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  • Writer's pictureKyra Mangold-Ostovich

Voices of the Past: Dr. Charles and Lulu Hamnett

Updated: Sep 30, 2021

Voices of the Past will showcase an interesting person or family within the Cemetery each week.

Dr. Charles J. and Laura B. "Lulu" (Buffington) Hamnett

Born: March 13, 1836, and August 4, 1857, respectively

Died: February 03, 1911, and January 30, 1897, respectively

Dr. Charles J. Hamnett, aged 76, was a well-known Homestead physician, president of the Homestead Board of Health (resigned in 1896), and dean of the Homestead Medical Fraternity. Born in Bowden, England, his family left for Canada in 1845; he was 9. He attended Allegheny College in Meadville, PA, and attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. Following his graduation, he moved to Allegheny County and settled in Mifflin Township near Homestead.

During the Civil War, he served in the Union medical corps. His first wife, Miss Mary Melissa Briggs, died in 1889. In 1892, he married Miss Lulu Buffington, of Washington County, who also preceded him in death some 6 years following their marriage. It's mentioned in the newspapers that he traveled for a six-week stay abroad at the age of 72 to visit his old home in England. He died at the residence of his daughter, Mrs., George Marshall, in Washington, PA, following a diagnosis of stomach cancer. He had been a member of the Masonic fraternity and belonged to the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Homestead. He was the son of John and Ms. (née Later) Hamnett; and was survived by his children, Charles P. Hamnett, Mrs. George Marshall, and Miss Frances Gertrude Hamnett. His funeral service took place in the residence of his son, and he was buried on February 5, 1911, next to his wife, Lulu.

Mrs. Laura "Lulu" Hamnett, aged 39, had been Principal of the Homestead High School until her untimely death following a two-week bout of pneumonia. She had been married for only 6 years, and left 2 small children. Her obituary states that all Homestead schools were dismissed on the date of her funeral to allow teachers and students attendance to her services. Her funeral was conducted by Rev. J. E. Wright of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Homestead, and her floral tributes were noted as being "quite handsome."

Information gathered from:

  • C. J. Hamnett's Find A Grave account

  • "Doctors Go to Europe," Pittsburgh Press, 19 July 1908, p. 2

  • "Dr. Chares J. Hamnett." PIttsburgh Post-Gazette, 04 February 1911, p. 10

  • "Funeral at Homestead," Pittsburgh Press, 05 February 1911, p. 10

  • "Gathered to Rest." Pittsburgh Press, 04 February 1897, p. 6

  • "Gathered to Rest: Mrs. Laura Hamnett," PIttsburgh Press, 01 February 1897, p. 9

  • "Investigation Water Filters," Pittsburgh Press, 02 January 1896, p. 2

  • Laura Hamentt's Find A Grave account

  • Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, PA; Pennsylvania (State). Death Certificates, 1906-1968; Certificate Number Range: 015811-019470

  • "Society," Pittsburgh Daily Post, 26 July 1908, p. 16

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