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HILL, FITZHUGH FRANCISCO

Fitzhugh Francisco Hill
Fitzhugh Francisco Hill (1872–1918), attorney and state legislator, served in the Texas House of Representatives during the Twenty-seventh, Twenty-ninth, Thirty-first, and Thirty-second legislatures. Courtesy Legislative Reference Library of Texas and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

HILL, FITZHUGH FRANCISCO (1872–1918). Fitzhugh Francisco Hill (often shortened to just F. F. Hill), lawyer and Texas state representative, son of Hannibal and Appeline Virginia (Smith) Hill, was born in Barbour County, West Virginia, in April 1872. Sources vary regarding the exact date of birth. Some secondary sources give April 24, while his death certificate lists April 21, and the date of April 25 is engraved on his tombstone. His father Hannibal Hill had been a captain in the Confederate Army during the Civil War and in 1868 moved to Texas to take up farming. He went back to West Virginia and married Appeline V. Smith in 1870. They had two children, Fitzhugh and Thomas. Sometime before 1880 Hannibal moved his family to Little Elm, Denton County, Texas. 

Fitzhugh Hill lived in Denton and its surrounding communities such as Little Elm and Aubrey his entire life. He obtained his law degree from the University of Texas in 1889. Socially, Hill was a member of the Knights of Pythias. He established the law firm of Sullivan and Hill. Having developed a reputation for public speaking as a lawyer, Hill was a popular orator at public gatherings such as picnics. He also became involved with the Democratic party and quickly rose to leadership positions at state conventions. Fitzhugh Hill married Charlotte Jackson on October 23, 1895, in Denton, Texas. They had four children: Bertha, Wardna, Wendell, and Jackson.

Hill was elected to four terms in the Texas House of Representatives and served in the Twenty-seventh, Twenty-ninth, Thirty-first, and Thirty-second legislatures. His time in office ranged over a period of twelve years from 1901 to 1913. The early years of his tenure were marked by an opposition to the occupation tax, union boycotts, and the carrying of firearms. In 1906 Hill mounted an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor. He attempted to push forward prohibition laws as the chair of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments in 1909. Despite his having “the alacrity of a cat, the adroitness of a chess player, and the tenacity of a lightning rod agent,” as described in the January 21, 1909, edition of the Denton Record and Chronicle, Hill’s efforts were killed in the Senate. The temperance movement remained a large influence in Hill’s political career. By 1912 he was acting as a mediating force between the wet and dry factions of the Texas Democrats. During his years of legislative service, he also chaired the Agriculture Committee (Twenty-ninth Texas Legislature) and the Committee to Investigate the Appointment of House Employees (Thirty-first Texas Legislature). 

After his political career came to an end, Hill resumed his law practice with partner J. W. Sullivan. In late 1918, after a three-hour trip to Dallas, Hill was stricken with influenza, which soon developed into pneumonia. He struggled with the disease for nearly a week and slipped between unconsciousness and deliriousness for three days before he finally died on December 10, 1918. He was only forty-six years old. He was survived by his wife and four children, as well as his mother and brother in Aubrey. The mayor of Denton asked that all businesses close during Hill’s funeral. Fitzhugh F. Hill was buried at the I.O.O.F. Cemetery in Denton.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Biographical Souvenir of the State of Texas: Containing Biographical Sketches of the Representative Public, and Many Early Settled Families (Chicago: Battey, 1889; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978). Denton Record and Chronicle, January 21, 1909. Legislative Reference Library of Texas: Fitzhugh F. Hill (http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/members/memberDisplay.cfm?memberID=2968&searchparams=chamber=~city=~countyID=0~RcountyID=~district=~first=~gender=~last=hill~leaderNote=~leg=~party=~roleDesc=~Committee=#bio), accessed March 6, 2016. 

Will Treadway

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Handbook of Texas Online, Will Treadway, "Hill, Fitzhugh Francisco," accessed October 19, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhill.

Uploaded on June 22, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.