Dr. Benjamin Hamlin

January 10, 1824 – March 3, 1921

Dr. Benjamin Hamilin was born January 20, 1824 in Massachusetts. When he was seven years old his family moved to Lorain county, Ohio. He taught school to meet living expenses while under the preceptorship1 of Dr. Hubbard, earning his M.D. degree in 1847 at Angola, Stuben county, Indiana, where he practiced medicine for 10 years.

On December 19, 1846, Hamlin married Margaret Fowles in Lorain county, Ohio.

The next 10 years Hamlin practiced in St. Joseph county, Michigan. While in practice there he volunteered his services in the Civil war, and served as a hospital surgeon at Chattanooga during the time of Hood’s raid. He served in that capacity for seven months.

From St. Joseph county he went to Florida, where Hamlin practiced dentistry five years. In 1872 he came to Santa Cruz, California, where he practiced medicine and dentistry until 1874 when he came to the site of Lemoore and opened a small drug store where he hung his professional sign.

Dr. Hamlin was instrumental in the naming of Lemoore. On August 17, 1875, the first assistant postmaster general in Washington, D. C., James W. Marshall, was looking at an application that came from a place near a big lake in California. Hamlin was seeking to establish a new post office, Lakeville. Marshall asked Hamlin to select another name as another Lakeville post office existed in Sonoma county. The application was returned and Hamlin scratched out the Lakeville, wrote in Lucerne and wrote Lemoore on the application and sent it back. In the 1908 Lemoore High Nuntius, a student at the time, H. D. Lindly explained that Dr. Hamlin tooled the name of Dr. Moore, dropping the first name and using his middle name “Lee” with the final letter “e” dropped, and wrote the name “Lemoore.” The Southern Pacific Railroad adopted the name along with everyone else and it became a fixture on the records of the United States and California. The new Post Office was located inside Hamlin’s drug store on the corner of 18th and Bush with Hamlin being appointed postmaster.

Margaret Hamlin died in 1886 and on September 16, 1889, he married Maria L. Wells, a native of Buffalo. N. Y.

In 1885 Hamlin left the medical practice to concentrate on the drug store. In 1889 family history indicates that Hamlin retired. But Hanford newspaper articles in May of 1901 he closed his drugstore after selling to the Baker Drug Company. He opened a new drug store in Laton in early 1902. Mrs Hamlin opened a restaurant in a room next to the drug store.

Hamlin died on March 3, 1921 and was buried in the Lemoore Cemetery on March 5th.

  1. preceptorship – A period of practical experience and training for a student, especially of medicine or nursing, that is supervised by an expert or specialist in a particular field. []