Research regarding this Hill-Stinton Damage Suit stretches over a 2-year period. The newspapers didn't miss too much in reporting this.



Yester Year Stories, Backed with Today's Research

H*I*L*L and S*T*I*N*T*O*N


LeMars Daily Sentinel: Tuesday, August 19, 1924


Denying the allegations of his wife in her $25,000 damage suit
for alienation of affections, Rev. John E. Hill, Merrill minister, declares
that he will do everything in his power to help Mrs. Stinton, the pretty
widow whom his wife accuses, to fight the case.

Rev. Mr. Hill, who is in Sioux City during the serious illness
of Mrs. Stinton's father, told his side of the story to a Sioux City Journal
reporter Friday morning. He declared that his wife's suit for damages is an
effort to discredit the testimony which Mrs. Stinton intends to give in the
trial of his suit for divorce.

Mrs. Hill began suit against Mrs. Stinton for $25,000 damages
Thursday, claiming that Mrs. Stinton had stolen her husband's affections.
Rev. Mr. Hill, who was pastor of the Methodist Episcopal church at Merrill
until recently when he resigned, at present is suing Mrs. Hill for a
divorce. He charges cruel and inhuman treatment.

Widow Denies Charges

Mrs. Stinton, the defendant in the alienation suit, is a widow
of about 30 years of age. Her husband died recently, but during his
lifetime both Mr. and Mrs. Stinton were members of the church where Rev. Mr.
Hill preached.

Mrs. Stinton stated that she could not imagine how Mrs. Hill
could bring such charges against her. She added that she has never been
alone with Mr. Hill at any time and that until Mr. and Mrs. Hill separated,
she never was in the company of Mr. Hill when his wife was not present.

Mrs. Stinton said she has known the Hills for about four years,
although it has only been about a year and a half that she has been in
intimate terms with them. She stated that there had always been trouble
between the Hills as long as she had known them.

"Mrs. Hill has no grounds for bringing such charges against me
and I will fight the case to the limit," she stated.

Rev. Mr. Hill came to Sioux City July 26 to place his mother in
the Methodist hospital here. She died August 10.

Always Had Trouble

Mrs. Stinton brought her father to the hospital July 29 and now
is in Sioux City attending him. He is in a very critical condition.

Following the death of his mother, Rev. Mr. Hill remained to be
near Mr. Hammond, father of Mrs. Stinton, in the last hours.

In speaking of his wife, Rev. Mr. Hill stated that during the 20
years of their married life there had always been trouble between them. He
charged Mrs. Hill with having an uncontrollable temper, and with constantly
nagging him. He said his wife continually was referring to a neighbor as
being the kind of man she would pick out for her second husband.

Mr. Hill states that he is making his home with his father, in
Aurelia, Iowa. He stated that to the best of his ability he contributes
toward the support of his two daughters. The elder girl is 19 and the
younger is 14 years old.

Mrs. Stinton has lived in Merrill for quite a few years, said
the minister. "She always has been highly respected in the community where
she lived and I shall do all in my power to help her fight this case," he

LeMars Daily Sentinel: Nov. 25, 1924

Mrs. Anna Hill Seeks Monetary Recompense for Alleged Loss of Love
Hint of Salacious Testimony Is Drawing Card

The standing room only sign was in evidence at the court house
yesterday when the damage suit instituted by Anna Hill, of Merrill, against
Lillian Stinton, of the same place, was called for trial. All available
seats were grabbed off at an early hour and the walls of the court room were
lined by rows of spectators who stood up during the progress of the
proceedings yesterday.

Mrs. Anna Hill claims $30,000 from Lillian Stinton, declaring
Mrs. Stinton stole the love and affection of her husband, John Hill, who was
until recently, pastor of the Methodist church in Merrill.

Many Witnesses Attend

Over fifty witnesses have been subpoenaed in the case and nearly
all of them were present on the opening day. The process of securing a jury
occupied the forenoon session. The following are the jurors empanelled to
try the case: Walter Bogen, Le Mars; Jesse Kallsen, Le Mars; Mrs. Chas.
Jans, Westfield; W.G. Ericksen, Henry; John Fiedler, Fredonia; Emmett Tracy,
Sioux; Fremont Muecke, Lincoln; C. Ludwig, Remsen; George Hanke, Elgin;
Dewey Bender, Hungerford; Wm. Gruber, Perry; N.J. Holster, Le Mars. The
witnesses in the case are mostly residents of Merrill, with a few from
Aurelia, where the Hills once lived, and from Sioux City.

Opening Statements

Attorneys in the case for Mrs. Anna Hill are T.M. Zink and A.
Molyneaux, of Cherokee, and for Mrs. Stinton, Roseberry & Roseberry.
Attorney Molyneaux made the opening statement for the plaintiff and said the
plaintiff expected to produce evidence that the defendant by feminine arts
and wiles had broken up the family of John Hill and his wife, and that they
were here to seek monetary damages, which was the only recourse the
plaintiff had left. He pictures the defendant as a designing woman who had
rendered a home __________. (Last word unreadable)

Attorney F. M. Roseberry made the opening statement for the
defendant. He stated among other things that the defense would prove that
Rev. Hill and Anna Hill had been estranged for years and their married life
was full of bickerings and quarrels. He also stated that on the night last
summer when Hill and his wife came to the parting of the ways Mrs. Hill
called Mrs. Stinton over to the Hill home and stated they were about to
separate and Mrs. Stinton advised them not to act hastily. The examination
of witnesses was begun late yesterday afternoon.

LeMars Daily Sentinel: Friday, Nov. 28, 1924

Spectators Crowd Court Room During Trial of Heart Balm Suit
Sleuth Tells of Shadowing Man and Woman

The first witness to be called to testify on the opening day of
the $25,000 alienation of affection suit brought in court here by Mrs. Anna
Hill, wife of Rev. J.E. Hill, former Methodist pastor at Merrill, against
Mrs. Lillian Stinton, former member of the pastor's flock, was the

In a voice sometimes choked with emotion, sometimes so low that
the jury scarcely could hear and at other times filled with biting sarcasm,
Mrs. Hill related intimate details of her married life.

A crowded court room listened to the testimony, leaned forward
with baited breath when the testimony smacked of scandal, and chuckled with
glee when it took a turn to comedy or when the attorneys matched wits across
the counsel table. With Mrs. Hill in the court room sat her two daughters,
one 16 and the other 19 years of age. Across from them was Mrs. Stinton,
defendant in the case, clothed in black, mourning for her father who died in
Sioux City recently.

Testified to Kisses

Mrs. Hill told of seeing Mrs. Stinton and Hill in Sioux City.
She told of trailing them in an automobile down Pierce street, of seeing the
preacher and Mrs. Stinton kiss before getting into her car, of seeing them
with their arms around each other and seeing them kiss three times, as they
rode down Pierce street.

Then, according to Mrs. Hill's testimony, they drove into a side
street, and parked their car. Mrs. Hill states that she, and the party with
which she was riding, consisting of her brother, her sister-in-law and her
mother, drove around the block and, coming back, saw the two reclining in
each other's arms.

Mrs. Hill states they drove around the block a second time, and
then, unable to restrain herself longer at seeing her husband holding
another woman in his arms, she yelled at them. Mrs. Hill testified they
only looked at her with "a sickly grin on their faces."

The trouble all started, Mrs. Hill stated, on a day last June
when her husband fixed Mrs. Stinton's automobile while he had on his good
suit of clothes. Up until that time everything had been going along quite
nicely with an occasional family spat, but no more than other families have,
she said.

Their biggest trouble was over the children, she asserted.
Especially when Hill would correct them for something and at the same time
place most of the blame on her for their actions. Eighty-four letters were
produced in court claimed to be written by Hill to his wife and said to be
bubbling over with love for her. Most of these letters were written by Hill
when he was over in France with a religious organization during the war.

Mrs. Hill stated that Mrs. Stinton would come over evenings and
play checkers with Hill. And that Hill one time said he felt sorry for Mrs.
Stinton because she had no boys.

Finally Mrs. Stinton and Hill became on such intimate terms that
she could stand it no longer, Mrs. Hill testified. A quarrel resulted in
which her husband told her to go home to her father and tell him that Hill
was through with her, she stated. Mrs. Hill said she went home, but came
back the next night. She saw her husband down town, but he kept dodging
her, she says. She claims she wrote him some letters in an effort to bring
him back, but he has not lived with her since then.

Called Him a "Nut"

Asked on cross examination if she wasn't her husband's boss,
Mrs. Hill replied that most women were. She admitted calling her husband a
"darn fool" and a "nut," but denied using any stronger language toward him.

In the opening statement the defense counsel declared he would
show that Mrs. Stinton visited the house only upon invitation of Mrs. Hill.
He declared he would prove that the woman Mrs. Hill saw in the auto with the
preacher was not Mrs. Stinton, and told the jury that it would have to find
that Mrs. Stinton deliberately planned and schemed to win Mr. Hill's
affection. "Shed no tears on the preacher," the counsel stated, and added,
that even if he was foolish enough to fall in love with Mrs. Stinton it did
not necessarily mean that Mrs. Stinton was to blame.

The attorney also said that he would show that when the Hills
were about to separate Mrs. Hill called Mrs. Stinton into the house and told
her that before their marriage Hill had married a 16-year-old girl in
Aurelia, Iowa, but that the marriage had been annulled.

Court Room Jammed

At the second day of the trial the crowd was even larger than at
the opening session. With every available seat taken and the walls and back
aisles lined with spectators, witnesses court to assist the bailiff in
clearing through the crowd to get to the stand to testify. At one time
during the afternoon the jam at the doorway became so great that Judge
Bradley ordered the bailiff, Jake Spies, to get the people away from the
doorway and close the doors. Deputy Sheriff Sam Lang was called upon by the
court to assist the bailiff in clearing passages. Constable Sam Schessler
was easily the star witness of the day for the prosecution, and a rigid
cross examination by C.D. Roseberry afforded a number in the courtroom
evident delight. Schessler, according to his statements spent several days
and evenings in Sioux City last August on the trail of the defendant in the
case. He told on the witness stand of trailing a woman he believed to be
Mrs. Stinton, and Rev. Mr. Hill and seeing them hugging and kissing while
sitting in a parked automobile, of having followed them into a restaurant,
where the two dined together, and of seeing them sitting on the porch of a
room house at 11 o'clock at night.

Shadowed Pair

Schessler, who insisted he was not a detective, but merely an
investigator, told of being employed by T.M. Zink, Mrs. Hill's attorney, to
go to Sioux City and shadow the preacher and Mrs. Stinton during the time
the couple were there, Hill with a dying mother and Mrs. Stinton with a
dying father in the Methodist hospital.

Schessler testified he had never seen Mrs. Stinton until he
started on his investigation. He stated there could be no mistake, however,
that the woman he saw with Hill was the same woman who was sitting in the
courtroom in front of him, except that Mrs. Stinton has lost considerable
weight since he last saw her.

When questioned about the clothing Mrs. Stinton wore on these
occasions his memory was rather vague, except that on one occasion he
remembered Mrs. Stinton wearing a skirt trimmed in white and stockings with
white stripes. He declared, however, he had a splendid memory for faces and
that there was no doubt Mrs. Stinton was the woman he saw.

He told of following the couple in their auto and of watching
them from behind trees, but denied that he ever wore false whiskers or
otherwise disguised himself.

Tells of Kisses

Once the couple was seated in a parked automobile and Schessler
could see them hugging and kissing each other, he said. On another occasion
they sat on the porch of a rooming house and another time he saw them eating
together in a restaurant, he declared.

Mrs. Hill's brother and Mrs. Florence Zwick, mother of the
plaintiff, and Mrs. Alice Zwick, sister-in-law of Mrs. Hill, corroborated
the testimony of Mrs. Hill, that the four had followed the preacher and
another woman in an automobile and had come upon them when they were parked
in a side street, hugging and kissing each other. Of the four, only Mrs.
Hill and her mother stated positively that it was Mrs. Stinton that they had

Several other witnesses were called during the day, who
testified to the harmonious life they alleged Mr. and Mrs. Hill lived during
past years, before Mrs. Stinton came into their lives.

At the trial Wednesday morning a large portion of the time was
occupied in the reading of a number of letters written by Rev. John Hill to
his wife while Mr. Hill was in France working during the war with a
religious organization.

Court adjourned early Wednesday afternoon for the Thanksgiving
holiday in order to give those in attendance at court an opportunity to get
to their homes early.

The trial of the case will be resumed at nine o'clock Friday

Le Mars Daily Sentinel, Tuesday, December 2, 1924

Rev. J. Hill Subject to Long Grilling on the Witness Stand
Hill-Stinton Case Attracting Large Crowd Daily

Reviewing their family life before Mrs. Lillian Stinton entered
it, Bertha Hill, 19 year old, the elder of the two daughters of Rev. and
Mrs. J.E. Hill, was the principal witness called Wednesday in the suit of
Mrs. Hill against Mrs. Stinton for $25,000 damages.

Asked how much work her mother was in the habit of doing around
the house, she replied that Mrs. Hill usually began the day by building the
fire while her father lay in bed. Her mother did most of the washing,
ironing and other housework, she said.

When questioned as to whether her parents got along well, she
replied, "We were happy, we four." She stated her parents seldom disagreed,
but that they sometimes scolded the children about them going out with boys.
"No one ever had a better father or mother than I," was another statement
she made in describing her parents.

On cross examination, however, the girl admitted that her
parents did have some slight disagreements while living together. She held
her ground under the fire of the defense attorney, though, insisting that
whatever quarrels there had been were of little consequence and easily
patched up.

On the resumption of court Friday morning following the
Thanksgiving recess the court room was again crowded to capacity, when
Bertha Hill continued her testimony.

Parents Not to Blame

A letter written by the girl to her father when a suit for
divorce was filed by her mother, was introduced by the defense and the
witness was asked what she meant when she said in the letter that she would
go with her father if the divorce was granted, and that she considered her
father innocent.

The girl, 19 years old, retorted that when she wrote the letter
she did not consider either her father or mother to blame in their
difficulties, but Mrs. Stinton.

The last witness for the prosecution, Dale Tooker, who lives at
Merrill and attends college at Ames, took the stand after Miss Hill. He
declared that he had visited Miss Hill in her home at Merrilll and that so
far as he could observe only the best of family relations were apparent on
his visits there.

The first witness for the defense then was put on the stand.
She was Miss Grace Cory, a nurse in the hospital in Sioux City where Rev.
Hill's mother and Mrs. Stinton's father were at the time that Mrs. Stinton
and the pastor were said to be unduly intimate. Miss Cory said that so far
as she was aware there was nothing wrong in the relations of the woman and
man when they were at the hospital. She said that when Rev. Mr. Hill's
mother died and he took her to Aurelia, Iowa, for burial there, Mrs. Stinton
went with him despite the fact that her own father was critically ill in the
Sioux City hospital.

Another witness called by the defense during the day was Dr.
William Cody, Sioux City physician, who attended the father of Mrs. Stinton
during an illness prior to his death. The doctor declared that Matt
Hammond, the defendant's father, was not considered critically ill at that

Miss. G.E. Corliss of Creston, Iowa, was summoned and told the
court of a quarrel at the family home between the pastor and his wife on the
night of May 30, 1924, at which time she was a guest of the household. She
also declared that during her visit at the Hill residence, that the
plaintiff, Mrs. Hill, had introduced her (Miss Corliss) to Mrs. Stinton, the
defendant in the present action, with the comment that "Mrs. Stinton was
Mrs. Hill's best friend."

Rev. J.E. Hill took the witness stand Friday afternoon. A tale
of wrangling disagreement and unhappiness was secured from the witness by
attorneys for the defense. During the barrage of questions and answers the
minister elaborated, with much detail, upon the incompatibility between
himself and his spouse. He declared that her extravagance had been the
driving force that had made him seek solace in companionship of others and
that he had been driven to distraction because of the fact that he and his
wife could not get along and because she insisted almost every day that he
was either a "plain fool" or something similar to one.

Letters containing many terms of affection, written in France by
Rev. Mr. Hill to his wife, were read during the hearing of the case. Other
witnesses called testified that on May 30, 1924, Mrs. Hill had considered
Mrs. Stinton as her dearest friend, and had so commented on introducing Mrs.

Married to "Spite"

Upon questioning by the defense attorneys, the unhappy spouse
told his life history including affairs of the heart prior to his marriage
to Mrs. Hill more than 20 years ago. "She (Mrs. Hill) married me to spite
Alice James," declared the Rev. Mr. Hill during the testimony. The Alice
James who was supposed to have been offended by the marriage was a
16-year-old girl with whom the pastor had eloped. The marriage had been
annulled by action of her parents shortly before Hill and his present wife
were married.

The witness stated during his testimony that he "never could
acquire enough money to satisfy the desires of my wife, and I worked at
other things besides serving as a minister, to support my family.

"We have quarreled ever since we were married," declared Rev.
Mr. Hill.

The witness revealed the fact that he and his wife lived at
Curlew, Iowa, for a time just after their marriage. He told of doing manual
labor, such as working on farms and day labor, to provide additional income
to the small amount he received as minister of a Methodist church.

Studied at Morningside

Then the witness said he went to Morningside college at Sioux
City to acquire more education. Meanwhile he worked at odd jobs to defray
expenses. These included washing windows, beating rugs and other forms of
manual labor. During the time Mrs. Hill resided at Cherokee with her

After discontinuing his academic work at Morningside college the
minister and his wife removed to the vicinity of Aurelia, Iowa, and took up
their residence on a farm owned by Mr. Hill's father. However, according to
his testimony, the plaintiff was unable to maintain a friendly feeling for
the members of the Hill family, designated by the witness as "grandma" and
so they moved from that farm to one owned by Mrs. Hill's father. Farming
was not such a great success here either, the evidence disclosed, and so
after a few months they returned again to his father's farm and again
endured the "grandma" person. At odd times, between farming activities, the
witness stated that he worked in a lumber yard in Aurelia.

Swatevate, (?) Iowa, was the next residence of the couple and in
discussing his experiences in this village the witness said, "I couldn't get
enough money for her." The "her" referred to was Mrs. Hill according to the

The family then moved to Dolliver, Iowa, and the troubles did
not seem less. On direct question, Rev. Mr. Hill affirmed that his wife
during the course of one family quarrel at Dolliver called him a "damn fool"
and other names.

The family then moved to Salix, where quarrels continued.
Examples of the outbursts of disagreement between the couple were cited
while the witness discussed the family life at Salix.

"One day I wanted to repair a tire and my wife became furious
because I refused to purchase a new tire, instead of fixing the old one,"
the witness continued.

"Did she call you names?" queried the questioning attorney.

"Yes, nearly every day she called me a fool," was the response.

"Why did she call you a fool," continued the attorney.

"I don't know," the pastor answered.

"What effect did it have on you to have these arguments and
quarrels," demanded the counsel.

"I wanted to get away; that is what led me to go to France in
1918," the witness asserted.

A slight variety was injected into the testimony at this point
by defense counsel, who produced a number of letters, which the minister
admitted had been written by him to his wife while he was in France. These
were read, much to the delight of the interested court spectators, and
emphasis was placed on the show of endearment and affection which the
letters indicated on his part for his wife back home.

"Why did you write these endearing letters," the attorney asked
after having read off some of the court exhibits.

"Because I hoped things would be much more compatible and happy
in my home life on my return. I hoped that my wife would change and that we
could be happy together," was the reply.

Wanted Home for Children

Continuing further with questions and answers, the testimony
proceeded as follows:

Question-Then were these endearing terms expressive of your real
feelings toward your wife?

Answer-No, but I wanted to attempt to continue a home for the
sake of the children. If it had not been for the children I never would
have returned.

Query-Then you did not really have much affection for your wife,
while you were abroad?

Answer-No, I did not have much affection for her, but I wanted
the home preserved for the children. The children are what brought me back.

Then the witness and questioner continued to weave a story of an
extravagant wife by mention of bills now past due for clothing that the wife
insisted on purchasing.

Rev. Mr. Hill continued giving testimony on Saturday. The
former pastor denied in his testimony that he had ever eaten lunch with Mrs.
Stinton, but said that he had lunched once in awhile with Mrs. Grace Stinton
and other relatives of the defendant.

The pastor also declared on question as to where he obtained
money to take women out to lunch, that he furnished the funds himself and
that Mrs. Stinton never had provided him with cash. He did admit, however,
that the defendant had gone with him to Aurelia at the time his mother died.
He said this was on invitation of his father, Alva Hill.

Judge Bradley adjourned court at noon Saturday to enable the
jurymen and witnesses in the case to get to their homes for Sunday.

Last Spark Gone

Rev. J.F. Hill occupied the witness stand yesterday and in the
afternoon was subjected to a rigid cross examination by Attorney Molyneux.
At the forenoon session the letters written by Hill, from France, while he
was doing Y.M.C.A. work in France, to his wife were again brought out. Hill
admitted on cross examination that he did not feel all the love and
affection that their tenor breathed, at the time he wrote them.

At the afternoon session the examining attorney questioned Hill
closely as to the extravagance of which Hill alleged his wife was guilty.
The witness denied that he and his wife had ever quarreled over Mrs.
Stinton, but admitted that Mrs. Hill said at one time that he was making a
fool of himself over the woman. He said the last spark of his affection for
his wife had been snuffed out. He denied having attempted to get his wife
put out of Merrill, when asked if that was not a fact. He told how his wife
had run him in debt at stores in Sioux City and Merrill, and when asked if
the goods purchased for the household were not shared by him, said he did
not get his share.

Judge Bradley yesterday excused all the jurors not occupied on
the Hill-Stinton case. The trial will probably not be concluded before

Le Mars Daily Sentinel: Friday, December 5, 1924

Evidence in Hill-Stinton Trial Completed and Attorneys Present Arguments
Case Will Probably Go To Jury This Morning

Testimony in the Hill-Stinton damage suit, on trial in the
district court the past nine days, was brought to a conclusion Wednesday
afternoon and arguments by attorneys in the case were begun.

At the session of court Tuesday morning Rev. J.F. Hill continued
his testimony. He denied that he ever had embraced or kissed Mrs. Stinton
and declared that he had never patted her on the knee. He told the jury
that he had never been alone with Mrs. Stinton. Asked if he loved the
defendant, he replied that he did not but that he highly esteemed her.

Letters which the minister wrote to his wife while he was in
France doing Y.M.C.A. work during the war were again introduced. The
letters contain many terms of endearment and copious extracts were quoted by
the attorneys for the prosecution such as "you sure have been a good wife to
me," "I love you better than life and my dear girls, how I would like to hug
them." "I can hardly wait for the time to rejoin you and hug you and the
girls," "My love to you and the girls-I mean our girls," "I am homesick to
see you," "hope we are never separated again," "You do not know what it has
cost me in anxiety for you and the girls."

In cross examination the minister declared the sentiments
expressed in the letters were not lies but merely exaggerations.

Mrs. Coville, who resides at Aurelia, was summoned by the
defense and took the stand as the next witness in the case upon the
completion of testimony given by her pastor brother. The witness testified
she, and not Mrs. Stinton, as is claimed by the plaintiff, was the woman who
was receiving the affectionate caresses from Rev. Mr. Hill, as the brother
and sister sat in parked automobile, which was discovered by the plaintiff
and her relatives.

Pastor Consoler Her

The witness, who was called immediately after her brother had
completed testifying for the defense, stated that her brother was consoling
her because she was feeling depressed as a result of the fatal illness of
their mother.

The contention of the prosecution in the case is that on one
occasion, Rev. Mr. Hill was caressing Mrs. Stinton in an affectionate manner
as the two sat in an automobile and that Mrs. Hill and some of her relatives
discovered the couple as they drove alongside the parked car in another

Alvah Hill, the father of the Mrs. Coville (sic Corelle) and
Rev. Mr. Hill, was the next witness summoned. He was sworn and took the
stand after which attorneys attempted to question him, but made little
headway because the witness had difficulty in hearing the questions.

Mrs. Stinton Testifies

Mrs. Stinton stated that she did not know the Hill family,
except as casual speaking acquaintances until she came to Merrill, after the
death of her husband, to reside with her parents.

She admitted on question that she had used the garage, which was
owned by the Hill family, as a place to store her automobile, but stated
that the reason that this was done was because it was the closest and most
convenient for her. She pointed out that the garage was about two and a
half blocks from her residence, while the nearest available storage place
was some four blocks away. She testified that on many occasions Mrs. Hill
had become provoked at the Rev. Mr. Hill because he had soiled his clothing
while making some incidental repairs and adjustments on the automobile.

After the death of her mother, Mrs. Stinton stated she became an
intimate friend of the plaintiff.

Then a series of questions and answers between attorney and

Question-What was the state of your feelings toward Rev. Mr.

Answer-Well, he was a good speaker. He was our pastor and he
was good to my father.

Question-Did you feel any love for Rev. Mr. Hill?

Answer-I did not.

The witness declared that she had never walked alone with the
pastor except on one occasion. This occasion she stated, was on one
afternoon when Mr. Hill had asked her if she (Mrs. Stinton) would accompany
him to a meeting of the Ladies' Aid society, because Mrs. Hill planned to go
to the meeting place earlier than the time the meeting was to start.

Mrs. Stinton testified that Rev. Mr. Hill had never patted her

Did Not Love Pastor

The defendant testified that on June 8, 1924, Mrs. Hill
telephoned her and asked her to come to the Hill residence, because she had
something important to tell her.

She stated that Mrs. Hill told her when she arrived at the
house, that they (meaning Rev. and Mrs. Hill) had had trouble and decided to
split up, and that Rev. Hill wanted her (Mrs. Hill) to take the furniture.
Mrs. Hill then asked Mrs. Stinton if she knew that Rev. Hill had been
married previously. Then the witness continued a narration of the details
of the conference and stated that Rev. Mr. Hill, who also was present at the
conference, as was a daughter, Ruby, declared his wife had been using the
fact (meaning the previous marriage) of the pastor as a club over him. Mrs.
Stinton declared that Rev. Mr. Hill and Ruby Hill as well as herself and the
plaintiff, were in the room together during the entire discussion of the
family troubles.

Did Not Blame Mrs. Stinton

When asked as to what she said when informed by Mrs. Hill that
the couple was planning to separate, the witness stated that she warned them
that they should not be too hasty as it was a terrible thing to have a
family broken up in that manner. After she had returned to her own home,
following the conference with the Hill family, Mrs. Stinton declared that
the pastor called her on the telephone and asked that she (Mrs. Stinton)
keep the information she had just acquired to herself.

When queried as to what the witness did upon learning that Mrs.
Hill had named her as a co-respondent in a divorce action, Mrs. Stinton
stated that she met Mrs. Hill on the street shortly after the petition was
filed and asked her if it were true that Mrs. Hill had named her (Mrs.
Stinton) in the action.

"Mrs. Hill declared that she did not blame me for the trouble,"
the witness declared and that on her request Mrs. Hill agreed to have a news
item published in the paper clearing Mrs. Stinton of any connection in the
case. The witness added that Mrs. Hill had never done this, however.

Did Not Hug Pastor

Question-Did you ever accompany Rev. Mr. Hill to or from the
hospital in his car?

Answer-I did not.

Question-Did you take a ride with the pastor on a Saturday

Answer-No sir.

Q-Did Rev. Mr. Hill ever hug you?

A-He did not.

Q-Did he ever make love to you?

A-No sir, he did not.

Q-Have you ever said anything to induce Rev. Mr. Hill to leave
his wife?

A-I never did.

The witness admitted on question that she had taken two or three
meals in company with the pastor in a restaurant during the time of her
father's illness.

Question-Did you ever vigorously hug or kiss Rev. Mr. Hill?

Answer-I did not.

Q-Did you ever sit with him in an automobile parked in a dark
and secluded spot?

A-I did not.

Testimony of a contradictory nature was offered in court
Wednesday as witness after witness took the stand.

On the request of Mrs. Lillian Stinton herself, who was
undergoing cross examination, court was adjourned at 10 o'clock in order to
permit the defendant to get and produce a certain letter in court. When
court reconvened, however, the letter was not produced.

Mr. and Mrs. Earl Zwick, of Cherokee, when placed on the stand
declared that Mrs. Coville, (sic Corelle) of Aurelia, who is Rev. Hill's
sister, was not in Sioux City at the time that it was said she was and when
she was said by other witnesses to have taken the consolation ride with the
pastor. They were not prepared, however, to say who the woman was that was
seen riding with the minister. Four other witnesses, also from Cherokee,
declared that Mrs. Coville (sic Corelle) was in Sioux City and that they had
taken her there. Another Mrs. Zwick, mother of Mrs. Coville, (sic Corelle)
then testified that it was Mrs. Stinton who was riding with Rev. Mr. Hill on
the day he was seen to hug and kiss some woman.

Rev. Mr. Hill took the stand again during the morning session
and declared that Mrs. Clara Smith, of Merrill, once stated that she was
glad that the minister's daughter, Bertha, was attending Morningside college
in Sioux City as she was thus required to be away from the baleful influence
of her home life. It had been testified previously that Mrs. Smith said "no
such thing."

Closing Arguments

At the conclusion of hearing testimony Wednesday afternoon,
arguments by council followed. Attorney Molyneux for the prosecution made
the first argument to the jury and concluded his plea at the time of
adjourning court a few minutes after five o'clock. F.M. Roseberry spoke for
three hours on Thursday morning for the defense and Attorney C.D. Roseberry
commenced his argument at the afternoon session of the court. T.M. Zink
makes the closing argument for the prosecution. The judge will deliver his
instructions to the jury today when the case will be given to the jury.

Le Mars Daily Sentinel: Tuesday, December 9, 1924

Jury Returns Verdict for Mrs. Lillian Stinton in Sensational Case
Judge Bradley Winds Up Business for the Term

After three hours deliberation, Friday, the jury in the case of
Mrs. Hill, wife of J.E. Hill, former pastor at Merrill, against Mrs. Lillian
Stinton, returned a verdict in favor of Mrs. Stinton. It is stated
unofficially that the jury took only two ballots in arriving at a decision.
The case was given to the jury about a quarter to twelve Friday morning,
after Attorney T.M. Zink had made the closing argument and Judge Bradley had
given his instructions. The jurors reported a few minutes before three
o'clock with their verdict.

Mrs. Hill sued Mrs. Stinton for $25,000 damages for alienating
the affections of her husband, Rev. J.E. Hill. The case occupied ten days
in trial and attracted large crowds to the court room daily during its

Residents of Merrill, where the parties in the suit live, and
many of whom were witnesses, formed a good share of the crowds which
gathered daily. By the action of the jury Mrs. Hill must pay the costs,
which promise to be large, as about fifty witnesses were summoned in the

Rev. Mr. Hill took the stand several times as a witness for Mrs.
Stinton, and aided materially in tearing down Mrs. Hill's case. The Hills'
two daughters testified for their mother. The gist of the pastor's
testimony was that the home life of his family had been very unsatisfactory
and that he and his wife had quarreled frequently.

The prosecution attempted to prove that Mrs. Stinton
deliberately set out to win Mrs. Hill's husband from her, and testimony was
given to the effect that the pastor and the defendant were seen to hug and
kiss each other while riding in an automobile on the streets of Sioux City.

Term is Ended

Following the conclusion of the Hill-Stinton case, Judge Bradley
took up a number of other matters and then adjourned court until January 3.

Le Mars Daily Sentinel: Friday, December 12, 1924


Mrs. Anna Hill filed suit in the district court Wednesday
against J.E. Hill, asking that he be compelled to assist in the maintenance
of herself and two daughters. In her petition she states that she and Hill
were married August 24, 1903, and that on June 8, of this year, he abandoned
her and her two daughters, Bertha, aged 19, and Ruby, aged 16, and has
refused to provide for or support them. She further states that she has no
means of providing for herself and asks that the defendant be ordered to
support her, and pay the costs of the action and that the court give her and
the children equitable relief.

The parties in the case just filed figured in the sensational
Hill-Stinton alienation suit tried in court last week.

Le Mars Daily Sentinel, January 6, 1925


Judge C.C. Bradley presided at a session of court here Saturday
when the November term of the district court was finally adjourned. The
next term of court for Plymouth county will be convened Monday, January 26,
when Judge Wm. Hutchinson, of Alton, will preside.

In court Saturday a motion was argued for a new trial in the
case of Anna Hill against Lillian Stinton. After hearing the arguments
Judge Bradley overruled the motion for a new trial.

This is the sensational case from Merrill tried a few weeks ago,
when Anna Hill lost her suit in which she claimed $25,000 damages from Mrs.
Stinton for alienating the affections of her husband, J.E. Hill, a former
pastor at Merrill.

Le Mars Daily Sentinel: January 30, 1925

In the case of Anna Hill vs John E. Hill, a suit for
maintenance, and a cross petition for divorce, the court overruled a motion
for more specific statement of facts.

Le Mars Daily Sentinel: Tuesday, April 7, 1925

Much Talked of Case Will Be Appealed to Supreme Court

Mrs. John E. Hill, who was suing her husband, John E. Hill, for
separate maintenance, lost her case which was tried in the district court
before Justice Hutchinson last week. The case came to a conclusion Friday.
Judge Hutchinson decided in favor of Rev. John E. Hill and allowed him
petition for divorce and also taxed all the costs to the plaintiff.

Judge Hutchinson delivered a talk in which he scored Mrs. Hill
for a woman who had lost no opportunity to make life miserable for her
husband. The minister held a handkerchief to his eyes throughout the talk,
but Mrs. Hill remained dry eyed, listening to the judge upbraid her for her
abuse of her husband and the manner in which she had hounded him.

The trial was the second one in the case, the first being an
alienation suit against Mrs. Lillian Stinton, whom the minister's wife
accused of stealing her husband's affection. In both trials evidence was
offered that the minister was seen to kiss Mrs. Stinton and that he
clandestinely visited her.

The Hills are the parents of two daughters, Bertha and Ruby,
both of whom took the stand during the present trial and testified for their

The case will be appealed to the supreme court according to the
attorneys representing Mrs. Hill.

Le Mars Daily Sentinel: Friday, April 13, 1925


The first case listed for trial at the coming term of court is
that of Mrs. Anna Hill against John E. Hill. The plaintiff asks for
separate maintenance and the defendant has filed a cross petition for
divorce. The suit is an outcome of the sensational alienation suit of Hill
vs Stinton tried at the November term of court when Mrs. Hill sued Mrs.
Lillian Stinton for stealing her husband's affections. The jury in that
trial returned a verdict in favor of Mrs. Stinton.

LeMars Globe-Post
April 15, 1926

Former Minister Guilty of Bigamy But Has Chance For Rehearing Before Supreme Court.

The Globe-Post has had quite a few inquires as to the present status of Rev. J. E. Hill, the perfect lover, whose divorce from Mrs. Hill No. 1 was thrown out by the State Supreme Court.

It appears that at present Mr. Hill is a bigamist, and further action is up to the County Attorney. Rev. Hill has 30 days of grace, however, during which he can file a petition for a rehearing. If this is denied he will be subject to criminal prosecution.

Rev. Hill and his wife No. 2 are suppose to be still living in California. Mrs. Hill No. 1 and daughter are living at 1006 Pierce Street, Sioux City. The story has been going the rounds of the daily papers to the effect that Rev. Hill and Mrs. Hill No. 2 are the proud parents of a baby boy could not be confirmed.

Le Mars Daily Sentinel: Friday, October 1, 1926

Rev. John Hill Charged With Bigamy, Perjury and Wrongful Divorce
Former Minister of Merrill Church is Unfrocked

Official ejection of Rev. John E. Hill, former Merrill, Ia.,
pastor, who is charged with bigamy and violation of the moral law of the
church, was ordered Wednesday afternoon in a motion passed by the select
committee, composed of 15 ministers from the Northwest Iowa Methodist
Episcopal conference. The surrender of Rev. Mr. Hill's parchments also was

The final motion, which was passed unanimously by the select
committee, follows: "We hereby expel said John E. Hill from the ministry
and membership of the Methodist Episcopal church and instruct the secretary
of our conference to notify him of this action and demand the surrender of
his parchments."

Ousted on Three Counts

The action of the 15 ministers from the conference was based on
the following charges and specifications, each of which was sustained
unanimously by the select committee:

"We hereby charge John E. Hill with violation of the moral law,
said charge based on the following specifications:

1. That said John E. Hill, divorced his wife, Anna E. Hill, on
grounds not recognized as lawful by the Bible nor the discipline of the
Methodist Episcopal church.

2. That in the light of the decision of the supreme court of
the state of Iowa, John E. Hill has continued to live in bigamous relations
with Lillian E. Stinton.

3. That said John E. Hill morally perjured himself on
September 26, 1925, in his sworn statement to the county clerk of Charles
Mix county, S.D., in that he declared that he could lawfully be joined in
marriage to Lillian E. Stinton."

Represented by Counsel

The select committee, appointed by the conference, was
authorized by the discipline of the church, with full power to consider and
determine the case. Ministers who were appointed on the committee were:
Rev. Mark (one full line is unable to be read; it continues two lines down)
Correctionville, Ia.; Rev. D.M. Watson, Schaller, Ia.; Rev. B.L. Weaver,
Rock Branch, Ia.; Rev. Joseph Pickersgill, Alden, Ia.; Rev. J.G. Waterman,
Manson, Ia.; Rev. W.A. Wilkinson, Dayton, Ia.; Rev. C.H. VanMetre, Garner,
Ia.; Rev. G.M. Squires, Titonka, Ia.; Rev. R.T. Chipperfield, Estherville,
Ia.; Rev. M.L. Sunderlin, Emmetsburg, Ia.; Rev. J.W. LaGrone, Hawarden, Ia.;
Rev. J.H. Edge, Spirit Lake, Ia.; Rev. W.L. Breaw, Primghar, Ia.; and Rev.
O.M. Bond, Storm Lake, Ia.

Counsel for the church and for John Hill also was appointed by
the conference for the trial. Rev. C.H. Kamphoefner, pastor of Whitfield
Methodist Episcopal church, was appointed counsel for the church. G.T.
Notson, also of Sioux City, was appointed counsel for the accused pastor.

Mrs. John Hill Would Have Her Husband Arrested

Warmly commending the action of the northwest Iowa Methodist
church conference in ousting Rev. John E. Hill, the much married parson,
from the ministry Wednesday afternoon, Mrs. Hill, his wife, stated that
action should have been taken long ago, according to the Sioux City Journal.

"It was a disgrace to the church to have my husband a member of
the ministry," declared Mrs. Hill. "The church, like myself, must bear the
shame of John while he travels around the country in company with a woman
not his wife and is, as far as I know, living a carefree and happy life."

Mrs. Hill stated that she had no idea where her husband was at
the present time. She declared that if she did know she would have him
arrested for bigamy, perjury, and contempt of court.

The former pastor of the Merrill Methodist Episcopal church
married Mrs. Lillian Stinton, pretty Merrill widow, shortly after he had
been granted a divorce in district court on a cross petition. His marriage
took place in less than the year, which by law is required to elapse before
a second marriage, in order to make sure that there will be no reversal of
the case in the supreme court. Mrs. Hill appealed her case and obtained
such a reversal.

By that time the former pastor with two wives had left the
country with his second wife and has not been seen since. Before starting a
divorce action, Mrs. Hill had brought suit against Mrs. Lillian Stinton for
alienation of her husband's affection, but lost her case.