James Edward Hill (deceased), for many years engaged in the lumber business at Mackinaw, Ill., where he was one of the towns most active and enterprising citizens, was born in Mackinaw Township, Tazewell County, October 29, 1835, and comes of one of the very early families of that section. Of Southern ancestry, his father, Nehemiah Hill, was born in Caswell County, N. C., in 1802, and his mother, Emily Isabella (Woolridge) Hill, daughter of John Woolridge, in Vickbsurg, Miss., in 1809.
Nehemiah Hill went to Kentucky when a boy, and in 1833 removed to Illinois, where for two years he lived in Fulton County. He then purchased land in Mackinaw Township, and, in order to secure the title, was obliged to make a horseback trip to the United States Land Office at Springfield. His farm was crude and undeveloped, yet he converted it into valuable property, and continued to reside there until his death in October, 1886. He was a man of strong moral convictions, and for years a deacon in the Christian Church. Formerly a Whig, he later gave his allegiance to the Republican party. For many years his father, Garfield Hill, made his home with him, and died at the Mackinaw homestead, having reached a venerable age and lived an industrious and worthy life, dignified by able service in the War of 1812. Mrs. Nehemiah Hill was a daughter of a well known jeweler in Frankfort, Ky., and died in 1887. They were the parents of nine children: William (deceased), John Walter, James E., Benjamin C. (deceased), Nathaniel L., Herman W., and a child who died in infancy. Four sons served in the Civil War, Henry W. in the Forty-seventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and Benjamin, Philip and Nathaniel, in the Twenty- sixth Illinois. Benjamin C. was killed at the battle of Bentonville, and Philip was wounded at Iuka, Miss.
At an early age James Edward Hill learned the carpenter’s trade, and worked at the same until his removal to Kansas, where he operated a general store and served as Postmaster. At best the departure was a precarious one, for the war spirit was abroad, and whatever happened to be of immediate use stood in danger of confiscation. Mr. Hill had cause to realize this fact two years later, when Missouri guerillas raided the place and carried off his entire stock. After this discouraging experience he engaged in mercantile pursuits at Mackinaw, Tazewell County, until 1888, and for the succeeding five years was similarly employed in Curtis, Neb. Subsequently he was identified with a growing lumber trade in Mackinaw, and was regarded as one of the most successful in his line in that part of the country.
Mr. Hill was a member of the Republican party from the date of its organization, and besides serving as Postmaster from 1860 until 1883, filled many other positions of trust and responsibility. In 1862 he was united in marriage to Mary Blair, born in Indiana, and the daughter of Bethuel and Sobra Blair. She died in Mackinaw, in 1880, aged thirty-six years, leaving three children: Benjamin C., of Chicago, Ill. Anna C., deceased wife of J D. Cummings, and Emma, wife of Charles Hanson of Rankin, Ill.                                                                                     In 1886 Mr. Hill married, as his second wife, Susan A. Sargent, daughter of Abram L. Sargent. Mr. Sargent was a native of Rush County, Ind., came to Illinois in 1828, and died in Leroy in 1888, at the age of sixty-four years. His wife, Sarah E. (Allensworth) Sargent, was born in Todd County, Ky., came to Illinois in 1832, and still resides in Mackinaw.
Mr. Hill stood high in the business and social circles of Mackinaw, and was one of the substantial early settlers, who, with the unsatisfactory foundation of a crude frontier education, advanced to an enviable position on the splendid traits of perseverance, good judgment and integrity. He was a member of the Christian Church. Mr. Hill’s death occurred January 13. 1904.
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Tazewell County - page 1023
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