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Hill, James Jeromelocked

(16 September 1838–29 May 1916)
  • Albert J. Churella


Hill, James Jerome (16 September 1838–29 May 1916), railroad developer, was born near Rockwood, Ontario, Canada, the son of James Hill and Anne Dunbar, farmers. Early plans to become a physician were disrupted by a childhood accident, which destroyed the sight in one eye, and by the death of his father when Hill was fourteen. After moving to St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1856, Hill held a variety of wholesale and retail jobs in the dry goods and grocery trades. From this experience, he developed an appreciation for the importance of efficient transportation in the Northwest. In 1865 he became an agent for both the Northwestern Packet Company and the Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad, thanks to the influence of a friend and business associate, William E. Wellington. The next year he established the James J. Hill Company (which became Hill, Griggs & Company in 1869), specializing in the transfer and warehousing of freight. In 1870 he began steamboat operations on the Red River and, in partnership with Norman Kittson, he established the Red River Transportation Company in 1872....

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