John Hill and Mary Ann Watson Hill

[NOTE: In addition to the article below, please also see this document on John and Mary Ann, compiled by Nancy Washburn for the 2010 Livingston Watson family reunion.]

John Hill was born on June 7, 1832, in Castlecomer, Kilkenny, Ireland. He died on February 1, 1917, in Montfort, Wisconsin. Mary Ann Watson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on December 21, 1849, and she died in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, on September 29, 1932. John was the son of William and Jane (Shore) Hill and was educated at an Episcopal school in Ireland. He came to the United States in 1860 when his parents left Ireland for a better life in America.

Mary Ann Watson and her parents Thomas Watson and Margaret Nelson Watson lived in New Orleans for several years and later in St. Louis for a year. A brief account of their life in New Orleans is documented in this article. On their way north, the steamboat on which they were traveling was destroyed by fire, and they were the only complete family to survive the ordeal.

John and Mary Ann were married on March 17, 1870, at the home of Thomas Watson, Mary Ann's father, in Clifton Township which is located in Grant County. They were married by Joseph Allen, the grandfather of Emma Carr Hill.

John and Mary Ann Hill lived on a farm southwest of Montfort, Wisconsin, until they retired in 1906 and moved into town to stay with their daughter, Bessie Hill Snyder Hannan. John Hill laid the cornerstone of the Old Rock Church in Livingston, and both he and Mary Ann are buried in the Rock Church Cemetery.

The local newspaper carried the following obituary after the death of John Hill in 1917:

Died at his home in the village of Montfort February 1, 1917, aged 84 years, 7 months, and 25 days. John Hill, youngest son of William and Jane Hill, was born in Castlecomer County, Kilkenny, Ireland, on June 7, 1832. When still a young man, he parted from his beloved mother and emigrated to America, the land of golden opportunities. He landed in Canada, staying there for two years. Then in 1856, he came to Clifton, Wis., walking from Galena to Livingston to join his brother Richard who had a family of young children. He made his home with them, purchasing an adjoining farm. During his stay there, he endeared himself to them that an abiding love existed between them and many a token of love was shown by them to their “Uncle John.” The members of this family who were able to come were present at his deathbed.

Subsequently, Mary Ann Watson Hill's obituary was printed in a local Wisconsin newspaper in 1932, as follows:

Mary Anne, second daughter of Margaret and Thomas Watson, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana December 21, 1849 and died in a hospital at Dodgeville (Wisconsin), September 29, 1932 after a lingering and painful illness. They lived in Louisiana for a few years and one year at St. Louis, Missouri. The steam boat upon which they were passengers to their new home in Wisconsin was wrecked and destroyed by fire. She with her father and mother constituted the only complete family surviving the wreck.

Children Born to John Hill and Mary Ann Watson Hill

Eleven children were born to John and Mary Ann Hill between the years 1871 and 1891, and all of their children grew to adulthood, married, and lived long and productive lives. Click on any of the names below to view information about their lives and families:

On New Year's Day in 1938 (or 1939), all eleven children gathered and posed for two group shots--one with the siblings alone and another with their spouses:

Hill children gathered in 1939 for group shot

Front Row (l-r): Mabel, Lillian, Anna, and Margaret

Back Row (l-r): Alta, Bess, Vic, Earl, Tom, Wes, and George

Hill descendants gathered for group shot in 1939, with spouses.

Front Row (l-r): Bess, Mary (George's wife), and Alta

Middle Row (l-r): Mabel, George, Lillian, Anna, and Margaret

Back Row (l-r): Vance, Vic, Earl & Cleo, Tom, Wes & Alva, Herbert