Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Page From Annie's Autograph Book - HDCW Hill


Miss Brown:
            Borne on times tempestuous way:
            Rolling surges hast the day;
            On to that last flickering ray;
            Wilt thou not as a friend O say!
            Note FEI, and skating day!

                                      Truly your friend,
FEI March 4th 1863        HDWC Hill
                                        Schroon Lake
                                               NY


Henry Dollitt W. Christon Hill, was born in Schroon, Essex County, New York in 1939, the third child of Gilson and Harrietta Hill.

On the 1850 census, we find Gilson (30), Harrietta (30), George G (18), Mary S (16) and Henry DWC (11), living in Schroon, Essex County, New York on the Hill's farm. On the 1860 census 11 year old Rosetta M. has joined the family.

March of 1863 we find Henry DWC Hill attending Fort Edward Institute with Annie Brown in Fort Edward, New York. He is 24 years old, and Annie is 19. His signature page in Annie's Autograph Book is written in prose, each line beginning with the letters of her last name.  It is a charming prose, and I can't help wondering what happened at "skating day?"

A year and a half later, August 29, 1864, a 25 year old Henry enlisted at Plattsburg, New York as a Private into 142nd Infantry, Company H to serve for one year. He was wounded in the neck during the "Battle of Fair Oaks & Darbytown Road" also known as the "Second Battle of Fair Oaks" in Virginia on October 27, 1864. During the 2-day battle, the Union had 1,603 deaths and casualties, while the Confederates only had 100. Henry was lucky to just be injured in the neck. He and his entire Company mustered out on June 7, 1865, at Raleigh, North Carolina.


According to his Military Records, Henry was 6 feet tall, with a dark complexion, blue eyes and brown hair. He listed his previous occupation as "student" on his war records, and he must have continued his education after he mustered out, because in the Lawyers Record and Official Register of the United States, published in 1872, Henry was admitted to the Schenectady New York Law Registry on April 7, 1869.

Between 1865 and 1870 Henry married Edna Jennie [last name not known]. In the 1870 census we find Henry, Edna and baby Harry living in Whitehall, Washington, New York, where Henry worked as a lawyer and Edna kept house. Henry was obviously doing quite well as the census shows him with Real Estate valued at $2000 and personal property also valued at $2000. A fortune in 1870. An internet search for HDWC Hill + Lawyer returns many examples of his work as a lawyer. On the 1880 census the family has added 4 year old Newton.

I haven't found much else about good ol' skating Henry, though I did find two personal genealogy family trees that list his year of death as 1899.


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