Vincent B. Hamilton
A Hampton Leader
Vincent B. Hamilton, the great-great-great-great nephew of Patrick Henry, was born in 1897 in Tennessee.
At age 17 he won prizes in “Corn Raising” contests. He participated in a farm youth program and won the Southeastern United States corn yield contest. He won the contest using a walking plow and two mules to cultivate the ground and plow up and go over the ground seven times before planting. He produced a record amount of 134.43 bushels per acre at a cost of .30 cents per bushel, a yield record that stood for twenty-five years!!!
He attended Maryville College and then transferred to Iowa State College in 1919 to take up agriculture and graduated in 1921 with a degree in Animal Husbandry.
From 1922-1933 he was the County Agricultural Agent, handling both the Farm Bureau and the Extension Service in Franklin County. Shortly after taking this position, he met, wooed and married a farmer’s lovely daughter, Mildred Brown of Franklin County.
During those years he coached twelve winning livestock dairy and grain judging teams. In 1923 he coached” the Champion Fat Livestock Judging Team of Iowa. He was also the High Swine Judge of the National contest in Chicago in 1923.
In 1924 he coached the Franklin County Farm Bureau Cattle Judging Team that won the national contest and went on to win first place in the International Contest in Reading, England.
In 1933, Mr. Hamilton became district farm manager of 103 farms owned by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and eventually became their Production Credit Manager.
In 1935 he began a ten-year association with Iowa Farm Bureau. He transformed the organization into a farm business leader. He established the Farm Bureau Automobile Insurance program and initiated the “Members Only” program that increased membership from 19,000 to 50,000 in a short time.
In 1975 V.B. Hamilton received the American Farm Bureau’s highest award in 1975 for his distinguished service to Agriculture. Joining a list owof other recipients like President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1946 he became a partner in the Farmers Hybrid company of Hampton, Iowa, which was headed by one of his former 4-H boys, J. S. Pat Van Wert. The Farmer’s Hybrid Hog Company, the first in the nation was also formed, using genetics to product larger litters, stronger pigs, faster growth and leaner higher quality pork. Mr. Hamilton went on to become President of Farmers Hybrid and remained so until his retirement in 1962.
In 1949 Mr. Hamilton was appointed to the State Board of Regents and served two four-year terms on this prestigious board.
Mr. Hamilton was a charter member of the Hampton Rotary Club and helped establish the Hampton Chamber of Commerce Central Committee and the Franklin County Concerned Citizens Committee.
He was very active in Hampton community service.
A Central Committee of 21 Hampton businessman met every Wednesday to discuss enriching Hampton and attracting new businesses. They approached Mr. Hamilton and asked him to write a series of articles on how to attract new businesses. He wrote fifteen articles for the Central Committee.
In 1966 the Hampton Service Award was presented to Mr. Hamilton at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet. It was noted that he was the provocateur of a new trend of enthusiasm in Hampton and a leader who worked for good causes for the community,
When Hamilton’s wife, Mildred, died in 1970, he became the caregiver of her beloved pet cat, Tommy. He was not a cat lover, but after caring for Tommy he became deeply attached to the cat and wrote his book, “Tommy Valentine.”
In 1973, Ham, as he was known to friends, returned to Tennessee and married his high school sweetheart, Mrs. Elsie Baskite Pangle and brought his bride to live at his home in Hampton.
(Related to the Franklin County's World Champion Judging Team Article)
Ninety years ago three Iowa farm boys, Harlan Leonard, Lester Olson and Raymond Monahan, who were the Franklin County Farm Bureau’s Champion Junior Cattle Judging Team of the United States, represented the United States of America at the International Dairy Cattle Show at Chichester, near London, England held July 7th to July 11th, 1925. They were awarded $5,000.00 for expenses. The three young men competed with 23 other members of their Franklin county dairy calf club for the county team and they then won first place at the Dairy Cattle Congress held at Waterloo, Iowa. They went on, as the state judges, to win first place at the National Dairy Show held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They now represented 50,000 club judges. The three young men won the title “World Champions” in England at the International Show. It was the first time Iowa had won a national championship and won the right to compete for International Honors.
The boys were from good Iowa farm families. Leonard had finished high school and was home helping his father on the farm. Monahan was in college having started college with a grand total of $6.00. Olson was still in high school, the son of a widow, the youngest of eight children. The boys had to borrow money to make the trip to Milwaukee.
Iowa Governor John Hamill ask for an appropriation of $5,000 to cover the boys’ expenses, which was quickly passed.
V.B. Hamilton, county agent of Franklin County, coached the team. Mr. Hamilton and Mrs. Hamilton, a native of England, and Earl Weaver, head of the dairy department at Iowa State College, accompanied the three boys on their trip to Europe where a $250 gold trophy was awarded the team.
Upon their return, they were greeted by one of the largest crowds, over 3,500, to ever gather in the Hampton City Park. The crowd welcomed and congratulated the World Champions and their coach, Agent V. B. Hamilton.
V. B. Hamilton went on to become President of Farmers Hybrid and President of the Iowa Board of Regents.
Photo front row: V.B. Hamilton, W.M. Jardine, U.S. Sec’y of Agriculture, Mrs. V.B. Hamilton, Prof. Earl Weaver. Back Row: Ray Monaham, World’s Champion Judge in the international contest, Harlan Leonard, U.S. Champion Judge in Milwaukee, Lester Olson, consistent high scoring team member.
(Related to the Vincent B. Hamilton Article)