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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. 

Source: History of Southern Illinois George Washington Smith, 
Page 658 - 659

Submitted by Robert W. Loman 

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