Robert Edward Harrill


Robert Edward Harrill Famous memorial

Gaffney, Cherokee County, South Carolina, USA
Death 4 Jun 1972 (aged 79)
Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, New Hanover County, North Carolina, USA
Burial Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, North Carolina, USA
Plot Just outside main cemetery, look for sea shells
Memorial ID 11755588 View Source

Folk Figure. For more than 17 years, Robert, better known as "The Fort Fisher Hermit," lived under the stars, off the land and with donations from his thousands of visitors. The hermit called home an old abandoned World War II artillery bunker. As a child, he had always enjoyed the solace of nature. As an adult he suffered through a terrible divorce with Katie Hamrick and the suicide of his oldest son. He preferred the simpler life, it is what gave him and his mind a more peaceful existence, and he referred to this as his "School of Common Sense." Robert died in 1972. His body was discovered in the bunker by local boys. The medical examiner ruled the cause of death a heart attack, but a number of people his son George Edward Harrill, and Michael Edwards a fan who wrote a number of books and pamphlets about the Hermit claimed that foul play was involved. They noted suspicious cuts and the quantity of sand on the Hermit's legs, found at the scene. The younger Harrill continued to push for an investigation until his death in 1997. The State Bureau of Investigation finally declared it a murder. It is still an open case. In 1993, Edwards, and local museum curator Harry Warren founded the Hermit Society, to honor Robert's memory. Local filmmakers Rob Hill, Scott Davis and Richard Sirianni collaborated on a documentary, "The Fort Fisher Hermit: The Life and Death of Robert E. Harrill," which premiered in 2004 at Wilmington's Cucalorus Film Festival. Later revised, with narration by actor Barry Corbin ("Northern Exposure"), the film was screened in 2007 on North Carolina Public Television.

Bio by: Shock


In their memory
Plant Memorial Trees



How famous was Robert Edward Harrill?

Current rating:

52 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Michael Edwards
  • Added: 15 Sep 2005
  • Find a Grave Memorial 11755588
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Robert Edward Harrill (2 Feb 1893–4 Jun 1972), Find a Grave Memorial ID 11755588, citing Federal Point Methodist Church Cemetery, Carolina Beach, New Hanover County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .