Man who put '!' in Hamilton dies at 89
By Peggy McCracken
Saturday, December 06, 2008
HAMILTON — The man behind the punctuation mark that brought international attention to Hamilton preferred to keep a low profile.
Stewart "Stew" Jones had the idea to promote Hamilton by adding an exclamation point to the city's name in the mid-1980s. While Jones' gimmick gave the city national and international attention, the same could not be said for Jones, who died Wednesday, Dec. 3, at The Fort Hamilton Hospital at age 89.
"He never took credit for things. It wasn't generally known until several years later," said Jim Blount, historian and former JournalNews editor.
Butler County Commissioner Gregory Jolivette said Jones' idea was inspired by "Oklahoma!," the musical. Jolivette, then-mayor of Hamilton, said people often mistakenly think the punctuation idea was his.
But Jones didn't go unnoticed by all: He was named among 50 "Amazing Americans" by Newsweek magazine, which stated: "Since Hamilton's founding in 1791, its illustrious daughters and sons have ranged from Fannie Hurst to Ray Combs. None has done more to gain his hometown celebrity than Stewart Jones."
For the rest of the day, in honor of Mr. Jones, we shall call ourselves SPOGG!