Superintendent of the New York State School for the Blind

seated: Charles Amos Hamilton & Gertrude Mabel Hubbard
standing: Karl Freeman Rodgers, Sr. & Allegra Estelle Hamilton
children: Karl Freeman Rodgers, Jr. and Delorma Hamilton Rodgers

Tim’s great-grandfather, Charles Amos Hamilton, the second son of Charles Munson and Eliza Ann (Devoe) Hamilton, was born 19 March 1866 in Hinsdale (Cattaraugus) New York, and died 28 October 1943 in Batavia (Genesee) New York. He married on 30 June 1897 at Albion (Orleans) New York, Gertrude Mabel Hubbard, who was born 9 December 1874 in Albion and died 31 May 1965 in Marlboro (Monmouth) New Jersey, the second daughter of Delorma Brown and Emma (Pridmore) Hubbard.

Charles’ mother was 47 years old when she gave birth to him, and so he was born into a family with an 18-year-old sister and a 26-year-old brother. He was named after his father, Charles Munson Hamilton and his uncle, Amos Gardner Hamilton. Sadly, his mother died when he was only three weeks old and his father remarried two years later. His stepmother died when he was 9 years old. However, Charles adored his older sister Addie, who was like a mother to him. In 1885 Charles graduated from Cuba [NY] High School, and from the University of Rochester first on 19 June 1889, and again in 1892 with a Master of Arts.

From 1889-1907 he worked as a teacher and then a principal at the Albion High School, where he may have met his future fiancée, Mamie Estelle Hubbard. Mamie was a grammar school teacher who died tragically of a serious illness at age 23 on 22 May 1892. Charles spent much time grieving with Mamie’s mother, Emma (Pridmore) Hubbard, and eventually fell in love with Mamie’s younger sister, Gertrude.

Charles & Gertrude’s marriage was performed by Charles’ old college friend, Rev. Christian A. Clausen, in the presence of a few friends and nearest relatives. Charles was baptized, at the age of 37, on 26 April 1903 at the Newark Baptist Church. In 1923 he joined the Sons of the American Revolution through his ancestor, William Hamilton. In 1924 he sold the family farm in Hinsdale to Guy W. King for $9000. And in December of 1936, Charles retired and bought a house at 26 Richmond Ave. in Batavia, New York.

He was honored on 28 October 1939, when Hamilton Hall was opened and dedicated at the New York State School for the Blind, where he had served as superintendent for many years.

October 1911
Emma Pridmore,
Gertrude Mabel Hubbard,
Allegra Estelle Hamilton

Gertrude graduated from Albion High School and Elmira College, where she had been a special music student. On 17 August 1900 she gave birth to her daughter, and only child, Allegra. It was a very difficult delivery, the baby weighed 11 lbs., and two subsequent perineal operations were required. Gertrude loved family history and gave her research notes to her daughter, Allegra, who passed them on to me, happy and relieved to find someone who cared about genealogy as much as her mother did. Gertrude & Charles did go to England and visited the graves of her Pridmore ancestors in Leicestershire. Gertrude was a member of the Deo-on-go-wa Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the First Baptist Church in Batavia. Charles & Gertrude are buried together, along with some of Gertrude’s Hubbard ancestors in Mt. Albion Cemetery, Albion, New York. She was named after her great-grandmother, Mabel (Sutleif) Hubbard.

The following is from: Charles Amos Hamilton, An Autobiography, “The Memory of the Just is Blessed”, (Batavia, New York: Privately printed, 1941):

After a month’s honeymoon trip through Albany, New York, Boston, White Mountains and Canada, we returned to Albion and completed preparations for our new, more responsible and fuller life. I am going to add right here, that, after nearly half a century of wedded life, I can truthfully say that I have never regretted either the step or my choice. As soon as we began housekeeping, we adopted a tentative budget. I left to Gertrude the running of the house, purchase of supplies, etc. For this, we set aside a certain amount, which usually proved sufficient. In addition, I gave Gertrude every month one sixth of my salary for her own personal use. This plan and this ratio I continued until my retirement from active work. I never called this her allowance, but called it her share. I could never have been elected to the Newark position had I not been married, and I considered her services as wife and helpmate worthy of some compensation beyond mere support. This as a business proposition, entirely outside of considerations of sentiment or duty. The plan has worked out very satisfactorily with us, and we recommend it to other married couples. It must be rather humiliating for a wife to beg a few dollars, or even a dollar, from her husband every time she needs it.

The following is from Buffalo Courier Express, Sunday, July 31, 1932:

Men You Ought to Know by H. Katherine Smith: Charles A. Hamilton, superintendent of the New York State School for the Blind at Batavia, was elected in June to the presidency of the American Association of Instructors of the Blind. This honor was conferred upon him in recognition of his work in preparing young people without sight to cope with the problems of daily life and, in many cases, of earning a living.

For 25 years Mr. Hamilton has served in his present position; and during the entire period his aim for the school has been to achieve the mental, physical, social and spiritual development of its pupils, and to fit them to become useful and contented men and women.

Native of Cattaraugus County: Mr. Hamilton was born at Hinsdale, Cattaraugus County, in 1866. Following his graduation from the high school of Cuba, NY, where his boyhood was passed, he entered the University of Rochester. He earned all of the expenses of his college education, turning his hand to whatever job came his way. For a time he lighted and extinguished street lamps in Rochester, rising every morning at 4:30 o’clock to turn out the gas before the sun was up. Later he found work more congenial to his tastes on the college newspaper. He worked on farms of the vicinity during his summer vacations with one exception. That was the summer he toured the Middle West as a book agent, deciding, once for all, that salesmanship was not his forte.

After his graduation from the University in 1889, Mr. Hamilton became identified with the Albion High School. During the eight years of that connection, the subjects he taught ranged from classic Greek to bookkeeping, and included Latin, physical geography, geometry, ancient history and civics.

At Albion he met Gertrude M Hubbard, who became Mrs. Hamilton. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton are the parents of a daughter, Mrs. Karl Rodgers of New York City, a graduate of Vassar College. Her two-year-old son is the chief delight of his proud grandfather, who finds the number of miles between Batavia and New York no small trial. In 1897, Mr. Hamilton became principal of the high school of Newark, NY, in which capacity he continued for ten years. Twenty-five years ago, he assumed the superintendency of the State School for the Blind at Batavia. Two of his most prized possessions are the portable typewriter and loving cup presented to him in June by graduates of the school in gratitude for his years of service to the blind.

“I thoroughly enjoy the work because I realize the great benefit of a school of this kind to its pupils,” Mr. Hamilton declared. “Our educational standards are identical with those of high schools throughout the state; for our pupils are required to pass regents examinations. Physical exercise, so essential to growing children, is included in our curriculum. Some form of it is obligatory twice daily, and our students attend gymnasium classes nearly every day. Every boy above the third grade is taught to swim, and the girls most of whom swim and dive, clamor for their turn at the pool. There are weekly dances and parties at the school, for the faculty and I deem the social development of the blind an important factor in their education. Nor is their religious training neglected: Every Sunday, they receive instruction in accordance with their respective religious denominations, and the Christian Endeavor Society, which they themselves conduct, is well attended.”

On Obtaining Positions: Mr. Hamilton’s answer to the present difficult situation regarding the obtaining of positions for his graduates is, “Teach them to be useful in their own homes.” For this purpose, greater attention has been given recently to the girls’ instruction in home economics. They become proficient in such domestic arts as cooking, sewing, and cleaning. At Mr. Hamilton’s suggestion, a suite of rooms has been fitted up as a housekeeping apartment, in which two blind girls live alone for as long as two weeks. Although a teacher is always within calling distance, she is rarely summoned; and the students take pride in the fact that they can prepare their meals and keep their apartment in order entirely unassisted.

With regret, Mr. Hamilton mentioned that the scope of economic activities for his boys is not broadening rapidly. At present, an effort is being made to introduce poultry-raising into his school. Chair caning and mattress making are, in Mr. Hamilton’s opinion, the industrial occupations best adapted to the boys without sight.

Besides speaking on his work with the blind before many organizations of Western New York, Mr. Hamilton has written on it for magazines of national circulation. A born teacher, he never misses an opportunity to conduct a class. He readily assumes the duties of any absent teacher, whether of a primary or high school grade, and through the contact of the classroom gains an insight into the thoughts and hopes of his pupils.

Mr. Hamilton has traveled from the Atlantic to the Pacific Coast and has made two trips abroad. His knowledge of the French and German language is sufficient to make him understood in any foreign city. He reads the periodicals and newspapers that keep him abreast of current issues and problems and the numerous modern discoveries and inventions, and is familiar with the best of contemporary fiction.

Mr. Hamilton, who has been active in the Batavia Rotary for thirteen years, was the third president of the organization. He is also affiliated with the Masonic fraternity and the Holland Club of Batavia. He is a past chairman of the Batavia Boy Scout organization, and a former chairman of the board of trustees of the Baptist Church of that city.

Helen Keller

On 21 June 2008, this undated, signed photograph of Helen Keller was found in the Webster house at 180 Bradford St. in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It was originally given to Gertrude & Charles. Their daughter Allegra must have brought it to the Provincetown house where a lot of family treasures were found. The inscription reads: “To Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton, With happy thoughts of their kindness and helpfulness in my work for the blind of America. Very sincerely, Helen Keller”

Charles & Gertrude were the parents of a daughter:

i. Allegra Estelle Hamilton (Tim’s grandmother), born 17 August 1900 in Newark (Wayne) New York, died 16 January 1992 in Keene (Cheshire) New Hampshire. She married (as her first husband) 18 September 1928 in Batavia (Genesee) New York, Karl Freeman Rodgers, who was born 22 October 1895 in Provincetown (Barnstable) Massachusetts, and died 27 March 1971 in Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, son of George Lincoln and Mary Jane (Rodgers) Rodgers. Allegra & Karl were the parents of two children. Allegra married (as her second husband and as his second wife) 26 July 1975 in San Antonio (Bexar) Texas, Lester Dean Lloyd, who was born 5 October 1903 in Red Oak (Montgomery) Iowa, and died 23 September 1988 in Schertz (Guadalupe) Texas, son of Noah R. and Mary Alma (McGimpsey) Lloyd.

Neadom Rodgers & Hanorah O’Brien

Neadom Rodgers (1837-1897)

Tim’s 2nd-great-grandparents:

Neadom Rodgers, son of Jacob and Mahala (Bedford) Rogers, was born 11 June 1837 in Guysborough (Guysborough) Nova Scotia, and died 30 June 1897 in Provincetown (Barnstable) Massachusetts. He married 3 April 1866 in Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, Hanorah “Nora” O’Brien, who was born 12 December 1846 in Massachusetts, and died 16 January 1921 in Marshfield (Plymouth) Massachusetts, daughter of William and Mary (—) O’Brien.

Neadom was a mariner, and he probably met and married Hanorah, the daughter of Irish immigrants, in Boston after leaving Guysborough and before finally settling in Provincetown. They were married by Rev. Thomas Sheahan, and probably moved to Provincetown between 1867 and 1869, after their daughter Mary Jane was born in Boston. Neadom died of arterial insufficiency, and is buried with Hanorah in Gifford Cemetery in Provincetown.

Hanorah & Neadom were the parents of nine children:

1. Mary Jane “Jenny” Rodgers (Tim’s great-grandmother), born 7 June 1867 in Boston, died 10 July 1916 in Somerville (Middlesex) Massachusetts. She married (as his first wife) on 18 February 1891 in Provincetown, her first cousin, George Lincoln Rodgers, who was born 1 January 1865 in Guysborough, and died 16 July 1939 in Fall River (Bristol) Massachusetts, son of Elijah and Zippora Ann (Horton) Rodgers. Mary & George were the parents of one son. Mary Jane lies buried with her parents in Gifford Cemetery in Provincetown.

2. John Neadom Rodgers, born 14 February 1869 in Provincetown. He married Bessie Bennett, who was born 29 June 1893. John & Bessie were the parents of one son, named for his father, who was born and died the same day, 30 November 1907.

3. George J. Rodgers, born 3 July 1871 in Provincetown, died there 17 March 1872, age 8 months, of “putrefied congestion of the lungs.”

4. Georgianna Rodgers, born 4 May 1875 in Provincetown, died 27 May 1941 in New York City. She married 6 December 1911 in Chelsea (Suffolk) Massachusetts, Edwin Ambrose Webster, who was born 31 January 1869 in Chelsea, and died 23 January 1935 in Provincetown, son of Edwin and Caroline A. (Emerson) Webster. They had no children. Georgianna was a nurse, and would not agree to marry Ambrose until he was financially established as an artist. She was 36 when she and the Provincetown artist were finally married by R. Perry Bush, Clergyman.

E. Ambrose Webster (1869-1935)

Ever a modest person, Webster seems to have pursued his art and his teaching with remarkable talent, intensity, and intellect, but apparently with no bent for self-promotion.
~ Miriam Stubbs

He attended the Boston Museum of Fine Arts School, under Frank Benson and Edmund Tarbell, and Acadamie Julian in Paris studying with Jean Paul Laurens and Jean-Joseph Benjamin Constant. In 1913 he exhibited at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City, “Old Hut, Jamaica” and “Sunlight, Jamaica”. He started Ambrose Webster’s Summer School of Painting, and was a founding member of the Provincetown Art Association & Museum. After his death, Georgianna lived in New York City with her nephew, Karl Rodgers and his wife, Allegra, while she was in her final illness and while their daughter, Delorma was a small child. Georgianna left the house at 180 Bradford St. in Provincetown, where she and Ambrose had lived, to Karl when she died. The house remained in the family and was enjoyed as a vacation getaway until 2008, when unfortunately it had to be sold. Ambrose & Georgianna lie buried in an unmarked grave in the Webster plot at 2653 Hawthorn Path at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Timothy Webster Rodgers, Karl’s grandson, was given a portrait of Georgianna painted by her husband, E. Ambrose Webster, after whom Tim was named.

The following is from a booklet put out by Babcock Galleries in New York City, which still has many of Webster’s paintings:

Provincetown was already an established art colony in 1914 when the Art Association & Museum was founded with several prominent citizens and artists as its members:… E. Ambrose Webster and Oliver Chaffee, both Fauvist painters and exhibitors in the 1913 Armory Show….The summer art classes initiated by Hawthorne and Webster– painting outdoors on the beach with the model posed against the sun to teach the students to establish broad tone values and modeling with palette-knifed color– attracted serious students by the hundreds, taught them the fundamentals and gave the town new color….The beginning of the collection was five paintings donated in 1914 by Charles Hawthorne, Ambrose Webster, William Halsall, Oscar Giebrich and Gerrit Beneker.

The following is from the Provincetown Art Association & Museum, 460 Commercial St, Provincetown, Massachusetts:

If ever an American painter reveled in light and color it was E. Ambrose Webster. He was among our first and most forceful modern painters. After initial studies under Edmund Tarbell and Frank Benson in Boston, he spent nearly three years in Europe absorbing the latest developments in the Post-Impressionist art world. By 1900 he returned to the United States and, having developed his own original idiom, became a prominent member of the progressive art community. Over the years he traveled widely in France, Spain, Italy, Jamaica and Bermuda, seeking the sunlight heightened color which inspired him. In 1906 while painting in the Caribbean he exhibited a work which secured the Musgrave Silver Medal from the Institute of Jamaica. By 1913 he was exhibiting in Boston and Cleveland with Charles Hovey Pepper, Carl C Cutler and Maurice Prendergast. Webster also exhibited at least two pictures at the 1913 ‘International Exhibition of Modern Art (Armory Show).’ He later worked with Albert Gleize and exhibited with Demuth, Zorach, Spencer and Tworkov. Babcock Galleries’ first exhibition of Webster’s work occurred in 1965 and since then his paintings have been included in many shows including The High Museum of Art’s ‘The Advent of Modernism.’ Webster devoted his extensive travels to finding light enshrined color. When he found it, he painted with a force and vigor that even today is astonishing. RED HOUSE, PROVINCETOWN demonstrates the vitality and exceptionally modern vision Webster possessed. His work and its influence rank him along with Alice Schille, Alfred Maurer, Oscar Bluemner and John Marin among the important painters of his generation.

On 24 August 2001, Aunt Delorma, Jon & Jannai, little Ella Grace, Tim & I attended the opening night of an exhibition of Webster paintings at the Provincetown Art Association & Museum. Most of the paintings and drawings were from private collections, and we met the curator, Miriam Stubbs, a relative of Kenneth Stubbs who was one of Webster’s students.

5. Naomi Mahala Rodgers, born about 1876. She married 2 August 1896, Henry Scott Akers. Naomi & Henry were the parents of one son.

6. Elijah Jacob Rodgers, born 1878 in Provincetown, died 1960. He was a baker and married in Provincetown, 27 April 1898, Clara Louise Bangs, who was born there in 1879, daughter of Perez and Julia (Smith) Bangs. Elijah & Clara were the parents of one daughter. They lie buried with Elijah’s parents and his sister in Gifford Cemetery.

7. George Levan Rodgers, born 2 May 1880 in Provincetown, died 13 November 1967. He married Sarah Schneider, who was born in Austria [now Poland]. George lived at 64 Mason St., and worked for the Coes Wrench Co. in Worcester, Massachusetts. There is a picture of George at work with the caption, “I believe this is a pump which was the first engine I ever operated. It was here I was allowed to Blow the factory whistle.” George & Sarah were the parents of two daughters.

George & Sarah’s great-granddaughter, Stephanie Thibault, is Tim’s third cousin. We “met” her on the internet in 2010 and exchanged genealogical information and pictures.

8. Alvin M. Rodgers, born about 1882. He married Anne Kahn and they were the parents of two children.

9. Inez Mitchell Rodgers, born about 1890. She married Alton Phillips Stephens.