Mormon Missionary Diaries
About the Collection
Richard Nephi Hill
by Susan L. Fales
Richard Nephi Hill was born 16 August 1872 in Smithfield, Cache County, Utah, the oldest of eleven children of Joseph Hill and Betsy Ann Harper, immigrants from England. Richard was raised in Smithfield, with his own large family and the six children of Sarah Crosby, his father’s first wife who died in 1871. He received his early education in Smithfield and later he attended Brigham Young College in Logan, Utah, graduating in 1896. In 1897 he moved to Oneida County, Idaho and taught school.
Richard apparently served two missions to Holland, along with Great Britain, Germany, France, and Belgium, serving the first in 1892 and the second mission in 1897. The diary included as a part of this missionary diary collection is for his 1897 mission. On 3 May 1897 Richard Hill left for his mission to Holland, after being set apart for his mission by Seymour B. Young where he was promised “if I would only live faithful and do those things I had been called to perform [sic] … that the Spirit of my mission may be with me.” 1 A young lady named Mattie Palmer, who was to be his future wife, was among those who bid Richard farewell.
Although his diary only records his mission from May through November 1897, it appears to have been a successful mission. He labored in Rotterdam, Schiedam, and Amsterdam, where he took charge of the Branch. During his mission he and his companions gave out hundreds of tracts, held scores of Gospel conversations with “strangers,” and baptized thirteen individuals.
Although it is unknown when he returned from his mission, he married his pre–mission girl friend, Martha Eleanor “Mattie” Palmer on 20 September 1899 in Logan, Utah. They were blessed with one child, Alice, born on 19 June 1917. When Mattie died on 30 October 1932, he subsequently married Ellen Rose Wickes on 30 July 1933 and gained a stepson, Albert H. Hayward.
The Hill family was long–time residents of Malad City, Idaho where he served as the first county superintendent of schools from 1902 to 1903. 2 After his term of office as superintendent was complete he went into the business world, where he became a highly successful salesman for Studebaker Brothers. In 1919 he became general manager of Owen & Company, and also had extensive farming interests in Oneida County. 3
Continuing to serve his church, Richard was the Malad Idaho Stake Young Men’s MIA President from 1903 to 1907, and later served as first counselor in the Malad Ward Bishopric from 1908–1915. 4 In 1943 he retired and moved to Salt Lake City, where he died at the age of 79 on 18 October 1951, after a lingering illness. 5
1 History of Idaho: The Gem of the Mountains, vol. 4 (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1920): 312-13.
2 Malad Idaho Stake Centennial History, 55, 104.
3 Richard N. Hill, “Obituary,” Deseret News, 19 October 1951; Richard N. Hill, “Obituary,” Salt Lake Tribune, 19 October 1951.
4 Richard Nephi Hill, “Missionary Journal, 1897,” 3 May 1897.
5 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Malad Idaho Stake, Malad Idaho Stake Centennial History Book, 1888–1988 (Malad, Idaho: Malad Idaho Stake, 1989?), 25.
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Malad Idaho Stake. Malad Idaho Stake Centennial History Book, 1888–1988. Malad, Idaho: Malad Idaho Stake, 1989?
Deseret News. Obituary of Richard Nephi Hill. 19 October 1951.
Hill, Richard Nephi. “Missionary Journal, 1897,” MSS SC 2141, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.
History of Idaho: The Gem of the Mountains. Vol. 4. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1920.
Salt Lake Tribune. Obituary of Richard Nephi Hill. 19 October 1951.
United States Census, 1930. 31 May 2007 available from http://www.ancestry.com/