In his early teens, May moved back to Augusta, Georgia, where he was apprenticed to be a wheelwright with Hubert & Roll.
While working at this trade he eventually became a partner in the business, and in 1852 started his own carriage manufacturing business, named R. H. May & Company Which soon became a leading manufacture of carriages, buggies and farm wagons throughout the south. The wedding was at the home of the bride and officiated by Review
Josiah Lewis, pastor of Saint Johns Methodist church.
Which Review Calhoun was connected. This union produced four children: Aletha Francis (1846–1916), Elizabeth Adeline (1847–1848), James Thomas (1848–1924) and Josephine (1851–1852).
As Robert May"s business and family grew, May became active in community affairs In 1862, on his suggestion, the city council organized and sponsored the Augusta Purveying Association, which distributed funds and goods among the needy citizens.
Mayor May gave freely of his own money to help the needy, actions that were remembered in the years ahead when he ran for re-election.
He served five 1-year terms during the period of 1861-1866 and was well respected by government officials throughout the state and citizens of Augusta, a like. Toward the end of the Civil War, Governor Joseph East. Brown ordered Mayor May to burn the large amounts of cotton stored in the warehouses throughout Augusta to prevent it from falling into the Union Army’s hands. In an open letter to all cotton owners in the city, Mayor May asked that they move their cotton from the city limits, because this would prevent a risk of the entire city being destroyed.
As it turned out, the Union Army never came to Augusta.
And the cotton was never destroyed, thus saving many of the pre-war buildings. Again in 1879, the citizens of Augusta called upon Robert May to run the city of Augusta and elected him to four 3-year terms as Mayor through 1891.
During these years, Mayor May oversaw the expansion of the city and saw Augusta, Georgia become a leading winter resort that attracted giants of industry and sitting United States. presidents. lieutenant has been said that few men in Augusta were more dearly loved or more highly esteemed than May.
Even in his late 70’s, he was elected to three 2-year terms as Coroner of Richmond County starting in 1898 until his death in 1903.
May died on February 7, 1903 in Augusta, Georgia at the age of 80 and was buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Augusta. May was a man of great intellect, having superb integrity and noble spirit. His years of service were marked as honest and productive.
He gave his all to the city and community he loved and served.
The park across from Magnolia Cemetery he now rest, bears his name.
He was a member of the Augusta City Council for several terms before being elected to the mayor"s office in 1861.