By: Mary Belle Ingram
The R. J. Hill Building situated on Block 53, N 80’ of Lot 18 at the corner of Commerce and Fourth Street in the business district of Palacios, Texas, was constructed in 1910 by Robert J. Hill. The building has had a colorful and interesting history and is now the museum for the Palacios Area Historical Association.
The Texas Historical Marker for the R. J. Hill Building was dedicated October 28, 2001. The R. J. Hill Building is on the corner of Fourth and Commerce Streets, Palacios, Texas.
Robert J. Hill was born in September of 1864, and Kate Elizabeth Briggan was born in Old Columbia, Texas, on August 13, 1866. They were married on May 24, 1894, and made their home in several coast towns until 1904, when they moved to Palacios.
In 1910 Mr. Hill built a two-story brick and stone building at the southwest corner of Commerce and Fourth Streets, and was in the mercantile business for many years. Robert J Hill served the City as Councilman and was active in many projects which helped to make Palacios grow
Mr. Hill's mother and father lived with the couple for several years before their deaths. Although the couple had no children of their own, they welcomed young people into their home. Ruth Snedaker lived with them while she attended high school, and Mrs. Hill's grand niece, Willene Shanks, also lived with them during her high school years. Many nieces and nephews never thought a summer complete without a visit to Aunt Kate and Uncle Robert at the little seaside town.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Hill were active in the First Presbyterian Church, which they joined in 19 I 6.
Mr Hill died in Corpus Christi on March 11, 1934, and Mrs. Hill died in Palacios on January 20, 1930. Their funeral services were held at the First Presbyterian Church with the Reverend George F Gillespie officiating. Burial was at the Palacios Cemetery
County, Volume II, page 243
News reached here Monday of the death of Mr. Robert J. Hill, in Corpus Christi, after an illness of some duration. The remains were shipped to Blessing, and brought to the Palacios Funeral Home, where funeral services were held Tuesday at 10 a. m., Rev. G. F. Gillespie of the Presbyterian Church officiating. Interment was made in the Palacios Cemetery under the direction of the Palacios Funeral Home, E. E. Burton, H. B. Farwell, A. J. Louderback, C. E. Pasal, Duncan Ruthven and C. W. Nester acting as pallbearers.
Mr. Hill was 69 years, 5 months and 22 days of age and had lived in Palacios a number of years, being one of the first to settle here. For some time he was engaged in the mercantile business, served the city as councilman and had been active in many ways helping to make Palacios. A little over four years ago he was preceded in death by his wife, and since that time he had been less active and the loyal support given to all civic and other organizations by he and Mrs. Hill has been greatly missed.
They had no children and Mr. Hill had no near relatives, but leaves a host of friends to mourn his passing on. Those here from out of town for the funeral were Mr. and Mrs. W. O. Parker and Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Hanson, of Freeport; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Hanson and Mrs. Robert Hanson and Mrs. Albert Reynolds, of Brazoria and Mrs. Neal, of Corpus Christi.
Palacios Beacon, March 15, 1934
Mrs. R. J. Hill died Monday, Jan. 20th, at 1:20 a. m., at her late residence in Palacios, Texas. Funeral service was held in the Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, Jan. 21st, at 10 a. m., conducted by Rev. G. F. Gillespie. Burial was in Palacios cemetery according to the ritual of the Easter Star.
Kate Elizabeth Briggan was born in Old Columbia, Texas, August 13, 1866. She was married to Robert J. Hill May 24, 1894. They made their home in several of the coast towns until 1904, when they moved to Palacios.
Mrs. Hill was reared in the Episcopal Church, but united with the Presbyterian church in Palacios in 1916, to which organization she gave enthusiastic service. Her christianity was very practical and real.
Mrs. Hill was one of the unofficial hostesses of the pioneer times in Palacios. The writer arrived in Palacios Saturday evening, Oct. 22, 1905 and promptly on Sunday afternoon Capt. and Mrs. Hill invited us for a sail on the "Novice" that most comfortable and fastest sail boat that has ever been on this bay. An enumeration of Mrs. Hill's hospitality and kindly thoughtfulness would be a recital of a large part of the social and philanthropic history of Palacios.
It was her joy to tenderly and lovingly care for both Mr. Hill's mother and her own father for many years before their death. Then her mother-heart went out to a young girl, Ruth Snedaker, to whom she gave a pleasant home and motherly care while Ruth attended High School.
After Ruth's graduation, Mrs. Hill's grand niece Willene Shanks found a loving welcome into her home through her high school years. During these years the high school young people always had a pleasant rendezvous at Mrs. Hill's home because of her genuine cordiality.
The many nieces and nephews never thought a summer complete without a reunion with Aunt Kate and Uncle Robert.
To try to tell of her charitable deeds to those in need would be in the nature of betraying a confidence for modesty was one of Mrs. Hill's most noticeable characteristics. Her attitude toward loved ones, home, friends, church and city was one unswerving devotion and loyalty.
There is a subtle tie among the pioneers of Palacios forged in the lives of enthusiasm of a few united people working together to bring to this sunny end of a cow trail an incorporation, a Public School, the Academy, the B. Y. P. U. Encampment, water works, a bank, electric lights, cement sidewalks and some shelled streets. Elder, Wildman, J. T. Price, Mr. and Mrs. Doss and now Mrs. Hill have gone and we are still camping on sadly miss the close companionship and firm friendships.
The sincere sympathy of her large circle of friends is extended to her dear husband and other relatives.
Card of Thanks
We desire to express our deepest thanks to the neighbors and friends for their many acts of kindness and words of sympathy given to us during our grief caused by the death of our beloved wife, sister and aunt, and especially do we wish to thank those who sent such beautiful floral offerings.
R. J. Hill
Palacios Beacon, January 23, 1930
Copyright 2009 -
Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
Mar. 5, 2009
Nov. 4, 2011