Joshua Hill, for several years an active factor in the development of eastern Kansas, and still extensively interested in the state, is now a resident of Pontiac, Mich. The ancestors of Joshua Hill, as far back as the family genealogy can be traced, were Scotch-Irish and French. They were among the first settlers of Connecticut, from where they went to Sussex, N. J. Luther Hill, father of Joshua, was a man of sterling character and sound judgment, energetic yet cautious, and quite successful in business. He was one of the founders of the Merchants' National Bank of Newton, N. J., and although not a politician, was elected to the New Jersey legislature in 1853. He died in 1873, aged sixty-four years, and his wife, Abbie Hill, died in 1871, aged sixty years.
Joshua Hill was born in Newton, Sussex county New Jersey, Oct. 18, 1847. He received his education at Springdale and at Newton Collegiate and Chester Institute, taking the English course. Later he developed a taste for mathematics, chemistry and Latin. He commenced teaching at seventeen years of age, but after two terms obtained employment in a bank to acquaint himself with that business. In February, 1870, he came to Kansas, located at Fredonia, and was clerk in the Kansas legislature during the session of that year. He took an active part in the early development of Fredonia. From its first years he was secretary of the original town company, a position which made him active in the county seat wars, railroad building and numerous other enterprises in the pioneer growth and progress of that section. He opened the Wilson County Bank at Fredonia in 1871 with $700 actual cash, which he borrowed from an uncle. This was the first bank in Wilson county and he was its first cashier, and later became president. Subsequently he removed to Parsons, Kan., and organized a bank, serving as its cashier for several years. During one period of his career he was president of the Wilson County Bank, Fredonia; cashier of the Parsons Commercial Bank; president of the Union Loan & Trust Company of St. Louis, Mo.; proprietor of Dunn's Mills, a general store and a cattle ranch at Dun Station (now Lazarus), Kan.; proprietor of a lumber yard and secretary of the Fredonia Town Company. Mr. Hill was a large factor in helping southern Kansas farmers obtain eastern money at low rates of interest with which to purchase and improve their farms. His influence at Fredonia, his first home in Kansas, was fully recognized and the permanent location of the county seat at that place is largely due to his wise managementforestalling the decision of the supreme court, which was adverse to the validity of an election that gave Fredonia the county seatby immediately securing another election which was legal and in conformity with the law. On another occasion he funded $45,000 of "Calico Railroad Bonds" of Fredonia city and Center township at forty-five cents on the dollar, without any compensation and thus saved the people $27,000. Mr. Hill has been an officer in several organized and chartered railway companies and was untiring in his efforts to encourage and promote early railroad facilities in southeastern Kansas. He was the Kansas treasurer for the contractors of the St. Louis & Kansas City railroad. While a resident of Parsons he was first to urge an eastern connection by rail in competition with the Missouri, Kansas & Texas railway.
Just after the close of the Civil war Mr. Hill traveled extensively throughout the Southern states, the plains of Mexico, and crossed the desert into southern California, alone among the Apache Indians. On this overland trip he had many thrilling adventures. He has always been a lover of hunting, fishing and outdoor amusements. He loves game and animals, maintains a large park, well timbered and watered by natural lakes, near his Michigan home, and this park abounds with all kinds of game, including buffalo, deer, elk, etc., while the lakes are well stocked with fish. From his Michigan preserve Mr. Hill recently presented the city of Topeka, Kan., with a valuable herd of buffalo, which may be seen at Gage's Park.
Mr. Hill was twice married. On Sept. 3, 1873, Louisa Franks, of Andover, became his wife and two children were born to this marriage. Several years after the death of Louisa Franks Hill, Mr. Hill married Ellen P. Truitt, of Lexington, Ky. Mrs. Hill is a graduate of Hamilton College, is a woman of highest culture and refinement, and a prominent society and club leader. They have four children. While Mr. Hill has not been a permanent resident of Kansas for several years, he has not relinquished all of his business interests here, and still loves Kansas as much as he did in the days of yore. His attitude is a notable exemplification of the theory, "Once a Kansan Always a Kansan." Mr. Hill is the author of a book on economics, entitled, "Thought and Thrift," published in 1889.Pages 1136-1138 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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