Burritt H. Hill. Men of force are found in every prosperous community who by reason of their natural ability, by their capacity for handling large enterprises, by the use of their brains and the soundness of their judgment, attain distinction and acquire authority. Working industriously toward a given goal, in helping themselves these men add to the welfare and prosperity of their city, and their efforts not only bring into being the substantial industries that support commerce, but conduct them along the safe and sane channels which assure public progress and general contentment. In Wilson County one of the men of this class is found in the person of Burritt H. Hill. Mr. Hill is a successful business man and vice president of the First National Bank of Neodesha, but also he is one of the public-spirited citizens who have helped the community to grow and develop, having merged the two characters of business man and citizen into a fine combination that is well worthy of emulation.
Burritt H. Hill was born at Neodesha, Wilson County, Kansas, July 10, 1873, and is a son of William and Ellen Clark (Maxwell) Hill. His grandfather, James Hill, was born in 1810, near Glasgow, Scotland, emigrated to the United States in 1844, became a pioneer of Ohio and Wisconsin, where he engaged in farming and as a millwright, and died at Baraboo, in the latter state, in 1893. William Hill was born October 18, 1831, near Glasgow, Scotland, and was about eleven years of age when brought by his parents to the United States. The family first settled at what was known as New Philadelphia, in Ashtabula County, Ohio, where young William was apprenticed to a merchant, but two years later removed to Sauk County, Wisconsin. There the youth learned the trade of printer, which he followed for some years in Wisconsin and at other points, and in 1861, when the Civil war came on, was working in Missouri. He enlisted in Company B, Eighth Regiment, Missouri Volunteer Infantry, with which organization he fought throughout the period of the war, participating in numerous engagements, including Forts Henry and Donelson, Pittsburg Landing, Siege of Vicksburg and Lookout Mountain. When the war was over he returned to Wisconsin, and was married in Sauk County to Miss Ellen Clark Maxwell, who was born May 10, 1845, in Wisconsin. In that state he entered the newspaper business and became editor of the Baraboo Republic, with which he was identified until he came to Kansas, in 1873, in April of which year he embarked in the banking business. He had since that time been the directing head of the First National Bank of Neodesha. He is also interested in 1,900 acres of farm lands in Wilson County and had various other holdings. Mr. Hill is independent in politics, and a member of the Kansas State Bankers Association and the National Bankers Association. He resided at No. 416 North Eighth Street, and is one of Neodesha’s most prominent and substantial men, Mr. and Mrs. Hill have had the following children: A.; L., who is a lumber dealer of Medford, Oregon; Ago, who died in 1893, at Oswego, Kansas, as the wife of Samuel Carpenter, a merchant of that city; H. M., who is a stockman and farmer of Lafontaine, Kansas; Burritt H.; and Irving, who resided at Lawrence, Kansas, as manager of the Corrugated Paper Mills.
Burritt H. Hill acquired his preliminary education in the public schools of Neodesha, being graduated from the high school in the class of 1890, and following this entered Kansas University, where he was a member of the exclusive honorary scientific Creek letter society of Sigma Psi. Graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in 1894, he at once entered the banking business with the First National Bank of Neodesha, as bookkeeper. He was successively advanced to assistant cashier and cashier, and in 1914 was made vice president of the concern, a business relation which still obtains. The First National Bank of Neodesha was established in 1872, as a state bank, and was known as the Neodesha Savings Bank, its officers at that time being J. V. Pierce, president; John Gray, vice president; and Charles Henderson, cashier. Its capital was $10,000. The bank was nationalized in 1903, with D. Stewart as president; A. L. Hill, as vice president; and William Hill as cashier. Its present officers are: William Hill, president; B. H. Hill, vice president; and H. H. Woodring, cashier, and its capital is now $50,000, its surplus, $20,000, and its undivided profits, $5,000. The modern new brick banking house was erected in June, 1915, at the corner of Sixth and Main streets, with the bank’s quarters on the first floor and offices on the second. The bank is one of the oldest and most substantial in Wilson County, and its influence is wide and its results far reaching. Its policies governed and directed by men of acknowledged ability and integrity it shares in no small degree the confidence of the people of the locality, and its depositors come from all over this part of the county.
B. H. Hill had various interests in addition to those connected with the bank, being secretary of the Neodesha Building and Loan Association; of the V. V. V. Brick and Tile Company, the plant of which is the largest hand plant west of the Mississippi River; and the Neodesha Crystal Ice Company. He also owned much real estate in the city and several farms. Like his father, he maintains an independent stand upon political questions, preferring to use his own judgment in his selection of candidates worthy of his vote rather than to be guided by party lines and therefore restricted. His own public service is confined to fourteen years of occupancy of the office of city treasurer of Neodesha, on two occasions. Mr. Hill takes a lively interest in civic affairs and is a member of the Neodesha Commercial Club and the Anti-Horse Thief Association. As a fraternalist he belongs to Harmony Lodge No. 94, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of which he is past master; Orient Chapter No. 72, Royal Arch Masons, of which he is past high priest; Ab-Del-Kader Commandery No. 27, Knights Templar; Topeka Council, Scottish Rite Masons; Wichita Consistory No. 2, of the thirty-second degree; and Abdullah Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Leavenworth.
Mr. Hill was married in 1898, at Neodesha, to Miss Essie Eson, dnughter of Mrs. Laura Esson. Mrs. Hill died in 1899, at Neodesha, having been the mother of one daughter: Aeo, born July 27, 1899.