Almost Famous: Thomas Lyon Hamer, the Congressman Who Made Ulysses Simpson Grant

Book I

by Lonnie Brett Griffith



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 5/29/2018

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 106
ISBN : 9781546240792
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : N/A
Page Count : 106
ISBN : 9781546240785

About the Book

The name Thomas Lyon Hamer only brings puzzled looks when spoken today. Even in Georgetown, Ohio, Hamer’s home and place of burial, only a handful of local historians have any knowledge of the man whom U. S. Grant believed would have been president of the United States had he not died prematurely and unexpectedly. “I have said before that Hamer was one of the ablest men Ohio ever produced . . . I have always believed that had his life been spared, he would have been president of the United States during the term filled by President Pierce . . . his partiality for me was such there is but little doubt I should have been appointed to one of the staff corps of the army—the Pay Department probably—and would therefore now be preparing to retire. Neither of these speculations are unreasonable, and they are mentioned to show how little men control their own destiny” (Grant, 53). Yet if the man had lived even another year or two, he would not only be in all United States history textbooks; that history would likely be quite different. The national events in the decade leading up to the American Civil War and possibly the outcome of the war itself would have been significantly altered. Fate is a fickle mistress. Hamer was very well-known in his day, and it is perplexing to try to understand how someone so influential while alive was virtually forgotten, even locally, by the turn of the twentieth century. Perhaps it is because he was eclipsed by another very important individual from Georgetown, Ohio, who did become president. Perhaps it is because Hamer’s sons died young and childless, leaving no direct heirs to carry his name and fame into the future. Hamer’s Mexican War flag, a gift to him from the people of Brown County, Ohio (photo courtesy of Ron Bulow)

About the Author

Lonnie Brett Griffith is a history professor and trustee for the U.S. Grant Homestead Association in Georgetown, Ohio. In his spare time (which is not very often these days) he also helps give tours of both Grant museums in Georgetown. His special interest is military history. He enjoys participating in historical re-enacting and living history. His family has lived in historic Brown County, Ohio for several generations and has helped write its history. This is his first book on Thomas Lyon Hamer, but not the last, which is already in the works. The second upcoming book will focus on Hamer’s personal life and correspondence with family and friends in Georgetown, Ohio.