- Malcolm Lester
Hamilton, John (1740–12 December 1816), colonial merchant, Loyalist, and British consul, was born in Scotland. Nothing is known of his education. In 1756 he joined his brother Archibald in Nansemond County, Virginia, as a partner in a mercantile company, which included an uncle in Glasgow as a third partner. The Hamiltons extended their operations into North Carolina, where they established an extensive trading center at Hamilton Hill near Halifax; they had stores and warehouses for retail and wholesale trade in imported and colonial goods, a tavern, and shops for a blacksmith, a cooper, a hatter, and a tailor. By 1776 the Hamiltons, who operated under the name of John Hamilton and Company, had become the largest commercial house in the colony. Throughout its existence, the company maintained an excellent reputation with North Carolina farmers and merchants, who benefited from its ample provision of purchasing credit....