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As It Was: Francis Hamilton Waters Circus Elephants and Edits Hemingway

Francis Kennedy Hamilton watered circus elephants as a boy and edited Ernest Hemingway’s writing as an adult.

Born in Redding, Calif., in 1893, Hamilton was the descendant of pioneers who crossed the plains to settle in Northern California.  Educated at Redding schools, he graduated from Stanford University and became a newspaperman.  He worked on nearly every newspaper in San Francisco and won several awards for his reporting and writing.  As a copyeditor, he sometimes worked on Ernest Hemingway’s newspaper articles.

Hamilton served in the Navy during World War II, attaining the rank of lieutenant commander.  After participating in the Allied D-Day landing at Normandy in June 1944, he served under Admiral Chester Nimitz in the Pacific Theater.

After the war, he volunteered for the Shasta Historical Society and wrote occasional letters to the editor.

Hamilton died at age 81 in 1993 and was buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Francisco.  He was survived by two sons, a grandson, and his second wife, Mildred Nichols Hamilton, also a reporter.

Source: "In Memoriam." The Covered Wagon, 1994, p. 88.

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Gail Fiorini-Jenner is a writer and teacher. Her first novel "Across the Sweet Grass Hills", won the 2002 WILLA Literary Award. She co-authored four histories with Arcadia Publishing: Western Siskiyou County: Gold & Dreams, Images of the State of Jefferson, The State of Jefferson: Then & Now, which placed in the 2008 Next Generation Awards for Nonfiction and Postcards from the State of Jefferson.