We know that New England was the stage for the early history of the Hale family, and also for the first generations of the Hammonds in America, possibly centering around the town of Newton, Massachusetts where Thomas Hammond died. Details of this are recorded elsewhere in the History and Genealogies of the Hammond Families of America, Hale chronicles and historical writings, and summarized in Chapter 5 of this book. But our story begins later, among the pioneers in Ohio.
The History of Summitt Co. indicates that Calvin and Theodore Hammond migrated to that part of Ohio in 1814. This Theodore was probably the eldest son of Jason Hammond and Rachel Hale, born in 1789. Calvin was a younger brother of Jason, and they were probably drawn by blood ties as well as the search for good cheap land. Thus by 1814 both our Hammond and Hale families had located in what is now Summit Co., Ohio3.1.
Their relations, Jason Hammond and Jonathan Hale, also became pioneers. They arrived in 1810 and both participated in the local military organization during the War of 1812. They settled in what was later named Bath Township. There Jonathan Hale built a three-story brick home in 1826-27. This Jonathan Hale Home and Farm Homestead was given in 1956 by his great-granddaughter, Clara Belle Ritchie, to the Western Reserve Historical Society and endowed with a million dollars for its maintenance as a historic landmark.
Jonathan Hale's eldest daughter Sophronia married Ward Kingsbury Hammond, son of Calvin and Roxanna Field Hammond on May 31, 1827. They also lived in Bath Township until about 1841-42, when they and other Hammond families migrated to Knox County, Illinois, near the village of Ontario, north of Galesburg. This move is recalled by Mercy Jane Hammond Steffens (see page 2) as having been made by river boat, down the Ohio and up the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to Peoria, thence to the ``new land'' by wagon.
Ward K. Hammond is said to have purchased land from the government, built a rustic log house there and to have remained until Fall 1846 in Knox Co. He then sold the farm and moved with his maturing family to Jo Daviess County, Illinois, near Galena. In Jo Daviess Co. the family worked a rented farm while Ward Kingsbury worked for a season (1847) in the ``Pinery'' (North woods) and nearly died of pneumonia there. Sophronia and the older children farmed and later the family secured land of their own in Hanover Township, one and one-half miles west of the town of Hanover, where they lived until the death of Sophronia Hale Hammond in 1873.
It was from Hanover that three sons entered the Illinois Regiments enlisted for the ``War of the Rebellion'' or Civil War. They were Charles Newell (b.3.2 1835), Royal Cornelius (b. 1843) and Edwin O. (b. 1838) all of whom served in Tennessee and Georgia. Charles N. served with the 96th Illinois Infantry Regiment, then with the Regimental ``Pioneers'', a Construction Co. and finally in the Quartermaster Department of the 1rst Regiment, U.S.V.V. Engineers from July 1864 until the end of the war. Edwin O. was with a combat company, and both he and Royal C. were wounded in 1864. Edwin O. was with Sherman on his ``March to the Sea'' in late 1864 and was wounded at Pocataligo, S. Carolina. This wound left him with the limited use of the wounded arm until his death at age fifty near Galena, Ill. Royal C. received a flesh wound at Jonesboro, Ga., from which he recovered. Evidently Charles saw no combat in 1864-65.
We have a series of ten or more letters, and a diary of ten weeks from Charles N. Hammond which give us insight into his attitudes and participation in the War (these are included in Chapter 3.) Less is known about Royal C. and Edwin's participation from family records. Charles trained at Rockford, Ill., then went to Louisville, Ky., and from there by river boat down the Ohio and up the Cumberland Rivers to Nashville, Tenn. His outfit was at Danville, Kentucky for a while and was probably engaged at Stones River in December 1862. During the first six months of 1863 they were stationed near Franklin, Tenn. In late June, the Federal troops began an advance that gave them control of Chattanooga after the battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga (Missionary Ridge). Royal C. and Charles N. evidently enlisted about August 1862, but Edwin may have joined an Illinois regiment at a later date. Other relatives were in the same command also.
This participation in the War years in the South became very important as it eventually brought three Hammond sons southward:
The children of Ward K. and Sophronia Hammond scattered considerably. Julius A. Hammond spent nearly two years in California (1850-52) following the gold rush. Merwin K. also spent several years in California before entering a banking venture in Stockton, Ill. Merwin, Charles and Julius A. had all farmed in Hanover township from the time of their youth and Julius continued there until his retirement. Merwin worked as a banker during his later years and Charles continued farming and lumbering in Tennessee. Edwin O. evidently continued farming at Lena, Illinois and near Galena.
Of the three daughters, the oldest, died at sixteen years of age of ``consumption'' and the other two married industrious farmers. At the age of sixteen, Julia S. married S. Dwight Edgerton and they continued to farm many acres in Hanover township until his retirement, and reared a large family there. Mercy Jane, the youngest daughter, was sent to a Women's Seminary at the age of seventeen for higher education and taught school some before marrying Richard Steffens in Oct. 1860. At that time they settled on a farm in Hamilton Village, Fillmore Co., Minnesota, north of the present town of Spring Valley. They also reared several children whose descendents are now in Minn., Wisconsin, Iowa and Washington State. She wrote down her life story and it is included in Chapter 2.
Hammond families related to Calvin and Ward K. Hammond remained in Knox Co., Ill. and many migrated westward into Iowa and the plains states, even as Ward Hammond's family did later. Descendents of Ward and Sophronia Hammond are now concentrated in Iowa, Minnesota, California, Washington and Tennessee.