Crawford County, Iowa, IAGenWeb


Rufus L. Hill

Living retired after many years of active participation in business affairs, Rufus L. Hill, of Denison, is one of the truly successful men of Crawford county.

He is a native of Clearfield county, Pennsylvania, born March 31, 1841, a son of Thomas G. and Marilla (Bliss) Hill, both of whom were also born in the Keystone state. The mother was a cousin of the noted singer, P. P. Bliss, who was killed in a wreck in Ohio several years ago. The father, who was for many years a lumberman, came west in 1851 and located near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he engaged in farming. In 1878 he took up a homestead near Alma, Nebraska, continuing there until 1889, when he and his wife went to Holdrege, Nebraska, to live with the subject of this review.

In 1902 they came to Denison and continued here until their deaths in the spring of 1908. The father was then ninety-one and the mother eighty-eight years of age. They traveled life's journey together from 1839, a period of sixty-nine years, and presented a beautiful example of fidelity and harmony in their domestic relations. They were devout Methodists and died in the triumph of a living faith in God and immortality.

The paternal grandfather of our subject was Thomas Hill, a native of Vermont. He was a soldier of the war of 1812 and served with his regiment at Sacketts Harbor, New York. Later he engaged in farming near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and died there at an advanced age. His wife, Mrs. Permelia Hill, was a native of Massachusetts. In their family were: Charles C.; Thomas G.; Frederick, who died from the effect of wounds received in the Civil war; Horace, who was also a soldier in the Civil war and died in Andersonville prison; Eliphalet P., who was a passenger conductor on the Pennsylvania Railroad for more than forty years; and Alexander, who is now engaged in the dry-goods business at Homer City, Pennsylvania.

Jeremiah Bliss, the grandfather on the maternal side, was born in Massachusetts and was a farmer and carpenter. He married Mary Lucore, and they had eight children, Marilla L., James, Sylvia, Mary, Isaac, Jeremiah, Anna and John.

Twelve children were born to Thomas G. and Marilla Hill, five of whom are now living, namely: Rufus L., the subject of this review; James J., of Linn county, Iowa; Alexander F., of Arkansas; Mary, the wife of Hiram Harris, of Goodnight, Oklahoma; and Albina, now Mrs. G. S. McCorkle, of Alma, Nebraska.

Rufus L. Hill was reared in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and received his education in the public schools. In his early manhood he ran an engine in his father's lumber mill but after his marriage engaged in farming in Linn county for a short time and then entered the sewing machine business in Tama county, after which he became connected with the marble business at Holdrege, Nebraska, continuing there from 1879 to 1897. In the latter year he came to Denison and engaged in the same business with marked success, recently, however, having turned over the management to his sons, Walter L. and Albert R.

On the 1st of January, 1863, Mr. Hill was united in marriage to Miss Margaret E. Wayt, a native of Pennsylvania and a daughter of William C. and Elizabeth Wayt. The parents were also natives of Pennsylvania and were Quakers, or Friends. The mother died in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at the age of forty-three, and the father in Jefferson, Iowa, at the age of eighty-six years. Four of their children grew to maturity, John J., Margaret E., Wooster B. and Benjamin F.

Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Hill, namely: Carrie, who married J. T. Strome, of Grand Junction, Colorado, and has eleven children; Walter, of Omaha, Nebraska, who married Elizabeth Bull and is the father of seven children; Marilla, now of Blackfoot, Idaho, who married Grant Fraker and is the mother of seven children; Albert R., who married Birdie E. Ewall and is the father of three children; Cora, who died at the age of seven years; Frank C., now of Emporia, Kansas, who married Clara Holmes and has an adopted son; Earl; Paul, who died at the age of two and one-half years; Mary, who died at the age of six months; and Warren, who died at the age of eight months. The mother of these children passed away in 1888 at the age of forty-four years.

On the 17th of September, 1889, Mr. Hill was married. to Mrs. Eliza A. Wilson, the widow of Harrison J. Wilson, of Fairfield, Grundy county, Iowa, a daughter of James M. and Caroline M. (Davidson) Collier.

Mrs. Hill by her former marriage had six children: Ira J., now of Dickinson, North Dakota. who married Viola Chase and is the father of four children; George F., of Cedar Falls, Iowa, who married Effie Burgess and is the father of four children; Carrie H., of Waterloo, Iowa, who married Rev. E. N. Miller and is the mother of six children; Wellington M., who married Mattie Gibson, now deceased, by whom he had two children, and for his second wife wedded Mrs. S. E. Hanson; Ernest M. of Cedar Falls, Iowa, who married Mary Dority, and is the father of one child, a daughter; and Julia O., who married William P. Cox and is now living at Enid, Oklahoma.

The paternal grandfather of Mrs. Eliza A. HilI was James Collier, who married Margaret Driesdal and became the father of one son. The maternal grandfather was Ira Davidson. His wife was Luania Clark. Mrs. Hill has five great-grandchildren.

Mr. and Mrs. Hill reside in a beautiful home in Denison, which is the center of generous hospitality. He has made a study of social and political questions and as a result gives his support to the prohibition cause as representing the most important problem of the times. He is a man of patriotic and loyal nature which frequently finds avenues of expression, making him a prominent member of the community. At the time of the Civil war he enlisted in Company H. Twentieth Iowa Regiment, but was rejected on account of rheumatism. In business affairs he has always been controlled by principles of the highest honor, and he enjoys in the evening of a long and active life the confidence of all who know him

Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.