Francis Marion Hill (1857-1919) and Sarah Rebecca Wilson (1870-1957)

Picture of Sarah sent by Cara Pierce, her great great granddaughter

Francis Marion Hill was born in May 1857 in Cisne, Wayne Co., Illinois. According to the file in the retirement home in Prescott where she died in the late fifties, her husband had died on March 19, 1919. We have believed that he died in Socorro, NM. A letter from Sarah written on June 6, 1920 from the Silver King Mining District in Superior, Arizona she refers to herself as a widow. For his genealogy see the Hill Family Genealogy page.

This branch of the Hill family moved into Socorro County, New Mexico in the 1880s, where Francis Marion married Sarah Rebecca Wilson in Socorro City on November 4, 1885. Marty obtained a copy of their marriage certificate. Marty never found Francis M. Hill on the 1880 census.

New Mexico Ancestor Chairman Ernie Jaskolski has informed me that he has found a marriage announcement for Frank Hill and Sarah Wilson in the Socorro Bullion of 7 Nov 1885. It reads as follows: Married. At the residence of Mr. Robert Benn of this city, Mr. Frank Hill was united in the holy bonds of matrimony to Miss Sarah Wilson, a charming young lady and a sister of Mrs. Benn. Mr. Hill is an old-time miner who worked in Water Canon as early as 1880. We wish the twain all the happiness to be found in a happy union. Justice Curtin performed the ceremony.

Sarah had been born on January 24, 1870 in Mexico, Audrain Co., Missouri and so was 15 at the time she married. She died on June 22, 1957 in Prescott, Arizona and was buried in the Pioneer's Home Cemetery. Her parents were Robert Wilson and Diadema Ward from Indiana.

Marty never found Francis M. Hill in the 1880 census.

The 1885 Census shows Sarah R. Wilson married to Francis Marion Hill in Socorro. It shows Samuel C. Wilson and his sister Zelah J. Wilson living near to the Hills. A special New Mexico census earlier in 1885 had Sarah and Francis living in separate locations in Socorro. In that census Francis Marion Hill was living with James M. Hill.

According to Marty's research, James M. Hill, brother of Francis Marion, was born December 25, 1838 in Wayne Co. TN and died in Socorro NM in August 6, 1901. Marty believes that he found him living in Logan, KS. The 1880 census gives James M. Hill age 41, born TN, father born TN, mother AL near other family members.

He applied for veteran's benefits as a Civil War soldier (application number 1096284). According to this file, he was born in Wayne, Co. He enrolled in Co. G 62 of the Regiment of Illinois volunteers on December 22, 1861 commanded by Capt. Garretson. He was honorably discharged in Springfield, Illinois on May 2, 1865 because his term had expired. He held the ranks of corporal and sergeant.

His second wife was Lida L. Lasly, who died May 28, 1894. They were married July 4, 1886 by John Curtin, Justice of the Peace, in Socorro, NM. He had previously been married to Malinda J. White who died February 9, 1876 is Cisne, Illinois. His children were W. H. Hill, born November 7, 1867; John W. Hill, April 2, 1872; James M. Hill born June 25, 1890, Socorro NM. Willard went to New Mexico and was the legal guardian of his half brother James M. Hill Jr. upon his father's death in 1901.

I have obtained a death certificate for Willard Homer Hill, who was born to J. M. Hill (birthplace unknown) and Melinda White Hill (birthplace unknown) in Flora, Illinois on May 18, 1867. He had lived in the community for 67 years (meaning he came at about the age of 15 years old in about 1881). He was male, white and the widower of May L. Berry. He was a clerk in a hotel grocery. He died at the age of 82 years in a rural area of Socorro County of Chronic Myocarditis on at 1:08 pm on November 27, 1948. The informant was records of D.P.W. (Department of Public Works???) in Socorro NM. He was buried on November 29, 1948 on a K of P plot Socorro NM. The funeral director was French Fitzgerald Mortuary.

At age 22, James M. Hill was 5'9", light complected, had hazel eyes, light hair. In May 1862, he suffered from Parotitis, in 1863 from typhoid fever.

On February 24, 1892, he was 53 years old, 5'9", light complected, with light hair and hazel eyes. He suffered for a catarrh in the head and indigestion.

In June 1892, he was 52 years old, 5' 8 1/2" tall and weighed 190 pounds. (I see the inconsistency, but that is what the records say). He suffered from a catarrh in the head, indigestion, heart trouble, kidney trouble, general debility, deafness of the right ear. His pulse rate was 72, respiration 18. He suffered from a chronic nasal catarrh, had hyperplasia of his mucus membrae, continual ditress in the nose. Frontal headache inflamed and enlarged tonsils. Pharynx congested and white mucus parches. Upon stooping he had vertigo , eyes weak and inflamed, indigestion, bad bitter taste in his mouth. In the morning his stomach was swollen and tender, throat dry, appetite perverted. Liver turpid, tender upon pressure, pain in right shoulder, bowels swollen, consipated, complains of flatuency. Has enlarged prostate gland. Neck of bladder inflamed, retention of urine. Has burning sensation when passing his urine. It is high colored. It has brick dust deposit. Specific gravity is 1013, traces of albumen, but no sugar.

In August 1893, he was 55 years old, 5' 8 1/2" tall, and weighed 200 pounds. His pulse rate was 120, respiration 20. The report says that he was a man of magnificent physique, stout and hearty with a ruddy complexion. His hair was dark brown and abundant. His tongue clean and healthy. He looked to be about 45. Throat was normal. There was no indication of catarrh whatever. His stomach, liver and abdomen were normal. There were no objective sign of dyspepsia. All his jonts, muscles and tendons were normal and he could hear ordinary tones of voice at a distance of 10 feet with either ear. Specific gravity of his urine was 1018, no albumen or sugar. Area of cardiac dullness had increased. The impulse is strong and thumping. There is a systolic murmur with the first sound and action was very rapid. He couldn't stoop over without having vertigo and falling. The condition of his heart was considered very serious. He had no other disability.

The Hill family went on to mine copper in the Magdalena section of the county.

A book entitled The Territorial History of Socorro, New Mexico by Bruce Ashcroft published by the University of Texas at El Paso in 1988 gives a good picture of Socorro at the time. He tells how during the 1880s Socorro enjoyed a boom period unequaled in the city's history. A quiet farming village of about five hundred people before the Civil War was transformed with the discovery of gold and silver in the nearby mountains. By April 1880 the population was 1,272 and the railroad had reached Socorro. By the end of November Socorro's population was estimated to be nearly 2,500. Miners, speculators, businessmen, and visitors arrived by the thousands. Some explored the mountains seeking precious minerals, and, during a six-month period in 1881, filed three thousand claims in the Socorro County courthouse".

Socorro in the 1880s, writes Ashcroft, was a thriving, vibrant city entranced with its own self-importance and dreaming of becoming another Denver... the highest official count during the boom town era was 4,074, recorded in 1885. He cites a letter: "Socorro, for some months past, has had the reputation of being one of the hardest places in the state. The mines have many hard characters, and others, worse than the worst of the miners, are prowling in the vicinity and lodging in the mountains.... As to society, there is none, as the new comers are all strangers to each other. But, calling the saloon gatherings a reliable indication of home life, one would infer that the whole community is hell bent. Twenty of thirty of those places are filled, night and day, with as rough a human element as one can imagine, each man having a revolver stuck in his belt ready for instant service...."

Ashcroft tells how in connection with the saloons, once numbering more than forty, gambling, prostitution, and opium use abounded.

According to him, this lasted until about the summer of 1894. The town of Magdalena, however, experienced a second mining boom in the early 1900s, with nearly four million dollars' worth of zinc produced there between 1903 and 1910. By 1910 Magdalena's population nearly equalled that of Socorro. Mining booms in nearby districts drew many of Socorro's prospectors. For those who thought of Socorro as just one more stop along the road from mining camp to mining camp, the lure of booms such as that at Lake Valley must have been irresistible, says Ashcroft.

When one compares what Ashcroft says with the dates and places of birth of the Hill's children given below, it looks as if the family was following the booms. This is likely to be what took them to Arizona as well. There is reason to believe that Sarah's family had been involved in mining in Missouri.

The 1900 Census for Precinct 1 of Socorro County, NM (enumeration district no. 135/85) lists Francis M. as a 43 year old gold and silver miner married to Sarah R. for 15 years with 4 children. He is given as born in May 1857 in Illinois with his father from Tennessee and his mother from Alabama. Sarah is given as 30 years old and born in June 1870 in Missouri, her parents being from Missouri.

The 1910 Census of Kelly Precinct 11, D. Forest, Magdalena, gives Francis M. as the head of the household given above, born in Illinois, father born in Tennessee and mother in Alabama. He is listed as a miner. Sarah is listed as born in Missouri and her parents in Indiana. Census of Socorro Co., NM. 1910 (Enumeration district no. 51/986/ sheet 23 or 73).

According 1910 census information on Francis M. and his family were living in Magdalena, Socorro County, New Mexico. The siblings of Herbert, born on September 23, 1904 in Magdalena, Socorro, NM, were:

Charles Francis Hill born in September 1886 in Lake Valley, Sierra County, New Mexico.

Robert Marion Hill born on June 15, 1892 in Lake Valley, Sierra County, New Mexico; (SSDI says he was born in 1891)

Arthur G. Hill born Feb 1893, Lake Valley, Sierra County, New Mexico;

David N. Hill, born Dec. 1899 in Magdalena;

Milton D. born in 1900 in Magdalena;

There is more information about these children below.

The web site: tells about and has pictures of Lake Valley, where three of the Hill children were born between 1886 and 1893 (Charles Francis, September 1886; Robert Marion Hill, June 15, 1892; Arthur G. Hill, Feb 1893). It says that few people had ever heard of Lake Valley before 1878, when a blacksmith name John Leavitt discovered "the most fabulous lode of silver the world has ever known. It was a hollow in the hillside with walls of very pure silver. Lake Valley was first called Daly and named for ancient lake beds nearby. It was founded with the discovery of silver in the area in August 1878. The town moved twice before settling at its present site in 1882. A stage stop and railhead, Lake Valley grew to 4,000, with 12 saloons, three churches, two newspapers, a school, stores, hotels, stamp mills and smelters. The 1893 silver panic wiped it out and a fire destroyed the main street in 1895. The post office closed in 1954 and the last residents left in 1994. A schoolhouse, built in 1904, a chapel and some old homes and railroad buildings still stand. There is an interesting cemetery.

The family then apparently moved to Magdalena, where David was born in December 1899, Milton in 1900, and Herbert in September 1904. As noted above that is where they were at the time of the 1910 census. According to the web site, Magdalena officially became a town in 1884 and saw its heydey as a busy cattle town during the first quarter of the 20th century. First soldiers came and set up small forts in the mid-1800s to protect the early traders and settlers from Indians. The spur line from Socorro opened in 1885 Mining started in about 1886. The area produced 50 to 60 million dollars of lead, zinc, copper, and gold ore between 1886 and 1945.

Francis Marion died in Socorro on March 19, 1919 and by 1920 many of the Hills were in Arizona, including Herbert. A card from the 1920 census, vol. 4 e.d. 50 sheet 2 line 75, gives Sarah R. Hill as the head of household. Her color is white, age 49, birthplace Missouri. Her address is: 909 Live Oak Street, Miami, Gila County, Arizona. the other members of the family listed are Herbert D. Hill (note the D!), son 15 born in New Mexico. Elsie V. Hill, Granddaughter, 5, born in New Mexico. Marion A. granddaughter, 4 years and four months, born in New Mexico. Ruth E., Daughter in law, 20, born in Colorado. Eva 2 years and 10 months born in New Mexico.

The Arizona State Archives sent me copies of letters that Sarah addressed to Governor Mc Farland. On May 25, 1956, she wrote: Dear Sir. I received your letter and I wrote to you about 2 years ago and put my name in you said then there was about 60 names ahead of me now you say there is 80 how does it come that I am getting farther away all the time you better have some one ??? things ???

Very Sincerely, Sarah R. Hill, Box 1984, Prescott, Ariz.

Another letter, with no date, reads Governor Mc Farland, I am an old woman 87 years old in Jan. I was sick a long time at the Hospital and the Welfare Board took my pension away while I was there. Now I have no income and almost broke. I want you to help me get it back or help me get into the Pioneer home soon as I will need some place to go. Please let me know what you can do soon. Very sincerely, your friend, Sarah R. Hill, P. O. Box 65, Chino Valley, Arizona.

The Arizona State Archives have sent me a letter written to Governor Howard Pyle, no date (don't mind the errors) on her behalf: We wish to submit the following information in reply to your request of November 16, 1854. Mrs. Hill was born January 24, 1870 in Mexico City, Missouri. She was married to Charles F. Hill on November 4, 1885 at Socorro, N. M. Two sons, Robert and Arthur, were born to this union. Mr. Hill died March 19, 1919 at Socorro, N. M. and three months later Mrs. Hill moved to Arizona where she has resided continuously since that time. She owns a small house built a room at a time, largely by her own labor. The house is located on two lots at the edge of town. it has an assessed value of $345.00 and probably could not be rented for more than $15.00 or $20.00 per month. There is no income from the property at the present time and if she sold the property, the money received would only be sufficient to care for her for only a few months, as there continues to be a sewer assessment of several hundred dollars against the property. Mrs. Hill's only income consists of her Old Age Assistance grant of $70.00 per month. We believe that Mrs. Hill meets the eligibility requirements regarding age, citizenship and residence for admittance to the Pioneers' Home. Please advise us if we can be of further service. Signed by Helen Keaton, Social Worker.

A letter to Governor McFarland dated December 20, 1956 reads: We have received a complete report on the situation of the above woman who wrote you concerning her present need. The Yavapai County records show that on November 6, 1956, Mrs. Hill transferred to her son her property which, according to the assessed valuation exceeds $800.00 in market value. Because of this action by Mrs. Hill it was ncessary to discontinue her Old Age Assistance grant to comply with State statutes... which declare a person ineligible for Old Age Assistance if property is transferred by the applicant to recipient without receiveing fair consideration. The case worker has advised Mrs. Hill as to the procedure which she can follow regarding re-transfer of the property to her by her son in order to comply with the aboved mentioned statute. With regard to Mrs. Hill's request for admission into the Pioneers Home the county records show that the necessary information on her was furnished to you office on November 19, 1954 and again on May 23, 1956 at your request. They feel that her admission into the Pioneers Home would be the possible solution ot her problem. We hope that this information with help you in further correspondence with Mrs. Hill.

The is also an application for admission to the Home for Aged and Infirm Arizona Pioneers.

Sarah died at 7:35 am June 22, 1957 in Prescott, Yavapai Co., Arizona. Her death certificate says that she had resided in the Arizona Pioneer Home in Prescott for two weeks and had resided in Arizona for 75 years. Her usual residence was listed as Chino Valley in Yavapai Co. Arizona. It lists her as widowed. No spouse is named. She was listed as a housewife of 87 years who had been born in Missouri. She died of Uremia due to Nephrosclerosis due to Arteriosclerosis, senile. She was buried on June 25, 1957 in Pioneer Cemetery in Prescott, AR.

The Arizona State Archives sent me a newspaper clipping about her death. It reads: Sarah R. Hill, Longtime State Resident, Dies. Mrs. Sarah R. Hill, who came to the end of the Santa Fe line in 1882 to live with her mother who was telegrapher for the railroad died Saturday at the Pioneers Home. She lived at Cosnino, which was then the end of the railroad during construction days. She was born January 24, 1870 in Mexico, Mo., but had lived in Arizona for 75 years. Funeral services will be held at 10 am Tuesday at the Ruffner chapel. The Rev. Carl Magnuson will officiate and burial will be in the Pioneers Cemetery. She is survived by a son, Robert Hill of Chino Valley.

A card about her sent by the Arizona State Archives lists her as an 87 year old widow, born January 24, 1870 in Mexico, Missouri. Her religion is listed as Protestant. Her father is given as Robert Wilson, born in Indiana and her mother Diadena Ward, born in Indiana. She was to have arrived in Arizona in 1882 in Casa Nina, near Flagstaff. She was admitted to the Pioneers Home on May 29, 1957 and arrived there on June 1, 1957. To be notified was her son Robert M. Hill, Box 65, Chino Valley. Telephone, Valley Center Store. Elsie Jean, Granddaughter, her husband works at Christmas Mine, Winkelman, Arizona. Granddaughter Mrs. Wesley Yondel, housewife. Deceased June 22, 1957.

Her tombstone in Arizona Pioneer Cemetery, Yavapai County, Arizona is online. It reads "Sara R. Hill" 1870-1957". The page says that she was born January 24, 1870 in Mexico, Missouri and died June 22, 1957 in Prescott, Arizona, d/o Robert and Diadena (Ward).

About Francis Marion's and Sara Rebeccas's children:

Charles F., born September 1886 in Lake Valley, Sierra Co., New Mexico died of cancer in May 1920 in Globe, Arizona. The Arizona State Archives have sent me a copy of his death certificate. His death occurred at the County Hospital on May 16, 1920. He was male, white, married and 33 years old at the time of his death. He was a Miner, born in New Mexico to Francis M. Hill, born in Ill. and Sarah R. Wilson, born in Miss. The Informant was Robert M. Hill of Superior, Arizona. He was buried in Globe, Arizona on May 20, 1920. The doctor certified that he had attended the deceased from April 1, 1920 and last saw him alive on May 15, 1920 and that the cause of death was an intestinal tumor of two years duration.

Obituary from the Seminole Producer, OK January 2004 for a daughter of Charles F. Hill and Gladys Thornton Hill

Graveside services for long-time Seminole County resident, Marion Alta (Hill) Banta of Maud are scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 9 at the Cummings Cemetery in Maud with Rev. Tim Martin officiating.

Services are under the direction of Knight-Swearingen Funeral Home of Maud.

Banta died Sunday, Dec. 28, 2003, at the age of 83 at Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma City. She was born Aug. 8, 1915, in New Mexico to Charles Hill and Gladys (Thorton) Hill.

She was married to Jack Banta who preceded her in death.

She was a homemaker.She lived in Maud for the past 20 years, moving from Arizona.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jack on March 30, 1988, one brother Carl Hill in Nov. 1988, and one sister, Elsie Cross in July 1988.

She is survived by one nephew, Carl Cook; one great niece, Cara Pierce, and three great nephews, Michael Cook, Robert Cook and Bryan Cook, all of Oklahoma City.

Cara has informed me the Marion Alta Hill Banta had 4 babies that all died at birth and her brother Carl Hill was not able to have children.

Robert Marion, born June 15, 1892, in Lake Valley, Sierra Co., New Mexico. My great aunt Georgia Belle Nichols gave me a picture of him dating from the mid 1920s. She also told me that he had been living in Chino Valley, Arizona. I called the postmaster who said that his niece, Elsie Cross, had come and gotten him. I called her. She said that he was completely senile and living with her in Oklahoma. That was in about 1982. He died there on February 20, 1983.Robert was buried in Chino Valley Cemetery in Yavapai County Arizona. His tombstone is online! According to it he was born June 15, 1891 and died February 20, 1983. He was the husband of Gladys Ida Shew. It says that he served in the US Army in World War I. There is also a tombstone for Gladys Ida Hill born July 12, 1895 and died January 13 1992. I think this is an error. Elsewhere she is given as born in Porterville, California and died in 1962.

Arthur G., born February 1893, in Lake Valley, Sierra Co., New Mexico. He died October 12, 1950 and is buried in the Prescott National Cemetery, Yavapai County, Arizona, plot 5 1/5 H. His tombstone is online. According to it he was Pvt 1st Cl., 109 Engineers 34 Div. World War I. His dates are February 27, 1893 to October 12, 1950. In 1929, his brother Herbert, then working at the San Fernando Veteran's Hospital, gave his brother Arthur G. Hill as living in Grass Valley, California.

Arthur's death certificate can also be acquired online. From it we learn that he died at 12:25 am from a severe trauma to the brain due to a self inflicted gun shot wound right temple region. The injury took place On October 11, 1950 at 3:50 pm in a parking lot and he died at Whipple Veteran's Administration Center where Herbert had worked. He suffered for 9 hours before succumbing. The death certificate describes him as a white male born February 27, 1893 and thus 56 years 7 months and 14 days old. He was born in New Mexico to Francis Hill, born in Illinois and Sarah Wilson born in Missouri. It says that he had lived in Arizona for 32 years. He had served in the armed forces from June 28, 1918-July 5, 1919. His address was box 65, Chino Valley. It says that he was widowed. His occupation is given as miner.

The National Archives and Records Administration sent me some information about him. He served in the US Army, service number 3 658 091, from June 28,1918-July 5, 1919. He was discharged and was Private First Class. He was in Company B 109th Engineer 34th Division. He was awarded the World War 1 Victory Button (Bronze), World War I Victory Medal. He entered in Prescott, AZ.

David N., born December 1899 in Lake Valley, Sierra Co., New Mexico

Milton D. born in 1900 in Magdalena, N.M. and died in Socorro, NM 1918 at the age of 16.

Herbert Bradford Hill, born on September 23, 1904 in Magdalena, Socorro Co., NM. On his sons' birth certificates he is listed as a pharmacist.

Sharlott Hall Library in Prescott sent me copies of the Hill pages of the City Directories for 1923, 1925, 1926 and 1928. In 1923 Herbert B Hill was listed as an attendant at Whipple Barracks. I don't see anyone else who would be a relation. In 1925, he is listed as an attendant at Whipple Barracks. Lorena's name is given and their home address is given as 431 S. Montezuma (that's two numbers down from 429 S. Montezuma, the Nichols' address in 1919. Sarah R. Hill (widow of F M) is listed with the home address 535 E. Sheldon. In 1926 he is listed as an asst pharmacist at Whipple Barracks, wife Lorena, with the address 142 N. Summit. Sarah's address is given as 412 Sheldon. In 1928, he is given as an asst pharmacist at Whipple Barracks, wife Lorena. His brother Robert M is given as a Miner living at 726 E. Willis and Sarah, widow of F M, is given as living at the same address.

I wrote to for Herbert's personnel file and was sent about 250 pages containing plenty of facts. He is not a total mystery any more.