A tray presented as a Christmas gift to a member of our family in 1934 bears the Hamilton Arms with the following inscription:
The Crest of this ancient Coat of Arms is an Oak Tree growing from a Ducal crown. Across the tree is a saw, above in a scroll is the word "Throu." This device commemorates the escape into Scotland of Sir Gilbert Hamilton in 1323. At the court of King Edward II, Sir Hamilton expressed admiration for Robert Bruce, upon which he was struck by one Dispenser. A duel followed and Dispenser fell. Hamilton fled from England, hotly pursued. Near the border, Hamilton and his esquire donned the dress of wood cutters and began working. As the soldiers passed, his esquire hesitated, and Hamilton called out "Throu" [equivalent to "Timber"]. They were not recognized, and Hamilton's life was saved.
The Hamiltons descended from the House of Beaumonts. Fitzgilbert Hamilton is named in a charter in Scotland in 1294. He left the English to join Robert Bruce. In 1371 David Hamilton was made Baron. James was made a lord in 1445. He was allied with Douglas, a supporter of King James II. In 1474 he married Mary sister of King James III. His son James was guardian of little Queen Mary. His son was proposed as husband to Queen Elizabeth but went insane. Claud Hamilton was made Lord in 1587. To this branch our ancestor Robert belonged. He was born in Bainbridge, Ireland, in 1760, came to America in 1776 and joined the American army. He died in 1841 and is buried in Lebanon, Ohio.
Other sources offer similar versions of this story. The Clan Hamilton Society states that one Gilbert de Hamilton praised Robert the Bruce in 1325 and was assaulted by John de Spencer. Hamilton challenged his assailant, but de Spencer refused to fight, whereupon Hamilton killed him. The version in our family is certainly more chivalrous!
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