ANNA KATHARINA (GEORGIA) HILL
Anna Katharina (Georgia) Hill was born in Russia on November 25, 1883, the oldest child of George and his first wife Catherina Margaretha Ecks. Georgia’s mother died when Georgia was very young. Her father married his deceased wife’s sister, Katharina Elisabeth Ecks, and came to America in 1888. The family settled in Culbertson, Nebraska, but at some point the family went to Colorado for a time and then to Montana. It was in Montana that Georgia met James Dougherty.
George Hill was born August 14, 1859, in Walter, Russia. His parents had land grants in Russia. They lived in a big house with servants. Georgia (their granddaughter) sat in the Kaiser’s lap at one time; possibly he came to visit the Hills in Germany. The family raised wolfhounds. When they would go to their land in Russia, they would take their wagons and use a team of horses to draw their wagons. They would use a fifth horse as a lead horse to attract the wolves and they would shoot the wolves as they attacked the lead horse. They sold furs.
George married Catherina Margaretha Ecks and they had a daughter named Anna Katherine Hill (who went by Georgia Hill). George’s wife died and he married her sister, Katharina Elisabeth Ecks. George and his family came to America in 1888. He settled in Culbertson, Nebraska, where he had a hardware store. His second family consisted of 8 children – 5 daughters and three sons: Margaret, Maria, Rose, Frederick, Lydia, Henry J., Walter S., and Olinda A. The school children in Culbertson called the kids “Dutchie, Dutchie” because they looked and talked like they were Dutch.
George Hill’s obituary from the Culbertson (Nebraska) Progress, Nov. 12, 1931, summarizes his life: George Hill was born in Walter, Russia, a German Village in Russia, on August 14, 1859. The spirit of the pioneer led him with his family to America in 1888. Here he moved in the direction of the expanding and developing west finally settling in Culbertson, Nebraska, in 1899. In this place he engaged in the hardware and implement business, and achieved a moderate degree of success in business. In his youth he had limited educational opportunities, yet acquired the ability to speak, read, and write three languages. Until his retirement from business in 1920 he, as a good citizen, was interested in and active in public affairs. He gave service to his community as a member of the village board and school board. In 1890, he joined the Evangelical Church and loyally supported the church. During those years he faithfully fulfilled a number of offices to which he was elected. During the last few years his health failed, which made it impossible for him to do the things he loved. He passed away on Friday, November 6, 1931 at age 72 years 2 months and twenty two days. He was preceded in death by his wife and two daughters, Leda and Mary. He is survived by three daughters, Mrs. G. F. Wagner, Mrs. George Hein, and Mrs. Roy Towner, all of Culbertson, and three sons, Fred of Omaha, Nebraska, Henry of California, and Walter of McCook, Nebraska, and by Mrs. George Fahrenbruch of Culbertson (sister) and by one sister and brother in Russia.