Lee County Biography

George W. Hill
Harmon, Lee County IL


George W. Hill, Postmaster at Harmon, is the oldest settled merchant in the town, carrying on a well conducted general merchandise business, and is a prominent figure in the political and public life of the place. He is a native of Massachusetts, Fall River his birthplace, his father's residence being on the State line of Rhode Island, and he was born October 18, 1848, to George and Margaret (Whittle) Hill. His ancestors were originally from the Nortb of Ireland and settled in New England in early Colonial days. His father was a soap manufacturer and pursued that occupation all his life. He was twice married. His first wife, mother of our subject, died in 1850, leaving these three children - William J., a resident of Belfast, Ireland, where he represents a wholesale, hardware firm as general salesman; Thomas, who is a postal clerk at Frostburg Md.; and our subject, who is the youngest of the three. The father married a second time and reared a family.

Our subject was less than three years old when he suffered the sad loss of his mother. He continued to live in his native city until he was twelve years old, and at that early age went out into the world to fight the battle of life single-handed. He accompanied his brothel Thomas to Monongahela City, Pa., and there his brother subsequently enlisted as a soldier to help fight for the preservation of the Union in the Civil War. George, who had previously worked in the coal mines of that city, then went to Frostburg, Md., whence he came to Illinois at a later date. He first stopped near Eldena, where he worked as a farm hand two seasons. The following two seasons he was employed in the same capacity near Harmon. After that he worked at the trade of a carpenter until 1877. In the month of April, that year, he took a new departure by establishing himself as a general merchant at Harmon, and is still carrying on a flourishing business at this point, which has contributed in no small degree to the good fortune of the village in its steady growth.

Mr. Hill, although he began life with no moneyed capital, is one of the subotantial men of this section. He has besides a goodly amount of property in the village, including his store building and residence, one hundred and sixty acres of fine land on section 25,and eighty acres on section 23, Harmon Township and all this he has accumulated since be entered business in 1877, scarcely fourteen years ago. He is likewise self-educated principally, as his school-days were limited in his boyhood, but he subsequently made up for his early deficiencies in that line by studying sedulously at evening schools. Besides his present business, he was at one time partner in a hardware concern at Harmon. Mr. Hill was married Novemember 1, 1871, to Miss Gula Elms, daughter of James Porter Jr., one of the early settlers of Lee County. She was born at Dixon February 9, 1850. The following is the record of the six children that have blessed her marriage with our subject - Elmer, who was born October 6, 1872, was graduated from the business college at Dixon, in 1889, and is now in the store with his father; George M. was born February 26, 1874; Gertrude I., June 17, 1876; Arthur, July 31, 1880; Clarence, January 29, 1882; and Gula Elma, born October 19, 1891.

Our subject's fellow-citizens, rightly judging that a man of his metal possesses sound qualifications for responsible offices, have often called him to assist in the management of public affairs. Thus he has been Secretary of the Committee of Harmon Township he has been Collectr three terms, and one term represented his township on the County Board of Supervisors, he has always been a steadfast advocate of the policy of the Republican party and has frequently taken part in the councils of his fellow Republicans as a delegate to county, district and State conventions. He was Postmaster at Harmon during the administrations of Hayes, Garfield and Arthur, stepped out when Cleveland was in the Presidential chair, but was re-instated when Harrison became the head of the Government and is now and has been since 1889, Notary Public, receiving the appointment from Gov. Fifer. He is a man of correct habits and upright principles, but is not a member of any religious denomination, and neither is he connected with any secret society. Mrs. Hill, who shares the respect in which her husband is held, is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Portraits and Biographical Lee County 1892 Pg 242

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