|OF CAMBRIA COUNTY.||337|
ALEXANDER HAMILTON, formerly superintendent of the Cambria Iron Company's rolling-mills, is known to iron workers throughout the country as one of the best practical mill managers to be found anywhere. In fact, there is scarcely a prominent iron or steel mill in the country in which men trained under his eye are not employed, either as foremen or skilled mechanics.
Alexander Hamilton is the son of James and Mariah (Knapp) Hamilton, and was born in Orange county, New York, July 11, 1821. His father was also a native of Orange county, but moved to the city of New York when our subject was six or seven years of age, and made that his home until his death, which occurred in 1830. The grandfather of our subject, who was also named Alexander Hamilton, was a native of Scotland, and emigrated to New York when a young man. He married and settled in Orange county, and made that his home until his death. The mother of our subject was a daughter of William Knapp, a soldier who served his country through the war of the Revolution, and survived until he reached the advanced age of ninety-five years. He died at his native place near Stamford, Connecticut. His brother, Uzial Knapp, the last survivor of General Washington's bodyguard, died in Orange county, New York, when he had almost completed his one hundredth year.
Mrs. Hamilton was born in the ancestral home of the Knapps in Fairfield county, Connecticut, near Stamford, and died in Johnstown, at the age of seventy years. She was a woman of high character, and was a devout Christian, belonging to the Methodist Episcopal church.
Our subject passed his boyhood in Orange county and New York city. He received but little schooling, as he began to earn his own
living at an early age. When about eighteen years of age, he went to work in a rolling-mill in Fairfield county, Connecticut, and for more than half a century since has been actively engaged with rolling-mills.
He was employed in mills at Albany, Troy and New York city, also at Fall River, Massachusetts. He then came to Pennsylvania, working in rolling-mills in Philadelphia and other places in the eastern part of the State. In 1855 he came to Johnstown as superintendent of the manufacturing department of the Cambria Iron company.
For nearly forty years Mr. Hamilton held this position, which kept growing in importance, as the small plant of which he originally took charge, kept enlarging from year to year until it was among the largest--if not the largest--rolling-mill in the world. And the "Cambria" rails made in this mill achieved a world-wide reputation for their excellence.
Mr. Hamilton was a superintendent who thoroughly understood every detail of the work, for had he not worked with his own hands at every process, from putting the metal in the puddling furnace to drilling the finished rails for shipment? He was an expert heater and roller, and in an emergency could himself fill any position in the mill.
He is a man of boundless energy and great determination; when he took a stand he was firm and unyielding. Yet the workmen know he possessed one of the kindest hearts to be found anywhere. His ability to control men was shown in the "Great Strike;" when other men feared for their lives Mr. Hamilton went steadily to work, started and kept the mills running until the strikers returned to work. The men knew the strength of his will and respected him for both his firmness and his kindness. As a result, more than twenty years