Robert was born in May 1857 in Alabama, the son of Edward Joseph Hamill and Anna Jane Simmons.
He died on 16 Nov 1900 in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona.
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|Death||16 NOV 1900||
|Census||13 JUN 1900||
|Census||11 JUN 1880||
DeathCert - ...
When a man who has risen by the force of his own energy and talent, from comparative obscurity to a commanding position in the world and makes his impression on the times in which he lives--such a man deserves more than passing mention when his life work is brought to an abrupt close. Such a man was Robert E. Hamill.
Born in Auburn, Alabama in 1856, he was reared in the atmosphere of slavery and his youthful mind was stirred with the fierce striving of the men of the Southland who saw the day fast approaching when the deadly grapple between the free North and the slave-ridden South must come. His father, brave, self-denying, staunch patriot that he was, freed his slaves when the tocain of war sounded, and tho his life was menaced time and again, he was outspoken in his Union sentiments.
Shortly after the war closed, the family moved to Missouri. The father, Rev. E. J. Hamill, joined the M. E. Conference of that state and labored there for several years, then moved to Jacksonville, this state. He immediately sought work in the Illinois Conference and, after filing several charges very acceptably, was finally sent to Martinsville, in 1879. Robert, than a young man of 23, had chosen the law for his profession and he came the following year to Marshall to locate. He had secured a good education at McKendree College and he improved every spare moment in perfecting himself in his chosen vocation. His remarkable talents soon showed themselves and he rapidly acquired a paying practice.
Nov. 7, 1883, he led to the altar Miss Mary Martin. One child, a boy, was born to them. Two years later, they moved to Guotersville, Alabama, where Mr. Hamill formed a partnership with his brother and a Mr. Lusk for the practice of law. The firm was getting along nicely when Robert received an offer of a partnership from T. J. Golden of this city. He returned from Alabama in 1886 and the firm of Golden & Hamill was formed. It speedily took high rank in this section of the state, and Mr. Hamill won many golden opinions from bench and bar.
In 1892, he contested with Geo. W. Firthian for the Democratic nomination for congressman, but was unsuccessful. In the campaign of 1896, he was a prominent Gold Democrat and he was in great demand as a speaker in many large cities of the country. In February, 1897, he was invited to enter the legal firm of palmer, Shutt & Lester, the most prominent in Springfield. He accepted and the same success met him there as in previous locations. He was appointed attorney for Illinois for the B & O. S. W. Ry. Co. and when a vacancy occurred in the position of general attorney of the Company, he was invited to fill it. He accepted this promotion, also, and on Oct. 1, 1899, he began his duties in Cincinnati, moving his family to that city.
He speedily won the respect and esteem of his employers and the future was very promising. But alas! how delusive are the hopes of mortal man. Already had insidious disease marked him for its victim and it needed but the close application to work rendered necessary by his new duties and the determination he held to master them thoroughly, to tighten its clutch. He began to suffer with a pain near the base of the spine and last April it became necessary for him to cease work for a short time and take a trip to the East.
Other journeys followed, many noted physicians were consulted and still no permanent relief could be secured. When in Marshall not many weeks ago, an abscess that had formed was lanced and the attending physician stated then that he feared spinal trouble, culminating in meningitis. His fears were only too well founded, as the sequel showed.
Mr. Hamill went back to Cincinnati to work, but soon he had to give up entirely and then a trip to Phoenix, Arizona, was planned. He and his devoted wife and son, Chai, started on Oct. 22, arriving five days later. There was a decided improvement at first and the patient was able to walk five miles each day until Tuesday, the 13th, when a bilious attack prostrated him. The local physician felt no alarm, said the lungs were not affected, nor the heart, and predicted a speedy rally after the biliousness was thrown off. The expected change for the better did not come, however, but, on the contrary, on Wednesday, he sank into a stupor with occasional rallies during which mind and speech were preternaturally active, he going over in detail much of the work of his office and giving intelligent directions to his subordinates, whom he imagined present. On Thursday morning, the dreaded meningitis appeared and all hope was at an end. At 8:30 that evening, the spirit took its flight.
The body was brought to Marshall, arriving on Tuesday and the funeral services were held Wednesday afternoon in the M. E. church, Rev. White and Rev. Elliott conducting the services, the latter delivering the funeral sermon and afterward Rev. Howard M. Hamill, brother of the deceased made a brief statement, telling of Robert's struggles for advancement and his final success, then paid a feeling tribute to his employers, who aced towards him in so noble a manner during his illness. At the grave, the ceremonies were conducted by the Masonic order. The attendance was very large.
The floral offerings were many and beautiful. Besides those from the relatives and the Sunday School, there were large designs from the president and vice president of the B & O. S. W., from the assistants in his office and from the lawyers of Marshall.
Mr. Hamill became a Christian when a mere boy. He was an earnest worker in the cause and was also very much interested in the Sunday School. He was superintendent of the M. E. school in Marshall for several years and after his removal to Springfield, he was induced to accept the superintendency of the Sunday School in the Home for the Friendless. He was a prominent member of the Masonic order and was for twelve successive years high priest of the R. A. M. chapter here.
R. E. Hamill was a man whom to know was to honor and respect. His ambition was to reach a high place in his chosen profession and he bent every energy to that end. The working constantly with this definite purpose in his mind, he did not become absorbed in self, but was always the untiring friend, the loving father and husband that we who knew him so well remember from the first years of our acquaintance with him. Generous to a fault, the cry of distress always melted him and many of the poor and needy had cause to invoke blessings on his head.
He is gone from us forever. the radiant smile is forever stilled, the gentle voice forever hushed, but the memory of his virtues lingers as a sweet incense and the lesson of his noble life will not soon be forgotten.
Source: Clark County Herald (Marshall, IL) 29 November 1900, p. 5