I was asked recently how I had accumulated out so much information about one of the merchants in Caddo. While I’m not ready to share the life of that person yet, since I’m compiling a book about him, I will show you how I use the locals to create the foundation of a biography.
Many people overlook the value of the “locals” because the information contained in them is often brief and sometimes even trivial. However, at the very least an item in the locals gives you the time and place that a person was alive. And as the following items about Ben Hampton show, they can also establish many relationships which can then be researched further.
From the following items I learned that Ben had a wife, who was the daughter of Mrs. F. R. Grayson. Mr. Hampton had a brother, Julius, who lived in Caddo and was a prominent businessman. Mr. and Mrs. Hampton lived in Caddo, but moved to Chickasha. Even after the move they retained some property in Caddo. Mrs. Hampton was a close friend of Vivia Nail and was related to the outlaw Frank Thurmond. Mrs. Hampton had respiratory problems. The Hamptons had a daughter named Phoebe. Those few bits of information lead to many, many more.
Of course the computer makes much of this possible. I don’t scour the paper for articles about individuals unless I have a birth or death or other specific date. What I do is use the “search” feature and let the computer find them in the 4,000+ items about Caddo that I have collected over the years. Then I take my research to the library records, Google books, and genealogy sites.
The Caddo Free Press
I.W. Stone, editor
January 24, 1879
B. J. Hampton has been compelled to bring his wife to Caddo for medical treatment. She is quite ill with consumption and has been growing worse since last September.
The Caddo Herald
February 24, 1899
B. J. Hampton, a former citizen of Caddo, but now of Chickasha, who has been in town several days visiting his brother, Julius, and attending to business, returned home Sunday.
April 21, 1899
Mrs. B. J. Hampton, of Chickasha, is visiting friends and relatives in Caddo this week.
June 30, 1899
B. J. Hampton, of Chickasha, was in Caddo this week on business.
August 4, 1899
Mesdames F. R. Grayson and C. A. Hancock are in Chickasha, the guests of Mrs. B. J. Hampton.
The Caddo Herald
August 10, 1900
In Chickasha, I. T. 10:45 pm Sunday, July 15, 1900, Miss Vivia Nail of Caddo, Choctaw Nation, and Mr. Albert Mitchell Robertson, of Chickasha, were united in marriage. The ceremony being performed by Judge E. M. Payne.
Chickasha has had a number or romantic happenings in marriage while moving along in a seemingly prosaic and work-a-day manner, but he wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Robertson caps the climax in the story of our city. Theirs is a case of mutual attraction on first acquaintance, soon ripening into love, and “naming the early day”. They intended to surprise Mr. and Mrs. Hampton by going in with Judge Payne and being married after church, but found the family were not at home, and meeting Judge Payne on the avenue near the Nail mansion, on his way to the Hampton’s considered the time, place and themselves a happy conjunction, and the ceremony was performed. Judge Payne tying the knot on his best and happiest manner, and the twain were made one.
Miss Nail is one of the most charming and beautiful young ladies ever visiting in Chickasha, a brunette, with soft dark eyes, bright winsome features and graceful figure, and with a nature and disposition matching her beauty of form and feature. She has always been a welcome guest at the home of her lifelong friends, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Hampton. Those who know her most intimately love her best. She has always received many attentions and compliments in the high social circle in which she moves.
Mr. Robertson has been a resident of Chickasha for a year past and has a host of friends here, as well as Gallatin, Missouri, his former home. He is manager of our telephone system and in business or social affairs is ever active, genial, and courteous. A large circle of friends of both the bride and groom will wish them unbounded happiness and prosperity. They are now visiting the relatives and home of the bride in Caddo and while there their marriage will be consummated according to the Choctaw rites, as Miss Nail is a Choctaw maiden by birth. They will make their home in Chickasha. – Chickasha Express
November 23, 1900
The Caddo Herald
Monday Night’s Fire Burned the First Block Built in Caddo
(article and list of those affected)
Ben Hampton, two houses, $1,000; no insurance.
December 21, 1900
Mrs. F. R. Grayson left last week for Chickasha where she went to see her daughter, Mrs. B. J. Hampton, who was reported in a dangerous condition from an attack of pneumonia.
March 8, 1901
The Cattlemen’s Ball began at the Opera House last Saturday night with a grand march. The following participated: J. W. Crutchfield, Boone Williams, W. C. Nail, W. W. Blasingame, Barlow Roberts, Dick Grayson, Henry Chiles, Henry Edward, Earnest Bass, Ira Smith, A. M. Robertson, Amos Bass, Harden Smith, Mr. and Mrs. A. Manning and Misses Mary Allen, Lillian Chiles, Miss Layman, Esthel Nail, Anna Rathbum, Edna Green, Mannie Henderson, Maggie Lee Bass, Miss Folsom, Mrs. A. M. Robertson, Mrs. Ben Hampton, Rosa Leflore, and Mrs. Gooding.
March 15, 1901
Mrs. C. A. Hancock in her most delightful way entertained at cards Tuesday night Mesdames Robertson and Hampton, Misses Henderson and Nail and Messrs. Robertson, Chiles, Grayson, and Edwards. Dainty and delicious refreshments were served.
The Caddo Herald
April 3, 1903
Mrs. C. A. Hancock yesterday afternoon gave a reception at her beautiful home in honor of Mesdames Frank Thurmond of Deming, N. M., Ben Hampton, of Chickasha, I. T., and J. Vaughan Hardin, of Caddo. A large number of ladies of Caddo were present and enjoyed the occasion greatly. Seasonable refreshments were served.
April 10, 1903
Mrs. Ben Hampton’s daughter, Miss Phoebe, and Mrs. J. V. Hardin left Saturday for Chickasha which is the home of Mrs. Hampton. Mrs. Hardin will be gone about ten days.