Kansas History and Heritage Project-Anderson County Biographies

Anderson County Biographies
"Portrait and Biographical Record of Southeastern Kansas"
Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, 1894

JAMES H. HILL. Those to whom has been granted the privilege of residing in Kansas for the past thirty years or more have witnessed an uninterrupted series of improvements. Where once rose the smoke of the camp fire now ascends the busy hum of industry from a thriving city. Where once the hunter roamed in search of game the farmer now tills the soil. Chaos has been reduced to system, and poverty has been replaced by prosperity. As one of the number whose efforts have contributed to secure these results, we present the name of James H. Hill, a resident farmer of Anderson County. Since coming to this county in 1860, he has been intimately associated with its material development and has been especially prominent in Westphalia Township, where his pleasant rural home is located on section 12.

It will not be amiss to state briefly the ancestral history of our subject. Frederick Hill was born in Brownswick, Germany, April 13, 1745, and took the place of an older brother who had been drafted to fight in the British army against the Colonies. Coming to America, the regiment camped in Canada, and the St. Lawrence River being frozen over, he and a companion, a Mr. Steckman, deserted the army, crossed on the ice and joined the defenders of the Colonies. He continued a faithful soldier to the cause of liberty until the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.

After the war Frederick Hill located in Bedford County, Pa. He married Elizabeth Defenbaugh, who was born in Lancaster County, Pa., February 5, 1757, and at the age of eleven years removed to Bedford County, Pa. She passed away September 28, 1854, aged ninety-seven years, seven months and twenty-three days. Frederick Hill died May 2, 1838, aged ninety-three years and nineteen days. They were the parents of seven sons and five daughters, their eldest child being Jacob, who was born in Bedford County, Pa., March 17, 1781, and died July 25, 1845. His wife, whose maiden name was Rosena Elizabeth Byer, was born February 23, 1798, and died November 24, 1859. Her parents were Frederick and Rosena Elizabeth (Lantz) Byer; the former was born in Frederick County, Md., February 11, 1758, and died in 1821, aged sixty-four years; the latter was born August 13, 1760, and died March 26, 1818.

Grandfather Hill had a family of five sons and six daughters, the second of the children being John Lantz, who was born in Bedford County, Pa., June 11, 1824. In 1846 he married Miss Susan Kellerman, who was born in Bedford County, Pa., December 30, 1827, being a daughter of John and Dorothy Kellerman, natives of Bucks County. Pa. In the fall of 1859 Mr. Hill moved from the Keystone State to Kansas, and in the following year settled on land he had purchased. There his death occurred September 17, 1879, when fifty-five years of age. His widow is still living and resides on the old homestead, which comprised five hundred acres at the time of his death. She is a member of the United Brethren Church, and her husband held membership in the same. They were most worthy and esteemed citizens, and enjoyed the respect and affection of all with whom they became acquainted. Eight children were born to them. Irvin died at the age of twenty-four years; Mary married James Magaghey and became the mother of four children, Ora, Susie, Maud and Fannie; Dora married David Kellerman and has three children, Asa, Troy and Pearl; James H., our subject, was next in order of birth; Amanda, widow of Samuel S. Wade, has two children, Ethel and Jennie; Sadie married Clarence Woodward; Augusta married John Griffin and has two children, Dell and Zeno; Nellie is the youngest member of the family. In politics the father of these children was a Republican.

James H. Hill, the original of this notice, first saw the light of day in Pennsylvania, his birth occurring October 31, 1854. As he was only about five years of age when his parents came to Kansas, he has but dim recollections of the Keystone State. Since first coming here he has resided on the old farm and is now the owner of six hundred and fifty-six acres. He follows stock-raising, deals in live stock, and being thorough-going and industrious is now in very comfortable circumstances. He was married in 1876 to Miss Margaret Weddle, a native of Missouri, and the daughter of William Weddle. Six children were born of this union: John, who died when four years of age; James Bruce, Ruth A., Mark D., Fred C. and William L. The principles of the Republican party fully commend themselves to the judgment of Mr. Hill as worthy of his sanction. In carrying on his extensive farming interests he does not lose sight of the stock-raising industry and on his farm has some thorough-bred Clyde horses. His fine farm is a standing monument to his industry and good management. He enjoys to an unusual degree the confidence of the community.

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