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November 24, 2008


Gary Ashwill

Thanks, Bill. That's a great suggestion--I think I'll try it out. I'm also trying to get hold of Pete Hill's WW2 draft card, if it can be tracked down.

Bill Mullins

"The social security number listed here for Hill does not show up in the Social Security Death Index, which could mean a number of things, the most likely being that no one claimed a death benefit."

I believe you can get a copy of a the paperwork a person fills out when they apply for a social security card. The Social Security Administration's webpage has details.


If someone wants to invest $27, it might turn up something useful.

Gary Ashwill

Btw, there are two Buena Vistas in Virginia: one in Rockbridge County in western Virginia, the other a township in King and Queen County in the east.

However, the mother of the Hill family (Elizabeth Hill-Reynolds-Kelly--she seems to have married at least three times) was born in Culpeper County, Virginia, in 1859; and Walter Vaughan Hill, the second brother, was born in Rapidan, Culpeper County, Virginia.

I haven't been able to find the Hill family anywhere in the 1880 census, though.

Gary Ashwill

Thanks, Brian. Patrick & I have seen those records (and more)--I was actually planning another post soon about the family in the 1900 census.

Intuitively this seems like Pete Hill's family, as everything matches the other records we have. One of the oddities, though, is that I have yet to find an explicit connection between Pete Hill the ballplayer and this family. The older brother, Jerome Bryant Hill, a postal worker and YMCA official, was pretty prominent in Pittsburgh for several decades. He comes up 62 times in a search of the Pittsburgh Courier, coincidentally exactly the same number of times as Pete Hill. Jerome Hill was also demonstrably connected with some well-known former ballplayers and sportwriters, such as Don Jefferson and Ira Lewis.

However: I still cannot find a single mention that explicitly links Pete Hill the ballplayer to this family or to his ostensible older brother, Jerome. I'll lay all this out in a future post.

Brian McKenna

Found a manifest from March 20 1916 with a return trip into New Orleans from Havana. Hill is listed as John P. from Buena Vista, VA. He is traveling with fellow ballplayers John Lloyd, Petway, Bauchman and others.

Brian McKenna

There is a John P. Hill living in Pittsburgh during the 1900 Census with a birthdate of October 1882 from Virginia. He is listed as the step son to John J. Reynolds - wife Lizzie (married only 7 years) who had the listed children Jerome, Walter and John. PA, Allegheny County, Pittsburgh Ward 21, District 257, page 15 of 36.

Gary Ashwill

Yeah, I noticed the difference in the handwriting, too.

I checked the Tribune on the off chance that the burial might have been noted, but no luck (I didn't really expect to find anything).

As far as I can tell, nothing in the Defender except Fay Young's mention.

Patrick Rock

If you look at box 18 on the certificate (Informant's own signature), it is signed by a Mrs. Albert Walker, and the address (168 16th Street) is identical to Hill's address in box 8. I'm guessing this to have been his landlady.

She apparently filled in everything from boxes 5 through 18; the handwriting is different in the other boxes, the first part possibly filled in by an employee of the funeral home. It would explain how she would know his birthday, occupation, and SSN (box 17), and that he was divorced (as opposed to widowed), while she did not know his parents' names nor the specific locale of his birth.

Speaking of which, I have to agree with you, Gary. The "P" in "Porter" (can't compare "John P Hill" as having been written by another hand) is no match for the capital letter in Birthplace; it has to be "Va."

One other thing it confirms: Pete Hill's first name definitely was John, NOT Joseph.

Noting the burial in Chicago on Christmas day gives a clue as to why Fay Young waited until the 29th to write of Hill's passing; he probably only heard of Hill's death in Buffalo when he learned of the burial in Chicago.

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