Hamner, David Warren
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David Warren Hamner
Gospel Vocals, Educator Eureka Publishing Co.
Born: Nov. 17, 1866 Clay Co., AL
Died: Feb. 22, 1929
Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame
Janet Lansford, daughter of Lee and Artie, provided this information in September, 2010
About Warren Hamner
What is the address he last lived at? He lived at Nathan (now Arley), in the second floor of the Hamner Store. There were two Hamner houses near the store. The one adjacent to the store was a one-story with basement. Just north beyond that residence (toward Meek) was the original Hamner house with two stories, often referred to by the family as the “upper house.” Warren Hamner, having moved out of the two-story “upper” Hamner House in 1928 (when he gave up his partnership in the store to his son, Lee Hamner), moved into the upstairs of the store. Lee and family then moved into the two-story “upper” Hamner house which his dad had just vacated. Lee’s oldest brother, David Hamner, was living at that time in the house adjacent to the store. David and Lee were now in partnership in the Hamner Brothers General Merchandise, with their father, Warren, living on the second floor above the store. He remained there until his death the following year.
What did he raise to sell from his farm? Warren did general farming first in Logan (in Cullman County), then near Helicon in East Winston, and finally in Nathan (now Arley), where he cultivated approximately 160 acres. He was innovative in his farming, using crop rotation before it was a common practice. According to his great-grandson Rodney Huffman, he was an entrepreneur as well as a farmer. He operated a grist mill, a press mill (cotton gin) and a syrup mill. Warren would operate his enterprises during the day, then pick his own cotton at night, providing light by burning a brush pile.
Was he in the military? No.
Was he a mason? In 1903, he became a charter member when Arley Lodge #602 (now Arley Lodge #867) was organized. The minutes show that he served as a senior deacon at that time. Later, in 1905 and 1906, he was the Senior Warden, and on occasion served as Worshipful Master, pro tem. He asked for, and was granted, his dimit from that lodge on Sept. 5, 1908. (Earlier, he was a member of the lodge at Crane Hill and may have become a mason while he was still at Logan. I am still researching these earlier years of his Masonic involvement. After his dimit from Arley Lodge #602, he may have helped to organize a lodge at Nathan. I am researching that, also. A Masonic lodge met above the store there for several years.)
What was the name of his store, and when and where was it? At various times, it was called different names, depending on the ownership. First it was Hamner and Hamner General Merchandise, and was first established by Warren Hamner and his brother Doris Hamner, circa 1911-12. Later, when Doris sold his share of the store to Warren’s son, David, it became Hamner and Son General Merchandise Store. Later still, when Warren gave up the store to his son Lee, it became Hamner Brothers General Merchandise. After David Hamner left the store, it was Lee Hamner Dry Goods, and still later it became R.T. Hamner General Store.
What church did he belong to? He was a charter member of Nathan Baptist Church, when it was established in 1913, and remained a member there until his death in 1929. In 1934 that church was relocated a mile north and renamed Meek Baptist Church.
Was he a member of any groups? He was a member of the Odd Fellows Lodge, and perhaps, also, the Woodsmen of the World, as their lodge meetings were held upstairs in the Hamner Store.
Anything else we ought to have as an introduction to him? He was a composer of gospel music, taught music schools in the summers in several North Alabama counties as Professor D.W. Hamner (Eureka School of Music), was a proponent of education and a primary force behind the establishment of Meek Consolidated School, and he served for many years on the local school board.
Was he Nathan’s postmaster September 23, 1913 - June 30, 1915? (I do not think so. I believe that Uncle David was the postmaster during those years. The post office was, however, located in the Hamner Store.)
About Martha Duncan
What was her full name? Her name was Martha Luella (Mattie) Duncan. She and Warren Hamner eloped in 1885, when Warren was only nineteen and Mattie was fifteen. According to the book, CEMETERIES OF WINSTON COUNTY (c. 2000), her tombstone reads “Mattie L. Hamner, w/o D.W. Hamner, 8/20/1869 – 1/17/1921.
Do you know what her parent’s names are, and any related info? Mattie was the daughter of John J. and Mary Ann Penella Evans Duncan. They had moved to the Logan community of Cullman County from Clay County, Alabama in 1870, as had Warren’s parents, William Richardson and Lydia Carpenter Hamner, earlier, in 1869. So both Warren and Lydia grew up in Logan.
What were her interests/hobbies? As I understand it, Mattie was devoted to family and home, and did not do many things outside the home. She was, however, a charter member of Nathan Baptist Church.
Was she a member of any groups? Not that I know of, except her church.
Anything else we ought to have as an introduction to her? She was remembered by her children as as a quiet, even-tempered, hard-working wife and mother who liked to sing old ballads while she worked at home.