|Name||Robert Hamilton |
|Photographer||F. LaRoche |
|Highest Rank||Captain |
|Unit||Co. D, 33rd U.S. Colored Infantry |
|Born||About 1840 |
|Place Born||Pennsylvania |
|Died||September 24, 1894 |
|Place Died||Seattle, WA |
|Buried||Grand Army of the Republic (Seattle) |
|Service Record||Enlisted, age 22, on 4/22/1861 as a Private; on 4/22/1861 he mustered into "F" Co. OH 18th Infantry; Mustered Out on 8/28/1861 at Columbus, OH; enlisted (Residence Beaver County, PA) on 9/5/1861 as a Private and mustered into "D" Co. PA 100th Infantry (date and method of discharge not given); Enlisted on 12/20/1862 as a Captain and commissioned into "D" Co. US CT 33rd Infantry; resigned on 1/9/1863; enlisted on 7/1/1863 as a Commissary Sergeant and mustered into "A" Co. PA Dale's Cavalry; Mustered Out on 12/1/1863 |
|Obit/Notes||-- Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Friday, September 28, 1894, page 8, column C|
HAMILTON HAS GONE
The Defaulting Odd Fellow Jumps His Bonds
SHUNNED BY HIS BROTHERS
Cut Off by the Order and With Prison Staring Him in the Face, He Disappears Suddenly
Robert Hamilton, ex-secretary of the relief committee of the Odd Fellows, charged with embezzlement, is the last name to be added to the list of bond jumpers. Some persons think that he may have killed himself, fully realizing the disgrace he had brought upon himself and his family, but in all probability he has simply skipped out and left the men who came to his rescue to pay for their experience in helping a friend in trouble.
The truth of Robert Hamilton's doings as the custodian of the relief committee's money for over three years will show that, while he told a POST-INTELLIGENCER reporter that he had been given no opportunity to straighten out his accounts, in reality he had been importuned frequently to settle, given every advantage one could ask for and in return damned everybody connected with the committee and the order in general, refused to turn over his books and, as one of the committee admitted last evening, put every obstacle in his power in the way of the special committee appointed four months ago to expert the books. It was this trouble that caused Hamilton to lose his position as constable in Judge Osborn's court, and when the members of Olive Branch Lodge, No. 4, I. O. O. F., investigated the matter, Hamilton, the noble grand of the lodge, was expelled, despite the fact that he threatened to make the men "sweat for it."
After Hamilton was arrested he had great trouble in getting men who would sign the $750 bonds that gave him his liberty, pending a preliminary examination. Finally R. C. Crawford, out of the kindness of his heart, told Hamilton that he had considered him an honest man and hated to see him lie in jail if the amount of the deficit was only $86. Hamilton did not tell Mr. Crawford that the deficit ran into the hundreds of dollars, but did all he could to get him to sign the bond. George Tinto finally consented to help Hamilton out of his trouble, and signed. The next morning Mr. Crawford told Justice Humphrey that he understood that Hamilton was short $800 instead of $86 and thought he had better surrender him. Hamilton, however, played on the feelings of the kind old man, and finally persuaded him to stay the delivery of him to jail. Hamilton, in the meantime, had tried to get L. W. Bonney to go on the bond, but Mr. Bonney refused.
Hamilton was now getting desperate, and commenced hunting after Albert Bryan, the chief officer of the relief committee, to see how he could get out of the trouble. Last Sunday morning the relief committee held a meeting in Germania hall, on Front street, in relation to Hamilton's shortage. As the members went into the building Hamilton stood at the foot of the stairs, but they did not speak to him. He stood there crying, when Bryan came along and asked him why he did not go before the committee. Hamilton replied that it would do no good, but added that he was willing to go over his books with the committee and see what the exact state of affairs was. Although there was no formal confession, his words were equal to one, and a letter he gave to one of the committee was on the same line. Bryan told him he would place his proposition before the meeting, and let him know Monday morning at 10 o'clock what would be done in the matter. The committee heard the message from Hamilton and decided by a unanimous vote that it did not want "anything more to do with Robert Hamilton."
The next morning Hamilton was at Bryan's office on Front street, near Pike, at 9 o'clock. As he entered he excused himself for being early, and showed that he was anxious by getting down to business at once. "Well, " said Bryan, "the committee decided not to have anything to do with you, and has rejected your proposition to examine the books." The decision was a blow to Hamilton, but he shut his teeth and was silent. Bryan told him that there was no animosity on his part, but as an officer of the committee he had sworn out the warrant. Hamilton replied that he did not blame Bryan and acknowledged that if he had taken his (Bryan's) advice in the beginning instead of fighting him, the scandal would never have come before the public. Then he walked out of the office gritting his teeth.
He returned home at 1 o'clock in the afternoon, [and] told his daughter he would be gone until 2 o'clock. He has not returned and what has become of him is a matter of conjecture. It was not thought that he had skipped until yesterday morning when his case was called by Justice Humphrey. Spectators and witnesses were on hand, but no Hamilton. An hour passed, and the justice, on motion of Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Bass, declared the bond forfeited and issued a bench warrant for Hamilton's arrest. Constable Van Horn went to the fugitive's house and found his daughter there alone. She had been kept in ignorance that her father had been arrested and supposed that he had simply gone away for a day or so. He told her after his arrest that he might be called away for a short time.
Mrs. Hamilton is at present at Benton, near Portland, where she has been for some time. She has always been held in high esteem by her Seattle friends, and it is thought that she is ignorant of the trouble her husband is in.
The theory of suicide is based on remarks Hamilton made at different times about jumping into the bay if he did not get bondsmen. This is refuted in part at the beginning by a note he wrote saying that he was too much of a coward to kill himself. He also thought of the disgrace his daughters would feel at knowing their father was a self-murderer. The matter of finding Hamilton, if he is alive, has been placed in the hands of Sheriff Woolery.
Albert Bryan was interviewed by a POST-INTELLIGENCER reporter last night regarding the actual shortage in Hamilton's accounts, and said:
"In justice to Hamilton I would say that while the report shows that his books exhibit a shortage of $800, he is not short that amount. I should say $300 to $500 was nearer correct. I know of some instances where he paid out money that is not credited to him on his books."
"Did he have an opportunity to settle?"
"We implored him many times to settle accounts, and even went so far as to tell him that we would give him terms so that he could surely meet the obligations. He was obstinate, and damned us and the order."
It will be an easy matter to detect Hamilton because he is a tall man and wears a small goatee, almost under his lip. He has blue eyes and dark hair and a heavy mustache.
-- Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Thursday, December 20, 1894, page 8, columns A, B
HAMILTON'S SAD END
The Embezzler's Decayed Body Found in the Woods
HE HAD COMMITTED SUICIDE
Walked Out of His House to End His Troubles With Death
The Fugitive Odd Fellow Wandered to a Lonely Spot and Silently Released His Bondsmen--The Body Horribly Decayed, but Its Identity Sure.
The mystery surrounding the disappearance of Robert Hamilton, ex-secretary of the Odd Fellows' relief committee, who jumped his bonds during the latter part of September rather than answer the charge of embezzlement, was cleared away yesterday afternoon by the discovery of his badly disfigured and decomposed body in the woods about four blocks east of Broadway and nearly midway between the public school in Frank Pontius' addition and the city park. He had undoubtedly committed suicide, and from the failure to discover any weapon in the vicinity it is presumed that he took poison. There is not the slightest doubt about his identity and the only question to be definitely settled is the means of death.
The discovery was made by chance and until Deputy Coroner Greene and Sergeant Willard reached the scene nothing was known that even suggested the clearing up of the Hamilton mystery. Peter Rooming, who lives at 304 Moltke street, went to the ridge that runs along the brow of the hill just east of Broadway for a Christmas tree and floundering around among the underbrush and light snow when he suddenly saw before him the remains of a very tall man. Revering from a sudden weakness at his stomach, he proceeded to the police station, where he made known his discovery. Sergeant Willard, Deputy Coroner James A. Greene and a Post-Intelligencer reporter accompanied Rooming to the woods and commenced a search for the body.
On the way out on the Broadway car the little cottage that used to be occupied by Robert Hamilton, the missing embezzler, was passed and a few remarks made as to his whereabouts.
The search for the unknown's body was not successful at first, as Rooming had lost his bearings. Sergeant Willard, however, found a small trail that had been made by animals and on following it through the brush and snow for some distance came upon the body. He gave a whistle and in a few minutes all hands were grouped around the object that had once felt the pulse of life. The sight was too much for Rooming and he beat a hasty retreat to the top of the hill, whence he watched the proceedings.
The body, or, what remained of it, was that of a man very tall and lank. He lay on his right side in a little hollow a foot or two to the north of a long log, and all around were little mounds of earth that had been thrown up by animals as they worked or fought with each other in their eagerness to get at the entrails. The trousers were of dark blue cloth, and had been torn from the body and left leg, and the flesh had been eaten to the bone. The animals could not get through the heavy corked sole shoes, so they left the feet alone. It would have been impossible to have come to any reasonable conclusion as to who the man was by looking at his face and head. His hair had fallen off and lay in a little pile on the ground. It was evident that there was little of it in life. The face was decomposed and insects came from the eye sockets and nose. It was indeed a gruesome sight, too much so for minute description.
Sergeant Willard stooped down and took a close look at the coat and vest, which were still in fair condition.
"He was a Grand Army man sure, " was his exclamation, "for here is his button. I believe it is Bob Hamilton, for he wore a coat just like this and blue trousers."
Deputy Coroner Greene looked at the body a moment and replied:
"I guess you're right. It's his coat sure, and I knew these dark cork soled shoes. Here is his celluloyd collar, he always wore one, and here is his K. of P. pin in his black necktie."
Greene then cut open the outside pocket of the coat and found a piece of postal card. He held it up to the sunlight and found the word "Robert" written thereon. The next piece taken in of the pocket dovetailed with the first and the name "Robert Hamilton" appeared. On the other side was a lot of writing which told the story of his paying his dues last September to the A. O. U. W. Then from his vest pocket Greene brought forth the old black fountain pen that Hamilton used when writing receipts as secretary of the Old Fellows' relief committee. The next thing was a rubber stamp which was still in working order and when pressed on the pad of paper held by the reporter, left the impression: "Robert Hamilton, box 1, 410."
"Poore old Bob, " said Greene. "I never thought I would find your body in a condition like this. I wonder how you killed yourself."
The examination proved conclusively that the neck had not been cut and so far as could be ascertained there were no signs of bullet holes in the head or body. A careful search was made for several feet around the spot, but no revolver, bottle of poison or anything else suggestive of the means of death could be discovered. It was decided that poison was probably used, and without further search the body was put in a dead box and carried out of the woods to the wagon in waiting.
After the remains were placed in the morgue at Bonney & Stewart's, many of Hamilton's old friends viewed them and all agreed that Hamilton, the embezzler, was before them as Hamilton, the suicide. Coroner Horton viewed the remains, and after going over the evidence, said he was satisfied as to the identity and had no doubt about the case being one of simple suicide. The coroner is inclined to think Hamilton took a dose of morphine.
Robert Hamilton lived in this city for about ten years and until it was discovered that he had embezzled fully $400 of the funds of the Odd Fellows' relief committee, of which he was secretary for three years, he was looked upon as an honest man. Many opportunities were given him to make good his shortage, but he only damned everyone connected with the committee and said he would "make it warm for them." After this he lost his position as bailiff in Judge Osborn's court, and later was expelled from Olive Branch lodge, No. 4, I. O. O. F. In the latter part of September he was arrested and after considerable trouble got R. C. Crawford and George Tinto to become his sureties. When the day for the preliminary examination came he could not be found, and nothing has been heard of him until his body was found yesterday afternoon. His wife and two daughters are in Oregon.
-- Funeral notice, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sunday, December 23, 1894, page 14, column A
HAMILTON - The funeral of Robert Hamilton will be held this afternoon at 1 o'clock at Bonney & Stewart's chapel, under the auspices of Miller Post, No. 31, G. A. R., Seattle Lodge, No. 53, K. of F., will attend in a body and escort the remains to the grave. Interment in the G. A. R. lot, Lake View cemetery.
|Subjects (TGM)||Hamilton, Robert, ca. 1840-1894--Portrait photographs|
Grand Army of the Republic. Stevens Post No. 1--People--Washington (State)--Seattle--Portrait photographs
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Veterans--Washington (State)--Seattle--Portrait photographs
Military decorations--United States
|Digital Collection||Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Portraits|
|Order Number||GAR038 |
|Ordering Information||To order a reproduction or to inquire about permission, contact the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Seattle Room in The Seattle Public Library at (206) 386-4633 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. |
|Photograph Number||10.3 |
|Repository||Seattle Public Library |
|Repository Collection||Hugh and Jane Ferguson Seattle Room, Local History Collection |
|Digital Reproduction Information||Scanned as 400 ppi TIFF on a Microtek 9800 scanner; derivatives created using Adobe Photoshop (600 pixels wide) and saved as a JPG file using Photoshop's image quality "8". Scanning performed in 1/2007. |
|Studio Location||Seattle, WA |
|Original Creator||Laroche, Frank |