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April 2, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: The Hamners

Earl Hamner, Jr.

Earl Hamner, Jr.

At least one branch of the Hamner family was established in Buckingham by the early 19th century.  Bill Davidson mentioned that Ann Hamner Cobbs married Baker W. Davidson in Bedford Co., VA in 1827. They settled in Buckingham by the early 1830s.  Ann was the daughter of John Lewis Cobbs, Sr. and Susannah Hamner.

Circa 1850, Buckingham-born Mary Ballard Chambers, niece of my ancestor George Chambers, married James S. Hamner. Their daughter, Bettie Allen Hamner (1853-1909), later married Walker Burford Freeman and was the mother of journalist, historian, and biographer Douglas Southall Freeman.

In 1900, Earl Hamner, Jr.’s grandfather, William C. Hamner, and his substantial family were living in Buckingham County along the James River near Warren Ferry. While in Buckingham, the Hamners intermarried with some of the county’s best known residents, including members of the Spencer, Patteson, Tindall, Glover, and Dibrell families. Eric Grundset reports that c. 1905, William C. Hamner moved his family from Buckingham to Schuyler, Nelson County.  Eric’s mother was the daughter of Earl Hamner, Jr.’s uncle, Lewis T. Hamner.

By 1930, Earl H. Hamner, Sr. was beginning his own substantial family.  Earl Hamner, Jr. was six years old when the census was taken.


Nelson County Census (1930)

If you have ties to the Hamners of Buckingham, please share your lineage or, even better, a story or two.  That would make Earl Hamner, Jr. smile.


Leave a Comment
  1. barbara griffith / Mar 13 2017 12:54 pm

    am wondering if anyone knew who wilber ray hamner was n how he was related to earl hamner? thanks

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 13 2017 3:51 pm

      Barbara, I don’t know the relationship. Perhaps, a reader will see your note and know. Joanne

  2. Calvin Eaton, (descendant of John T. L. Woodson and distant relative of Betty Hamner) / Jul 20 2013 11:25 am

    I am trying to connect James S. Hamner (Bettie’s father from Appomattox) with Earl’s grandfather Walter Clifton Hamner.

    Calvin Eaton

    • Joanne Yeck / Jul 20 2013 11:34 am

      Calvin, thanks for putting your query up at Slate River Ramblings. I, too, would like to know how our Chambers-Hamner intermarriage connects to Earl Hamner’s line. There are Hamner family members following the blog!

      • Calvin Eaton, (descendant of John T. L. Woodson and distant relative of Betty Hamner) / Jul 20 2013 4:15 pm

        Fact check: Earl Hamner Jr’s grandfather was Walter Clifton Hamner, not William C.

  3. Kimberly / May 28 2013 7:10 am

    My maternal great-grandfather was Herman Springer. He and his brothers (and some of the various children and collateral relatives) formed the Springer Family Band. They played at parties and such in and around Buckingham County. In fact, that is where he met his future wife, Evie Shepherd. (Apparently she saw him playing and decided to marry him.) The Springer Family Band is mentioned in at least one episode of the Waltons, so I suspect that Mr. Hamner must have heard them play a time or two.

    -Kimberly Maher

    • Joanne Yeck / May 28 2013 8:40 am

      Kimberly, The Springer Family Band sounds great! I’ve just begun to explore music in Buckingham and it isn’t easy to document. Watch for more in future posts!

  4. Harry Stuart Holman / Apr 3 2013 10:55 am

    Dear Joanne,

    This is a very helpful response. Your logic is sound! Thanks!

    H. S. Holman

    • Joanne Yeck / Apr 3 2013 1:15 pm

      You’re welcome!

  5. Harry Stuart Holman / Apr 2 2013 11:48 pm

    Dear Reader,

    Ann Hamner was the sister of Bishop N. H. Cobbs of Alabama–the first Episcopal Bishop of that State. Their ancestor was Robert Cobbs–brother of Ambrose Cobbs of Williamsburg–father of my ancestor Thomas Cobbs of Williamsburg. Mrs. Thomas Cobbs was a collateral ancestor of Pres. John Tyler.

    The mother of George Chambers–Mrs. John Chambers of Buckingham was a first cousin to Ann Bradley Holman of “Whitehall,” Buckingham County (d. ca. 1835). Her sister Elizabeth Bradley married William Hamner in Goochland about the year 1790. He was the son of William Hamner and a Miss Morris. These Hamners moved to Albemarle and had a large family. These Hamner children were second cousins to George Chambers of Chambers’ Mills, Buckingham County and nieces and nephews to my Ann Bradley Holman of “Whitehall,” Buckingham County.

    Do these Hamners or their Hamner cousins connect to Earl Hamner ?

    H. S. Holman

    • Joanne Yeck / Apr 3 2013 8:21 am

      Harry, that’s a great question. It’s easy to assume that an Agee or a Woodson is a cousin; however, is there a single Hamner immigrant to Virginia? They certainly seem to be plentiful in Buckingham County in the 19th century.


  1. Buckingham County: Family Bands | slate river ramblings . . . .

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