Hamlin Family - Table of Contents

Cicero J. Hamlin's Descendants
by Elizabeth Licata

Reprinted with permission from Buffalo Spree - July/August 2000
None of the illustrations are original to the Spree article

The legacy of Cicero J. Hamlin goes well beyond Hamlin Park . His descendants have been active in Buffalo civic and cultural affairs for over 100 years. The Hamlins are a large and fascinating family who have, over the years, married into many other prominent Buffalo families. Some highlights from the Hamlin family tree and other Hamlin connections:

Cicero J. Hamlin (1819-1905): Before he got into horseracing, C. J. Hamlin started out in retail in Aurora. He worked for his brother's general store, bought the business, and then moved to Buffalo to pursue other business ventures, eventually becoming a dry goods wholesaler. In 1860, he built a house at 432 Franklin Street, which eventually became known as the Hamlin House. (Hamlin moved out in 1886, and the building was bought by the Troop I Post 665 in 1915.)

In 1865, Hamlin created the Village Farm in East Aurora for his 800 head of racing trotters, the most famous of which was the Mambrino King, who attracted 30,000 visitors to East Aurora during his lifetime. Hamlin is considered one of the most influential harness-racing breeders of the 20th century, and, thanks to his creation of the Buffalo Grape Sugar Company in 1873, at his death in 1905, he was the richest man in New York State outside of New York City. He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery (Click on illustration for larger size).

Chauncey Jerome Hamlin (1881-1963): the son of Harry Hamlin (1855-1907), killed in one of Buffalo's earliest automobile accidents) and the grandson of Cicero J. Hamlin, Chauncey or "Chan" Hamlin lived with his wife Emily Gray Hamlin for a time in the family mansion on 1014 Delaware Avenue, but had it torn down in 1926. Chauncey Hamlin was a lawyer, a supporter of Theodore Roosevelt, and deeply involved in Buffalo civic affairs helping to establish the Buffalo Commission Charter ands the Buffalo Legal Aid Bureau.

After returning from W.W.I, Chauncey became involved in the Buffalo Museum of Science, promoting a new building in Humboldt Park. At his death in 1863, an obituary published in the Museum's newsletter states, "... our present Buffalo Museum of Science...can truly be said to be the creation of, and a monument to, Mr. Hamlin." Hamlin was also a president of the American Association of Museums and created the International Council of Museums.

On the Hamlin lot in Forest Lawn Cemetery
(Click on illustration for larger size).

Martha Visser't Hooft (1906-1994): The daughter of Chauncey Jerome Hamlin, painter Martha Visser't Hooft studied art and design in Paris and Europe, becoming a member of the avant garde, a regular at Stravinsky ballets, Webern concerts, and salons where artists such as Picasso and Braque might also be present. She returned to Buffalo in 1928, where she married a young Dutch chemist. Her paintings were influenced not only by what she had seen and experienced in Europe but also by the geography of the American Southwest. Her work was exhibited at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington, and many other venues. There have been retrospectives of her work at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center here in Buffalo; it has also been exhibited at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and other area venues.

Harry Hamlin (1951- ): The grandson of Chauncey Jerome Hamlin, actor Harry Hamlin is best known for his leading roles in the T.V. series L.A. Law, the T.V. miniseries Studs Lonigan, and, rather infamously, the film Clash of the Titans (1979), which has since become somewhat of a cult classic.

Thanks to Martje More for her help in researching this sidebar.

About the author: Elizabeth Licata is Editor of Buffalo Spree
Also by Elizabeth Licata:
The Shock of the Old -
Buffalo's Struggle With Heritage Tourism

Hamlin Park - Links
Page by Chuck LaChiusa
| ...Home Page ...| ..Buffalo Architecture Index...| ..Buffalo History Index... .|....E-Mail ...| ..