March 23, 1899
Funeral of Robert Pilson
Robert Pilson died at 1:42 p.m. of last Thursday. His death was a great shock to the community; it was not generally known that he was seriously ill until it was said: "He is dead." His funeral took place at the Presbyterian church Saturday at 1 o'clock p. m., Rev. Robinson officiating. A large concourse of people assembled to honor to his memory and the remains were followed to the graveyard by all who could go. An hour before the appointed time for the funeral, people began to assemble at the church. Every seat was filled and at the last, there was not even standing room. There were neither kith nor kin present to act in the capacity of mourners – not a soul to drop a tear. Yet the occasion was one of the most solemn that has ever been held in any church. It was such an out pouring of people and such a manifestation of silent sympathy that would have astonished the deceased could he have seen it, for he did not regard himself as having many friends.
Robert Pilson was born in Woolwich, England, 59 years ago. He came to this country when only four years of age. He leaves two sisters and a brother, one sister residing in Illinois and the others in Indiana. He was a pioneer in this country, having spent nearly all of his life in Wyoming. He was very eccentric, scrupulously honest, very kind hearted and sympathetic. He has been a familiar figure on our streets for many years and his presence will be missed and regretted by all who knew him.
He talked frequently of his death and seemed to be anxious for the hour to strike. Fourteen or fifteen years ago he had a casket made to order, in anticipation of his approaching demise. He was a very huge man and seemed to realize that no ordinary casket would accommodate his body after death. After his death a telegram was sent to Laramie, for the casket. It arrived Saturday morning. The entire burial case weighed 700 pounds. The casket was a metallic one, lined with the finest of white silk, trimmed with fringe of the same. It was covered with the black broad cloth, trimmed with black fringe made of silk. A large silver name plate, with "Robert Pilson," engraved on it, was over his breast. The dimensions of it were: Length, 5 feet, 9 inches; width, 28 inches; depth, 18 inches. The "rough box" as it is usually called, which is lowered into the grave to receive the coffin, was made of oak, finely finished and varnished, the corners being protected with nickel steel plates. The cost of the whole was $250.
Before his death he made a will and appointed C. B. Sterrett as his executor. He was not a religious man, though he believed in another life. His creed was simple. He said: "I know this body will die but ‘Bob' (he always spoke of himself in the third person,) will live in another world – where, I do not know nor am I particular. I have done the best I could. I am not afraid to die. I am tired of life and anxious for death to come."
He was one of the best known characters in the state, and his death removes from our midst one of the landmarks of the valley. Not a man who ever knew him but will express regret when he hears of his death, and pay that silent tribute which we all pay to the dead.
Born: Woolwich, England Died: Saratoga, WY