Gertude Corrine Hamilton (Pond) (1840 - 1917)

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About Gertude Corrine Hamilton (Pond)

Gertrude Pond was the eldest of 11 children born to Loyal S. Pond and Harriet Sarah Taylor. Her father, Loyal, was a successful merchant and sugar broker from Vermont and the 1870 census shows Loyal's worth at $100,000. But Loyal Pond died in 1881 leaving 11 children, the youngest one being 18 at the time. His wife Harriet Taylor Pond, Gertrude's mother, lived until after 1894, when she went to live with Gertrude in Fort Wayne.

Gertrude had a great deal of experience with young children by the time she married, as she had frequently cared for her younger siblings. Montgomery found her on his second trip to Europe after the death of his father. Montgomery's mother Emerine Holman Hamilton says Gertrude's family were "waiting out the Civil War" in Europe. But they clearly remained long after the War was over because Gertrude returned to Germany to be with her mother when she gave birth to her first child in 1867.

A relative, Holman Hamilton says, "I am greatly doubtful that the Ponds had much of anything when Gertrude married Montgomery Hamilton. I'm very very skeptical of any idea that she had any money to amount to anything on her own. As a matter of fact, (in later years) there were various (Ponds) who used to come out to Fort Wayne and camp on her doorstep... and also on (her mother in law's) Emerine's doorstep. I'm reflecting things that I heard from my branch of the family and there was some criticism of the Ponds over there... Now, if you use this word in quotation marks and express and clearly indicate my own reservations regarding it, I would say that some characters would use the word "moocher" when it came to these miscellaneous visiting Ponds, or many of them. And many of them would get over to Emerine's house when they were coming along. Now, I, having no Pond blood, may be entirely mistaken." Source: Holman Hamilton to Allyn C. Wetmore, Nov. 1979.

Gertrude traveled to Dresden, Germany for the birth of her first child, Edith in 1867 and to New York City for the birth of her second child, Alice, in 1869. Apparently Gertrude wanted to be with her mother for the birth of her first two children. This not unnatural sentiment was difficult for the equally close knit Hamilton clan.

Gertrude spoke fluent French and Spanish probably because of her long stay in Europe. She was an Episcopalian while the Hamiltons were Presbyterian. There was some marital discord and at one point her mother, Harriet Sarah Taylor Pond suggested they separate. They did not.

Her daughter Alice describes her: "My mother, Gertrude Pond, was of a quite different temperament (than her father). She was less intellectual but more original and independent in her approach to life; indeed she was an extraordinary woman for her day and generation. Perhaps it was because she had spent much of her young womanhood in Germany and France that she was free from the Victorian prudery, which was considered essential to a lady. My mother could speak of such subjects as pregnancy, childbirth, suckling, quite unconscious of the taboo in Fort Wayne. Even more, she faced sex problems with courage and originality. I remember a discussion she had with the women of my father's family, in which she took the stand Browning takes in "The Statue and the Bust"; that the woman who is virtuous because she fears public opinion is not virtuous at all."

" She had a passionate love of freedom, of going her own way undisturbed by the demands and compulsions of family life. This spirit she carried into her own home, so far as she could. Never was there a mother less possessive. The motto she chose was that of the monks of Thelema, "Fay ce que vouldras," and she taught us that personal liberty was the most precious thing in life."

"Some seventy years before Virginia Woolf wrote A Room of One's Own, my mother believed in the right of every woman to privacy, even if she were the mother of a family."

"Another of her traits was equally rare -- her capacity for enthusiasms and for indignations over events and causes which had no personal bearing whatever. She could blaze out, even in old age, over tales of police brutality, of the lynching of Negroes, over child labor and cruelty to prisoners. She made us feel that whatever went wrong in our society was a personal concern for her and for us."

" But her indignation was not so much against the individual policeman or prison warden; it was against the whole class and especially the system which made such cruelty possible. Something she said once gives a picture of her quality and of the atmosphere in which we girls grew up: "There are two kinds of people, the ones who say "Somebody ought to do something about it, but why should it be I" and those who say "Somebody must do something about it, then why not I". (Alice Hamilton, Exploring the Dangerous Trades, pg. 32)

Gertrude outlived her husband by 8 years. She spent some of these later years with daughter Alice at Hull House where she taught English and helped with theatrical productions.

"In 1917-1919 and I think until 1920, the daughters of Mrs. Gertrude Hamilton took turns being with their mother in a cottage on a high bluff overlooking the Straits of Mackinac. My recollection is that the third daughter, Margaret (who was slightly lame) was there just about all of each summer -- while Edith, Alice and Norah were there for rather long stretches. Their much younger brother Arthur ("Quint) also came. And sometimes they had guests -- notably Clara Landsberg, who was practically a member of the family and whom I called "Cousin Clara" all my life, until she died." Source: Holman Hamilton to Barbara Sicherman, July 1774.

Gertrude is buried with her husband at Lindenwood Cemetery in Fort Wayne.

Obituary in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 1917, page 9, col 5:

"Hamilton"

"Mrs. Gertrude Hamilton, widow of Montgomery Hamilton, who was a well-known resident of this city during his life, died Sunday evening at the home of her daughter, Miss Edith Hamilton, in Baltimore, Maryland, where she had been making her home since the death of her husband seven years ago. She formerly lived at the corner of Montgomery and Clinton streets and was well known in Fort Wayne. The surviving relatives include four daughters, the Misses Edith, Margaret, Nora and Dr. Alice Hamilton, the latter formerly of Hull house and one son, Arthur Hamilton now professor at the Case School of Applied Science."

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Gertude Hamilton's Timeline

1840
1840
1867
1867
Age 27
1869
February 27, 1869
Age 29
New York, New York, New York, United States
1871
1871
Age 31
1873
1873
Age 33
1917
1917
Age 77
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