After the family moved to Tennessee, young Hill went to the public schools of Bradley County, Tenn. Later he went to the Morristown Normal and Industrial College for three years. He remained and worked on the Tennessee farm till he was grown to manhood at twenty-one. It was after this age that he went to school at Morristown, where he was under the necessity of making his own way in school. When a boy between the plow handles he had felt the call to preach the Gospel, and had never been able to get away from that early impression. When he had reached mature manhood, at about the age of 26, he gave his heart to God and yielded himself to the call to preach which had been upon him since boyhood. He was licensed and ordained in 1889, and joined the Conference at Bristol under Bishop Joyce.
On September 2, 1883, Mr. Hill married Miss Sarah Elizabeth Henderson, daughter of Washington and Margaret Henderson. Five children were born to them. Their names are, Paralee Greittiann, Leander, Ramon, Inez and James Ackerman Hill. Mr. Hill has had an active fruitful ministry and has served various charges in Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Among the places where he has preached must be mentioned two years supply work at Athens before his ordination, Dayton Station two years, Chattanooga two years, North Chattanooga Circuit, Marion, Va., one year, Abingdon two years, Wytheville two years, Christiansburg one year, Bristol two years, and Tazewell two years. He was then promoted to the district and presided over the Bristol District for six years. On returning to the pastorate he served the Greenville charge two years, Big Stone Gap one year, Cleveland two years, Freeman three years and is now in his fourth year at the Princeton Station. In addition to his work as a preacher, Mr. Hill taught school for a number of years. As a preacher, pastor or superintendent, he goes about his work with energy and enthusiasm, and at the same time with wisdom and discretion. He is the counsellor of his people and seeks to lead them along lines of right thinking and action not only from the pulpit on Sunday but steadily and constantly through his personal contact with them. As a result he has the confidence of young and old. Another thing should be said also. His relationship with his white neighbors has always been cordial, wherever he has gone, and it is not unusual for him to have attentive white hearers in his congregations.
In politics Mr. Hill is a Republican, and among the secret and benevolent orders affiliates with the Odd Fellows, the Masons, the Eastern Star and the Heroines of Jericho. He is Chaplain of the Odd Fellows and Grand Chaplain of the Masons.
Struggling up from slavery through poverty and obscurity to a place of large usefulness, Mr. Hill has not only succeeded; he has pointed the way by which other struggling boys may rise. These self-made men constitute one of the greatest assets of the race.
Mr. Hill has intimate personal knowledge of conditions among the people, and he believes that the greatest need of the race today is a practical spirit of mutual helpfulness and co-operation.
History of the American Negro Index
West Virginia History Center