History of Taylor County, Iowa: from the earliest historic times to 1910 by  Frank E. Crosson. Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910
(biographicals transcribed by Linda Kestner: lfkestner3@msn.com)
Page 463
Nature has generally been lavish in her gifts to all sections of the country.  Some regions are rich in their mineral deposits, others in their forest preserves, while the nature of the topography at different times furnishes excellent opportunity for the building of cities, where the waterways may be used for transportation.  Still other sections of the country are blessed with the soil that furnishes excellent opportunity to the agriculturist, the rich deposits of the surface soil being such as to make the production of crops a comparatively easy matter.  Iowa, today considered one of the foremost agricultural states of the Union, has taken leadership in the production of corn and is scarcely second to any other in the production of other cereals.  Among those who are enjoying the advantages here offered is John M. Hamilton, who lives on section 7, Jackson township, and is numbered among the active and prosperous farmers of the locality, owning and cultivating one hundred and ninety acres of fine land.  He has lived in the county since 1874 and is numbered among the worthy citizens that Scotland has furnished to the new world.  His birth occurred in the parish of Avondale in Lanarkshire, July 24, 1860.
His father, James Hamilton, also a native of the land of hills and heather, was there reared and educated and, after reaching man's estate, he married Janette Bryson, also a native of Scotland.  Nine children were born unto them in that country.  The favorable reports which they heard concerning the opportunities of the new world led them to seek a home beyond the Atlantic in 1874 and, bidding adieu to friends and native country, they sailed to the United States and then made their way to a region west of the Mississippi, settling in Taylor county, Iowa.  Mr. Hamilton secured a farm in Ross township, purchasing a tract of land which he cultivated for several years.  Late he sold that property and removed to Jackson township, where he remained until called to his final rest.  His wife still survives him and resides on the old home farm.  In their family were seven sons and two daughters, all of whom are now married with the exception of one son.
John M. Hamilton was a youth of fourteen years when he accompanied his parents to the United States and the remainder of his minority was passed in Taylor county.  He acquired a county-school education and received liberal (page 464) training in the work of the farm, assisting his father in the cultivation and improvement of new land.  He remained on the old homestead until he had attained his majority and then started out in life on his own account, working by the month as a farm hand for several years.  He was ambitious and diligent, however, and, carefully saving his earnings, he at length was enabled to engage in farming for himself.
Mr. Hamilton made preparations for having a home of his own by his marriage in Bedford, Iowa, on the 24th of January, 1886, to Miss Alice Townsend, who was born and reared in Taylor county.  After their marriage he rented land which he cultivated for two years and at the end of that time his economy had enabled him to save a sum sufficient to enable him to purchase eighty acres, where he now resides.  He afterward bought more land and as the years have gone by he has persistently and energetically carried on the work of the farm which is now one of the excellent properties of Jackson township.  He has added to and remodeled the house, has built a barn and other outbuildings, has planted an orchard, has fenced his place, and also has a good feed mill and various kinds of modern machinery upon the farm.  In the pastures are fine high-grade horses, hogs and cattle and he fattens the last two for the market, shipping about three carloads of fat stock yearly.  He is a successful farmer, stock raiser and feeder and while he commenced life empty-handed he is today one of the substantial farmers of the community, and his possessions have been acquired entirely by his own well directed and honorable efforts.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton has been blessed with six children: James Clifford, who is married and follows farming on a tract of land adjoining his father's place; Claud E., Clyde Vern, Leo S., Lotus C. and J. M. , all of whom are yet under the parental roof.  The parents are members of the Bedford Presbyterian church, in the work of which they are much interested.  Mr. Hamilton also belongs to Grove Camp of the Modern Woodmen, in which he is now serving as venerable counsel.  When age conferred upon him the right of franchise he began supporting the democratic party and has never wavered in his allegiance thereto.  Upon this ticket he was elected and served as township trustee for three years.  He may justly be called one of the county's self-made men, for he has been both the architect and builder of his own fortunes.  Widely recognized for his business ability and sterling character he has the confidence and esteem of the community and his example may well serve as a source of inspiration and encouragement to others, showing what may be accomplished when one has the will to dare and to do.