REV. EDWIN STODDARD HILL, D. D.
REV. EDWIN STODDARD HILL, D. D., founder and pastor of the Congregational Church, at Atlantic, Iowa, is well known and highly esteemed for his good word and work throughout the entire State. He came to Atlantic in 1869, and organized the Congregational Church at this place with a membership of only eight persons. The first meetings were held in a little old building in which four other denominations have since started. It is yet standing, on Sixth street, and within its walls are clustered many hallowed memories. Under the pastorate of Dr. Hill, the Congregational Church of Atlantic has gradually increased in membership until it now enrolls about 350 communicants, and the church edifice is a fine building, erected at a cost of $15,000.
Dr. Hill was born in Wakeman, Huron county, Ohio, December 2, 1837. His grandfather, Isaac Hill, was a native of Connecticut, of English descent, and a farmer and blacksmith by occupation. His son, Leverett Hill, the father of our subject, was also a native of Connecticut, born in 1797, and was reared in his native State and was also by occupation a farmer. In an early day he removed to Wakeman, Huron county, Ohio, and there met Esther Strong, a native of Woodbury, Connecticut, with whom he was united in marriage. Her father, Ariel Strong, was also born in Woodbury, Connecticut, where he was engaged in farming and was also interested in a woolen-manufacturing business in that place. The Strongs were also of English descent. Lieutenant John Strong, an uncle of Mrs. Esther Hill, was a Revolutionary hero, having faithfully served his country during its struggle for independence. After their marriage Leverett and Esther Hill located on a farm in Huron county, Ohio, where the husband and father died in 1851. Later, the mother removed to Tabor, Iowa, where she died, at the age of ninety-four years. Her people were all long-lived, three of the family living to be over ninety-four years of age. They were the parents of seven children, one of whom died in infancy. Leverett B., who was a farmer by occupation, died in 1892; Edgar S. now resides in Indianola, Nebraska, where he is engaged in merchandising; Elizabeth E. is now the wife of L. E. Webb, of Tabor, Iowa; Edwin S. is the suject of this sketch; Isaac C. is a Justice of the Peace at Agency, Iowa; and Julius M. is a teacher at Tabor, Iowa.
The subject of this sketch was reared in his native place and there attended the public schools, engaging in teaching at the age of eighteen years. He then came with his mother and brothers to Tabor, Iowa, in 1856, and was one of the first students of the college located at that place. He continued in attendance at that college until 1861, when he enlisted as a private in Company A, Fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and served until the close of the war. With the exception of two, he was in all the battles in which his regiment participated, including the Arkansas river campaign, the battles of Chattanooga and Arkansas Post, the siege of Vicksburg, Lookout Mountain, Ringgold, and all the battles leading up to the capture of Atlanta; was with Sherman in his march to the sea, and in the grand review at Washington, at the close of the war. He had some very close calls, many bullets passing through his clothes, but he was never seriously injured. He was promoted from time to time, and was honorably discharged at the close of the war with the rank of Lieutenant.
On receiving his discharge Lieutenant Hill returned home and engaged in teaching at Percival, Iowa. He was ordained to the ministry in 1866, and accepted the pastorate of the Congregational Church at Grove City, Iowa. As already stated, he came to Atlantic in 1869, and has since served the church at this place, being its only pastor, which position he still holds. He received the honorary degree of D. D. from Tabor College, of Iowa, in 1889, an honor worthily bestowed.
Dr. Hill has been twice married, his first marriage, in 1865, was to Miss Mattie Treat, who soon died, leaving him one son, Sidney T., who died July 21, 1895, at his father's home. His second marriage was in 1870, when he wedded Miss Helen M. Jones, a native of Vermont, who in early life emigrated to Massachusetts, and who was educated in Oberlin College, at which she graduated, subsequently engaging in teaching, in which occupation she continued for several years.
In politics Dr. Hill is a Republican, and although he does not take an active interest in political matters he has an abiding faith in the principles of that party. In 1890 he spent four months traveling in Europe, visiting England, Scotland, Germany, Italy, Holland and France. His travels were beneficial to him, not alone in health but in knowledge acquired. The long pastorate of Mr. Hill attests his popularity in Atlantic, his church being the leading one in that city. He is an effective public speaker, a sympathizing pastor, and is loved by his congregation and by members of other churches equally as well.
From A Memorial and Biographical Record of Iowa, Volume I, Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1896, pp. 29-30. Transcribed July, 2015 by Cheryl Siebrass.