1883 to 2007
The Hamley family history goes back many generations to Cornwall England, where
the trade of saddle and leather craftsmanship had been passed down through many
generations of Hamleys. The American history of the Hamleys began in 1850 when
William Hamley moved his family from England to Rupon, Wisconsin, where he
opened a small leather goods store. William’s two sons, John James (J.J.) and
Henry Hamley set out from Wisconsin in 1883 with two railroad tickets and $10.00
in cash, bound for Ashton, South Dakota where they established Hamley and Co.
After three successful years, regional crop failures and depression forced them
to relocate and move to Kendrick, Idaho. Henry Hamley passed away in 1894. Business
was good, but a couple of major building fires left the Hamleys no choice but to
relocate. In 1905 J.J. relocated to Pendleton, Oregon and set up shop on the
Oregon Trail in the same building that exists to this day. Hamley was known as a
harness and saddle maker, but the business soon developed around its saddles and
became known throughout the west as the maker of “the finest saddles man could
OTHER SIGNIFICANT HAMLEY HISTORICAL EVENTS
1905—J.J.’s son Lester joins the firm.
1909—Lester convinces a “skeptical” J.J. to publish the first “Hamley Cowboy
Catalog”. Annual publication and distribution of the Hamley catalog continued
for 60 years and became a trusted source of quality western products for
families across America. Old Hamley catalogs are highly collectible today.
1910—The first Pendleton Round up. J.J. Hamley was instrumental in organizing
the first Round up and served as a Director for many years. Over the years
Hamley and Co. has provided over 80 Round up Trophy saddles. Many world
champions have ridden Hamley saddles.
1919—Following the 1919 Round-Up, rodeo organizers from around the region agreed
that a standard bronc saddle must be used in all rodeo competitions. Hamley
developed the produced the modified association saddle as a solution to better
anchor the rider to their horses. This same saddle is used today in rodeo
1920—Hamley operated its own saddletree shop. Many of the tree patterns and
designs in use today were developed in that shop.
1928—The Hamley Kit was developed. Scrap saddle leather provided the material
for the Hamley kit (shaving kit). The kit was sold in over 1200 locations across
the United States. Hamley and Co. also produced and sold belts across the
nation. Such stores as Macys, Bloomingdale’s and Sacks Fifth Ave. carried Hamley
1939—J.J. passed away at the age of 80.
1952—Major renovation of the Hamley building by Lester and his son David.
1961—Lester retires and David continues business.
1980—David sells business and building to a Portland businessman.
2005—After watching Hamley and Co. struggle for years, Parley Pearce and Blair
Woodfield became interested in the failing business. Both men had grown up on
cattle ranches and were intimately familiar with Hamley cowboy gear. Visiting
the Hamley store was considered a special event. They were both aware of the
quality and tradition represented by the Hamley name. They, along with countless
patrons mourned the demise of the Hamleys. They acquired the building, business,
trademark rights and the Hamley name, all in separate deals, which finally
allowed Hamley and Co. to once again operate as in days gone by. With pride, they
began the resurrection of this great western icon.
Pearce and Woodfield oversaw the dramatic renovation of the building that
brought to life aspects of Hamley and Co. from 1905, mixed with the new look of
Hamley and Co. in the 1950’s. After six months of construction, the company
reopened in September 2005, one week before Round up and just in time to
celebrate the “first century” of Hamley and Co. in Pendleton, Oregon.
Hamley and Co. has been known as the maker of the finest “hand made” saddles
money can buy. Quality “hand made” Hamley saddles are made today in the same
location and with many of the same techniques used a hundred years ago. We
produce and sell Hamley Kits and belts. Quality leather and silver items are
made and sold at the Hamley store. All custom Hamley goods feature the Barrel
H—our logo and symbol of quality. Our goal is to bring the Hamley name back to
national prominence, sell products online and again distribute the Hamley Cowboy
Every Hamley catalog contained the saying that became synonymous with Hamley
“QUALTITY ARTICLES ARE MADE FOR MEN WHO ARE TIRED OF THE EXTRAVAGANCE OF BUYING
Welcome to Hamley and Co! Join us in this exciting adventure. We are proud to
have you “Ride for the Brand”.