SAMUEL HAMER
 


Samuel Hamer was born 28 May 1803 in Bolton le Moors, Lancashire, England, the son of John Hamer and Jane Bentley. The Bank Street Presbyterian Church records his christening on 19 June 1803.


Samuel Hamer
                            baptism

Christening record for Samuel Hamer at Bank Street Presbyterian Church, Bolton


The same records also show three younger brothers: James, John, and Edward. “The date 1672 in generally accepted for the foundation of the Bank Street Chapel congregation. The founding families were intermarried and resided almost entirely in the better areas to the south of the town...The growth of the town of Bolton was based on the textile industry, and Bank Street Chapel congregation represented an influential section of the local population occupied at all levels in the industry, commerce, and in the professions.” A Responsible Society; G.M. Ramsden
 

Samuel and Jane Thornley were married 7 March 1824 in Bolton le Moors. Samuel worked as an engineer, fixing and maintaining machinery, and also as a millwright.


Samuel Hamer
                            marriage

Marriage record for Samuel Hamer and Jane Thornley in Bolton


Ten children were born to them in England - John, Martha, Nancy, Ellen, James, Samuel, Jane, James, Ann, and Joseph. In 1835, the family moved to Tottington (about four miles north of Bolton), and it must have been here that they were converted to the gospel. The British Mission opened in Preston in 1838, and spread to the nearby countryside: "Members of the Council of the Twelve who served missions to England in 1840-41 found the specific prophecies of Joseph Smith upon their heads were fulfilled. Their experience was like that of the early Apostles on the day of Pentecost as thousands recognized their message and authority and asked them what they should do to be saved." (Ensign, July 1987).  According to the History of the Church, in 1840 there was a branch of sixty members in nearby Bolton. It is not known when Samuel and Jane were baptized, but their son John was baptized in September of 1840 by Robert Crook. John was 16 years old. Samuel was an officiator at a baptism for Sarah Singleton on 23 November 1841, so he must have been baptized before that date.
 
 


 

The Hamer family appears in the English census in Tottington Mill in 1841. The record shows:

Saml Hamer, 35, Engineer

Jane Hamer, 35
Jno Hamer, 16, Mechanic
Martha Hamer, 14, Stitcher
Nancy Hamer, 13
Saml Hamer, 8
Jane Hamer, 5
James Hamer, 3
Ann Hamer, 1

 



The Hamers immigrated to the United States in February of 1842 on the ship Hope. The passenger list for the Hope shows:

Samuel Hamer, age 38, origin England, occupation: Millwright
Jane Hamer, age 19
John Hamer, age 17
Martha Hamer, age 14
Nancy Hamer, age 12
Samuel Hamer, age 10
Jane Hamer, age 6
James Hamer, age 4
Anne Hamer, age 2
Joseph Hamer, infant, origin England
 Sources: New Orleans, 1820-1850 Passenger and Immigration Lists, www.ancestry.com; Mormon Immigration Index CD. In the Mormon Immigration Index Joseph Hamer is shown as an infant, the other family members are extracted in the CD as "Hanna". Since baby Joseph was most likely not traveling alone, and ages for the others match, it is assumed that  Hamer was wrongly translated as Hanna for the other family members. In the Ancestery.com list the family is listed as Hamer.


Ship Hope 

The Ship Hope


The Hope sailed from Liverpool on 5 February 1842, under Captain Soule. There were 270 LDS immigrants. The LDS leader was James Burnham. The voyage was described in several journals: "She got out of dock on Friday 3rd Feb. and she was towed down the river on Saturday morning by a steamer about 8 miles and on Sunday morning we passed the land of Ireland...We saw a number of fish called porpoises, and on Wednesday 8th we had a strong head wind, and Thursday 9th it blew a strong gale of wind...Wednesday the 2 March the same as yesterday. I saw one flying fish today and one yesterday. Saw a vessel at a great distance we thought making for England. 30 March Wednesday morning the steam boat Star arrived and took us in tow about 9 o'clock in the morning...and took us in tow up the great Mississippi River and when we got up the river some distance on Thursday morning the 31 March we came in sight of a most beautiful country diversified with plantations farm house, sugar manufactories, and beautiful cottages and wooded on each side of the river and on 1st April we got to New Orleans and safe and sound and on the second April we chartered a steam boat Louisa commanded by Captain H.C. Cable to St. Louis."  (Richard Rushton)
 

The company of Saints traveled up the Mississippi and joined the Saints at Nauvoo.  The ship arrived on 1 April 1842. The History of Joseph Smith records: "About one hundred and fifty Saints from England, landed in Nauvoo from the steamer Louisa, and about sixty from the steamer Amaranth."
 

Nauvoo in 1840 had a population of 2,450. The call to gather brought many hundreds of English immigrants like the Hamers: "One of the assignments given the Council of the Twelve in Nauvoo was the resettlement of British immigrants. The Twelve helped newcomers find homes and land, employment, and temporary sustenance when needed. So, to serve the steady influx of Missouri and British Saints, surveyors in Nauvoo laid out a plat of four-acre blocks, each divided into four plots. Upon the city lots were many small log homes, some frame and stone buildings." (Ensign, Sept. 1979). The Hamers were given Lot #74, a few blocks from the Nauvoo Temple site, towards the river. (One of the Hamer's next-door neighbors, Sarah Granger Kimball, was responsible for starting the charitable women's organization that became the Relief Society. Her house is still standing, and is part of the Nauvoo restoration site tour.) Samuel is found paying taxes in 1842 in the Nauvoo, Illinois Tax Index, 1842:
 

Samuel Hamary, page 226, coordinates 6N8W
Source: Nauvoo, Illinois Tax Index, 1842, on ancestry.com.
 
 


 

This map shows the location of Samuel Hamer's property, Lot #74 in Nauvoo.
It is at the corner of Young and Bain Streets in Nauvoo.
The Nauvoo Temple can be seen from the lot, and is located at Lot #20.


Samuel worked in Nauvoo as a blacksmith. The one-year-old baby, Joseph, died in September of 1842. He is believed to have been buried on the Hamer's property.
 

There is some confusion about Samuel Hamer's death. The newspaper, the Nauvoo Neighbor, records the death of Samuel Hamer in August 1843 of "ague and fever"- probably malaria. The death is confirmed by the handwritten Sexton's list of death. However, there is an interesting family story, as told by Samuel's granddaughter, Nellie Hamer Reiser (the daughter of Samuel Hamer, Jr.): "I remember having heard my father tell many stories of his experiences as an early member of the Church and as a pioneer. He told us of having seen the Prophet Joseph Smith lying on the well curb after having been killed and having fallen from the window of the Carthage Jail. Father had gone with his father and mother to see where the Prophet was imprisoned, and arrived just after his cruel death. His father, who was the only miller that the Saints had at that time, and suffered for some time with a weak heart. He took his wife and his boy home, and had no sooner reached the house than he fell dead. The shock of the Prophet's murder was too great for him to stand." This story is unlikely. If it were true his death would have had to have been in June of 1844, instead of August 1843 as recorded. Samuel Hamer, Sr. is not recorded as being buried in the old Nauvoo cemetery, but is probably buried on his property in Nauvoo, which according to the Nauvoo Restoration Society is now pasture land. This pasture land is owned by the LDS church, as part of the Nauvoo restoration.
 
 


 

Nauvoo Neighbor, death notice for Samuel Hamer


Samuel’s widowed wife and family were driven from Nauvoo by the mobs in 1846. They were heartbroken to leave Samuel and Joseph’s graves behind as they crossed the plains. Samuel gave his life for his testimony, and the impact his life and death is reflected in the lives of his descendants.
 
 


 
 

This plaque at the Nauvoo Pioneer Cemetery
remembers those who died in Nauvoo.
 


 
 

“And should we die before our journey’s through
Happy day, all is well.
We then are free, from toil and sorrow, too
With the just we shall dwell.”

This rose was left in remembrance by a grateful descendant
on the property Samuel Hamer owned in Nauvoo.
 
 
 
 



If you have any additional information about this family, please contact me at alice@boydhouse.com.
 
 

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