Luther Hill, fourth child of George Alice Boyd and Sidney Johnson Hill, came with his family to Cash's Creek, near the town of Blessing, in 1898. They came from Hamlin, Texas, by way of the B. Q. Ward Ranch in Jackson County. Luther was nine years old at the time. After about two years the family moved to Markham where they began farming rice. When Luther was thirteen or fourteen years old, his family moved to Palacios where they operated a road and street draining business known first as "Yeamans and Hill" and later as "Hill and Son." Their business laid out the roads in the City of Palacios and the surrounding area. Luther attended the Palacios Academy
At the age of twenty-three, Luther Hill married Donie Ellis, age sixteen, the fourth child of Margaret Wilson and William L. Ellis, who came by covered wagon from Little Rock, Arkansas. Luther and Donie lived in Palacios until after their first child Margaret was born in 1914, and then moved to the Spencer place in Prairie Center, Dunbar Community. Four years later Eldon Luther was born on the Monoger place. Luther continued to farm rice, bought the Lee Place on the Tres Palacios River, and the children attended the Prairie Center School. Donie served as first President of the Home Demonstration Club. The family migrated to Citrus Grove during rice planting and harvesting, as it was necessary at that time to move to new fields often.
In 1926 Luther moved his family to Comanche County where he managed a large cattle and sheep ranch, but the depression and drought brought them back to the rice farm at Prairie Center and Citrus Grove.
Margaret and four other girls drove a Model T Ford ten miles to attend school in Palacios where she was graduated in 1931 She attended Southwest Texas State Teachers College for nine months, and then started teaching in the Prairie Center School, at a salary of eighty dollars per month for a seven months period.
Eldon attended high school for two years in Collegeport, by riding a horse to Tintop where he caught the school bus--he never missed a day of school. Eldon completed his high school work in Palacios, and attended Southwest Texas State Teachers College, where he was graduated in 1939. No jobs were available, so he transferred to A & M and later went to work under Lyndon Baines Johnson teaching shop to NY A boys in Livingston, Texas. He served in the United States Air Force during World War II.
Margaret taught school for four years at Prairie Center, and three years at Collegeport. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in 1949, and went to Boling-Newgulf where she taught art- the best paying job in Texas- $120.00 per month with a dormitory to live in.
Margaret married J. Sewell Lawson of Houston and they had one daughter, Peggy. Eldon married Mary Ann Alexander of Seymore, Texas, and they had one daughter, Jane Ann.
Margaret went back to Prairie Center to teach in 1942-43 as teachers were in great demand. Grandma Donie brought four-month-old Peggy to her mother at school each day at noon for breast feeding.
Luther and Donie Hill were busy with community work, boarding and rooming Camp Hulen workers, and grandparenting for the war effort. In 1953 Luther retired from rice farming , and he and Donie moved to the Rockport area. In 1959 Luther received a plaque for fifty years of rice farming from the Bay City Chamber of Commerce.
Margaret, Sewell, and Peggy moved to Houston, Sewell to the home office; Margaret to get another degree from the University of Houston. One year later they moved to Bay City, where Margaret spent the next twenty-three years in the school system, and Sewell with his insurance business until his death in 1971
Luther and Donie could not stay retired . They entered into the real estate business and developed Hill's Village near Rockport. In 1959 Luther was killed in a car accident and was buried in the Palacios Cemetery. Donie continued with the business; and later married Floyd Williams, and moved back to Palacios. In 1984, at the age of eighty-eight, she still drove to the Presbyterian Church.
Peggy Lawson married Charlie Pittman in 1966, and they had two children, Charles Luther and Peggy Juanice and lived in Bay City
Margaret retired and moved back to Palacios in 1976 where she operated the Pittman Variety Store until 1982. In 1980 she married Dick McElrath who died in 1984, and was buried in Roselawn Cemetery. Eldon's daughter Jane married Parks Bell and they had one son, Joshua Hill, and lived in Dallas.
Luther and Donie lived during a great "changing times" period in history--from the rub board to the electric washer and dryer; from farming with oxen to modern combines and dryers; from the horse and buggy honeymoon trip to flying by jet.
Historic Matagorda County,
Volume II, pages
My name is Eleanor Katherine Mathis nee White. I
am the granddaughter of Sidney J. And George Alice Hill. My mother
was their oldest daughter, Nora Alice White nee Hill. I have many
fond memories of going to Grandpa and Grandma’s for Thanksgiving and
Christmas. Sidney J. Hill and his brother Jim, left Georgia after
the Civil War. Their family plantation was burned to the ground
during the war. They came to North Texas. Sidney J. married George
Alice Boyd. Jim Hill stayed in North Texas. Sidney, with his family,
moved to the coast. They first lived on the Ward Ranch a few miles
west of Palacios. One day when my Mom (Nora) was about 10, she and
friend Eleanor Ward went swimming in the bay near the Ranch. While
they were swimming, a wagon full of people came to fish. Eleanor
grabbed their clothes and ran. Nora (my Mom) had to find a way to
get away. My father, Mark A. White was a ten year old boy. He always
teased Mother about seeing her “skinny dipping” in the bay. Grandma
and Grandpa Hill had ten children; Nora Alice and Lawrence were the
oldest and twins, George, Luther, Earl, Bessie (her twin died at
birth), Ben, Robert and Mary Jane. My Grandpa wanted all his
children to have a good education. So they moved from the Ranch to
Palacios. Mother was the first to go to San Marcos Academy in 1903.
Mother taught school in Palacios until she married Mark Anderson
White in 1911. Grandma and Grandpa moved to their farm on the Tres
Palacios River. That is where I remember all the wonderful holidays
with everyone and all their families coming for the holidays.
Grandpa farmed cotton, corn, and grain until the work was too much.
Mom and Dad bought the farm from them and they continued to live
there. I graduated from Palacios High School in 1935. Grandma died
that same year. We leased the farm out and moved to Kingsville.
Grandpa lived with us until he passed away in 1947. My oldest
daughter at the age of three would sit on the porch with her Great
Grandpa and have buttermilk and corn bread. Grandpa and Grandma are
buried here as are many other relatives. Margaret Lynn nee Hill and
Eldon Hill were the children of Luther and Donnie Ellis Hill. Many
of you know the family. Margaret has been very active in church,
school and politics. -- Palacios
Palacios Cemetery - Photo courtesy of Renee
Lynn has been an active participant in city and county government since 1984 and is well known for her life-long contributions to the Palacios area. This celebration will be held on Sat. (Jan. 18) from 1-4 p.m. at the Texas Baptist Encampment Cafeteria located at 100 First St.
Lynn is a retired educator and businesswoman and was first elected to the Palacios City Council in 1984. At the April 18, 1985 Council meeting Lynn was nominated by John Sardelich (now Mayor of Palacios) and was appointed as Mayor Pro Tem.
Lynn was the first woman in Palacios to be elected Mayor Pro Tem and served in this capacity until May 1987. Lynn also served on the Board of Equalization Committee for the City Council alongside Sardelich.
Alongside Man of the Year John Toellner, Lynn was selected Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year in 1985.
Additional terms re-elected to Council were in 1986 and 1988.
At age 75, Lynn resigned as councilwoman on April 24, 1989 to accept the appointment to the office of Justice of Peace Precinct 3, an unexpired term by the Matagorda County Court of Commissioners. At this time the Palacios Beacon recounts Lynn expressing her tenure as councilwoman “As one of the happiest times of my life.” Lynn resignation was in effect for December 31, 1990.
Life of service continued for Lynn as she was sworn in on November 18, 1993 to fill the vacancy of Vernon “Butch” Bowers as Municipal Judge, position which he had held for 24 years. Lynn remained as Municipal Judge until 2001.
night at the Palacios City Council meeting, Mayor Sardelich
presented Margaret McElrath Lynn and the City with a
Proclamation declaring Jan. 18th Margaret McElrath Lynn Day in
Palacios Beacon, January 15, 2014
BY KACI TAYLOR, Guest Writer, Margaret Lynn’s Great-granddaughter
That’s what you would be asked if you met Margaret Edna Hill Lawson McElrath Lynn, who turned 100 on January 17, 2014. This is the story of Margaret’s life, everything she has accomplished so far, and everything she has done to inspire so many people.
Margaret began the ﬁrst of many of her careers as a teacher, in 1932 at Prairie Center School. After going to Texas State Teacher’s College in San Marcos (now Texas State) for nine months, she received her Second Grade teaching certiﬁcate and began teaching at age eighteen. She rode to school on horseback each day, and the outhouse, with it’s Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogues, was the only plumbing available.
After teaching at Prairie Center for three years she taught for four years in Collegeport, then went back to college in San Marcos and worked as a dormitory assistant while earning her degree. Upon receiving her degree in 1940, she took a job as an art teacher at Boling-Newgulf Elementary. Back then, Boling-Newgulf was the highest paying school in Texas, offering teachers $120 a month with dormitory living quarters, whereas her previous teaching jobs only paid $80 a month. During her time spent at college, Margaret had met J. Sewell Lawson, who sold insurance for the Great Southern Life Insurance Co. They secretly married in 1941, because at the time it was against the rules for a Bowling-Newgulf teacher to be married; if the school found out, she would be ﬁred. Margaret resigned from Bowling-Newgulf when she found out she was pregnant, and became a substitute teacher at a school in Houston that allowed married teachers.
When her only daughter, Edna "Peggy" Allene Lawson, was born in 1942, they moved to the country and built a home close to her parents' farm. Prairie Center School hired her soon after Peggy was born, so her mother, Donnie Ellis Hill, would take care of Peggy while Margaret taught, and bring her to the school at noon to be nursed in the car. During that time University of Houston brought classes to Palacios each week, to make it possible for teachers to get their degrees, so Margaret became an art teacher at East Side Primary in Palacios. After attending classes on Saturdays and at night, she obtained her second degree in 1953. She then moved to Bay City, taught First Grade for one year, became Pierce Primary School Principal, and remained principal for twenty-three years. Margaret was nominated Outstanding Woman of the Year in 1961, for her volunteer work and community service, re-establishing the local Girl scouts troop, establishing a Special Education program in Pierce Primary, being President of the local chapter of the Texas State Teacher’s Association, and helping establish the new concept of multi-age classrooms. In 1963 she became President of District XII TSTA as well. During those years, her husband Sewell, who was about twenty years her senior, began having multiple strokes and passed away in 1971.
After retiring as Principal of Pierce Primary School in 1976 and moving back to Palacios, everyone assumed she would settle down and live a quiet, retired lifestyle at home on the Bay. They were wrong! Over the next few years Margaret became a Palacios City Councilwoman, Mayor Pro Tem, Board of Equalization member, Municipal Judge, and Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3. ( I told you she had many careers. Margaret’s daughter, Peggy and her husband, Charlie Dean Pittman, had owned the Pittman Variety Store in Palacios until ’76, then Margaret took over the store until she could sell it for them in ’77, so that her son in-law could continue working elsewhere.
On July 17, 1980, she married Grover Lee "Dick" McElrath, who worked for Groce-Wearden. During that time they were, as she puts it, “involved in everything.” After only four years, Dick McElrath had a heart attack and passed away on May 31, 1984, but Margaret continued volunteering wherever help was needed, doing community and city work, and volunteering at the Palacios Presbyterian Church, and countless other organizations and groups.
She became a Palacios city councilwoman in 1984, a position she kept until 1989, when she was appointed Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace and resigned from her Position 2 seat on the Palacios city council. Margaret served as Justice of the Peace for the last year of the late Jack Dooley’s unexpired term, and was then appointed as a municipal judge and served in that position for over ten years, during which time she helped establish a local teen court. In 1991 she married Bill Lynn, a good friend and Palacios neighbor, and they traveled and continued volunteering for ten years, until Bill became very ill, and Margaret resigned from her many posts to take care of him. Bill passed away in 2001.
Sadly, Margaret’s only daughter, Edna "Peggy" Allene Lawson Pittman, passed away in 2009 with breast cancer. Margaret now has two grandchildren, ﬁve great-grandchildren, most likely many extended great-great-grandchildren, and a huge extended family. Her main residence is in Palacios, but she currently spends much of her time in Martindale, living in her own little house on her granddaughter’s ranch, and in Pledger, with her grandson, Charles, and his family.
Margaret considers her greatest accomplishment in life to have been about three or four years ago, when on one of her frequent visits to the local nursing homes, she met a man who had been injured in a motorcycle accident many years before and had lost his ability to speak. Over the years she taught him how to play dominoes, and visited him every week to play. Margaret’s motto is: “Do something for somebody in some way, if nothing but a phone call or a visit or a nice note, every single day.”
Margaret was born in 1914, in her grandmother’s house in Palacios, Texas. She says that when she was born, the midwife took her to a nearby window and showed her the bay, and she has been coming back to the bay ever since.
This report may
be slightly biased, as, Margaret is my great-grandmother, but I
truly believe that Margaret Edna Hill Lawson McElrath Lynn is an
amazing person and an inspiration to everyone who meets her,
because when someone meets me who knows her, that is exactly
what they tell me.
Palacios Beacon, January 29, 2014
Funeral services for Luther Orr Hill, 69, of Fulton, a former resident of Matagorda County, will be held at the Presbyterian Church in Rockport Saturday at 10 a. m.
There will be a second service at the Palacios Funeral Home at 3 p. m. Saturday with the Rev. Ward of Rockport officiating. Interment will be in the Palacios Cemetery.
Mr. Hill died Thursday afternoon in a hospital in Corpus Christi as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile collision Monday morning.
Also in the car and sustaining injuries were the wife of Mr. Hill who suffered an injury to her ankle and other bruises; his sister, Mrs. G. H. Jones of Fulton who sustained a broken jaw. Both ladies are still in the Corpus Christi hospital. Mrs. Hill is in a state of shock.
Those surviving Mr. Hill are his wife; one daughter, Mrs. J'Sewell Lawson, principal of Pierce School, Bay City, one son, Eldon L. Hill of Austin; three sisters, Mrs. M. A. White, Kingsville, Mrs. Harris Jones, Rockport and Mrs. R. L. Horn, Bay City; four brothers, W. L. of Palacios, G. J., Pearland, C. B. of St. Louis and R. S. Hill of San Antonio.
Mr. Hill was born June 15, 1888 in Jones
County, Texas. A farmer and rancher, before retirement he was a
resident of Matagorda County and made his home near Palacios for
approximately 60 years where he reared his family. He was a
member of the Presbyterian church and at the time of his death
was a deacon in the Rockport Church.
Funeral services for Donie Ellis Hill Williams, 94, of Palacios will be held 11 a. m. Friday with the Rev. W. S. "Doug" Blanton officiating. Burial will follow at Palacios Cemetery.
Mrs. Williams was born Sept. 17, 1895, to William L. and Margaret Wilson Ellis in Little Rock, Ark., and died Sept. 12, 1990 at her home.
A longtime resident of Palacios, she was a member of our First Presbyterian Church in Palacios, the Order of Eastern Star and the Wednesday Club.
Survivors include a daughter, Margaret Lawson McElrath of Palacios; a son, Eldon L. Hill of Austin; five sisters, Beatrice Sanders of Houston, Margaret Tate and Grace Smith of Palacios, Lila Morris of Selma, Ala., and Nalois Gresham of Cleveland, Texas; a brother, W. L. Ellis of Collegeport; two grandchildren, Peggy Lawson Pittman of Palacios and Jane Hill Cook of Dallas; five great-grandchildren, Charles Luther Pittman of Wharton, Sissy Pittman of Austin, Joshua Bell, Colin and Caton Cook, all of Dallas.
Pallbearers are Claire "Bill" Lynn, Robert A. Fiorini, Fred Huitt, Robert Montgomery, Richard Sanders and Leonard Lamar.
Memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Palacios or a favorite charity.
Arrangements are with Taylor Brothers Funeral Home, Palacios.
Daily Tribune, September 13?, 1990
J'Sewell Lawson, a resident of Bay City for the past 18 years, died Saturday, May 15, in Matagorda General Hospital after a lengthy illness. Funeral services will be held today at 4 p. m. at the First Presbyterian Church where Mr. Lawson was so long an active member.
A native of Rosebud, Tex., Mr. Lawson moved to Bay City and became active in the Masons, the Field Trial Association and Shriners. He was a life underwriter for Great Southern Life Insurance Co. and is remembered as being instrumental in that company's success in the area.
He leaves a widow, Mrs. Margaret Hill Lawson, principal of Pierce Primary School, three daughters, a son and many other relatives and friends.
Lawson, J'Sewell, a long-time resident of Bay City, Mason, and member of the First Presbyterian Church, passed away in Matagorda General Hospital on May 15. Services will be held on Monday, May 17 at 4:00 p. m. in the First Presbyterian Church. The Rev. W. D. O'Neal will officiate. Interment will be in Palacios Cemetery. Mr. Lawson is survived by his widow, Mrs. Margaret Hill Lawson, Bay City; three daughters, Mrs. Cynthia Ersher, San Dimas, Calif.; Mrs. Dorothy Whitford, Houston; Mrs. Peggy Pittman, Palacios; one son, J'Sewell Lawson Jr., Houston; and one sister, Mrs. Maud Wilcox of Freeport. Also, 14 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Pallbearers will be Vernon Harrison, Ralph Newsom, Frank Balusek, Frank Brittain, Frank Buffaloe and Dr. Fred Matthes. Taylor Brothers i charge of arrangements.
Daily Tribune, May 17, 1971
Funeral services for Grover Lee "Dick" McElrath, 68, of Palacios will be held 4 p. m. Friday at the First Presbyterian Church of Palacios with the Rev. D. S. "Doug" Blanton and the Rev. W. D. Baker officiating. Burial will be in Roselawn Memorial Park.
Mr. McElrath was born Nov. 8, 1915, in Hart's Horn, Okla., and died May 31, 1984, at Matagorda General Hospital. He was the son of the last Grover Cleveland McElrath and the former Stella Lee Price.
He was a member of the Presbyterian Church and a resident of Bay City from 1934-80, when he moved to Palacios. He was retired after 47 years with Groce-Wearden. Mr. McElrath was an Army veteran of World War II, a member of the Gulf Coast Shrine in Bay City, chairman of the Palacios Medical Foundation, a member of the Palacios Rotary, a member of the parks and recreation board of Palacios, a member of the Masonic Lodge A. F. & A. M. 865 in Bay City and a member of the Palacios Chamber of Commerce.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret Hill Lawson McElrath of Palacios. Other survivors include his mother, Stella Price McElrath of Bay City; three children; three grandchildren; brother, Carl McElrath of Victoria; and several nieces.
Arrangements were made with Taylor Brothers Funeral Home of Palacios.
Daily Tribune, May 31, 1984
Clair William Lynn, 81, of Palacios, Texas
died Monday, July 2, 2001. He was born November 21, 1919 in
Mason City, Ill. to the late Addison Clair and Gladys Riggins
The Daily Tribune, July 5, 2001
Bay City Tribune, Published October 12, 2008
Charlie Dean Pittman, 65, of
Palacios, Texas died October 12, 2000 at Citizen Medical Center
Hospital in Victoria, TX. He was born December 11, 1934 in
Lockhart, TX to the late Lenford C. and Lillie Mae Harris
Pittman. Mr. Pittman was a resident of Matagorda County the past
34 years, and a member of First Christian Church.
Copyright 2014 -
Present by the Hill Family
Mar. 12, 2014
Mar. 12, 2014