James L. Hill resides near Kernan, and is one of the most popular and progressive young farmers of LaSalle county, where he was born February 24, 1869. His parents were Thork and Elizebeth (Engleson) Hill. His father was born in Norway in 1840, and when a lad of fifteen came to the United States and made his home in this county. In 1862 he enlisted in Company F, One Hundred and Fourth Illinois Infantry, under Captain J. J. McKinnan, and took part in a number of engagements, among them the battles of Hartsville, Tennessee, Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge. He was in the grand review at Washington, District of Columbia, and received his honorable discharge in June, 1865. His wife was Miss Elizebeth Engleson, who was born in Norway, and was a daughter of James Engleson, deceased. He took his young wife to a farm of one hundred and sixty acres, which he had purchased and which they utilized with unremitting care. Prosperity attended their efforts, and they were able to add to their original purchase until they had a farm of two hundred and fifty acres of fertile farm land. A family of six children grew up around them, viz.: Serena, who was formerly a successful teacher, and is now the wife of Elmer Remey, of Muncie, Indiana; James L., our subject; Bertha M., a popular teacher in Streator, this state; Allie B., wife of Peter Peterson, of Otter Creek township; Rosa D., who is engaged in teaching school; and Lizzie T., who is yet a student. The mother resides at Streator, and the father died June 13, 1894, at the age of fifty-four years. He was a Republican and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic at Ransom.
James L. Hill grew to manhood in his native township (Otter Creek), attending the public schools in winter and working on the farm in summer, and later taking hold of the more serious duties of life with a vim that bespoke success and won for him the hearty approval and commendation of even the most critical. He acquired a good common-school education, and was well prepared to enter upon his career in the pursuits of agriculture in an intelligent manner. Developing a predilection for the carpenter's trade, he entered the employ of S. W. Egbert, a contractor of Streator, and for three years gave his whole time and attention to learning the business. At length, however, owing to the failing health of his father, he returned to the farm and managed it with vigor and magnificent success. He takes great pleasure and pride in having only the best, his specialty being the breeding of high-grade poultry.
November 28, 1894, he was united in matrimony with Miss Stella M. Hayes, a daughter of Henry and Emma Hayes, of Wedron, in which place Mrs. Hill was brought up and educated. October 16, 1899, to this worthy couple twins were born, named Glen O. and Gale E.
Mr. Hill is a Republican in his politics, and has served his township one term as constable, one term as a school trustee and two terms as a collector.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 250-251.