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Samuel Lapham Hill
Birth: Jul. 30, 1806
Providence County
Rhode Island, USA
Death: Dec. 13, 1882
Mobile County
Alabama, USA

Son of Samuel & Olive (Lapham) Hill. Samuel was raised as a Quaker until his marriage to Louise Chase (or Chace), who was not a Quaker, caused his expulsion from that Society. He then joined the Baptist Church until he invited Wendell Phillips, an abolitionist, to lecture. The lecture was disrupted by a mob of church members lead by one of the deacons. Mr. Hill withdrew from the church and never joined another organized religion.

Until 1830, he worked as a carpenter, school teacher, and store keeper. He then became an overseer in a cotton mill in Willimantic, CT where he progressed from overseer to manager to superintendent. In 1841, he moved to Florence, Mass. where on Apr 8, 1842 he was one of the organizers of the Northampton Association of Education & Industry. He served as the treasurer of their silk, saw and grist mills. When the association failed, he assumed its debts and paid them off, taking ownership of the silk mill. With Edwin Eaton of CT, he bought the land that became the center of Florence. They laid out the streets and lots. Mr. Hill not only sold the land but provided financial assistance to many of the buyers in the form of loans.

Until the establishment of the Florence Post Office in 1852, all mail for Florence was placed in Samuel's post office box, #175, in Northampton. Samuel delivered the mail to Florence every day.

In 1854, with Isaac Parsons and Alfred Critchlow, he founded the I.S. Parsons Co. which made buttons & daguerrotype cases. Also in 1854, he wanted to expand the silk business. He joined with Samuel L Hinckley to establish the Nonotuck Silk Company where he served as treasurer & manager.

From 1842 until 1861, he was an active abolitionist and his house on Maple Street was a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Hill is mentioned prominently in biographies of one of the most influential women of the era, Sojourner Truth, as he provided her the opportunity to purchase the only home she ever owned by giving her a mortgage on the property in her own name. He also provided a testimonial to her which was printed in the first pages of her autobiographical piece, "The Narrative of Sojourner Truth".

In 1863, he joined 34 other "free thinkers" to start the Free Congregational Society of Florence. In 1874, he provided the financial support to build their meeting place, Cosmian Hall (erected 1873, opened 1874, torn down 1948).

He joined with Alfred T. Lilly, George H. Burr, A.L. Williston & Isaac Parsons to petition for a local bank. The Workingman's Savings Bank was incorporated in Feb. 1873; in April 1873, they changed the name to the Florence Savings Bank.

Samuel was very interested in education. His educational philosophy was influenced by Elizabeth Peabody who advocated the philosophy of Fredrich Froebel. The original kindergarden was held in the parlor of his house until he completed building a two story kindergarten on Pine St. Florence in Dec. 1876. The Hill Institute is the first privately endowed kindergarten in America open to all local children. It continues in use as a kindergarten today. Given Samuel's interest in the manual arts, it is appropriate that it also is used for all manner of arts and crafts, and adult education classes in the evenings.

After the death of Louisa in 1836 (in CT), he married Roxana Maria Gaylord (in CT). He did not remarry after her death in 1848. Beginning in 1867, he suffered from poor health which seemed to be relieved by travels to other climates.

According to the announcement of his death on the front page (2 columns) of the Hampshire Gazette & Northampton Courier, December 19, 1882, "All mills in the village are to be closed and business generally suspended." 
Family links: 
  Samuel Hill (1767 - 1831)
  Olive Lapham Hill (1766 - 1844)
  Louisa Chace Hill (1811 - 1836)
  Roxana Maria Gaylord Hill (1812 - 1848)*
  Mary Smith Hill Mann (1828 - 1904)*
  Maria Louisa Hill (1839 - 1842)*
  Arthur Gaylord Hill (1841 - 1926)*
  Emily Keyes Hill Learned (1844 - 1923)*
  Irving Harris Hill (1846 - 1847)*
  Phebe Hill (1793 - 1805)*
  Lydia Hill (1795 - 1807)*
  Seneca Hill (1799 - 1836)*
  George Washington Hill (1801 - 1832)*
  Samuel Lapham Hill (1806 - 1882)
  Olive Lapham Hill Mann (1809 - 1880)*
*Calculated relationship
Samuel Lapham Hill/1806-1882
Roxana Gaylord Hill/1812-1848

Note: Individual markers replaced. His original headstone is displayed at Hill Institute.
Park Street Cemetery
Hampshire County
Massachusetts, USA
Maintained by: Brian McCullough
Originally Created by: P.K. Magruder
Record added: Jul 07, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39177598
Samuel Lapham Hill
Added by: Jim McCullough
Samuel Lapham Hill
Added by: Brian McCullough
Samuel Lapham Hill
Added by: Brian McCullough
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Thank you for all your contributions to Florence. I attended the kindergarden that you founded.
- P.K. Magruder
 Added: Nov. 2, 2009
This page is sponsored by: P.K. Magruder

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