FRANKLIN A. HAMMER, of the firm of Beatty & Hammer, dealers in all kinds of hardware and farmers' implements, was born on the banks of the Shenandoah river, in Buckingham county, Virginia, April 10, 1829. He is the son of John Hammer, who, with two other brothers, had come from Germany prior to the Revolution. The family was started in this country by the grandfather of Mr. Franklin Hammer, who settled in Virginia, and lived and died there at an advanced old age. His son grew to manhood in Virginia, and participated in the war of 1812. After that war was over he moved to the Shenandoah valley and farmed in Rockingham county for some years, when he went to Morgan county, Illinois, and started his life in that State as a general mechanic and blacksmith and wagonmaker. In 1843, he removed to Beardstown and opened up a livery stable and hotel, which he ran until 1848, when he sold out and bought a farm six miles from Beardstown, and lived on it for some years, farming and improving it to a great extent. At the end of that time he again moved to Beardstown, and died at the age of eighty, in 1868. He was a good man and citizen and well known pioneer. He was a Methodist in religion, and a Democrat in politics. He married in his native county, Miss Elizabeth Marica, of Virginia. She died on the farm in Cass county, at the age of forty-six. She was a member of the Lutheran Church. He was married a second time, to Cynthia Dalton. She died on the farm in Cass county, without issue, when quite old.
Franklin is the only surviving member of his father's three children. He came to the State of Illinois in 1835, when but a small boy, with his parents, settling in Arcadia, Morgan county, Illinois; and later, in 1843, the family came to Beardstown, and his father settled on a farm in Cass county. Our subject returned to Beardstown and was connected for many years in the livery business, buying and selling horses and preparing them for fancy roadsters. He was a true admirer of the noble, intelligent animal, and his judgment in regard to the worth of a horse was very good. In the old days he could drive four-in-hand as well as a western stage driver. He still retains his fondness for them, and has all his old power of judging them. In 1874, he sold out his livery and horse business, except as a breeder of the Hambletonian horses, that he continued until 1877, when he became president of the old Cass County Bank. He continued in this capacity until 1883, when he resigned in order to enter into a partnership with Mr. Beatty, he buying the stock of Mr. Rearick. He had been a stockholder in the Cass county bank ever since its organization in 1866. It had been previously an insurance business. The present firm of Beatty & Hammer is noted for the full line of reliable goods they carry. They are located on Main street. Mr. Hammer has always taken an active part in all the affairs of the town. He has made judicial investments in various ways, and has made considerable money.
Mr. Hammer was married in Cass county, to Miss Margaret A. Lee, of the same county of Cass. Her parents, Caleb and Matilda (Higgins) Lee, were natives of Maryland, and after marriage came, in 1828, to Cass county, Illinois, and settled there. He was a farmer, and spent the remainder of his life on the farm that he purchased upon coming to the county.
Mrs. Hammer is the youngest of four children, and all were born in Cass county. She and her husband are the parents of two children living: John, in business with his father; and Nellie, wife of Charles Ireland, a conductor on the Ohio & Mississippi railroad. Mr. Hammer is a Democrat in politics, and he and his wife are members of the Congregational Church. He has been the Treasurer and Assessor of the county one term.