HEMAN A. HILL was born in Brookfield, N.Y., February, 26, 1822, son of James Hill, who in 1800 came to Madison County, bought a tract of land in the town of Brookfield, and proceeded to build a log house and to clear a farm. William Hill, father of James, came to this town before 1812, but later settled in the town of Eden, Erie County. He was an elder in the Methodist church. and the first regular religious services in the town were held here by him. His grave is at Eden Hill. Two of his sons remained in the town of Brookfield, and the rest went with their father to Eden. James Hill continued to work on the farm which he had purchased in Brookfield, and before his death had replaced the log house with a fine residence and good farm buildings, including a barn thirty by forty feet. He worked at shoemaking, in addition to farming.
He married Miss Ardilissa Angel, whose birthplace was Exeter Centre, N.Y. Thirteen children were born of this marriage, seven boys and six girls. Their names were: William: Jonathan; Sylvester: James and Ardilissa, twins, who died in infancy: Samuel; Heman A.; James; Cyiinda; Esther Mary; Eunice; and Ardilissa. The mother died in the town.
Heman, the fifth son, stayed on the home farm until the age of nineteen, and then went to work by the month, remaining eleven years with the same employer. At the age of twenty-three he married Miss Maria Hinkley, daughter of David and Susanna Hinkley, a native of Brookfield. After leaving his first employer, he bought a farm in the village, where he stayed for three years, afterward taking a trip to the West, upon his return from which he rented a place near his present farm. It was in this home that the first great sorrow of their lives came to them. Malignant diphtheria carried off in a week their two lovely daughters, Ida Yannette and Lilla May, also their grandfather New--three of the loved ones of the family--leaving Mr. and Mrs. Hill childless and fatherless. It
was long before they rallied from this heavy stroke sufficiently to take an interest in life again. After six years' residence at this place they bought the present beautiful home.
For many years no sorrow crossed their path. A daughter had been sent to bless them, whom they named Bertha M., when suddenly the wife and mother died on February 11, 1890, directly following the death of her sister, Miss Lois Hinkley, who had made her home many years with the family. Thus once more a double funeral wended its way from their door. Mr. Hill was indeed sadly afflicted in the loss of his wife. For nearly half a century they had met the joys and griefs of life together; and when her summons came, while grieving to leave him desolate, her face was still radiant with the blessed anticipation of meeting her angel children. Not only to her immediate family, but to the community at large, was her death a cause of the deepest mourning. With her husband she had been for many years closely identified with the Methodist church, an indefatigable worker. Both, being gifted with excellent musical talent, gave their services in singing the praises of God in the choir.
Mr. Hill, although over seventy years of age, still keeps up his connection with the active affairs of the church; and his judgment in financial matters is regarded with the highest respect. He has been Steward of the church since he united with it, and has been District Steward for many years, also superintendent and treasurer of the Sunday-school in Brookfield for three years, and Treasurer and Clerk of the Board of Trustees. Since 1865 he has been a Director in the Brookfield Rural Cemetery, and is also its Treasurer. Mr. Hill was one of the first organizers of the Annual Fair of Madison County, has held the office of First Vice-President for many years, and has not missed a fair in forty years. For nearly a quarter of a century he has been an auctioneer, and in that capacity has travelled extensively in the United States.
Mr. Hill belongs to the Royal Templars, Grangers, and Odd Fellows, and in the latter organization holds the office of Vice Grand Supporter and Master. He formerly voted the Republican ticket, but from a sense of duty has latterly espoused the cause of the Prohibitionists. He is a man on whom his years have told lightly, and whose life of uprightness and integrity has endeared him to the community. His surviving daughter, Bertha M., Mrs. Orville Southworth, presides over his home. Her husband is the son of Captain Horace Southworth, a noted advocate of the cause of temperance, who was born in the town of Edmeston, Otsego County, in 1809. His great-grandfather, Constant Southworth, was one of the Pilgrims who came over in the "Mayflower." (An extended sketch of the family will be found in the biography of Dr. Oscar L. Southworth, elsewhere printed in this book.)
Orville Southworth was educated in the public schools and at Whitestown. After having followed a mechanic's trade for several years, he came to live on the farm of his father-in-law. He deserves much credit for having brought the temperance organizations up to their present standard, and in the present strength of the Prohibition movement he can see the marked change from the days when his solitary vote was the only one cast for the cause. He has represented his district in convention on several different occasions. In this household, comprising Mr. Hill, Mr. and Mrs. Southworth, and their two children, is found the spirit of happiness and contentment, tempered by Christian resignation. In the cause of religion, temperance, and good government the family are foremost in their sympathies; and their opinions on all such matters are hearkened to with deference and respect.
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