April 10, 1925
Bob Hamilton Shot To Death
Prominent Trigg County Farmer Victim Of Foul Play Near Hopkinsville
Found By Roadside With Bullet In Head And Death Comes In Few Moments
Mr. F. R. Hamilton, one of Trigg county's leading farmers and prominent citizens who resided three miles west of Roaring Spring on the Linton pike, was shot and killed by supposed robbers some time between midnight and day last Friday morning.
The remains were taken to the home on Saturday morning, and burial followed Saturday afternoon at the family grave yard near his home, a very large crowd being present. Funeral by Rev. Gunn, pastor of the Methodist church of Lafayette.
Mr. Hamilton, was a son of Col. J. H. Hamilton, deceased, in his day one of the most prominent citizens of all that section of the county. The son had spent all his life in Trigg county, and had been a farmer and a country merchant during that time.
He was a man much liked by his neighbors and was a splendid citizen.
In speaking of the death of Mr. Hamilton and the finding of the body, the HOPKINSVILLE NEW ERA of Friday says:
Unconscious and dying a large bullet hole in the back of his head, F. R. Hamilton, aged fifty-six, a prominent and popular farmer in the Roaring Spring neighborhood in Trigg county was found about eight o'clock this morning hanging from his Ford touring car which was standing by the side of the road on the Canton pike, three and a half miles from town about 500 years from Littlefield's grocery.
He died an hour later.
The theory of the officers is that he was murdered by a hold up man and a verdict of "foul play" was returned by the jury which was impaneled by Coroner Lovan.
Mr. Hamilton's own pistol, which he evidently had tried to draw, was on the running board of the car with in a few inches of his dangling hand.
About ten feet behind the car was his empty pocket book and his left trouser pocket was turned wrong side out.
The gruesome discovery was first made by Claude Johnson who, driving his car down the road, passed the Hamilton Ford without observing the wounded man. Thinking there was something suspicious about the location, Mr. Johnson turned back and found a tragedy.
He hastened to the home of W. Z. Hall and telephoned to the sheriff's office and he and Mr. Hall returned to the scene.
Mr. Hamilton faintly groaned once but was insensible, and when the corps of officers, with deputy Sheriff George Smith in charge, arrived life in the body was apparently extinct.
Coroner Lovan, was notified and he summoned a jury composed of E. B. Witty, J. B. Littlefield, John Taylor, D. C. Crutchfield, Flem Clardy, Jr., and W. Z. Hall.
After hearing the testimony a verdict as stated was promptly given. T. Z. Hamilton, a brother of the dead man was present at the inquest.
The victim of the killing is believed to have spent the night in town and to have started home at an early hour this morning. His car was seen from a distance at the place it was found as early as five o'clock, but no investigation was made. The back door of the automobile was open which led to the theory that the robber had begged a ride and had shot from behind. Another speculation is that a hold up man at the side of the road stopped the car, and Mr. Hamilton was trying to pull his pistol when he was shot and fatally wounded. His body was laying out of the car from the driver's seat. His own pistol, when examined, was found to have three empty shells, but these were partly filled with tobacco dust and evidently had not been discharged any time recently. There was no powder burn on his neck and the bullet had entered his head just under the left ear. Nothing was found in the auto but a sack of meat. Mr. Hamilton was dressed in overalls with a blue shirt.
It was the opinion of the officers and the members of the coroner's jury from the extent of the wound that the fatal bullet was from a .38 caliber pistol.
The body was removed to Walter & Harton's undertaking establishment and prepared for burial. Under instructions of Sheriff Wilson the body will be held there until a probe can be made for the bullet with a view to ascertaining its exact size. It is expected that the remains will be carried early tomorrow morning to Roaring Spring and the funeral will take place tomorrow. According to telephone messages this afternoon, from Mrs. Hamilton, her husband left there in his car to come to Hopkinsville to collect some money that was owing him for a grocery bill. He was formerly in the grocery business at Roaring Spring. He did not tell her who owed the money now how much it was. She said he frequently came to Hopkinsville on business and usually returned to his farm early enough in the morning to call the hands. He passed Littlefield grocery in his car four o'clock yesterday afternoon just before the hail storm and called out a cheery greeting to the proprietor.
Mr. Hamilton was a native of Trigg county and was held in highest esteem by all who knew him. He owned a large tract of land near Roaring Spring on the Cadiz road and was a man of energy and integrity and active in promoting the interests of his community. He is survived by his widow, three daughters and two sons, the eldest child being sixteen years old. He leaves to brothers, T. A. Hamilton, of Hopkinsville, and W. A. Hamilton, of Linden, Ala.
A special from Hopkinsville published in the Louisville Herald says: Hamilton came to Hopkinsville late yesterday afternoon telling his wife he expected to collect a bill owed him when he was in the grocery business. He did not state the amount or the name of the debtor. He spent part of the night dozing in a chair at Wadlington's loose tobacco floor. He was last seen alive in a restaurant on Sixth street where he lunched at 3 o'clock this morning. The proprietor said he saw several bank notes in Hamilton's pocketbook when he paid the bill. There were several strangers in the café earlier in the night. He got gasoline and oil on credit at Roy Davis' garage stating he had only fifty cents. A small purse containing fifty eight cents was found in his overalls today.
His own pistol a .32 caliber, was found to have three empty shells, but they were full of tobacco crumbs. There were two loaded cartridges. Officers said the pistol had not been fired recently. The right hand back door of his car was open. A sack of meat was in the car.
The body was removed to an undertaking establishment and an autopsy was held late this afternoon by Dr. Durwood Roach, of Roaring Spring, the family physician. He found a .32 caliber bullet imbedded in the brain. The body will be taken tomorrow morning to Roaring Spring for burial.
Highwayman Sought In Christian Slaying
Robbery Is Held Motive In Death of Trigg County Farmer
SUICIDE THEORY SCOUTED
One of Number of Strangers Believed to have Followed Him After Seeing Money
Special to the Courier Journal
Hopkinsville, Ky. April 10 - Authorities here still are searching for the highway man which is believed to have killed F. R. Hamilton -- years old, a farmer of the Roaring Spring section of Trigg county who was found shot to death in his car on the Canton Road near here this morning.
An examination of the dead man's skull this morning by Dr. D. D. Roach revealed that the bullet which had penetrated his brain was of the same caliber as his revolver that was found lying on the running board of his car. Officials however, scout the idea that it was a suicide because the gun in the car had evidentially not been fired for some time.
Holdup Held Motive
The Theory that a highway man had done the slaying was built as the fact that the dead man's empty purse was found ten feet from his car.
Mrs. E. R. Hamilton, widow of the slain man says her husband left for Hopkinsville Thursday afternoon to collect some money. She did not know how much or from whom he was going to collect.
It was learned today that Hamilton spent most of Thursday night sitting in a chair in the office of one of the tobacco warehouses in Hopkinsville. Earlier in the evening he had purchased some gasoline at a filling station, but told the owner that he would have to charge it because had had only about 50 cents left on him.
When the body was searched a small purse containing 38 cents was found in one of the pockets.
Stranger In Restaurant
About 3 o'clock Friday morning it is said, Hamilton left the warehouse and went to a restaurant to get something to eat. The owner of the place says there were several strangers in his place at the time, but could not tell who they were or give a very clear description of them. He said he noticed that Hamilton had several bills in his purse when he paid for the meal, but did not noticed the denominations.
Authorities are working on the theory that one of the strangers saw the money followed Hamilton, held him up on the road and killed him when he resisted.
Bloodhounds were taken to the scene of the slaying today, but could not pick up a trail due to the large number of people who had visited the place since morning.
Hamilton is survived by his widow, five children and two brothers. The funeral will be held at his home.
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