FENTON HILL AND FAMILY
Fenton was the eldest child of Marvin and Emmogene, born 4 December
1866, in Jefferson County, New York. He traveled with his mother and father
to Nebraska when he was 12 or 13 years old. His first home in the new land
was a dugout, where he lived along with his brothers Luther, Ahi, Oscar
and Thomas. While there, several siblings were born and some died.
On 6 August 1890, in Phillipsburg, Kansas, he married Mary Lorinda
WILLIAMS, daughter of Presley Zachariah WILLIAMS and Lavinia HOGLE. Mary
was born in Avon, Illinois, 1 Dec 1875. When she was young, her father, a
Civil War Veteran, died and her mother moved to Kansas and later, Nebraska
where Lavinia eventually became a housekeeper for a widower and his
Fenton and Mary had eight children, Milo King, born 9 Sep 1891;
Marvin, born 4 May 1894; Ernest D., born 10 Mar 1897; Ted S., born 3 May
1901; Imogene, born 24 Mar 1903; Hailon Cloretta, born 1905; Raymond, born
28 July 1907; and a daughter who died at birth.
The Fenton Hill/Mary Williams Family - 1917
L-R - Imogene, Fenton, Ernest, Ted, Milo, Mary, Hailon
Besides the death of the infant daughter, their son, Marvin, died of
diptheria at the age of 20 years, while he was in Lincoln, NE. He was
brought home for his funeral in a sealed tank, so as not to infect others.
Raymond, the youngest, was kicked in the head by a horse when he was nearly
three years old, and died as a result of the injuries.
Fenton and Mary lived on several farms around the Bloomington area.
Mary Hill, Ted's wife, tells of Fenton coming to their home in his wagon
and taking the grandchildren for rides. He obviously loved his family.
Mary WILLIAMS-HILL left home in the late 1920's or early 1930's and
went to live with her daughter, Imogene, in Fremont, Nebraska. She
evidently divorced Fenton, because she remarried twice more, however, there
is no record of a divorce in Franklin County, Nebraska. It is highly
possible there is a record of a divorce in another county or state. She
worked as a nurse and also in a hotel at the hot springs in the Fremont
area, staying off and on, with Imogene and her family. During this time
period, she also stayed with her daughter Hailon and family. Bob Piercy,
the son of Imogene, first remembers her living with them about 1930. He
remembers going with his mother and father to Excelsior Springs, Missouri,
and returning with her to their home in Fremont. She had married a farmer
whose last name was Miller, while she was in Excelsior Springs. This
marriage ended in divorce, and she later (about 1938) married a man named
Peter Ruffing. They lived near St. Bernard, Nebraska, in Platte County.
She was still using that last name when she died in a car/train accident, 7
May 1939, in Columbus, Nebraska. Often during her life, she went by the
names of Mae and Marie. Her death certificate is listed as Marie Ruffing.
There is some disagreement in the family as to her real first name,
however, her children referred to her as Mary Hill, her tombstone and her
obituary and Fenton's obituary read Mary, and all census records show her
to be named Mary.
Fenton died of a shotgun blast to the head, May 3, 1936. Family
stories say that it was a self-inflicted wound, however, if so, it was
covered up by the police and his family. Some feel he was depressed by the
death of his children, and the loss of his wife. He had laid out his clean
clothes on the bed, prior to firing or falling upon the shotgun. His
obituary states the facts as known, and we leave it to the reader to draw
his or her own conclusions
The newspaper clipping reporting the story is as follows:
DIED FROM WOUND
Fent Hill Passed Away Sunday at Home of His Son Milo, in Bloomington
BLOOMINGTON -- Fent Hill, who was the victim of a gunshot wound April 19,
died Sunday May 3, as a result of that injury.
Mr. Hill, as was stated at the time of the accident, appeared to be
carrying a gun and an armload of wood at his house southeast of Franklin.
It was thought that he stumbled, the gun being discharged in the resultant
fall. The shot entered the right side of Mr. Hill's head and he was not
discovered for many hours, having lost a large amount of blood. He was
taken to the Mary Lanning hospital, where the best of care was given him.
An operation was performed in an effort to save his life, but to no avail.
Mr. Hill was brot (sic) to his son Milo's home Friday, May 1, where he died
the following Sunday.
Fenton L. Hill was born of Marvin and Emmogene Hewitt Hill December 4,
1866, in Jefferson County, New York. He was the eldest child of this
union. He passed away May 3, 1936, at the home of his son Milo of
Bloomington, aged 69 years, 4 months and 29 days.
He came from New York to Nebraska with his parents in 1879, locating
near Bloomington, and had resided here ever since. He was married to Mary
Williams August 6, 1890. To this union eight children were born, three
having preceded him in death. Those remaining to mourn his loss are: Milo
K., Bloomington; Ernest, Denver; Ted, Franklin; Emmogene Piercy, Fremont;
and Hailon Horton, DuBoise, Wyo; 16 grandchildren; and four brothers,
Luther of St. Louis, Tom of Denver, Oscar and Jay of Bloomington.
The funeral was held Tuesday afternoon at the Mennonite church, with
Rev. L. L. Blauvelt officiating. The church was filled with old friends
and neighbors of the deceased. Music was furnished by a quartet, Mrs.
Ralph Douglas, Mrs. Lloyd Davisson, Ralph Douglas, and L. L. Goldsbury.
The pallbearers were Lloyd Davisson, Volney Douglass, Jake Schnuerle,
Ernest Thompson, Earl Reynolds and Jack Shively.
Mary's Obituary, from the Franklin County Sentinel May 25, 1939, reads as
MARY (HILL) RUFFING
Mary (Hill) Ruffing was born to Mr. And Mrs. Presley Williams at Avon,
Illinois, Dec 1, 1875 and passed away May 1, 1939 at Columbus, Nebraska,
age 65 years, 5 months, and seven days.
She went to Naponee while quite a young girl with her widowed mother
and was married to Fenton L. Hill of Bloomington, August 6, 1890. To this
union eight children were born. Three having preceded her, Marvin,
Raymond, and an infant girl.
The ones living are: Milo K. Hill, Bloomington; Ernest D. Hill,
Castle Rock, Colorado; Ted Hill, Riverton; Emogene Piercy, Columbus,
Nebraska; and Hailon C. Horton, Rawlins, Wyoming; also three brothers,
Henry, Willis, and Charles Williams, 17 grandchildren, and an aged aunt,
Mrs. Jennie Gaunce, Sheldon, Missouri.
She had been a nurse and made her home with her daughter, Emogene for
a number of years. She had led a quiet life and her last request was to be
buried as she lived.
Funeral services were held last Tuesday at the M. E. Church at
Bloomington with R. M. Ransom officiating. The burial was at Maple Grove
Cemetary. Pallbearers were T. J. Lane, Charles Kahrs, Charley Gardner, O.
Douglas, William Schneurle and C. Reynolds.
One final thought to complete the text portion of this treatise:
Oh, to have been alive while they were alive; to talk to them and question
them about their lives; to learn about their idiosyncrasies, their habits,
their loves, their hates. Regrettably, this is the lament of all
I have talked to Thelma Steinkruger (Milo Hill's daughter), Joe Hill (Son
of Kearny Hill), Bob Piercy (Imogene's son), and Mary Hill (Ted Hill's
wife) to get as much information as I could; I have written to some of the
descendants who have, I'm sorry to say, not responded; I have studied the
history of the New York 1st Light Artillery; and I have gone to several
cemeteries to get what information I have included here.
I married into the Hill family, and although I never got to meet Marvin and
Emmogene, or Fenton and Mary, I have grown quite close to all of them. I
feel a certain familiarity with them that I never could have known had I
not undertaken this research.
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