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First Name: Thomas

Last Name: Hamer

Birthplace: Northumberland County, PA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Lyon

Date of Birth: 1800

Date of Death: 02 December 1846

Rank: Brigadier General

Years Served:
Thomas Lyon Hamer

•  Mexican-American Wars (1846 - 1848)


Thomas Lyon Hamer
Brigadier General, U.S. Army

Thomas Lyon Hamer was born in July 1800 in Northumberland County, PA

At age 17, he moved to Ohio, where he was admitted to the bar in 1821 and set up practice in the newly-founded Georgetown, Brown County. He was a member of the State House of Representatives in 1825, 1828, and 1829, serving as Speaker in the last year.

Hamer won his first two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Jacksonian but switched to the Democratic Party for the Twenty-Fifth Congress (1837-39); he did not seek re-election and returned to Georgetown. In 1845 he declined an offer from President James Polk to become Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

With the outbreak of the Mexican-American War, Hamer was appointed Brigadier General and placed in command of the 1st Brigade of Major General William O. Butler's Volunteer Division, U.S. Army of Occupation. He fought with distinction in the Battle of Monterrey (September 1846), assuming command of the Division after Butler was wounded, and when Mexican General Pedro de Ampudia offered to surrender, Hamer delivered the message to Army Commander Zachary Taylor.

Hamer died while stationed in Monterrey, probably of dysentery, and may not have known that he had been re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives without opposition. Taylor lamented, "I have lost the balance wheel of my volunteer army." Congress issued a resolution of sorrow and presented his nearest male relative with a sword.

For all his distinguished service, Hamer is perhaps best remembered today for a clerical error. During his last months in Congress, he nominated the son of a constituent, Hiram Ulysses Grant, to become a cadet at West Point, but mistakenly entered him as "Ulysses Simpson Grant." The future Civil War Union General and U.S. President adopted this name for life. In his memoirs Grant praised Hamer as "one of the ablest men Ohio ever produced."

Death and Burial

Brigadier General Thomas Lyon Hamer died on 2 December 1846 in Monterrey, Mexico. He is buried at the Old Georgetown Cemetery in Georgetown, OH.

Honoree ID: 2595   Created by: MHOH




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