The Hammett Family

The Hammett family came to upper South Carolina sometime after 1812. The ancestor of the Hammetts associated with Glendale was Charles Brooking Hammett. He was known as Captain Charles B. Hammett. He was born on December 12, 1812, in England. When he was a young man, Charles, and his brothers, Thomas and James left England and came to America. They lived in Georgia for a time but when Charles was still quite a young man, they came to the upper part of South Carolina. The brothers also had two sisters, Betsy and Venity, but no records survive as to what happened to them.

Like so many families, the Hammetts were caught up in the Civil War with tragic results. Both Thomas and James either were killed or died during the War. After the War, Captain Charles B. Hammett became a large land owner on the Pacolet River and in Spartanburg County. He was also the owner of the “Hammett Gold Mining Company”. At one time, gold mining was a big industry in the Upstate. Evidence is still shown in place names like Gold Mine Road.

The community of Hammett’s Grove in Cherokee County, close to the Pacolet River, is believed to be named after Captain Hammett and his family. Several of his descendents are buried in that community.

Captain Hammett was first married to Sarah Wood. She was born on November 11, 1816 and died on November 9, 1849 at the age of 33. They had four children. They were:
Benjamin Hammett married Paralee Willis; Mahala Emory; Mamie Hoover
Agnes V. Hammett married Winfield Brown
Mary Elizabeth Hammett married William Brown
Sarah Ann Hammett married James Lafayette Chaffin.

After his first wife, Sarah died, Captain Hammett married the second time to Elizabeth Lee. She was the daughter of James Lee and Anna McBee Lee. They had seven children. They were:
Sarah Venity Hammett married Cornelius Lipscomb
Annie Laura Hammett married Alexander Bunten; Robert Burdine
Charles B. Hammett Jr. married Fannie Pierce; Sarah Jean Biggerstaff
William Thomas Hammett married Mollie Vinson
Alice Goulie Hammett married William Dearybury; Charles Reynolds
James Lee Hammett married Victoria Lipscomb
John Matthew Hammett married Sallie Waddell

It is believed that the first member of the Hammett family to work for the D. E. Converse Company, or Glendale Mills, was the son of Charles B. Hammet Jr. and his second wife Sarah Jane Biggerstaff. His name was Neely D. Hammett who was born on Feb. 19, 1899. Neely married Ola Mae McKinney. Ola was the grand niece of John Thomas McKinney who lived just outside Glendale. She was born in 1905.

Neely and Ola and their young son, Charles, moved to Glendale in 1935. Neely and Ola worked at Glendale Mill. Ola worked in the Weaving Department and Neely worked in the Card Room. They eventually lived in several houses in the Glendale village. Their last house was on Shady Street or Mill Street. Later the street name was changed to Douglas Street and they lived at No. 12.

Sometime in the 1950’s, the family was hit by a tragedy. Ola was stricken with rheumatoid arthritis. This is a painful, debilitating disease that to this day is still not curable. Due to a wonderful arrangement by the mill officials, Ola was able to continue her work as a weaver for the D. E. Converse Company. Due to her illness, they let her first work in a special room in  the mill. However, her illness progressed to her being unable to walk and get to the mill. Then the mill made a remarkable adjustment for her sake.  The mill officials made a special effort to move the equipment into her home.  The piece of equipment was a very heavy frame of iron material to hold the Warper Beam which was loaded with threads.  Each thread had to be pulled through eyelets to make up each type of cloth made in the mill.  She was allowed to work eight hours per day, five days per week or six days if the mill operated six days.  She would use the daylight hours for better lighting. Ola’s story is a testimony to the spirit of family that often existed between mill officials and the mill workers.

Neely D. Hammett died on Dec. 6, 1962 at the age of 66.Ola McKinney died on October 10, 1990 at the age of 85.

Their son, Charles grew to adulthood in Glendale. He married Frances (Frankie) H. Corn. Frankie is the great granddaughter of John Lafayette and Charlotte Flynn/Flinn Corn

(Thanks to Charles Hammett for contributing this story.)

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