Ferdinand Hammond Hill

Provided by Jean Gilliam

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At this writing it is believed that Ferdinand Hammond Hill was born in Montgomery, Alabama or his family lived there in his early years before he came to Texas.  I think he died in Mingus, TX and was buried at the Gordon Cemetery, in Gordon, TX.  I know that Ada Rebecca Palmer Hill, his wife is buried at the Gordon Cemetery at Gordon, TX.

"Ferd" Hill, husband to Ada Rebecca Palmer Hill, was quite a card in his day.  He gambled a lot  playing poker in his younger days.  He lost and won farms during some of his poker games.  It is believed that he worked in a bakery, in Thurber, TX, in the early years.

"Ferd" Hill owned 4 farms, in and around the Mingus area.  He bought the Charlie Wyatt place for $1.25 and acre, and also the farm where Tom C. & Betty Collum, (my grand parents on my mother's side) rented as share croppers; 1/3 of the crops, and 1/4 of the cotton.  These two farms were bought with gambling money.  (The Charlie Wyatt place & the Collum place).

The original Hill place, up on the hill, in Mingus, TX, and 180 acres.  Eighty acres in farming crops and 100 acres in pecans.  The other Hill place was called the "Old John Hill Place", it was the forth farm.  That was where I was born.

Herbert/ Hubert Crenshaw's brother bought the property where I was born.  He was a section foreman on the Texas & Pacific Railroad.  (T P Railroad).  While he was working on the railroad, was when he bought the property.  Later he sold it to his brother, Buford Crenshaw.  Daddy believed Buford sold it back to Hubert Crenshaw.

Sue Hill owned the George Taylor place and Hill place.  When she died, Sue willed Wilbar "Squeak" Hill these places.  After Ada Hill died, the family divided up the estate, Wilbar, "Squeak", Hill got the Old Hill place, where the Collum's farmed as share croppers.  The heirs of Ada and Ferd Hill retained 1/8th of the mineral rights to the Hill estate.  Today it has a producing natural gas well.

There was this two story building in Mingus, with a hotel upstairs, and a restaurant downstairs.  It was rented out to Lou Jester.  He turned it back, (it is assumed it was because he couldn't make it profitable) and moved to Fort Worth or Dallas.  Robert Boyd took it over.  Robert was a brother to Charles D. Boyd.  Robert ran the place awhile.  My grandmother, Lucy Hill Gobel, and her husband Barney Gobel, ran the restaurant for awhile after that.

Ferd Hill's old store building was Northwest from the depot.  On the highway that circled through Mingus; the one that went to Strawn, TX.

Cy Young worked for Ferd Hill.  Cy Young helped to straighten up the walls of the old hotel.  The old brick wall was pulling away from the building.  The old hotel was about a city block Northwest of the depot.  In 1932, the old building was torn down and the building materials were salvaged.

Ferd Hill's mother, Martha A. Hill, lived with Uncle John Hill.  Uncle John Never married.  Mary Elizabeth Cavin Woodall stayed with her when she was real sick and took care of her.  Before Mary Hill died, she gave Mary Woodall a cast iron skillet, for her taking care of her.  Mary Woodall, gave the iron skillet to her daughter, Betty Woodall Collum, and the skillet was passed on to her daughter Elizabeth Corneila Collum Jones.  Several years before her death, she told her daughter the skillet would be hers one day.  (Meaning after she died.)

There was a time when my dad, Everett Jones, was about 3 1/2, 4 or 5 years old, that he remembered "Billie Jean" Hill, his aunt, taking him to look at the well that had blown out.  They were drilling for oil and gas on the Charlie Wyatt place.  Instead of hitting oil or gas they hit a pocket of hot mineral water.  When the well blew out it sprayed the hot mineral water all over and killed the trees and bush all down the branch water ditch.  "This was the Garner Well".

Everett Jones, Ferd Hill's grandson, told about times when they were driving on an old road to Gorden, TX in a Model T Ford, the only way they could get up the hill was to back the car up the hill.  The clutch bands were bad.

It was on the same old road to Gorden, that my great Uncle Levi Woodall was hijacked (Today we would clal it carjacked) or kidnapped.  The fellow that kidnapped Uncle Levi, was ragged and not shaven.  When the law caught the man that supposed to have kidnapped Uncle Levi, Uncle Levi could not identify him as the man that did it as the man was clean shaven and had clean clothes on and had his hair cut and looked completely different than the man that did the kidnapping.

Luther Simmons had a garage next to Lawrence Santi's drug store and ice cream parlor.  Cora Perretti owned the garage, Raymond Bearden owned part of the garage too.  Raymond Bearden was a "2 bit" lawman that was shot and killed in the '60s when he went to arrest a man.  Everett, went to school with Raymond's brother John Bearden.

When Cora Perretti was single she had the ice business.  (There was always a need for ice in Mingus because of all the beer joints) Ed Cowin married Cora Perretti.  Evereett worked for Cora Perretti delivering ice.  He would get up at 3 A.M. to go to Ranger to get a load of ice to deliver to the beer joints in Mingus.  The old truck that he had to drive was a Chevrolet -- it had a clutch, brake and reverse.  Mother told of getting up around 3 A.M. getting me (the baby) dressed, and going with daddy to Ranger to get ice.

When the banks failed in 1929, one of the bankers went over to the well in the corner of Luther Simmons' garage and dove in head first - committed suicide.  Lots of people did this.

"Old Lady Slim" had a beer joint in Mingus, she would take and pour the left over beer back into the empty bottles and serve it to the next drunk who came in.  "Old Lady Slim" hid her bootleg beer bottles in "Grant Town", down a country lane (fence row).  It was a hole in the ground covered up by an old dish pan, then covered over with dirt so no body could tell where the bootleg was hidden.  Everybody knew that she would hide her bootleg beer.  Everett proceeded to find out where she hid her beer.  He would go down this fence row with a metal rod and poke it around until he found the covered hole.  When the metal rod struck the metal dishpan, he knew that he had found her stash of bootleg beer.  When he found the bootleg liquor/beer he removed it from the hiding hole and kept it for himself.  Again, no one would report it being missing as having it was illegal anyway.

Everett had a strip down Model T and drove it to "Grant Town" and the Federal Men raided the place looking for bootleg liquor; before 1933 everybody bootlegged.  It was during the depression and people needed the money.  Joe Oblenski was a "bootlegger", so Everett told him that the FEDS were coming.  Everett helped Joe hide his boot legg whiskey bottles in the pond.  While the FEDS were looking around Joe's house Everett would be wading out in the pond helping himself to the beer that he helped the man to hide.  The man watched Everett taking his bootleg liquor out of the pond, of course the man couldn't say nothing about what Everett was doing even if he wanted to because he didn't want to get caught by the law.

Everett would take and sell his empty whiskey bottles for 5 cents a piece.  He would catch the man not looking and take the same bottles and sell them again.

John Dowd a man in Mingus, went to Israel to marry his wife.  They had a dry goods store in "Grant Town"  There were a lot of ethnic European groups that lived in Mingus and the surrounding area.  I was always told that John Down was Jewish.

The Mingus picture show cost 5 cents and you went to the silent movies.  There was an old player piano that played during the movie.  And somebody that could read good would read the movie lines.  Pete Tremino made the people behave in his building.  He was kind of like a bouncer.  Just kept the folks from getting too rowdy at times.

Mingus was a wild and wooley place.  During prohibition it had the reputation of being the wettest place between Fort Worth and El Paso.

Aunt Lillie Fore, this was Everett's wife's aunt, and her husband Charlie Fore, lived in Mingus.  Charlie Fore was a bootlegger and a "restaurant cook".  Richard Crutchmer's son, who was deaf and dumb from the measles or something ran around with Charlie Fore and helped him bootleg.  They would come to Betty Collum's house a lot.  One time they came by and Charlie Fore asked Betty Collum if she wanted a drink of whiskey.  Maw sad "Yeh" and took the glass (most likely a snuff glass) of whiskey, instead of drinking it like Charlie wanted her to, she threw it into the fireplace and it went whoosh.  It was a miracle that it hadn't caught something on fire.  Since the bootleg whiskey was about as flammable as gasoline.

In Aunt Myrtle Hill Thornburg's old vacant house, when they (Everett Jones & "Squeak" Wilbar Hill and someone else) tore the old house down, they found part of a still.  They found the thump pot and copper tubing.  It was Charlie Fore's still that they found, it was where he had made his bootleg whiskey there in that old vacant house of Aunt Myrtle's.  They made the whiskey in the attic.  Of course the old house had been vacant for quite sometime and with it being out in the country no one suspected it to be a hiding place for a still.

"Pie" Cantrell -- "Little Pie" worked for the TP Railroad.  "Big Pie" worked for Grandpa Hill as a hired hand.  On Saturday he would get drunk.  Get his RJR smoking tobacco -- go to the depot there in Mingus, sit on an old baggage cart and hoot like a hoot owl.

Olympia Soleana {SOLE-E-ANNIE} --- another name of people my mom and dad remembered from the Mingus, Thurber area.

Red Gobel, (Red was Barney Gobel's brother, Barney was married to Lucy Hill (Everett's mother). and Lewis Sheffield got serious.  Lewis Sheffield said he would go home and get his pistols.  He emptied his pistols on Red Gobel, and killed him.  Cy Bradford was the Sherriff of Strawn when this happened.

Legend has it that Uncle John Hill hoarded gold coins in pint fruit jars and hid them.  When he died no one ever found the gold.

On the "Minyard Place" in Mingus, or the "Hill Place was where Everett found the arrowheads.  Mrs. Hickman, a school teacher in Mingus, played dominoes with Ferd Hill.  They played checkers and dominoes a lot.  When she got up from her chair, Ferd Hill went over to her chair and rubbed it and said "OH! she's "hot"! (I never knew my great grandpa Hill, but from the stories I have been told he was quite a colorful fellow.)

One time when my mother was at the Hill place, Ferd asked her to go with him to his safe to look for something in the safe.  She went with him and opened the safe, looked around for awhile for something, he never did take anything out.  Mother never did figure why he wanted her to go with him to the safe.  Louise, Ferd's granddaughter said that he was probably testing her for being honest.  He was like that.

Louise also told that her Grandpa Hill promised her if she made A's on her report card he would give her a dollar.  She said that he paid her a nickle at a time until she got her dollar.  She said she had to dunn him every time to even get her nickle.  He was quite a character from all that I have been able to learn.

Dr Sprat, was the doctor in Mingus, my grandmother, Betty Woodall Collum, said he could tell you more about how you felt than you could about yourself.  Dr. Sprat's son, was the postmaster at Mingus during the 40's, during WWII.  He was crippled from polio, I was told.

Lawrence Santi had an ice cream parlor and a drug store that sold the patent medicines and other items there in Mingus.  I remember the fancy rounded back charis in that ice cream parlor and the little tables we sat at when we had our ice creams.

Mrs. Bielinski was a home demonstration agent at the ladies met at different ladies homes to sew and to make things.  My mother told that she made some dresses for me at some of the meetings.  She also made her a rose colored skirt and jacket on the sewing machine that was Ada Hill's mother's.  That garmet was judged the best.  One time my mother remembered going to meet at Mrs. Bielinski's house.  She said there was bread every where you looked.  It seemed every container had bread in it.  They had a brick oven in the back yard for baking the bread.  Mrs. Bielinski used to bake lots of bread.

In his early teens, Elmer cason told of visiting Ada and Ferd Hill in Mingus.  He remembered they had a big white house, and ran a dairy.  Sue and Jeanie were still home and all worked very hard running the dairy.  Wilbar, "Squeak" Hill lived in Mingus also.  He raised two boys, Jimmy and Jerry.  Uncle Ferd was a real card even in his old age, according to Elmer.

One time Anut "Billie" Hill was sitting on the edge of the minnow pond.  Grandpa Ferd Hill had built a nice red brick minnow pond behind the old home place.  He loved to go fishing!  Billie was dangling her feet in the cool water, and Grandpa Hill told her not to wash her feet in the minnow pond, she replied, "I'm just cooling my feet off".


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This page was last updated on -01/01/2013