Great-grandmother, student, writer, and public-spirited citizen; these are a few of the roles in life that Mrs. Harriet Rebecca (Cason) Hamilton filled.
Mrs. Hamilton, in striking contrast to her studies in the University of Arkansas, received her first education in a one-room school-house of Jefferson County. She was a member of two old Southern families, her mother being Harriet Timmons, of Timmonsville, South Carolina, and her father, Andrew B. Cason, of North Carolina. Her parents both left North Carolina after the Civil War, and homesteaded in Arkansas fourteen miles from Pine Bluff.
For a half century, she cherished the ambition to go to college, but circumstances always prevented it. She possessed, in the very earliest days of her life, a desire to write, and actually began writing little compositions at the age of ten. Afterward, some of her early works were published in children's magazines of that day. She often told how she learned to read by spelling out the words in the newspapers.
In 1872 and 1873 the University of Arkansas was known as the Arkansas Industrial University; and at that time her brother and a friend came here to school, making the journey on a stage, before the completion of the railway.
Her father, too, was active in educational affairs, having been one of those pioneer citizens of Jefferson County who met to clear the ground and build a schoolhouse in the forest of giant oaks and pines, adjacent to Locust Cottage post office, Arkansas. His comrades in that venture were James A. Hudson, John D. Niven, and Captain P.G. Henry, all, like himself, pioneers of this county.
Schools were rare in those days and the one room schoolhouse with its two glass windows looked like a mansion to the pioneer children. Mrs. Hamilton walked three miles to this old time school and often knitted as she walked; for girls in those days had to spin thread and knit their own stockings.
Too young at the time to attend the university, Mrs. Hamilton married, and fifty years passed before she was finally able to attend the University of Arkansas.
Two years before his death, her husband insisted she complete her education, and she enrolled as a special student at the University of Arkansas, studied journalism, and became a successful writer. The student body loved her, her outlook on life and especially liked her "gameness." She became known as the "silver-haired co-ed," and as the "sixty-five-year-old freshman."
Glenn James Hamilton was the son of Joseph Benson Hamilton who was killed in 1863 in the Civil War. James came to Arkansas after the war and lived for several years until 1888 near his uncle, Madison Hamilton and his aunt Louisa Ann Brown in Cleveland Co. His presence is recorded for these years in the minutes of the Charge Conference of the Toledo Circuit of the Methodist church. He was a farmer and also a Methodist Minister, as was Madison Sanford Hamilton and Robert Hamilton, M.S. Hamilton's son (and Lon Hamilton's father).
Submitted by Glenn Hamilton Morrison