A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
SPECIAL TREATMENT OF THEIR CHIEF ENTERPRISES IN
EDUCATION, RELIGION, VALOR, INDUSTRY,
EDGAR RUBEY HARLAN, LL. B., A. M.
Curator of the
Historical, Memorial and Art Department of Iowa
THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Inc.
Chicago and New York
OTTO HILL, vice president of the Union Savings Bank & Trust Company of
Davenport, was born in that city, has devoted the greater part of his active life
in banking, and represents one of the oldest and most substantial of the
German American families of the city.
His father, the late John Hill, whose name always commanded the respect of
his fellow citizens in Davenport, particularly the German Americans, died
February 12, 1924, at the age of eighty-four. John Hill was born in Prussia,
Germany, April 25, 1840, son of Conrad and Margaret (Ditzenberger) Hill. Conrad
Hill was an inspector for the government in Germany. John Hill was fourteen
years of age when he crossed the Atlantic to America in 1854 and in December
of the same year became a resident of Davenport, then a comparatively small
community but a growing metropolis of trade for the country west of the
Mississippi. At Davenport he learned the trade of cabinet maker and worked at
that occupation until the Civil war broke out.
He enlisted in 1861 in Company C of the First United States Lancers, serving
nine months with that regiment. In 1862 he enlisted a second time, in
Company C of the Thirty-fifth Iowa Infantry, and served as a sergeant. On July 11,
1863, he was taken prisoner at Jackson, Mississippi, and from that time
until released, at the end of the war, he endured the horrors of captivity at
Libby, Belle Island and Andersonville.
After the war he returned to Davenport and in 1869 was made manager of the
Turner Hall and Stadt Theater, and looked after those two well remembered
institutions of the city until he retired.
John Hill married in 1867 Marie Kaehler, and in 1917 they celebrated their
golden wedding anniversary. Five children were born to their marriage and the
three now living are Otto, Mrs. Lutie H. Zoeckler and Miss Paula. Two sons,
Hugo and Carl, are both deceased.
Otto Hill grew up in his native city of Davenport, attending grade and high
school and since 1890 has been connected with some of the local banks. He
was president of the Davenport Savings Bank when it was consolidated with the
Union Savings Bank, the resulting institution becoming the Union Savings Bank
& Trust Company, and since this consolidation Mr. Hill has been vice
president of the larger bank. He is also vice president and treasurer of the Martin
Mr. Hill married in 1914 Julia F. Hefferman, who was born in Washington, D.
C. Their three children are Philip A., James J. and Elizabeth M.
Mr. Hill is a former treasurer and trustee of the Kiwanis Club, member of
the Davenport Chamber of Commerce, the Knights of Pythias, B. P. O. Elks, Loyal
Order of Moose, Improved Order of Red Men.
Mr. Hill for a number of years has been deeply interested in welfare
organizations, serving fifteen years as treasurer of the Salvation Army and has been
a leader in the Boy Scouts work since it was inaugurated. He is a member of
the executive council of this area of the Boy Scouts and has also served as
treasurer of the Buffalo Bill Council of the organization.
Debbie Clough Gerischer
Iowa History Site