PAST AND PRESENT
OF
MENARD COUNTY, ILLINOIS - 1905

Chicago: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company



Page 152

DR. THOMAS C. HILL, a physician and surgeon living upon one of the fine farms of Menard county, was born in Middletown, Illinois, October 14, 1864, and is a son of Dr. Green Hill, who for many years was one of the most prominent physicians and honored citizens of this portion of Illinois. He was born near Franklin, Tennessee, on the 1st of July, 1813, and was a representative of an old southern family of distinction, his paternal ancestors having resided in North Carolina, while his maternal ancestors were residents of Virginia. The late Hon. Benjamin Hill belonged to a branch of this family.

Dr. Green Hill supplemented his early educational privileges by study in Franklin Academy, which he entered when sixteen years of age. At that time the institution was under the presidency of Bishop James H. Otey, of Civil war fame. After a year Dr. Hill entered upon the study of medicine in Nashville and when he had completed a course in the Transylvania College of that city by graduation he entered upon the practice of his profession at his old home. He was then but twenty-two years of age and he spent two years in the vicinity of Franklin, Tennessee, after which he removed to Columbus, Mississippi, where he was located for ten years and in connection with the practice of medicine and surgery he conducted a drug store there. In March, 1850, he arrived in Elkhart, Logan county, Illinois, but in 1852 he removed to Middletown where his remaining days were passed in the active practice of his profession, his labors being of the utmost benefit to his fellow men. At the time of his death he was the oldest practicing physician in Logan county. When he took up his abode within the borders of the county there were few physicians there and his practice necessitated long journeys often in inclement weather. He would frequently see wolves and other wild animals while crossing the prairies. No bridge spanned Salt creek and many times he had to swim that stream in order to pay a visit to a patient. He was frequently away from home two or three days at a time, making his calls on the sick, and he had many long tiresome rides in the saddle, but he never hesitated in the performance of any professional duty and his devotion to those who needed his services made him the loved family physician in many a household. Money was very scarce with the early settlers in those days and, in fact, almost the only coins or specie which the Doctor saw during the first year or two of his residence in Logan county was what he brought with him from Tennessee, for he usually received pay for his professional services in corn. Through a long career he maintained an enviable reputation as a skillful and successful physician and as an intelligent, honorable and upright citizen. Reading and investigation kept him thoroughly informed concerning the advance made in the medical fraternity and while he was never quick to discard the old and time-tried methods of practice he was always ready to adopt new ideas and improvements that would aid him in his profession work.

Soon after arriving in Logan county Dr. Hill in 1836 entered seven hundred and twenty acres of land in Hurlbut township, and also purchased twenty acres of timber land. He made a trip to this state on horseback in about ten days, bringing the money with which he paid for his land in his saddle bags. The entire section cost him but one dollar and twenty five cents per acre and he paid three dollars per acre for having the land broken, ox teams being used in doing the plowing. The Doctor retained possession of his land until he returned to Illinois in 1850, when he sold it for seven dollars per acre. For many years he had a pleasant home in Middletown and a farm of one hundred and twenty acres in the township. In the early days of his residence in Illinois the family lived in a log cabin and wolves occasioned them much trouble. Those animals would crawl under the house and the children would punch them with pokers through the cracks in the floor so as to drive them away. Deer were very plentiful and venison was a common dish upon the family table.

In his political affiliation Dr. Hill was an ardent and life-long Democrat. Fraternally he was connected with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and he was long a consistent member of the Christian church of Broadwell. Speaking of his church relationship Elder T. T. Holton, his pastor, said:

"During his residence at Columbus, Mississippi, he acted as one of the elders of the congregation. There being no congregation at Middletown, his membership was with the church at Broadwell. Dr. Hill kept in touch with all the great work of the brotherhood. He contributed regularly and liberally, not only to the home church, but to our missionary enterprises. Upon his desk could always be found fresh copies of our best papers, and he was well read in the early history of the Disciples. He had many strong points in his character, and was one of the most entertaining and companionable men I have ever known. Had he achieved nothing else, the rearing and education of such a noble family of sons would be an honorable distinction."

Dr. Hill was married three times. In 1834 he wedded Miss Martha Ann Kirkpatrick, and they became the parents of two daughters, Mary and Sarah. The latter died at the age of sixteen years and the former married John Brandon, of Franklin, Tennessee. She and her husband are now deceased, leaving six children. Mrs. Hill died in Mississippi, and Dr. Hill was afterward married in that state to Sarah Van Meiddleworth, of Auburn, New York, who died in Logan county in 1858, leaving two daughters, Catherine, now the wife of Lewis Varney, a lawyer of Saratoga Springs, New York; and Ella, who married C. C. Baker, of Austin, Texas. For his third wife Dr. Hill chose Miss Martha R. Caldwell, of Logan county, and they became the parents of five sons: Green E., who is living in Girard, Illinois; T. C., of Fancy Prairie; John H., of Mechanicsburg, Illinois; Harry C., of Streator, Illinois; and Talbert F., of Athens, Illinois. The sons have followed in the footsteps of their father in many respects. They have endeavored to exemplify in their lives his teachings concerning the development of an upright character and they have also all become physicians and are now successfully engaged in practice in the various communities in which they reside. In September, 1897, all of the sons met together with their mother in family reunion in Middletown, and the occasion was a most enjoyable one.

Dr. T. C. Hill, of Fancy Prairie, attended the public schools of Middletown and later entered upon the study of medicine under the direction of his father, while subsequently he attended lectures at Rush Medical College of Chicago, entering that institution in 1886. He was graduated with the class of 1888 and then located for practice in Fancy Prairie, where he remained for about a year, when he removed to Sweetwater, Illinois, spending nearly fifteen years in active and successful professional services there. But at length failing health compelled him to seek a needed rest and he spent the winter of 1903 in Los Angeles, California. After returning to Illinois he located upon his farm in township 18 in order to still continue a quiet life and to give his sons the advantage of farm life.

Dr. Hill was married on the 4th of September, 1888, to Miss Mollie Hall, the youngest daughter of James P. and Mary (Pearce) Hall. He has purchased the interest of the heirs in the old Hall farm property and this is now his home. He has between four and five hundred acres of valuable land. Unto Dr. and Mrs. Hill have been born three children: Thurman R., who was born July 12, 1889; Thomas G., who was born October 12, 1891; and Mary P., born August 25, 1898. Dr. Hill is a Democrat in his political affiliation and fraternally has been identified with Greenview lodge, No. 653, A.F. & A.M., for five years. For eight years he has been a member of the Christian church at Sweetwater, Illinois, and his life, like that of his father, has been guided by honorable motives and upright principles. He has a wide and favorable acquaintance in his section of the state and no history of this portion of Illinois would be complete without mention of the Hill family.


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