Enoch P. Hill Letters
Identifier: MSN/MN 5011
Scope and Content Note
The collection includes 40 manuscript letters written by Enoch Hill to Mary Chilton, from Cuba and Camp McKenzie, Georgia (3 letters, April-May 1899); Prosperity and Fort Sheridan, Illinois (8 letters. May-September 1899); the outbound journey to the Philippines (3 letters, September 1899); the Philippine Islands (19 letters, October 1899-January 1901); and Prosperity, Illinois (7 letters, April-July 1901). There is also a letter from Willis G. Hodge to Chilton, vouching for Hill. In addition to the manuscripts the collection includes two contemporaneous photographs and Hill's copy of a military manual, The Soldiers' Pocket Companion. While the letters are not neglectful of military incident and local color, Hill's writing continually returns to his relationship with Chilton. These are, first and foremost, love letters, recording a 27-month courtship initiated and conducted almost exclusively through the medium of the mails.
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Enoch Preston Hill (1873-1930) was born on a farm in Franklin County in southern Illinois, the son of Joseph H. Hill and his wife Emiline. Shortly before the armistice ending the Spanish-American War Hill was mustered in to Co. F, 9th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and served with that regiment from July 1898 to May 1899. From January to April 1899 the 9th Illinois was among the U. S. troops occupying Cuba. In the summer of 1899 Hill reenlisted, and after a period of training at Fort Sheridan near Chicago left for the Philippine Islands as a private in Co. A, 30th U. S. Volunteer Infantry. The 30th Infantry was one of 24 regular army regiments raised in 1899 to suppress the "insurgency" in the recently annexed Philippines (i.e., the Philippine-American War, 1899-1902). Hill spent about 15 months on the island of Luzon, around Manila and subsequently to the south, at Tayabas and Lucena. On his return home he married Mary Chilton (1882-1965), the daughter of James and Priscilla Chilton of Elk Prairie, Jefferson County, Illinois, adjacent to Hill's native Franklin County. Hill had begun corresponding with Chilton in April 1899, at the suggestion of mutual friend Willis Hodge; the two were not previously acquainted. They first met on Hill's return home from Cuba, and continued to write during his tour in the Philippines. The date of their marriage is not entirely clear, though the letters suggest it took place in 1901. Later records show the couple at Tyrone in Franklin County and at Ina in Jefferson County, where Hill died in 1930.
44 folders; (1 container and 1 flat storage container)
Language of Materials
A group of 40 personal letters written in 1899-1901 by Illinois native Enoch P. Hill, mostly during his army service in Cuba, the U. S., and the Philippines. The letters are directed to Hill's future wife, Mary E. Chilton.
Letters are arranged chronologically, one per folder, followed by non-manuscript formats.
Acquisition and Processing Note
The Hill letters were purchased by the Hesburgh Libraries in 2010, from an ebay vendor in McLeansboro, Illinois. Arranged and described 2012, by Mairead O'Malley. Finding aid 2012, by Mairead O'Malley and George Rugg.
- Courtship -- United States Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Letters Subject Source: Genre Terms: A Thesaurus for Use in Rare Book and Special Collections Cataloguing
- Philippines -- History -- Philippine American War, 1899-1902 Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- United States. Army. Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 30th Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Enoch P. Hill Letters
- Mairead O'Malley
- April 2012
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note