Claude E. Hill, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Claude E. Hill

REV. CLAUDE E. HILL. In the profession of the ministry, with its broad fields of usefulness and benevolence, few of the leaders at the present time have such diverse activities and such extensive opportunities for influence upon the welfare of humanity as the pastor of the Christian church of Valparaiso, Rev. Claude E. Hill Though still under forty, he has for a number of years been prominent in organized religion in various parts of the country, and his career is an interesting one.

Born in Pike county, Missouri, January, 11, 1874, he is the son of Thomas V. and Keturah (Lewellyn) Hill, the former a native of the blue-grass region of Kentucky, and the latter of Missouri, but descended from Welsh stock. Thomas V. Hill accompanied his parents from Kentucky to Montgomery county, Missouri, in 1836, being then six years old, and was reared and spent his life in that state as a substantial farmer and upright citizen. His family consisted of ten children, eight sons and two daughters -- Laura, James, William, Charles, John (who died at the age of four), Samuel, Robert (deceased at the age of six), Thomas, Mary and Claude, the latter the youngest of the children. The parents gave their children the best training their resources could provide, and all of them began the schooling in the district school near Madisonville, Missouri. Of the children, Thomas became a prominent lawyer of Beaumont, Texas. Charles, who was ordained in the ministry of the Christian church and was a talented representative of the church, is now a resident of New Mexico and holds the office of commissioner of schools in Chavez county, that state.

From the home schools Claude E. Hill entered the normal school at Chillicothe, Missouri, where he prepared himself for teaching, which for several years was his chosen profession. After teaching in Ralls and Montgomery counties for three years he began his studies for the ministry. The Hill family have been loyal adherents of the Christian church from the early years of its development early in the last century, and the influences and traditions of their home were factors in directing the son to the work of the church. He was converted at the age of seventeen, and after completing his studies was ordained in the summer of 1896 at Montgomery City, Missouri.

About a year before entering the ministry, on September 25, 1895, he married Miss Sallie E. Thomas, to whose helpful co-operation he owes much of his subsequent success. She was born in Paynesville, Missouri, a daughter of Milton and Missouri (Howard) Thomas, the other children being Mollie, Linnie and Elizabeth. Her father was one of the influential and wealthy farmers of Lincoln county, and gave his daughters the advantages of a very excellent education, first in the Christian college at Canton, Missouri, and finishing at the noted young ladies school, the Monticello Seminary at Godfrey, Illinois.

Rev. Hill's first field of labor was at Wellsville, Missouri, where during the three and a half years of his ministry he revived the church, doubling its membership and leaving it in a more prosperous condition than it had ever been before. His next charge was at Pleasant Hill in the western part of the state, where he remained four years. This is one of the oldest and strongest churches in that section of Missouri, and yet the period of his pastorate has been considered one of the most prosperous eras in the history of the church. While there Mr. Hill during two years filled the office of chaplain in the state legislature at Jefferson City, a special honor in itself and more so because he was the youngest chaplain who had ever held this post in the Missouri legislature.

During his pastorate at Pleasant Hill his congregation voted him a leave of absence, which he spent in study at the University of Chicago. Throughout his career he has been a student of both books and mankind, and has fortified his natural talents from every possible source to increase his service in the world.

During his pastorate at Pleasant Hill he held the office of state superintendent of the Christian Endeavor society, and this was the beginning of a very important service in this organized work of the young people. On the first of June, 1903, he accepted the call to the pastorate of the First Christian church of Mobile, Alabama. It is with special pride that he may regard his work in this southern city. Five hundred members were added to the church, and due to his energies as a leader the society erected what is considered the most beautiful church edifice of the south. It is said that during the last four years he preached to the largest Sunday evening congregation in Mobile. He also led the church as an effective instrument in the civic and moral improvement of the city, and accomplished much that the citizenship may still be grateful for. During that time he was a member of the staff of lecturers for the New Dixie lecture bureau of Dallas, and filled many engagements at chautauquas and other assemblages throughout the south. His ability and charm as a popular speaker have in recent years brought him into prominence as a lecturer with a reputation probably more widely known than his work in the ministry.

At the national convention of the Disciples of Christ held in Buffalo in 1905 Mr. Hill was elected national superintendent of the Christian Endeavor societies through the United States and Canada, and he has been re-elected every year to the present time. On June 1, 1909, after an address in St. Louis, he suffered a nervous collapse due to overwork, and his physicians forbade his continued residence in the south during the summer months. After spending the summer at Colorado Springs, on October 1, 1909, he accepted the call to the Christian church of Valparaiso. This church is one of the oldest and most influential in the state, and with a membership of about fourteen hundred is among the very largest of any denomination in Indiana. Professor Brown of the University of Valparaiso is chairman of the board and Congressman Crumpacker is one of the deacons, and its membership includes many of the best known families of the city. The Sunday-school has about eight hundred members. Although Mr. Hill had never visited this church or vicinity and was known solely through his reputation, he received a unanimous call to the pastorate. The church has never been so prosperous as during the last three years, and its annual contributions for Christian and benevolent work amount to about ten thousand dollars.

His church and lecture work have taken Rev. Hill to all parts of the country. In 1907 he delivered the convention sermon of the Christian Endeavor at Seattle, and also at a similar convention in Atlantic City in 1911. For the past five years he has been a trustee of the United Society of Christian Endeavor. His prominence as a speaker has brought him invitations to assist in national political movements, but he recognizes his church as first in its claims, and its work absorbs all his time and energies. For recreation he enjoys the life out of doors. Chief of these pleasures is automobiling, and he is a skillful driver of his own machine. The field sport with a gun is also a favorite pastime, and there is perhaps no better wing-shot in Porter county than this popular and able minister.

Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Hill, named Allene, Margaret, Mary Elizabeth, Claude E. and Sally Mildred. Claude, the only son and the twin brother of Mary Elizabeth, died April 5, 1908. The children are students of the city schools. At Canton, Missouri, Rev. Hill is engaged to deliver the baccalaureate address in 1912, at which time the college will confer upon him the degree of Master of Arts. In his political affiliation he has always supported the Democratic party. He is a personal friend of Champ Clark, the present speaker of the house, and on his visits to Washington has always been entertained in the home of this distinguished political leader.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 378-381

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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