THOMAS EDIE HILL

Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County, Illinois with Portraits 3rd. ed. revised and extended (Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 584-586

THOMAS EDIE HILL was born in Sandgate, Bennington County, Vt., February 29, 1832. He was reared on his father's farm, attending in the winter the district schools of that vicinity, and finishing his school instruction at the Cambridge Academy, at Cambridge, N. Y. Possessing natural aptitude for teaching, Mr. Hill entered upon that work, and taught his first school at Eagleville, East Salem, N. Y., receiving therefor $10 per month; following which, at the age of nineteen, he taught the winter school in Londonderry, Vt., receiving $14 per month and "boarding 'round." Fitting himself in Boston for teaching penmanship, he entered upon the work of conducting evening schools, teaching penmanship and forms, and followed that profes­sion during the fifteen succeeding years, the field of his teaching being in Vermont, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin and Illinois. He left this work in 1866, and has taught none since, except a school in parliamentary practice, which (being deeply impressed with the importance of such a school) he opened at the Chicago Athenaeum in 1891, conducting the same for several months and closing with a public exhibition. This class was the first of its kind, up to the time when it was established.

Settling at Waukegan, Ill., in 1854 with his wife, formerly Miss Rebekah J. Pierce, of Londonderry, Vt., by whom he had one child, Flor­ence G., at present Mrs. George M. Porteous, he remained there until 1866, when he located at Aurora, Ill., and began the publication of the Aurora Herald, from which he severed his con­nection a few years afterward. He continued his residence in that city for twelve years, during which time he founded and obtained a large circulation for the Herald. He also established the Suburban Chicago Purchasing Agency business, and as manager for a time of the Aurora Silver Plate factory, placed that institution upon a suc­cessful basis. While Mayor of Aurora, in 1876 and 1877, he introduced various improvements into the city, among them being the suppression of cows from running at large, the setting out of thousands of shade trees, the taking down offences around dwellings, and the organizing of an im­provement society, which since that time has been largely instrumental in making that city the metropolis of the Fox River Valley.

Giving a liberal portion of the property which he had accumulated up to that time (1878) to his wife, she secured a separation from him by mutual consent, he taking up his residence in Chicago to give personal supervision to the management of "Hill's Manual of Social and Business Forms," which had been brought out by Moses Warren, a publisher of Chicago, in 1873, Mr. Hill assuming the publishing of it in 1879. Subsequently mar­rying Mrs. Ellen M. Whitcomb, at Shushan, N. Y. he continued his residence in Chicago until 1885, at which time he purchased a farm ad­joining the village of Prospect Park, DuPage County, I11. In the succeeding year he settled thereon, returning thus to the employment with which he had been familiar in his boyhood. His return to farming was voluntary and not of neces­sity, a phrenologist on one occasion, when exam­ining his head, having told him when he began his teaching that he would succeed in anything that he undertook.

With large natural love of the ornamental in landscape and building, he became the publisher and editor, in 1884, of the Chicago National Builder, in which he gave to the world many beautiful designs of buildings and ornamental grounds. Retiring from this publication after making it the best magazine of its class, he or­ganized a land syndicate at Prospect Park, en­abled several of the old farmers of that vicinity to sell their farms so well as to retire on a competency, changed the name of the village to Glen Ellyn, and secured the making of the charm­ing little Lake Glen Ellyn, the construction of an elegant hotel upon its borders, and the development of several springs near the lake, among them being the famous Glen Ellyn Apollo, the waters of which have large sale in Chicago.

Among Mr. Hill's literary works have been several books of large circulation, of which "Hill's Manual'' has had a sale of about four hundred thousand copies at this writing, at an average price of $6 per copy; "Hill's Album of Biography," having a circulation of eighty thousand copies; "Hill's Guide to Chicago;" "Ways of Cruelty," an illustrated pamphlet used in great numbers by humane societies; "Right and Wrong Contrasted;" and "Money Found," the latter a popular book on the subject of finance.

This latest work is an original publication, which fully outlines the plan by which the Government may assume the ownership of banks, and may operate them at all central points, guaranteeing depositors against loss, preventing financial panics, and the consequent depressions in busi­ness. Mr. Hill is the first person to put forth to the world a practical method by which Governmental banking may be established. At this writing, the book, "Money Found," is having an immensely large sale, with a fair probability of so educating the people as to cause them to de­mand Government ownership of banks in the very near future, thus revolutionizing the present in­secure system of banking, giving the profits pertaining to the handling of the people's money to the people; and at the same time securing relief from bank failures, and permanent financial prosperity for all.

While Mr. Hill's efforts have been crowned with success for himself, his labors have been largely of a public character, and have resulted in great educational benefit to the people in all parts of the country. Though a quiet resident of Glen Ellyn, his works have had such large circu­lation as to make his name much more familiar to the inhabitants of New England, the Middle States and the Pacific Coast than it is to the peo­ple of DuPage County.

 

Submitted by Sherri Hessick on December 29, 2006

 

DISCLAIMER:  The submitter is not related to the subject of this biography nor is she related to anyone mentioned in the biography.