Historical Highlights

The life of Representative Ebenezer J. Hill of Connecticut

September 27, 1917
The life of Representative Ebenezer J. Hill of Connecticut Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
A veteran of the Civil War, Representative Ebenezer Hill of Connecticut devoted more than 20 years of his life to the House of Representatives.
On this date, Representative Ebenezer J. Hill of Connecticut died at his home in Norwalk, Connecticut. Born in Redding, Connecticut, in 1845, Hill received his education from Yale College. He joined the Union Army in 1863, taking a position in the Quartermaster Department. After the war, Hill worked in the banking industry before setting his sights on politics. In 1886, he began a two-year term in the Connecticut state senate. Hill later sought and won election to the 54th Congress (1895–1897). The Congressman served on the Banking and Currency Committee, which he eventually chaired. He also was a member of several other committees: Private Land Claims, Coinage, Weights, and Measures, Expenditures in the Department of the Treasury, and Ways and Means Committee. Capitalizing on his training as a banker, Hill weighed in on legislation regarding the gold and silver standard as well as coinage. In May 1902, Hill treated his colleagues to cigars in the Republican cloakroom after passage of his Subsidiary Silver Coinage Bill. In 1912, Hill lost his campaign for re-election to the 63rd Congress (1913–1915), but returned to Congress along with 22 other former Members to the 64th Congress (1915–1917). During the first session of the 65th Congress (1917–1919), Hill fell ill and died in late September. Schuyler Merritt of Connecticut won the special election to succeed him. In his March 3, 1918, memorial in the House Chamber, Representative Merritt reminded colleagues that Hill, “so adequately represented the district that he had become an institution, and, I may add, an institution which the district and country could ill afford to lose.” Representative James Glynn of Connecticut remembered Representative Hill’s fierce defense of House prerogatives. Glynn recounted Hill’s final appearance on the House Floor on July 25, 1917, to oppose a Senate Joint Resolution “authorizing the Secretary of the Interior to invest Indian funds in Government bonds.” Hill rose to the lectern and began, “I feel it is my duty, Mr. Speaker, to call the attention of the House of Representatives to this invasion of its prerogatives. . . . I think we ought to stand on our rights and have the business attended to . . . but we want to do it legally, fairly, and squarely.”

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