M. Rebecca Sharpless

HILL, KATE ADELE (1900–1982). Kate Adele Hill, leader in home demonstration work in the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, daughter of William Hickman and Beatrice (Boyce) Hill, was born on November 19, 1900, in Manor, Texas. In the early 1900s the family moved to a ranch in Kerr County and later to Schleicher and Tom Green counties, where Kate received her early education from governesses. She graduated from San Angelo High School in 1917 and attended the University of Texas in 1920–21 before receiving a B.S. in home economics, with a major in foods and nutrition, in 1925 from the College of Industrial Arts (now Texas Woman's University). During pauses in her college studies she taught school in Sonora and worked in social welfare.

Hill initiated her career with the Extension Service in 1925 as county home-demonstration agent for Cameron County in San Benito. She carried out a typical agenda of demonstration activities designed to improve the lives of rural and small-town women: sewing, canning, landscaping, home design, and so on. In June 1929 she became a district agent and began supervising county home-demonstration agents throughout Central Texas. In October 1934 she transferred to the Edwards Plateau and Big Bend; in that area she traveled 2,000 miles a month in her supervisory duties. Impressed by the tenacity of the women whom she met in the semiarid region, Hill began writing sketches of women who had settled in the area in the 1880s and 1890s for Cattleman magazine. She collected twelve sketches and privately published them in 1937 as Home Builders of West Texas. She then returned to the Texas State College for Women, where she received an A.B. degree in sociology in 1939.

She continued as a district agent in two other West Texas districts until 1951, when she joined the state office of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service in College Station as studies and training leader. She received a master's degree in rural sociology and agricultural economics from Texas Tech University in 1951 and a Ph.D. from Texas Woman's University in general home economics in 1957. She privately published her doctoral dissertation under the title Home Demonstration Work in Texas. From 1958 until her retirement on August 31, 1963, Hill served as a reports analyst for the Extension Service. After her retirement she wrote and privately published A. L. Ward-Texan, 1885–1965 (1967) and Lon C. Hill, 1862–1935: Lower Rio Grande Valley Pioneer (1973). She also wrote poetry.

Kate Hill was president of the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women's clubs in 1938 and president of the Texas State College for Women Alumnae Association from 1956 to 1958. She was also a member of the American Home Economics Association, Texas Home Economics Association, and Texas Agricultural Workers Association. She was named Distinguished Woman of Texas in 1962 and was president of the Texas Literary Council in 1966. In 1971 she received the Distinguished Alumnae Award of Texas Woman's University. She was a Methodist and a Democrat. Hill moved to a retirement home in San Angelo and died there on October 30, 1982.


Sam Hanna Acheson, Herbert P. Gambrell, Mary Carter Toomey, and Alex M. Acheson, Jr., Texian Who's Who, Vol. 1 (Dallas: Texian, 1937). Kate Adele Hill Papers, Evans Library, Texas A&M University. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, M. Rebecca Sharpless, "HILL, KATE ADELE," accessed September 20, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhi42.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on September 29, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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