|Birth: ||Mar. 4, 1848|
Cape Girardeau County
|Death: ||Nov. 13, 1913|
The town of Morgan Hill, CA, is named after Hiram Morgan Hill, who rarely used his first name Hiram.
2006 marked the hundred year anniversary of Morgan Hill as a city.
He grew up on a modest southern plantation on the banks of the Mississippi River. His parents died when he was still a young boy, and he and his sister, Sarah Althea Hill, were raised by their grandmother. In 1870 Hill and his sister moved to San Francisco together. There he worked as a bank clerk and part-time clothes model at the Palace Hotel for the esteemed haberdashery Bullocks and Jones. He was known to be a handsome and stylish bachelor who was always the picture of elegance. The tall, slender, blue-eyed southerner drove a team of matched trotters and had the finest buggy money could buy.
In 1880 it was no surprise when he caught the eye of Diana Helen Murphy, the daughter of South Valley cattle baron Daniel Murphy, the largest landowner in the world at that time. Diana was known as "The Duchess of Durango" for vast ranching property her father owned in Mexico. The two fell deeply in love but her father was not pleased with his daughter's suitor. He considered the bank clerk-model a fast and questionable character with no promise for a future as a rancher. But despite her father's misgivings she and Hill secretly eloped and were married in San Francisco on July 31, 1882.
Two months after the marriage her 56-year-old father caught a severe case of pneumonia while herding cattle in a snowstorm at his Elko, NV ranch. Unaware of the secret marriage, on his deathbed he made Diana promise never to wed the bank clerk he so detested. He soon died, never finding out that his daughter had married Hill. The couple had only one child together, Dianne Murphy Hill, who was born in 1884. Shortly after her father's death, Diana Helen Murphy Hill divorced Hill. Some say it was due to the tremendous guilt she felt in her false vow to her father on his death bed.
Diana Murphy Hill was in her fifties when Morgan Hill died. After his death she emigrated to England where three years later she married a knight of the realm, Sir George Rhodes. At the age of 63, Diana was presented in court to King George V of England, as Lady Diana Helen Murphy Hill Rhodes. Unfortunately, Diana's marriage to Sir George was all too brief as she was widowed in 1924 when he died at their villa on the Riviera. In 1937, at the age of 78, she contracted tuberculosis and died in Cannes, Frances, a week before Christmas.
The Hill's only child, Diane, was proudly proclaimed even more beautiful than her mother. She was educated at the best schools and became fluent in French and German--the languages she spoke at home with the European servants. She also conversed in Spanish with her grandmother. Her mother held high social ambitions for Diane's marriage. In 1911, she married the Baron H. de Reinach-Werth at St. Matthews Cathedral in Washington. The marriage came to a sudden and tragic end a few months later in 1912. In Paris, she received news that her father Morgan Hill had suffered a stroke. She herself suffered a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized at St. Pancras sanitarium in London. Her death certificate states that she threw herself from a high balcony window onto cobblestones below. She was instantly killed from a massive skull fracture and compression of the brain.
The grief over her death strained Hill's heart and his last days were spent as a sad and lonely man on his ranch in Elko, NV. Oddly enough, he was buried next to his father-in-law, Daniel Murphy, the man who had believed Hill not worthy to marry his daughter.
Samuel Allen Hill (1820 - 1854)
Julia Ann Sloan Hill (1828 - 1853)
Daniella Helen Murphy Rhodes (1869 - 1937)*
Diane Morgan Hill De Reinach-Werth (1884 - 1912)*
Hiram Morgan Hill (1848 - 1913)
Sarah Althea Hill Terry (1850 - 1937)*
Santa Clara Mission Cemetery
Santa Clara County
Created by: Candice xo
Record added: Nov 07, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 16541598