William J. Hill

WILLIAM J. HILL has one of the responsible positions connected with the Santa Fe Railway at Arkansas City. He is master mechanic at that division headquarters and handles the large force of men employed in the immense yards and shops of the railroad at that point. Mr. Hill has been long in the railroad service in the mechanical department, beginning when a boy with the Chicago & Alton in Illinois.

He was born at Bloomington, Illinois, August 20, 1863. His father was William Hill, a native of London, England, where be was born in 1834. He spent his early life in London, where he married, and learned the butcher trade. In 1854 he immigrated to the United States and eventually located in Bloomington, Illinois, where he lived until his death in 1898. William Hill married Hannah Savage, who was born in London in 1822 and died at Bloomington, Illinois, in 1896, There were only two children. The older is Sarah J., who lives at Bloomington, Illinois, the widow of D. B. Lyons, who was a machinist.

William J. Hill grew up at Bloomington, attended the public schools, graduating from high school in 1880, and at that period in his early youth entered the shops of the Chicago & Alton Railway. He served his apprenticeship, and after three years had earned his card as a master in the trade. From Illinois he went out to California, was in the machinist business four years at Sacramento, and returning to Bloomington entered the service of the Chicago & Alton Railroad. Later for a time he lived at Denison, Texas, and in 1891 removed to Kansas. At Ossawatomie he became master mechanic for the Missouri Pacific Railway, and filled that position until 1903. The four years from 1903 to 1907 was the only period in which Mr. Hill has not actively followed his trade. During that time he was in the hardware business at Ossawatomie.

In 1907 Mr. Hill entered the service of the Santa Fe as general foreman of the shops at La Junta, Colorado. On April 15, 1909, he was appointed master mechanic of the yards of the Santa. Fe at Arkansas City, and has been almost daily on duty there for the past eight years. He has prospered in a business way and is a stockholder in the Building and Loan Association at Newton, Kansas, and in the Drumright Refinery at Drumright, Oklahoma,

Mr. Hill is a republican and a member of the Presbyterian Church. He has had many distinctions in the Masonic order. He is affiliated with Crescent Lodge No. 133, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Bennett Chapter No. 41, Royal Arch Masons; Arkansas City Commandery No. 30, Knights Templar; Oklahoma Consistory No. I of the Scottish Rite at Guthrie; Midian Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Arkansas; the Council, Royal and Select Masons, at Wichita; Victory Chapter No. 151 of the Eastern Star. He is past master of his lodge, past high priest of the chapter, past eminent commander of the Knights Templar, past thrice illustrious commander of the council, and is past patron of the Eastern Star.

Mr. Hill and family reside at 609 South C Street. He married, at Bloomington, Illinois, in 1885, Miss Julia N. Munson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. C. Munson, both now deceased. Her father was also a mechanic and was foreman of the car department and machine mill of the Chicago & Alton Railroad for many years. Mr. and Mrs. Hill have had five children: William E. has been in the regular United States army for ten years and is now a recruiting officer at Wichita. Charles H. is a clerk in a large mining company at Hiawatha, Utah. Frank R. is chief clerk to the master mechanic of the Frisco Railway, with headquarters at Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Nettie H. is still at home with her parents, and Milton F., the youngest, died at the age of twenty years.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written & compiled by William E. Connelley, 1918, transcribed by Andrea Friant, student from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, October 21, 1999.

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