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In the course of the compilation of the history of Union and Wallowa counties we seldom are favored with the privilege of writing the career of a more worthy citizen and stanch and noble man than at the present time, while we attempt to outline the life of the capable and respected gentleman whose name is at the head of this article. Mr. Hambelton is one of the true pioneers of the country: has always labored for the development and advancement of the same: he is a capable and intelligent citizen, displaying loyalty and patriotism in commendable degree: he has fought faithfully the battles of his country and pressed to the front in a time when base fratricidal strife was rendering the nation in twain and attempting by its minions to trample the fair banner of liberty in the dust: and there on the scene of many a hard fought battle, he demonstrated the true metal of which he was made and never flinched from the hardest duty or the most dangerous post, and never until the work was all done, and the last flash of rebel powder had burned in vain, did he lay down the weapons of war to retire to the scenes of industrial life.
Mr. Hambelton was born in Zanesville, Muskingum County, Ohio, on October 21, 1835, being the son of Joseph and Susanah (Lowe) Hambelton. His boyhood days were spent in acquiring a good common school education and in working with his father at the carpenter trade, learning this valued craft thoroughly by the time he was eighteen years of age. At that time he turned to working of iron and learned thoroughly also the blacksmith trade. For two years he followed that trade in his native place, and then went to Bonaparte, Van Buren county, Iowa, arriving there in 1855. Later he went to Adams County, and thence to Scotland County, Missouri, gaining this last destination in 1858, and in all these places he wrought at his trade. Until August 15, 1861, he worked at this last place and then enlisted in Company C, Twenty-first Home Guards of northeastern Missouri. On the second of February 1862, he was mustered into the regular service, taking place in Company C, Twenty-first Infantry. He participated in the battles of Shiloh, Nashville, Fort Spanish, Blakely, and Corinth, in all of which he did heavy work. In addition to this, he was in numerous skirmishes and after three years of this kind of service he was honorably discharged, his time being out, but he was not the kind to leave the field without seeing the last enemy silenced and so he immediately reenlisted in the same company and regiment and remained in service until after the war was closed, being mustered out on April 15, 1866, having been in constant service for nearly five years. Mr. Hambelton is commander of the G.A.R. Post at Enterprise, it being the John F. Reynold’s Post No. 15.
After the war, our subject went at once to Scotland County, Missouri and wrought at his trade until 1870, then removed to Colorado, and from there he removed to Union county, Oregon, by team, living in that county for two years and then in 1878 came to Wallowa valley. At the time of the Indian war in 1878 Mr. Hambelton enlisted to fight the savages and was second Lieutenant of his company. He continued in the prosecution of his trade at Alder Slope until 1882 and then entered a homestead right on the farm where he now resides, four miles south and one-half mile west from Enterprise. Here he has given his attention to improving his farm, raising stock and general farming and success has smiled upon his endeavors and he has a fine place and is one of the prosperous men of the county. In political matters Mr. Hambelton is a life-long Republican and has always taken an active and intelligent interest in the affairs of state.
On November 2, 1855, Mr. Hambelton married Miss Johana, daughter of Isaac and Sarah Spear, in Scotland County, Missouri, and eleven children have crowned the union: William P. married to Laura Hayes: Sarah E., deceased: Julia L., wife of F.D. McCully of Joseph: Ida F., wife of Joel Olmstead near Enterprise: Harry J. married to Maud F. Donnelly: John R., married to Maggie Parks, and living in Missouri: George O., deceased: Stewart E., married to Mary M. Crow: Frank J., married to Essie Tyler: Mary O.: Joseph B., married to Mattie Tyler. Mrs. Hambelton’s mother is still living in Baker County, being eighty-eight years of age. The father died in 1882. They came to Oregon in 1869, and Mrs. Hambelton was born August 30, 1839, in Peoria, Illinois. To Mr. And Mrs. Hambelton, venerable and highly respected and esteemed pioneers and residents of our county, we are pleased to grant this slight representation and regret that space forbids a further detail of their interesting careers.