b. 1815 – Alabama
Hamilton studied law in Alabama before joining an older brother in Texas in 1846. In 1849, he was appointed acting attorney general by Governor Bell and represented Travis County as a state representative for one term. He became a member of the “Opposition Clique,” a faction of the Democratic party that opposed secession and reopening the slave trade. Hamilton was elected to the U.S. House in 1859 and won a seat in the Texas Senate in 1861 in a special election.
Although he was appointed military governor of Texas, Hamilton spent most of the rest of the war in New Orleans. He served as provisional governor from June 1865 to August 1866. When the Constitutional Convention of 1866 did not accept his suggestions requiring that officeholders be former Unionists, ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment, and granting legal and economic rights to freedmen, he supported the Radical Republican plan. After serving as a bankruptcy judge in New Orleans, he became an associate justice on the Texas Supreme Court. He ran against E. J. Davis for governor in 1869 but lost.