Among the family history files, I found a vintage Hamilton map that mom had written some notes in the margin. X marked the location of my great-grandfather Alf Joy’s feed mill. The old map has the date 1903 penciled onto it. Henry Alfred Joy and his family moved from Baldwin City to Hamilton in 1908.
You’ll see that Gail Lee Martin noted the Joy mill was in lot 4 of Block 1 and that the Joy home was lots 5 and 6 of Block 11. So look for block 11 on the upper part of the map, then you’ll see the small X for the lots where their home was. It was on corner of First and Jackson Street. At the opposite end of the block was the M.E. Church.
Map of Hamilton, Kansas (from Gail Lee Martin’s collection)
This sparked my curiosity. Was the house that my great-grandparents lived in still there? Since I live over 1,000 miles away, I couldn’t just drive by to check it out. So, I opened Google Earth on my computer. Zooming in on Hamilton, Kansas, I wondered if I’d be able to spot the right street.
Fortunately, the Methodist Church was labeled on the image. I used my screenshot capability to add arrows to the church and to the location of the Joy home. Was that the original house or a newer one?
Google Earth view of Hamilton, Kansas (captured with Awesome Screenshot extension on Chrome)
Since I live over 1,000 miles away and now is not a good time for a road trip, I thought I wouldn’t be able to verify the house. Then I played around with Google Earth and discovered the street view. It is definitely a newer home from the last 20 years or so and not a house from 1903.
Alfred, daughter Cora, son Harry, and Marie Joy. This might be their house in Hamilton, Kansas.
The feed mill was one block up and a block and half toward what is now Highway 99. On the 1903 map, it shows the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad lines where now there is the highway. Likely the railroad would have been handy for sending out shipments of local grain from the mill or bringing in shipments for sale to local farmers.
On Google Earth, the place where the mill would have been, there remains only a vacant lot.
Joy Feed Mill in Hamilton, KS
Well, that kept me engaged for some time. I picked up some other trivia from the map, so I’ll share that here. It seems the town fathers named many of the streets after presidents. Besides Jackson and Lincoln, there are also streets named for Garfield and Washington. One wonders how they decided which presidents to honor. I would have selected Adams and Jefferson over Garfield and Jackson.
Other streets are named First, Second, and Third and, of course, Main Street. Fourth Street did not end up next to Third but was mysteriously located over in another section of town. Looking on Google Earth, I see there are now Fifth and Sixth Streets as well.
You can see the location of the hotel, bank, post office, school, depot, livery stable, stockyards, the Baptist and Catholic churches, and the lumber yard on the vintage map.
Names on the 1903 Map
- Fred Ott
- H.J. Ulrich
- Mrs. E.E. Henry
- P.L. Cramer
- L.N. Peoples
- Wm Barmgrover
- J.H. Edwards
- J.W. Johnson
- F.C. Behmer
- Mary Balson
- R.K. Conwell
- Henry Monnier
- N.N. Piatt
- A.R. Heath
- Lewis Shook
- J.J. Shook
- James Yeating
Hamilton is in Janesville Township and was formerly called Fullerton.