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Ross Hamilton

Member From: 1869 - 1889

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  • Birth Date: 1839 Birth Place:Mecklenberg County, Virginia
  • Gender: Male Race: African American
  • Spouse: Pattie (d. November 18, 1883); M. B. "Belle" Knox (m. May 18, 1885)
  • Children: 9 children
  • Religion:
  • Education:
  • Military Service:
  • Occupation/Profession: Carpenter, Storeowner, worker in the Government Printing Office and the Department of Interior
  • Additional Info Links: Bio from Virginia's Martin Luther King Jr. Commission
    Encyclopedia Virginia Biography
  • Bio: Ross Hamilton was born into slavery in Mecklenburg County and served as a member of the House of Delegates (1870–1883). Hamilton had the longest legislative career of any African American in nineteenth-century Virginia one of the best-known African American legislators in Virginia. Hamilton was first elected to the House of Delegates in a special election on May 26, 1870, and took his seat on June 2, 1870. In 1877 the Speaker appointed Hamilton to the important Committee on Privileges and Elections as the least-senior member. He also served on the Committees on Claims, on Retrenchment and Economy, on Immigration, and on Labor and the Poor. Hamilton regularly attended county, district, and state Republican Party conventions, was a member of the Committees on Resolutions and on Finance at the state convention in August 1875, and was a delegate to Republican national conventions in 1872 and 1876. In 1883, Hamilton lost the party nomination for an eighth term in the House of Delegates. In November 1889, Hamilton won election again to the House of Delegates to represent Mecklenburg County by defeating a white man, which was the last nineteenth-century general election in which any African American won election to the General Assembly. On January 3, 1890, less than a month after the session began, the House declared Hamilton’s election improper and seated his opponent. Ross Hamilton died at his residence in Washington, D.C., on May 2, 1901, and was buried on the grounds of Boydton Institute in Boydton.

Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1869-1871 Mecklenburg Executive Expenditures
Manufactures and Mechanic Arts
1871-1873 Mecklenburg Executive Expenditures
Manufactures and Mechanic Arts
1874-1875 Mecklenburg Republican Executive Expenditures
Manufactures and Mechanic Arts
1875-1877 Mecklenburg Republican Executive Expenditures
Manufactures and Mechanic Arts
1877-1879 Mecklenburg Republican Privileges and Elections
1879-1880 Mecklenburg Republican Claims
Retrenchment and the Economy
1881-1882 Mecklenburg Readjuster Immigration
Labor and Poor
1889-1890 Mecklenburg Asylums and Prisons
Retrenchment and Economy

*The information within this interactive and searchable application has been researched extensively by the House Clerk’s Office. As with any historical records of this age and breadth, there may be discrepancies and/or inconsistencies within records obtained from a variety of credible sources. Any feedback is encouraged at history@house.virginia.gov.

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