WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
WILLIAM BROWN HILL
(farmer, early Toquerville resident)
BIOGRAPHYWilliam Brown Hill was born on October 19, 1836, in Glasgow, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. William and his mother immigrated to the United States in the early 1840s and settled in Salt Lake Valley before October 1, 1852.
His first wife, Emma Maria Mecham, was born on May 9, 1940 in Montrose, Lee County, Iowa.
His second wife, Mary Jane Price, was born on December 22, 1843 in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois.
William and Emma were married on February 15, 1857. William and Mary Jane were married on August 31, 1859. Both couples were married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The families first lived in Lehi, Utah. Here William and Emma had their first two children, and William made his living as a farmer.
In 1861, when President Young called three hundred families to the Dixie Mission, an area about three hundred miles southwest of Salt Lake City, William (24), Emma (21), and Mary Jane (17), were among those called. Their charge was to build up Zion by establishing communities in southern Utah and growing cotton if practicable. The Dixie Saints arrived in Dixie in December 1861, and their first orders were to get water to the land, lay out cities, and provide for the education of the children. By May 1862, the Hill family had settled in Toquerville, where Emma had ten more children and Mary Jane had all seven of her children.
At some point, William occupied the home built by Nathan C. Tenney at 108 N. Toquer Blvd.
During the next twenty years, the Hills braved the hot, southwest Utah sun, fierce desert winds, and rains that didn’t come for months and then came in torrents. During the first Christmas season after the Hills’ arrival, it rained off and on for what seemed like forty days! The resultant floods brought swarms of flies and mosquitoes, which in turn brought disease. Typhoid, diphtheria, malaria, whooping cough, and scarlet fever ravaged the struggling settlements. William and Emma lost three children while living in Toquerville. Mary Jane and William lost a two-year-old daughter.
In 1880, the Hills sold their house on 10 West Center Street in Toquerville to William Jackson and in 1881 moved to Mesa, Maricopa County, Arizona. William (45) and Emma (41) brought eight of their nine remaining children with them. Mary Jane (38) and William’s six living children also came to Mesa.
William died on September 22, 1883 in Mesa from a smallpox epidemic which struck Mesa at that time. He was age forty-six and was buried in the Mesa Cemetery.
Mary Jane died on May 3, 1914 in Mesa and was also buried in the Mesa Cemetery.
Emma Maria died on August 6, 1923 in Mesa and likewise was buried in the Mesa Cemetery.
REFERENCESToquerville, Oasis in the Desert - A History of Toquerville and the Area
Book compiled and written by Cherrie Gubler Naegle
Pages 65, 68, 135, 147, 179, 190, 202, 233, 235, and 241
For the book information page, click here.
Find-A-Grave entry for William Brown Hill
Find-A-Grave entry for Emma Maria Mecham Hill
Find-A-Grave entry for Mary Jane Price Hill