Robert Hayworth McKune was born in Newburg, NY on August 19, 1823. His father died when he was just a boy of 3 and Robert took over the role as man of the house at a very young age. By the time he was 21, he worked as a shoe clerk, managed the family bakery and opened a grocery store in his hometown.
After his discharge from the army in which he served during the Mexican War, Robert traveled out west to California in search of gold but instead became the first American to open a bakery in Panama. He stayed only seven months before returning to the east coast. He arrived in Scranton in 1862 and immediately entered into the insurance business. In fact, Robert was identified with almost every public enterprise during his residence in the city. In 1875, he was elected Mayor and it was during his term the great riots of 1877 occurred. He showed much bravery in his attempt to quell an angry mob of thousands on Lackawanna Avenue and received a broken jaw for his chivalrous efforts.
For many years Robert suffered from a neuralgic affliction of the heart, he had several attacks of which his physicians declared he would not rally from and he proved them wrong each time. But sadly in October of 1894 while visiting his sister Robert H. McKune passed away. When the news of his death reached Scranton it was met with much sorrow.
The former mayor has been buried in Forest Hill Cemetery since his passing in 1894 but he did not receive a headstone until August 1st, 2006, thanks to the efforts of the Girl Scouts of America.