b. 1865 Stanraer, Scotland. d. ?
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 29/12/1890 Wounded Knee, South Dakota.
Matthew H. Hamilton was born in Stranraer, Scotland. According to enlistment and census records, Hamilton was born about 1865. The 1871 Scotland Census lists a Matthew Hamilton, age 5, living in the Ochtrelure, which was a hamlet of Stranraer in the parish of Inch, Wigtownshire County. Assuming this is the correct Matthew Hamilton, he was listed as the son of William and Christina (nee McDonald) Hamilton, although some genealogists suggest that Matthew was living with William and Christina but was not their son. He is not listed on any other Scotland census with this family. William Hamilton was listed as a farmer, but the family profession held by several of the Hamiltons from Wigontownshire was that of mariner.
In 1881, Matthew travelled to Australia from London, aboard a vessel called the “North American”. The captain was also Matthew J. Hamilton, believed to be possibly an uncle. By 1883, Matthew was worked as an able-bodied seaman out of Hobart, Tasmania. By 1888, he was living in New York City where he enlisted in the Army on July 6. He stated that he was a sailor, and his place of birth was incorrectly listed as Hobart, Australia, where he had previously worked. Hamilton had blue eyes, sandy hair, a florid complexion, and stood five feet nine and a half inches tall. He was assigned to Troop E, 7th Cavalry, and was later transferred to Troop G.
By the time Hamilton was recognized in General Order 100 in December 1891, he was serving as a corporal, and later was promoted to sergeant. He completed his first enlistment on July 5, 1893, at Camp J. D. Mann, Texas, named in memory of the 7th Cavalry officer who died of wounds received at White Clay Creek. Hamilton reenlisted for another five years the following day, this time correctly listing his place of birth as Stranraer, Scotland. He completed that five-year enlistment on July 5, 1898, as a sergeant at Fort Apache, Arizona Territory, and signed up for another three years. Again, Hamilton listed his birth place as Stranraer, Scotland. He completed his last enlistment on April 22, 1899, at Pinar del Rio, Cuba, serving as a Quartermaster sergeant with a service characterization of ‘Good.’
The last known record of Matthew H. Hamilton is the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, in which he was listed as living in Pinar del Rio, Cuba, working with the U.S. Army as a pack master, thirty-five years old, born in July 1864 in Scotland, and having arrived in the United States in 1888.
Bravery in action.
BURIAL LOCATION: UNKNOWN.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.