Hamilton Homestead Photo
This is a photo of the Hamilton farm on Mineral Point Road, Janesville Township, Rock County,
Wisconsin. Alexander Hamilton Sr. bought 320 acres here in 1908, later splitting off the
Alexander Hamilton Jr. farm (red buildings at upper right margin) and Henry Hamilton farm
(fields of corn and oats on right side of picture). Raymond and Florence Hamilton acquired the
farm in the early 1940s. The original of this picture had a place of honor on the wall of our
house. I acquired the picture when Mom moved to her new house in Milton.
This hand-tinted black and white photograph was taken in the early 1950s. I remember Mom
and Dad sitting around the dining room table talking with the pilot/photographer about how the
photo should be colored. I remember Mom being embarrassed when she saw that the rows in the
vegetable garden (to the east of the orchard) were not straight. I also remember a discussion
about the flowerbed in the front yard – that ended up with some rather crude painted flowers.
Confirmation on the early 1950s date comes from the new Oliver tractor (bought in 1952) visible
through the trees to the south of the barn, and the green-roofed brooder house to the north of the
barn (also acquired in the early 1950s)
The photo shows the farmstead trees in all of their glory. Dutch elm disease has not yet wiped
out the elms, and the maples are healthy. There are several dozen mature apple trees to the north
and east of the barn. The pine trees, which I barely remember in the front “horse pasture” are
gone – perhaps represented by a remnant stump. The white spot in the horse pasture is the cover
of the septic tank, also installed in 1952. Several white spots in the fields (near the gravel pit,
near the woods, and in what we later knew as the calf pasture) appear to be cows. A side-
delivery hay rake sits in the middle of the harvested alfalfa field, where the road through the
fields disappears off to the north. The field to the north of the buildings, which was probably
used as “night pasture” has an abundance of six foot tall bull thistles. I would guess the photo
was taken in mid to late July, since the corn is more than waist high, the potatoes and vegetable
garden are well established, and the oats are depicted by the hand-tint artist as a rather dubious
bright yellow. The red chopper-box sitting near the silo suggests that the alfalfa from the bare
gravel pit field has been made into alfalfa silage within the last couple of days.
The original photo is 20 inches by 28 inches. I removed the original photo from its frame and
scanned it with eight passes of a HP 5470c scanner. The eight separate images were then knitted
together using Camedia image processing software, and further enhanced using Paint Shop Pro.
They were printed on an Epson Stylus Color 800 printer on glossy photo paper.
Joel Raymond Hamilton