Jackson County

Biography - Charles E. Hamilton

CHARLES EVERETT HAMILTON. The creative mind, whatever its location and surroundings, is sure to find expression in some production of utility or beauty, even if it be only a meager one, and fall far short of the conception of its creator, either through lack of resources or want of opportunity to work out its full development. But where the creative spirit is strong and the circumstances are favorable, the result is very likely to be something of magnitude and great practical value, and if not produced wholly for beauty, may still be beautiful in its utility and the service it renders to mankind.

In the case of Charles E. Hamilton, of Carbondale, the spirit is strong and the circumstances have been favorable, so that what he has achieved is well worthy of close consideration and high praise. His productions are works of science directed by high art, and combine in their make-up and impressiveness both beauty and utility, service for the people of the communities in which they operate, and profit for their creator as well as renown for his ability and sweep of vision.

Mr. Hamilton's life began in Jefferson county, Illinois, on March 6, 1873, where his parents, William J. and Catherine (Garner) Hamilton, were prosperously engaged in farming. He grew to manhood on the farm and performed his due part of the labor incident to its cultivation. He attended the public school in the neighborhood of the farm, and made such good use of his opportunity that he prepared himself for entry at the Southern Illinois Normal University, where he completed his academic education.

The bent of his mind was not toward farming, and he determined to become a lawyer. With this end in view he studied law three years in offices, and then attended lectures at the Illinois College of Law. He was admitted to the bar in 1901 and began practicing in Carbondale, continuing his devotion to his profession until 1908. In that year he and Dr. Lewis organized the Citizens Water, Light and Power company, with a capital stock of seventy-five thousand dollars and himself as vice president and general manager. His company bought out the Carbondale Lighting and the Carbondale Water Works companies when they were sold by a receiver, but the plants of all are still in operation and doing excellent work.

The light and power plant managed by Mr. Hamilton maintains a continuous current three hundred kilowatt force, and his water plant operates with wells four hundred to six hundred feet deep, and amply able to supply the demand of one hundred and fifty thousand gallons, which is the daily consumption in the city from its mains. Its water is pure, clean and invigorating, and is used in all homes for drinking purposes in preference to any other. The company also operates a twenty-ton ice plant to supply the local demand, and finds the capacity of this taxed to its limit owing to the excellence of its output and the satisfactory character of its service in distributing this.

Mr. Hamilton also founded the Benton, Illinois, Hamilton Utilities Company, which has a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars, and of which he is also the vice president and the secretary. It supplies water, light and ice to the city of Benton in the adjoining county of Franklin. This company has about the same capacity as the Citizens Light and Power Company of Carbondale. Both are equipped with every modern device of the most approved type for their work, conducted' according to the best intelligence and latest developments in connection with it, and both have come to be prime necessaries to the communities in which they operate.

Mr. Hamilton was married on July 28, 1894, to Miss Dora Hayes, of Mt. Vernon, Illinois, a daughter of Richard L. Hayes, a farmer near that city. Five children have been born of the union: Ralph Emerson, Lola (deceased), Katharine Jewell, Charles Morrison and Helen. They are all living and attending school from the home of their parents. The latter are devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal church, and the father is one of the trustees of the congregation to which he belongs.

In fraternal life he is a member of the Order of Odd Fellows and the Modern Woodmen of America. He has taken a very active and helpful part in the affairs of Carbondale and is now president of its school board, a position in which he has served the community since 1905. In politics he is a Democrat, but he has never been an active partisan and never sought or desired any of the honors or emoluments his party has to bestow. Throughout the county, and in every other locality where he is known, he is held in the highest estimation as. a man and citizen, and a very enterprising and productive business force, both through his own efforts and through the efforts he awakens and stimulates in others by his influence and example. Jackson county has no better citizen, and none whom the people deem more worthy of their esteem or more representative of their genuine manhood.

Extracted from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 658-659.

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