The substantial character of Mount Vernon is the result of the energy and
integrity of her business men who as a class compare favorably with those
of any other city of like importance. The growth of the town has been along
lines that make for permanency and for this reason people with means are
willing to make investments without fear or hesitancy regarding future values.
The subject of this review has done his part in building up the splendid
reputations of the city, and holds a high place in the esteem of its leading
business men of the city.
Robert N. Hinman was born in Mount Vernon on the 18th day of December,
1854. His father, Harmon D. Hinman, a native of Vermont, came to Illinois
when quite a young man and settled at Shawneetown. He was a brick mason
by trade and after many years spent at Shawneetown, he came to Mount Vernon,
where he was prosperous and happy. The misfortune of a violent death, however,
awaited him, for he was killed by a horse in 1860, when our subject was
but five years old. His wife, Betty (Moss) Hinman, whose parents were natives
of Virginia, died in 1872, at the age of thirty-nine years. She was the
mother of five children, the first three of whom, John, Rosa and Alice,
are deceased. Our subject was the fourth in order of birth, and the fifth,
Alma, is the wife of J. C. Mass, and has her home in New Mexico.
Mr. Hinman has always lived at Mount Vernon. where he attended both
the public and the high school. At the age of fifteen, he began work in
the post-office, and continued there from 1870 to 1887, being the assistant
postmaster for the first nine years, at the expiration of which he became
postmaster, and continued in that capacity for the next eight years. In
December, 1887, he went into the hardware busineses with H. H. Simmons.
This partnership continued for three years when Mr. Simmons retired from
the business. For the next two years Mr. Hinman operated the store himself,
and at the expiration of this time the management was reorganized by the
accession of two additional members to the firm, viz, R. P. Moyer and J.
H. Irvin, under the name of Hinman, Irvin and Moyer. This association continued
for one and one-half years, being broken by the death of Mr. Irvin in 1895.
Mr. Hinman and Mr. Moyer continued in partnership for three and onehalf
years. On September 24, 1895, the present firm was organized through the
accession of J. J. Matthews, under the name of Hinman and Matthews. Their
store is one of the best stocked and economically managed of any in the
city, and a large patronage is being enjoyed by the firm.
On December 29, 1875, Mr. Hinman was married to Miss Ella E. Burghart,
who was born in New York state. This marriage took place at Ashley, Illinois,
whither her people had removed when Ella was quite young. She departed
this life, April 18, 1906. She became the mother of four children, Robert
E., of St. Louis; Earl B. and Stella E. are at the parental home in Mount
Vernon. The fourth, John H., has his home at Bisbee, Arizona.
Mr. Hinman served as Supervisor of Mount Vernon township from 1905 to
1907 and managed the office with a great deal of tact and efficiency. In
1890, he served as Mayor of Mount Vernon, and was well received and supported
by the people. He is a member of the Odd Fellows and the Masons, and although
he is quiet and unassuming in his demeanor, yet he has done much to promote
the best interests of the community at large. He and his family are members
of the First Methodist church, and Mr. Hinman is one of the trustees. Although
a Republican in politics, he espouses only those men and measures that
fill, in his judgment, the highest needs of the city, and in this way he
contributes to its welfare and prosperity.
SOURCE: History of Jefferson County, IL By John A. Wall 1909
Submitted by: Misty Flannigan