Among the important industrial enterprises which have been factors in the commercial development of Bartlesville is that of the Commerce Candy Company, whose plant is located on North Park street. Henry Clinton Hamilton is serving as president of the corporation and the fact that he has been chosen to fill this responsible position is indisputable proof of his marked executive ability, business acumen and enterprise. He was born in Estill county, Kentucky, September 1, 1861, and is a son of Granville and Julie (Witt) Hamilton, who were also natives of the Blue Glass state, In which the father followed the occupation of farming.
In the public schools of Kentucky; H. C. Hamilton received the rudiments of an education and he was employed at farm work until nearly forty years of age. In 1900 he settled near Afton, Oklahoma, where he engaged in farming, being assisted by his sons, but owing to the hot winds, insects and droughts his crops proved a failure and after seven years of ill luck he abandoned the enterprise and moved his family into the town, while he obtained work in the harvest fields. The next year he and his sons bought hay which they baled and shipped to Kansas City, this proving a profitable venture, and in 1908 the family took up their residence in Bartlesville.
Mr. Hamilton then rented a farm a mile southeast of the town, but disaster again overtook him, his crops being ruined by the floods, and he moved his family back into the town of Bartlesville, while he and his sons once more turned their attention to the baling and shipping of hay, from which they realized a profit of fifteen hundred dollars. With this capital Mr. Hamilton made several successful investments, later purchasing a butcher shop at a bargain, and this marked a turning point in his fortunes, for from this time forward his efforts have been rewarded with success.
His sons, Price and Henry, assisted him in the conduct of the shop and after he sold the business they continued in the employ of his successor, who handled meat and groceries. Mr. Hamilton then entered the meat business on West Third street and was later joined by his son, Henry, while subsequently John R. Hamilton, his brother, joined the firm and they added a grocery department to their business. Their trade rapidly increased and a year later they purchased another place at No. 315 West Eleventh street, which was operated by Mr. H. C. Hamilton and his daughter, Carrie. In 1913 John R. Hamilton died suddenly and Henry C. Hamilton continued the business with the assistance of his children until August, 1919, when he sold out.
He also operated the Ceylon. Tea & Coffee Store on west Third street for seven months and then disposed of it at a good figure. During alb of this time he also engaged in buying and selling realty and now owns some of the best paying property in Bartlesville, in addition to a fine home in Kansas City. In January, 1920, in association with others, he assisted in organizing the Commerce Candy Company, a wholesale manufacturing enterprise, of which he is serving as president, the other officers being Truman Miller, vice president, and C. H. Plunkett, secretary, while his son, Price, is one of the directors and his daughter, Carrie, is the accountant and has charge of all of the correspondence of the firm. From its inception the enterprise has proved a success and owing to the superior quality of their output and the progressive business methods employed by the house their trade has already reached large proportions, their candy having a large sale in the town as well as throughout the state, while their goods are also shipped to points outside of Oklahoma. They have over nine hundred accounts and their business transactions average six thousand dollars per month.
Their factory is thoroughly modern, their candy is manufactured under the most sanitary conditions and they furnish employment to about twenty-five persons. Mr. Hamilton keeps in close touch with what is being done in all departments and has succeeded in maintaining a high degree of efficiency in all departments of the business.
In 1882 was solemnized the marriage of Henry Clinton Hamilton and Miss Alice Warford, a native of Kentucky and a daughter of Joel A. and Mary Elizabeth (Dalton) Warford, who were farming people. Nine children have been born of this union: Clarence, Francis M., Owen, Mary Elizabeth, Lennie May, Henry A., Carrie J., Woodrow W., and one child, Daniel, who died aged twelve years.% 9
Persistency of purpose, enterprise and determination have enabled Mr. Hamilton to overcome all obstacles and difficulties in his path and work his way steadily forward to the goal of success. He deserves classification with those self-made men who owe their advancement entirely to their own efforts, while the methods which he has employed have at all times been such as will bear the closest investigation and scrutiny.