Guide to the Enoch P. Hill Letters

MSN/MN 5011


Collection Summary

Title: Enoch P. Hill letters
Dates: 1899-1901
Collection No.: MSN/MN 5011
Creator: Hill, Enoch P. (Enoch Preston), 1873-1930
Creator: Chilton, Mary E., 1882-1965
Extent: 44 folders; 1 container and 1 flat storage container
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: 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.

Selected Search Terms

Philippines -- History -- Philippine American War, 1899-1902
United States. Army. Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 30th
Courtship -- United States

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Preferred Citation: Enoch P. Hill Letters, Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

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.

Biographical Note

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.

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.

Arrangement Note

Letters are arranged chronologically, one per folder, followed by non-manuscript formats.

Container List