According to the 1910 census for Daufuskie Island, Jane Hamilton (1867-1961) and her husband Robert, a fisherman, married at 14 years of age, and had 10 children, 6 of whom were living at that time. They owned their home and their own boat.
In 1937, Jane Hamilton deeded land to the Beaufort County Board of Education for a new school on the north end of the island. The school was modeled after the Rosenwald Schools that were developed by Julius Rosenwald, CEO of Sears, Roebuck and Company of Chicago and Booker T. Washington of the Tuskeegee Institute.
During construction, she was quoted as saying that she was “glad to give two of her fourteen acres to help these island boys and girls.” It is said that she refused to accept money for the land (actually .25 acres) but was willing to have the school named in her honor.
The school closed in 1950. North-island students were then driven to the Mary Field School by Mary and Fred Dierks. Jane Hamilton made the building her home until her death in 1961.
Today, the Jane Hamilton School is part of the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation’s museum complex and houses the island’s community library.