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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Hill, William Geddy

by Grady L. E. Carroll, 1988; Revised by SLNC Government and Heritage Library, February 2023

11 Sept. 1806–4 May 1877

[portrait of William Geddy Hill]. Image courtesy of the William G. Hill, Masonic Lodge No. 218. Ancient Free And Accepted Masons. 1520 Caswell Street, Raleigh, N.C.William Geddy Hill, physician, was born in Raleigh, the son of William Hill, North Carolina's secretary of state for more than forty years, and Sarah Geddy Hill, a native of Halifax County. He was the grandson of William Hill, Revolutionary patriot and in August 1775 a representative of Surry County in the Provincial Congress at Hillsborough. Hill received his education at the Raleigh Male Academy, whose principal was the Reverend William McPheeters; The University of North Carolina; the office of Dr. Joseph W. Hawkins, eminent physician of Warren County; the office of Dr. Rufus Haywood in Raleigh; and the University of Pennsylvania, from which he was graduated in medicine and surgery in 1827.

Hill entered the medical profession in Pittsboro, but in deference to his wife he settled in Raleigh where he was a successful practitioner until his death. In 1849 he was an organizer of the Medical Society of North Carolina, successor to an earlier group founded in 1799, and in 1872 served as president. In 1870, at the organization of the Raleigh Academy of Medicine, Hill was elected its first president and regularly attended its meetings. In addition to his private practice, he was physician to the state penitentiary. During the Civil War, in the administration building of Peace Institute (now College), Hill ministered to the sick and wounded soldiers of the Confederate and Union armies.

For many years Hill was active in the Masonic order. In February 1830 he was initiated, passed, and raised in Hiram Lodge No. 40, Raleigh; then, briefly, he belonged to Columbus Lodge No. 40, Pittsboro. On returning to Raleigh, he renewed—in 1842—his membership in Hiram Lodge, where he was Junior Warden (1844–45) and Worshipful Master (1846–47, 1856). During 1849–50 he was Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, and on 3 Dec. 1861 he received the highest honor of Ancient Craft Masonry when elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, serving for one year. He was also Grand Representative near the Grand Lodge of North Carolina of both the Grand Lodge of Vermont and the Grand Lodge of Mississippi. In 1864 a company of Masons dimitted from Hiram Lodge in Raleigh and organized a lodge which was named in Hill's honor; the first meeting was held on 18 May, and the charter was dated 7 December. A portrait of Hill is on display at the Masonic Temple (former residence of Josephus Daniels) on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh.

Before emancipation and the abolition of slavery in 1865, Hill owned and enslaved a number of people. According to the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, he is listed as the enslaver of nine people. On the 1860 census, the last before slavery's abolition, he is listed as the enslaver of seven people. 

Hill married first, Adelaide Hill, a daughter of Theophilus Hunter Hill of Wake County and later Rachel Jones of the well-established Wake County family. Hill's son, Theophilus Hunter (1836–1901), was a Wake County poet. William G. Hill became a Methodist and "was an exemplary member for twenty years." He was interred in the Raleigh City Cemetery on New Bern Avenue and East Street near the grave site of his father.


Guide to North Carolina Historical Highway Markers (1961).

Marshall D. Haywood, Builders of the Old North State (1968).

Richard B. Haywood, Memoirs of Dr. William G. Hill, Late President of the Raleigh Academy of Medicine (1877).

G. G. Johnson, Ante-Bellum North Carolina (1937).

H. G. Jones, For History's Sake (1966).

Raleigh Sesquicentennial Commission, Raleigh: Capital of North Carolina (1942).

Henry Jerome Stockard, Sketch of Theophilus Hunter Hill (Charles Van Noppen Collection, Duke University Library, Durham).

Elizabeth C. Waugh and Ralph Mills, North Carolina's Capital, Raleigh (1967).

The National Archives. Seventh Census of the United States, 1850. NARA Microform Publication: Washington, D.C. 

The National Archives. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860. NARA Microform Publication: Washington, D.C.

Additional Resources:

William G. Hill Letters, 1834-1835 (collection no. 02608-z). The Southern Historical Collection. Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.,William_G.html (accessed April 24, 2014).

Shute, J. Ray., II. "Who was William G Hill?" William G. Hill, Masonic Lodge No. 218. (accessed April 24, 2014).

Transactions of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Michigan. Kalamazoo, Mich.:  Kalamazoo Publishing Company. 1877. 144. (accessed April 24, 2014).

Image Credits:

[portrait of William Geddy Hill]. Image courtesy of the William G. Hill, Masonic Lodge No. 218. Ancient Free And Accepted Masons. 1520 Caswell Street, Raleigh, N.C. (accessed April 24, 2014).