The Life and Times of John Freemont Hill
William Hill, father of John, was a direct descendant of John Hill of Dover, New Hampshire, who was born in England in 1624. Mariam Leighton Hill, mother of John, was the daughter of Andrew Pepperell Leighton of Eliot; a state representative and senator for many years. John’s grandmother, Sarah Odiorne, was a direct descendant of John Mason, the original grantee of the province of New Hampshire.
John attended school at the old #2 on Stacey Hill, very near to his home and Berwick Academy as well as the Putman School in Newburyport, Mass. before he studied medicine in the Maine Medical School in Brunswick and Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y. John first practiced medicine at Boothbay Harbor, Maine for only one year before embarking on a business career.
At first, he went into the publishing business with a Mr. Vickery, a large firm. Later, he got involved in railroads and electrical railroads; the newest means of transportation at the turn of the century. He later got involved in the banking business with great success.
Elected in 1889 to represent Augusta in the legislature, he served for four years on the banking and railroad committees and for two years chaired the House Committee on railroads.
He married Lizzie Vickery, his partner’s daughter in 1880 and they had one child, Percy. Widowed in 1893, he took a second wife, Laura Ligget, in St. Louis in 1897.
He was a staunch republican and became a power in state politics in the 1890’s. Nominated by acclamation, he served as a senator for Kennebec County for six years, 1892 to 1897. He was honored as a presidential elector in 1986 when William McKinley was elected president.
In September 1900, John F. Hill was elected governor, inaugurated in January 1901. He and his family lived in a private house, which today is called “The Blaine House”, a state owned home of the governor.
In the residential center of the capitol, he built at a great expense, a handsome and “commodious” residence of St. Louis brick trimmed with Maine granite, one of the finest in New England.
He was a member of the Pepperell Society, Society of the Mayflower Descendants and the Maine Historical Society. He was always interested in genealogy and in the history of his native town. He was instrumental in the publishing of “Old Kittery and Her Families” by Stackpole.
Gov. Hill died at the age of 56 on March 12, 1912. Today, we have a road bearing his name. “Gov. Hill Road” lies just off route #103 at the base of Stacy Hill. The Eliot Grange is also named the “John F. Hill Grange 193”.
(After the Town committee that served on the “Centennial Week” or “Old Home Week” was finished, they installed a tablet in stone, in memory of the ex-governor at his residence on Gov. Hill Road.)
Mrs. Hill was the person who purchased and had installed six more historic plaques in memory of her late husband, ex-Governor John F. Hill, and had them installed in the proper areas in the town.
John F. Hill was born October 29, 1855 and died on March 12, 1912.