A highly successful farmer and stockman of Macoupin county is James H. Hamner, whose homestead contains three hundred and seventy-two acres of highly improved land. His birth occurred in Morgan county, three miles from Waverly, on the 31th of May, 1843, his parents being John and Mary (Rohrer) Hamner, the father a native of Illinois and the mother of Kentucky. There were born three children: Elizabeth, wife of Sterling Berry, of Palmyra; James H., our subject; and Sarah J., the late wife of D. W. Solomon, deceased, of Kansas. The father, who always engaged in agricultural pursuits, had acquired quite a valuable farm at the time of his demise, which occurred during the childhood of our subject. For her second husband the mother married Spencer Norven [Norvell?], of Macoupin county.
James H. Hamner was reared in the home of his step-father, and while obtaining his education in the district schools assisted in the duties about the farm, thus becoming familiar with the best practical methods of farm work. At the age of twenty-one years he was married and began working for himself. He purchased an eighty acre tract of land and upon this erected a log cabin, where he and his wife began their domestic life. He only owned one horse at this time and not being able to spare the money to buy another was compelled to borrow one from a neighbor in order to make a team to break his land and place it under cultivation. Being young, ambitious and energetic he had unlimited faith in his ability to win success. He applied himself diligently and unceasingly to the operation of his land, which repaid his labor in lavish manner. The log cabin was superseded by a comfortable country house, while the boundaries of his homestead were extended from time to time until they now embrace three hundred and seventy-two acres. In addition to his own holdings Mr. Hamner has presented furthermore each of his sons with an eighty acre tract of land. In connection with the cultivation of his fields he has devoted much attention to the breeding and raising of high-grace stock, from which he has always realized a substantial income.
On the 10th of March, 1864, Mr. Hamner married Miss Nancy E. Nevins, a daughter of Austin S. and Margaret (Steele) Nevins, both natives of Tennessee. She is one of a family of seven children, the others being: Elias and Sarah, both deceased; William, a resident of Minnesota; Albert and Mary, also deceased; and Jane, the wife of J. H. Norvell, of Wagner. Mrs. Nevins died while still quite young and Mr. Nevins married for the second time Mrs. Thomas, the widow of James Thomas, and to them were born four children: Martin L., now deceased; George, a resident of Girard; Silas, living in Nilwood, Illinois; and Clarinda, deceased.
Mr. and Mrs. Hamner are the parents of seven children: Mary, born March 6, 1865, is the wife of Newton Walkington, of Macoupin County, and they have five children, Herschel E., Nora E., Minnie O., Nellie O., and Paul E. Amanda, born October 5, 1866, is the wife of W. T. Turner, of this county, and has seven children: Cyrus E., Stella, Cephas, Meryl, Jasper, Grace and Carl. Emma, born November 3, 1868, is the wife of I. P. Drennan, of Kansas, and they have three children, Fred, Maud and Earl. John, born March 24, 1871, is a resident of this county. He married Nellie Walkington and has two children, Iva and Harry. Albert, born July 27, 1874, died on the 26th of September, 1876. Effie, born October 2, 1877, is the wife of Nathan Walkington, of Macoupin county, and they have one child, Edith. James H., Jr., born November 24, 1881, is also a resident of this county. He married Rae Jenkins and they have two children, Fern and Alma. Mr. and Mrs. Hamner also have three great-grandchildren, Lerne Andrews, Nellie Turner and a baby in the Turner family as yet unnamed.
Members of the Christian church, Mr. and Mrs. Hamner brought up their family in the faith of that denomination. He is also a member of the Anti-Horse Thief Association, while his political support is given the democratic party. Township affairs have always enlisted the interest of Mr. Hamner, who has held various minor offices. He is one of the prosperous agriculturists of Macoupin county, whose success is the justly merited reward of intelligently and capably directed effort.