Hammond, Benjamin Morton (1865–1955)

By: Mary Ann Edwards

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Updated: April 15, 2022

Benjamin Morton Hammond, businessman, the only child of William and Tempe (Spinks) Hammond, was born on May 26, 1865, in Knightstown, Indiana. William Hammond was a skilled carpenter. The Hammonds had moved with a group of Quakers from their native North Carolina to a settlement in Indiana, then to Lawrence, Kansas. When Benjamin was ten the family moved to Dallas, Texas, where he attended grade school. In 1882 they settled permanently in San Antonio. From newsboy at the Daily Light he worked his way to circulation manager in a year. In 1886 he was employed by a lumberyard, where he became the manager. For nine years he represented Lutcher and Moore Lumber Company, selling the original ties that went beneath the rails of Texas and Mexico railroads. For several years he ran the electric light and traction company of Laredo. In 1896 he bought Bell Brothers Jewelry Store on Alamo Plaza in San Antonio, which he ran for twenty-five years before founding B. M. Hammond and Company, wholesalers of jewelry and supplies for watchmakers and jewelers.

Hammond was receiver of the state-forfeited charters of gas, electric, and street railway companies in San Antonio. He included service to Alamo Heights when he opened the San Antonio Public Service Company. His real estate interests included the Highland Park Improvement Company in 1909, the first real estate development in San Antonio. The company built a streetcar line that was later given to the Public Service Company. In order to assure the building of Fredericksburg Road he collected a bonus of $100,000. In 1922 he moved to Alamo Heights, where he was alderman for many years. The Battle of Flowers Parade was started in1891 to honor visiting president Benjamin Harrison. Largely through Hammond's efforts the parade was revived after a lapse of a year and became the foundation of Fiesta San Antonio. Hammond was the first male president of the Battle of FlowersAssociation, now a woman's organization, and so started many of the customs associated with Fiesta Week. He was president of the Civic Pride Association of San Antonio (first advertisers of San Antonio), chairman of the Publicity League, and lumberman number seventy-seven of the Concatenated Order of Hoo Hoo. He was a Republican and Presbyterian. On April 30, 1902, he married Nellie May Rigsby, an artist associated with the Onderdonks and a gardener of note; they had three sons. Hammond died in San Antonio on September 25, 1955.

Men of Affairs of San Antonio (San Antonio Newspaper Artists' Association, 1912). San Antonio Light and Gazette, January 9, 1910.

  • Central Texas
  • San Antonio

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Mary Ann Edwards, “Hammond, Benjamin Morton,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/hammond-benjamin-morton.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995
April 15, 2022