Smith P. HILL is a retired farmer living in Henry, Marshall county, is a
retired farmer living in Henry, Marshall county, to which place he removed
from his farm in Whitefield township in 1883. He was born in Geneseo,
Livingston county, New York, December 27, 1827. When but ten years of age he
came west with his parents, John and Leah (OGDEN) HILL, both of whom were
natives of western New York. The family located near Princeville, Peoria
county, Illinois, on land purchased by the husband and father of a man who
had served in the war of 1812, and had secured it by reason of such service,
it being a part of the military tract. On this farm John HILL lived until
his death in 1844, while in the prime of life.
On the death of her husband, Mrs. Leah HILL showed that she was the worthy wife of a pioneer, and that she had the will and ability to successfully carry on the farm and properly rear a large family of children. Our subject was now seventeen years old, and with the assistance of his older and younger brother the farm work was accomplished, and improvements made upon the place, increasing its value year by year. Of the seven children three are now living. Clark now lives upon the old homestead; Mrs. Emeline MANDEL in Russell, Kansas, and Smith P., in Henry. One daughter, Joanna, died at the age of nine years. James died in 1892, in Carbondale, Illinois, at the age of sixty-seven years. He resided for some years in Whitefield township, Marshall county, where he improved a farm, but removed from the township about 1865. One daughter, Mrs. Permelia WARE, died in Princeville, while the other, Mrs. GOODMAN, died in Champaign county, Illinois. The mother died on the old farm many years ago, greatly beloved by family and many friends.
Smith P. HILL grew to manhood in Peoria county, receiving such education as the schools of that early day afforded. He remained at home with his mother, assisting in the farm work until 1855, when he felt it his duty to go out from the old home and prepare a new one for himself and family. Six years prior to this time, he had married Miss Harriet WILLIAMS, a native of Peoria county, and daughter of Captain John WILLIAMS, the wedding ceremony taking place January 22, 1840. Their home was blessed with the birth of seven children. John H. died at the age of eleven years. Josephine died at the age of seventeen years. James A. is a merchant, residing in Paxton, Illinois. He married Ella MOCK, and their five children are Walter, Grace, Bonnie, Harry and Stella. Arobine H., wife of N. J. WEBBER, a commission merchant of Chicago. Their four children are Vade, Bert, Jessie and Ray. Joseph O. married Flora BROWN, and they reside on the old homestead, and have two children, Roy and Elsie. Elizabeth is the wife of Harvey DIVELBISS, and they reside at Brock, Nebraska. Ina, Leslie and Florence are their three children. William C. resides in Peoria, Illinois. He married Miss Adda STRINGER, by whom he has two children, Mabel and Jennie.
After careful investigation, Mr. HILL determined to locate at Sugar Grove, Whitefield township, Marshall county, where he purchased a tract of unimproved land. On this he erected a small house, in which the family moved and where they continued to reside while living on that farm. After residing there a few years, and making the wild land a finely improved farm, he sold out and purchased a tract of one hundred and sixty acres farther west on section 8, where his son now lives. That was his home until he removed to Henry.
Mr. HILL was a very successful farmer and while residing upon the farm attended strictly to business. On coming to Marshall county he had about six hundred dollars. Land had to be purchased, a house erected and farm stocked. It can well be seen that six hundred dollars would not go very far, but he made the best use of what he had. Of course it was necessary for him to go somewhat in debt, but in doing so he was very cautious, purchasing only such things as were absolutely necessary, and with the determination to pay every dollar of the debt at the earliest moment possible. While success has crowned his efforts he has the satisfaction of knowing that every dollar accumulated was the result of honest toil. Of the old farm he has deeded his son eighty acres and yet retains the rest.
Mrs. Harriet HILL departed this life in 1871, at the age of forty-two years, while living upon the farm in the western part of Whitefield township, and her body was laid to rest in the cemetery at Sugar Grove. She was a woman of excellent disposition, a loving wife and mother, with many friends in Marshall and Peoria counties. She was an active worker and devout member of the Methodist Episcopal church.
The second marriage of Mr. HILL occurred February 1, 1872, when he wedded Mrs. Sarah (HETH) ADAMS, of Corydon, Harrison county, Indiana. She was a widow and was visiting in the family of Dr. REEDER, who was then living in Whitefield township, but later removed to York, Nebraska, where he has since died. By her first marriage Mrs. HILL has three children living – Benjamin ADAMS, now of Clear Lake, Iowa; Frank, of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Addie, wife of G. W. SELF, an attorney of Corydon, Iowa.
Mrs. Sarah HILL's paternal grandfather, Richard HETH, was the first county clerk in Harrison county, Indiana. This was in 1819, not long after the state was admitted into the union. After Richard’s death Henry W. HETH, the father of Mrs. Smith P. HILL, served as county clerk of that same county for thirty-three consecutive years. H. W. died at the age of fifty-nine years. It is very questionable if Mr. Henry HETH’s official record has ever had a parallel in the state of Indiana, either in length of time or efficiency of service. Politically Mr. HILL is a prohibitionist, and firmly believes in the principles of that party. He believes that if all Christian voters would come together as one man the saloon power would soon be blotted out. On account of ill health for the past twenty years, he has been unable to take the active part in political affairs he has desired, but has the satisfaction of voting as he prays and praying as he votes. Fraternally he has been a Master Mason for over thirty years, having membership with the lodge at Whitefield Corners. Formerly he took quite an active part in lodge work, but of late years has not been able so to do. Religiously he has been identified with the Methodist Episcopal church for many years, and has in the local church held the position of class leader, trustee and steward. Mrs. HILL is also a member of that church, and takes an active interest in all its work for the salvation of mankind. They were both among the first members of the church at Whitefield Center.
Extracted May 2011 by Norma Hass from The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois, 1896.