Biography of Hon. Robert C. Hill

HON. ROBERT C. HILL. – Mr. Hill, one of the most responsible men of Washington, and a pioneer of an early day, was born in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, September 14, 1829, the son of Doctor John Hill, his mother’s maiden name having been Eliza L. Davis. At the age of seven he moved with his parents to Philadelphia, and received his education at the excellent grammar and high schools of that city. He entered upon a business career as clerk in a wholesale dry-goods store in the city, and followed that occupation four years. In 1848 he removed with his parents to New Jersey.

In 1850, with his father and two brothers, he came to the new empire on the Pacific shore, making the trip via Panama, and arriving in San Francisco on board the steamer New World in July. In partnership with his father he opened a lumber yard at that city, and a year later tried the fortunes and vicissitudes of life in the mines, but shortly afterwards accepted a position as manager of the ranch of his brother in Sonoma valley. Seeking for something better to the north, he arrived at Whidby Island in February, 1853, and found located there his brothers Nathaniel D. and Humphrey, who had located in the fall of 1852. He took an adjoining place, and with them went to the Indian war. In 1862 he returned to California, and in that state and in Nevada engaged in the hazardous business of mining, remaining thus occupied with the exception of one year spent at the East, until 1867. Coming back to Whidby in that year, he lived there an active and useful life, until in 1882 he broadened his business connections by a removal to Fort Townsend, and establishing with Colonel Henry Landes the First National Bank. In that city he has a large property interest, and is always ready to assist in undertakings which work to the advantage of the place, ever preserving a clear and large business outlook.

In public positions of trust and responsibility, Mr. Hill has been much sought, having been appointed, by Judge Fitzhugh, clerk of the United States district court of the third judicial district, and in 1869 was elected auditor and probate judge of Island county, holding that position until by reason of his removal to Port Townsend he was obliged to resign.  A Democrat, he has of late years engaged in politics, only with a view to the conservation of the public good, and without personal ambition for office.

He was married at Olympia, February 21, 1875, to Miss Elizabeth Philipps, a native of Canada, and has a family of three children. We insert here with great pleasure the portrait of Mr. Hill as a man upon whose sagacity and public spirit the people of the Lower Sound greatly rely.


History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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