MARVIN AND FENTON HILL
OF NEW YORK AND NEBRASKA
Marvin HILL was born June 11, 1836, in the small town of Philadelphia,
Jefferson County, New York, to George HILL and Laura HATCH. Now that
sounds simple enough doesn't it? Uncomplicated. Just like a genealogy
history should start. Right? Wrong! One would think that if you know
that much about a person, locating him in the 1850 census with his father
would be easy. Well, I searched for two and a half years for Marvin. But
I'm getting ahead of myself...
Marvin told his family that his father and mother never married, and
that he had taken the name of his father, hence, Marvin HILL. So we looked
for George or Marvin HILL with no luck. Then we realized that the
possibility definitely existed that he was born under a different name, but
we didn't know what that name was. The last name of his mother on his
death certificate was illegible, so that was no help.
Oh there were George HILL's in Jefferson County. Several of them.
There was just no way of telling which one was the father. This meant
that somehow, someway, we had to find Marvin's mother. But how? I was
working in the Family History Center in Salt Lake City, when the idea came
to me how to accomplish this. I had searched the 1850 census of Jefferson
County from end to end several times to no effect. Then I thought, "I know
he was 14 years old in 1850, why not search the entire county for 14 year
old boys?" I knew it was a daunting chore, but I had no alternative. So I
started at 7:30 a.m. and searched all day, through every township,
alphabetically. I had to watch the date of each page of the census because
it was taken in June and Marvin was born June 11th. Well, to make a very
long story short, in Wilna Township, at 9:45 p.m., I found Sylvanus HATCH,
58 years old, with a woman, Lary, 34 years old, and two boys, Marvin, 14
years and Oscar 7 years. EUREKA! I knew Marvin had a brother Oscar. They
were going by the name of HATCH, but this was a very strong possibility.
Next I ran the 1855 New York State Census and located Sylvanus HATCH
again, this time with a Lara as a female, and Marvin HILL, 19 years and
Oscar HILL, 12 years. This proved to be the clue I had hunted for two and
a half years. Sometime between 1850 and 1855 they had, indeed, taken their
father's last name. (I have since found a marriage record for Laura Hill
and Sylvanus Hatch in 1854, in the LDS records in Salt Lake City. Talk
about being curious.)
I then went to the 1860 US Census, and found them. Oscar was there,
but Marvin was no longer with his mother. (He would have been 24 by this
time). Marvin's obituary, written by his wife, stated that he lived with
his grandmother in Antwerp, New York, until he joined the US Army during
the Civil War. I searched the 1860 census for Antwerp but there was no
sign of Marvin anywhere.
The next record I have of him is when he enlisted in Battery D, 1st
New York Light Artillery, 17 August 1861, at Antwerp. He mustered in as a
Private, September 6, 1861, and was appointed a Corporal, September 6, 1861
(dates are taken from his military records). He reenlisted on December 16,
1863. Battery D participated in 32 battles, among them the battles of
Yorktown, Williamsburg, Seven Pines, the battle of June 25, 1862, Peach
Orchard, Savage Station, White Oak Swamp, Glendale, Malvern Hill,
Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, Mine
Run, Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna, Tolopotomy, Bethesda Church,
Petersburg, Weldon Railroad, and Chapel House. There is a monument in the
wheatfield at Gettysburg for Battery D. It is about Fifteen feet tall,
inscribed "Battery D, 1st New York Light Artillery", and there is a model
cannon positioned on each side of the monument. Following is a description
of the Battery's part in the battle:
July 1 - Moved the cannon in position in a peach orchard. Fought a small
July 2 - During the night , moved to the wheatfield and there during the
afternoon they had a terrible battle. 18 men wounded and 8 missing, but
held the position.
July 3, During the night, moved the cannon from the wheatfield to the top
of Little Round Top, facing down the hill toward the west. Here is where,
during the afternoon, they stopped Pickett's Charge, thereby changing the
course of the war..
Marvin operated a 12 pound cannon and it was at the battle of North
Anna that a recoil hit him and caused a "rupture so as to unfit himself for
further duty". (This taken from his discharge paper.) Marvin told his
family that at the battle of North Anna, he and another young boy fired
their cannon until Marvin was wounded and the Battery, being pounded by
Rebel forces, was forced to retreat. He was transferred on the Eighteenth
day of December 1863, to Co. 33, 2nd Battalion, of the Veteran Reserve
Corps for a period of three years or during the war. He was discharged on
September 4, 1865, at Washington DC. His discharge paper describes him as
being 5 feet 10 inches tall, fair complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.
During the war, Marvin carried a carved soap stone Bible and a buckeye for
After discharge he went back to Antwerp, NY, and in Carthage, a small
town in Jefferson County, not far from Antwerp, he married Emmogene
Gertrude HEWITT, daughter of Lafayette HEWITT and Maryette PARKS, on the
6th of February 1866. Emmogene's family (sometimes I found her listed as
Gertrude Emmogene and sometimes as Emmogene Gertrude) and the Hatch
families lived in close proximity to each other. I found several records
in the township of Philadelphia that listed Hatches and Hewitts in the same
jury, same block, etc. It was highly possible that Marvin and Emmogene
grew up together. Lafayette and Maryette lived next door to Emmogene's
father and mother, William Parks and Rosannah Ingerson Parks. Also living
with William was Rosannah's Mother, Abigail Ingerson, 88, widowed. And
living next door to the Hewitts was a Daniel Hill and his wife, Sally, with
their daughter, Ann and her husband Milo King. Marvin's first grandson was
named Milo King Hill. Does that sound like a coincidence? I think not.
However, I've never been able, as yet, to link Daniel with a son, George.
On the 1860 census it shows Ann as the daughter of Laura and Sylvanus.
Marvin and Emmogene proceeded to raise a large family. During the
next 13 years, they had 5 boys, Fenton, Luther, Ahi, Oscar, and Thomas and
a baby daughter who evidently died.
In 1879, Marvin decided to take his family West to start a new life.
They went by train to Lincoln where he left Emmogene and the boys until he
could find a place for them. He traveled on to Bloomington, Nebraska,
which at that time was the end of the train tracks. He then took out on
foot south. He homesteaded 147.93 acres on the Kansas line, in the NW
quarter of Section 5, Township 1 South, Range 15 West, of the 6th Principle
Meridian, Smith County, Kansas. There he prepared a dugout for his wife
and boys. Then he went back to Lincoln to get them.
When they arrived at the dugout, Marvin had fifty cents to his name.
He did farm labor for fifty cents a day and his lunch. As he walked back
and forth to Bloomington he crossed the Republican River, and as he did so,
he dug up shoots of cottonwood trees and planted them around the dugout.
Those trees are still there and are massive. It would take 3 men to span
the trunks with their hands clasped.(see photo)
The family lived on cornmeal, molasses and game. His family in New York
often sent food such as apples and brown sugar candy. They were quite a
treat. A Christmas gift to the family was a sack of flour.
During this time, they continued to add to their family. Kearney and
John Jay were born, along with three daughters, Luella, Ruby Hazel and
Louise. Ahi and Louella are buried in the Naponee cemetery with one stone
marking both graves. The other two HILL daughters are buried in the tiny
cemetery, just west of the homestead on the south (Kansas side) of the
State line road. There is a small white tombstone with the name HILL on it
and two separate initials in each upper corner to mark the graves.
Emmogene also told of her brother, Thomas, who died when he was struck by
lightning as it came down the stove pipe in the dugout. He is buried in
the Franklin Cemetery.
It isn't known exactly how long the family stayed at this dugout.
Approximately 4-5 years. It is known that they next traveled to the
southwest of Naponee to a farm and lived there for some time. This is
where they were living when Ahi and Louella died, and the reason why these
two are buried in the Naponee cemetery. They next moved north of
Bloomington about three miles and built another dugout on the west side of
the road. They were living in this dugout when Jim HILL was born. They
stayed there for some time until Marvin bought a farm about a mile closer
to town, on the east side of the road. That farm is still evident,
although all the buildings have been removed. They lived there until they
moved into the town of Bloomington in March 1910. The deeds recorded in
the Courthouse in Franklin appear to show that they traded the farm for the
Kirkbride house in Bloomington. This house is still standing and is in
excellent condition. It is located North of the town square.
Emmogene was known for her many beautiful flowers. Mary HILL, wife of
Marvin's grandson, Ted HILL, remembers going there to get flowers for a
school function in the 1920's. She said everyone knew about Emmogene and
her love of flowers. An old picture of the home shows the many flower beds
Marvin was reportedly a kind man who loved his family greatly, but Joe
HILL, the grandson they took to raise when their son, Kearney (his father)
took his life, says he was a stern man who ruled with an iron fist.
Marvin and Emmogene celebrated their Golden Anniversary in 1916 with a
large party. There was quite a write-up in the Bloomington Advocate
newspaper. Following is the newspaper article as published:
A GOLDEN WEDDING
MR AND MRS MARVIN HILL CELEBRATE THE EVENT SUNDAY
"In commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the marriage of Mr and
Mrs. Hill who had attained a half century of married life, and thereby
eligible to a golden wedding they kept open house to their friends the
afternoon of last Sunday, the 6th.
There were about 150 registered, and the day was spent in pleasant
conversation, singing and in congratulating the worthy couple.
During the afternoon W.C. Dorsey in a felicitous manner presented Mr.
and Mrs. Hill in behalf of their Bloomington friends with a gold headed
cane for Mr. Hill and a gold mounted parasol for Mrs. Hill, and $20 in
gold, a gold watch chain and fob and a gold mesh bag.
Mr. and Mrs. Hill lived in New York state after their marriage until
in 1879, when they moved to Franklin County where they have ever since
resided and where they have a host of friends who were present to make the
day joyous. All of their children and great grand children were able to be
present at this time.
Light refreshments and punch were served during the afternoon.
Mr. and Mrs. Hill received a large number of letters and telegrams of
congratulations from their friends abroad who were unable to be present and
the following list of presents:
Mrs. Jas. Owens, N.Y., gold spoon tray: Mrs. and Mrs. Boegerhausen,
N.Y., gold pen and thimble: Oscar Hill, N.Y., a $5 gold piece: Mr. and
Mrs. L. M. Hill, St. Louis, $25 in gold: John Laughran, Bladen, $5 gold
piece: Mr. and Mrs. Jeffries, N.Y., gold ring: Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Murray,
Franklin, $1 in gold. Other presents from town were $30 in gold by the
sons: hand-painted dish by Mrs. M. R. Patterson: hand-painted dish by Mr.
and Mrs. R. C. Kirkbride: $5 gold pen by U.H. Malick and son: Mr. and Mrs.
F.W. Harris $1: Mrs. G.W. Prather, gold pin.
Mr. and Mrs. L. M. Hill and family of St. Louis brought with them a
most beautiful cake, weighing 15 pounds, being 14 inches in diameter and
ten inches high. It was trimmed in gold with a bouquet of golden roses on
top of which rested a small aeroplane done in gold with a bridal pair
thereon. It was one of the most lovely pieces of work in this line that we
have ever seen, and shows that the friend of Mr. Luther Hill who made the
cake was certainly an artist in this line.
Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Hill, by their 37 years of residence in this
county, have gone through the pioneer days and have watched the country
grow into the garden spot of the earth. Since their marriage they have
seen the great west developed from almost an unknown wilderness to the
highest state of civilization. Most of the new and useful inventions have
come during this brief span of time. Mr. and Mrs. Hill prize the
friendships gained through their long residence here, and wish us to
express their heartfelt appreciation's for the kind expression of love and
affection as represented by the choice gifts made to them.
The Advocate congratulates Mr. and Mrs. Hill upon having successfully
and happily reached the time when they could celebrate the fifty years of
married life, and joins with their friends that they may live many more
years of married life."
Several personal items belonging to Marvin and Emmogene are still in
existence and in excellent condition. The gold headed cane, and the two
handpainted dishes were in the possession of Joe Hill until his death in
1996, at which time they were left to Joe's adopted son's children. The
gold thimble is in the possession of Howard Hill.
In 1913 Marvin traveled back to Pennsylvania to take part in the 50th
anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. At that function, he purchased a
cane engraved with the year of the battle and the year of the reunion.
That cane is in the possession of Don Hill, the son of Howard Hill.
When Emmogene was a young girl, she got sick and had to be taken to
the hospital during a snow storm, in a horse drawn sleigh. A woman friend
of theirs painted this scene in a wooden butter bowl, as she imagined it.
Joe had this bowl and it is very lovely. (See Photo)
Marvin, the son of Marvin and Emmogene, left a hand drawn sketch he
made of himself as a young man. Joe had the original of this, too.
Marvin and Emmogene lost five of their children at a relatively young
age. As previously stated, Kearney took his own life. It seems he was
grieving badly over the death of his first wife. Even though he remarried
and had another son, he never got over his first wife's death. He went to
Lincoln or Omaha and drank a bottle of acid. He suffered terribly for
several weeks before he finally died. Ahi died when just a young lad of 18
years, and Louella, Louise and Ruby Hazel died as young girls.
Family Group Sheets for the surviving children are available for those
requesting them, if they are a descendant of this family. Information is
complete as provided to me. There are probably many additions and
corrections which will show up at a later date.
Also available are Marvin's and Emmogene's typed obituaries as obtained
from the Bloomington and Franklin County papers (included herein), their
death certificates, their marriage certificate, and many other documents of
their lifetime, including their Golden Wedding Anniversary.
From the Bloomington News:
Mrs. Marvin HILL died suddenly Tuesday morning at her home in this
city, which came as a shock to her many friends. While Mrs. HILL had not
been very well since the death of her husband, she had always insisted upon
staying and keeping up her home, her son, Jim making his home with her.
She was a kind and loving mother, and enjoyed the visits of her children,
neighbors and friends. Truly "she hath done what she could."
Gertrude Emmogene Hewitt was born March 17, 1849 at Antwerp, New York
to the union of Maryette and Lafayette Hewitt. She had five sisters and
two brothers, one sister and one brother yet living in New York. She
passed to the world beyond July 1, 1930, at the age of 81 years, 3 months
and 14 days. She was raised to happy womanhood in the early settlement of
northern New York, and on February 6, 1866, there was united in marriage to
Marvin Hill. Twelve children were born to this union, of which six are
still living: Luther M, Glendora, Calif.: Thomas M., Denver, Colo.; Fenton
L,., Oscar W., Jay J., and James L., of Bloomington, Nebr. Her husband
passed away June 1, 1922. A few happy years were spent in New York, and
then they migrated to Nebraska in 1879, living in the vicinity of
Bloomington ever since. She was baptized and united with the Christian
faith when twelve years old, having been a firm believer ever since and
attended church every Sunday until poor health prevented. She was a kind
and loving mother, ever sharing the hardships of life with those about her.
Also to mourn her loss are 18 grandchildren, 23 great grandchildren, a
number of nieces and nephews and a host of friends.
Mr. and Mrs. Tom HILL arrived from Denver Wednesday morning to attend
the funeral of his mother, Mrs. M. HILL.
Mr. and Mrs. Joe HILL arrived from Aurora Tuesday in answer to the
summons stating the death of his grandmother, Mrs. M. HILL, with whom he
had made his home until about six months ago.
Died in Bloomingon June 1, 1922, aged 85 years, 11 months and 20 days.
Marvin Hill was born at Wilna, New York, June 11, 1836, to George and
Laura Hill. He lived with his grandmother, at Antwerp New York, during his
childhood, until 1861 when he volunteered to serve in the New York
artillery. For four years he served in the Civil War being discharged in
February 6, 1866, he was united in marriage to Emmogene Hewitt and for
13 years he farmed around Antwerp. In 1879 he moved to Bloomington, Neb.,
taking up a homestead. He farmed in the vicinity around Bloomington until
1910 when he retired, taking up residence at Bloomington, living there for
He leaves to mourn his loss, a wife, six sons, a sister, fifteen
grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Six children preceded him,
four in infancy and two sons, Ahi at the age of 18 years and Kearn at
The funeral was held at the residence on Friday, conducted by Rev.
Goings. The old soldiers having charge, and the American Legion firing the
CARD OF THANKS
The undersigned most earnestly wish to thank the kind neighbors and friends
of this place, who assisted in the last sad rites of our beloved husband
MRS. M. HILL AND FAMILY
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