and (finally) transferred to Miami in 1971.
Charles had a successful career with Eastern. He was promoted to Captain in 1950, became Assistant Chief Pilot in 1962, and became Chief Pilot in 1963 with his 1963 move to New Orleans. With his 1971 move to Miami, he was promoted to Vice-President of Flight Standards.
Charles passed away in Miami of liver cancer on June 29, 1974 at the age of 53. He is buried in Arlington Memorial Park (201 Mount Vernon Parkway, Atlanta, Georgia) next to his wife Dorothy (August 5, 1921 – July 6, 2010).
Robert William Hamner
(October 12, 1940)
Robert William Hamner (“Bill”) was born October 12th, 1940 in Shreveport, Louisiana at Schumpert Memorial Hospital to Charles & Dorothy Hamner. He spent his early childhood in Shreveport as his father served in the Army Air Corp during World War II and flew B-17s out of England. His brother, Kenneth Dale Hamner, was born on October 5th, 1945 after Bill’s dad returned from the war.
Due to Charles’s employment with Eastern Airlines, the Hamner family moved around extensively until 1952 when they settled in the Atlanta area. Bill spent 1953 through 1958 at Southwest High School where he participated in the tennis team and band. He served as the Vice President of his senior class, and it was also during this time he met Sue while working at a Colonial Grocery Store the spring of 1958. “Her mother used to come in almost every Saturday to go grocery shopping, and Sue would come with her. Sue was about three and a half years younger than me. I got Sue’s name and number one day when her mother paid with a check. I made her put a telephone number on the check so that I knew how to contact her. And then I mentioned her name to a buddy of mine and turned out his mother taught school at the same place that Sue’s mother did. So I wound up getting a date with Sue that way.”
As college approached, Charles told Bill he could go anywhere he wanted. Bill spent his spring vacation junior year visiting schools along the Eastern seaboard. He attended Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia and was in Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity and Army ROTC. Bill also maintained an on-and-off relationship with Sue throughout college, and after he graduated in 1962 with a BA in European History and German, they got married while he waited to go into active duty and worked again at Colonial Stores.
In 1963 the Army called Bill to Germany where he served as a Rifle Platoon Leader for the Third Infantry Division in Wildflecken, Germany. He came home on a troopship in 1965 and worked again for Colonial Stores as an internal auditor until he enrolled at Vanderbilt Law School. He graduated in 1968 and soon began practicing law at Archer, Patrick and Sidener in Atlanta.
Bill and Sue welcomed Joseph Hamner on October 24, 1969, but their marriage ended in 1972. A fill-in receptionist at Archer, Patrick and Sidener had previously been an Eastern flight attendant and introduced him to Miriam “Mimi” Tracy (January 7, 1945). Bill and Mimi were married in 1974, the same year he left Archer, Patrick and Sidener to practice law under Hamner and Reeves.
Michael Hamner was born November 16, 1978, and Kenneth Hamner was born September 3, 1980.
In 1986 Bill started working for the firm Levine and D’Alessio, purchased it in 1988, and retired from work in 2006 after 38 years of professional service.
Contemporary Notables Of The Name Hamner
Welsh Hamner Motto
“Keep the honour.”
This is another book I recently found online that describes my family’s days back in Wales.
The full book can be found here. These are the excerpts most related to the Hamner family.
By all accounts I’ve heard, my great-grandfather (William Leslie Hamner) was a bit of a jerk. He and my great-grandmother (Grace Hamner) were divorced in 1932, and he paid no allimony to support her or my grandfather (Charles Hamner). Both ended up moving in with my grandfather’s older sister Lucille as a result, and my great-grandmother stayed with her until she passed in 1976.
My great-grandmother had sued my great-grandfather in 1939 because he was supposed to build a residence for her. This document details the compromise they reached, though my great-grandfather didn’t fulfill his end of this agreement either.
82nd Airborne Division – Certificate Of Completion
July 24th, 1961
Promotion To Second Lieutenant
June 8th, 1962
Completion Of Infantry Officer Basic Course
July 17th, 1963
Combined Arms School Training Certificate
November 30th, 1963
Initiation Into Royal Order Of Atlantic Voyageurs
Sailed on the MSTS Patch from Bremerhaven, Germany to Fort Hamilton, New York for discharge from Army active duty.
April 24th, 1965
During World War II my grandfather Charles Hamner was an officer in the Army Air Corp, and he and his crew were based out of Kent in South East England. They flew a B17 nicknamed The Donald Duck approximately every other day for about three months during 1944.
When my grandfather and his crew first arrived in England, they were shown combat mission films and were horrified by the carnage. The higher-ups asked for volunteers to fly two planes, not telling them what the mission would be. My grandfather and the other men that would be assigned to The Donald Duck volunteered because they figured it couldn’t be any worse than what they saw in the films. It was then they learned they would be flying west towards Iceland as part of the 8th Weather Squadron.
While my grandfather and his men did not see direct combat like their counterparts who flew east, their weather-related missions were not risk-free. My grandfather saw a total of two German planes from The Donald Duck. One of those planes was heading towards Ireland, and he speculated there was a secret German base there due to the Irish’s dislike of the English.
After flying for 500 hours, the higher-ups rotated The Donald Duck crew back to the United States. The volunteers who had made-up the second plane were not as fortunate. While on a weather-related mission, they didn’t follow some correct flying procedures that helped ensure their safety. A German plane surprise-attacked them. The American plane was shot down, and there were no survivors.
Back in June 2015 I sat down with my dad and asked him about his life, what he’s learned, and how he wants to be remembered.
Army & Sue
Career & Mimi Hamner