East Hamilton (Hamilton, Port Hamilton) is on Farm Road 2261 twenty-three miles southeast of Center in southeastern Shelby County. Local sources suggest that the community, which was originally called Hamilton, may have been named for Alexander Hamilton. Some of the earliest Anglo settlement in the county occurred in the area. The first burial in the cemetery there is said to have been in 1812. In 1837 William Brittain built a log cabin to serve as a community church and school, and in March 1847 the settlement received the second United States post office established in the county, with Charles H. Alexander as postmaster. In 1874 the post office name was changed to East Hamilton because there was another town in the vicinity known as Hamilton. The settlement, originally located on the banks of the Sabine River in an area now inundated by Toledo Bend Reservoir, was sometimes called Port Hamilton, because it served as a port of call for steamers plying the Sabine. During the antebellum period, when it was probably at its peak, the community had at least five stores and a warehouse. After the Civil War, it began to decline as other forms of transportation, in particular the railroad, replaced the steamers. In 1899 East Hamilton was still located on the banks of the Sabine River, but by 1946 the focus of the community had shifted to its location on Farm Road 2261. In 1884 East Hamilton's population was fifty, and by 1896 it had dropped to twenty-five, where it remained through the 1930s. Its post office had closed by 1936. In the late 1980s East Hamilton had a church, a store, and widely scattered houses.
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East Hamilton by the Numbers
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