Hon. David G. Hill biography

HON. DAVID G. HILL, recognized as one of the political leaders of the state and one of the oldest members of the bar of Abilene, was born in Fayette county, Texas, August 12, 1858, his parents being M. H. and Mary (Knox) Hill, both natives of Missouri. With other prominent families of that state they became early settlers of Texas, arriving here about 1840, at which time they established their home in Fayette county. They reared a family of two sons and five daughters, all of whom are yet living. The father, however, died in 1888, having long made his home there and reared his family upon the ranch. He was a farmer and dealer in stock and his business grew to extensive and profitable proportions. His widow survived until 1902 and passed away in San Angelo at the home of her daughter, Mrs. C. H. Powell.

David G. Hill was reared upon his father’s farm, where he remained until about eighteen or nineteen years of age. He was educated in the private schools of the country and at Trinity, Limestone county, Texas, where he pursued his studies for about three years, entering in the fall of 1875 and remaining there until 1878. His literary education having been completed he entered upon the study of law at Brenham, Texas, reading with different attorneys there, and in 1880 he was admitted to the bar at Brenham.

Judge Hill began practice in LaGrange, Fayette county, where he continued for about a year, and in September, 1881, came to Abilene, where he opened a law office in connection with S. W. Johnston. The partnership continued for only about six months, however, after which Judge Hill was in practice alone until the November election of 1882, when he was elected county attorney for a term of two years. In the fall of 1884 he was elected district attorney for the forty-second district, comprising thirty-two counties, only fourteen of which were regularly organized, however, at that time, the others being attached for judicial purposes. He continued to fill that position until the summer of 1886, when he resigned because of ill health. When the county seat of Taylor county was removed from Buffalo Gap to Abilene, a city form of government had not been developed, and Judge Hill took care of the first ordinance and served for about six or eight months as alderman. This was before an election could be held and he acted in that capacity until the town government had been so directed that an election of officers could be had. After resigning the district attorneyship he resumed the practice of law, in which he continued until elected to the county bench in 1890 and with the exception of a period of six months he has continuously served from that time to the present, covering fifteen years. In 1900 he declined to be a candidate and C. M. Christenberry was elected but died in office about the 1st of May, 1901, at which time Judge Hill was appointed by the commissioner of the court to fill out the unexpired term, and in 1902 he was again elected, since which time he has occupied the position. During each successive year of his administration he was appointed by the commissioner of court to the office of county superintendent of public instruction and with the exception of one year has served continuously in that position.

Judge Hill was in Abilene when it was city of tents and has seen it develop to its present prosperous condition, having every modern convenience and every indication of an advanced civilization. He has been before the city almost constantly in public office and his record is one over which there falls no shadow or suspicious of evil. He has been one of the stockholders of the Citizens’ National Bank of Abilene and is also interested in ranching, having valuable landed holdings in the southwest of Taylor county, devoted to the raising of cattle. His fraternal relations are with the Odd Fellows and Elks, belonging to both lodges in Abilene.

On the 4th of December, 1884, Judge Hill was married to Miss Lucerne Campbell, of Tuskegee, Alabama, and they have six children, three sons and three daughters.

Judge Hill is well known as one of the prominent Democratic leaders of the state and his interest in political matters is deep and sincere. He has a statesman’s grasp of affairs and is thoroughly informed concerning the great issues which divide the two parties. He was a delegate to the Democratic state convention in Dallas, in 1896, and served as a member of the platform and resolutions committees which settled the differences between the Clark and Hogg factions of the party. He is to-day one of the oldest members of the Abilene bar, a man of sound judgment, well versed in the law and a speaker of superior oratorical power and force. His decisions are notable examples of judicial soundness, based upon a careful understanding of the points in litigation and of the law applicable thereto and it is seldom that his opinions are reversed by the higher courts. The cause of education has ever found in him a champion and he has taken an active and helpful interest in the schools of county which have prospered under his guidance, and rank with the best in the state. His constant aim is for improvement and he arrives to obtain and maintain a spirit of harmony among the educational friends of the county.

Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 354-355.