The paternal grandfather of Daniel Hill III, whose name was Daniel Hill, was born just a step outside slavery. His own father (Richard Hill) had purchased freedom for himself, his wife (Demias Crew) and his children in western Maryland in the 1850s, shortly before the birth of Daniel Hill I.

But when Demias Crew died when Daniel Hill I was very young, Richard Hill was unable to care for Daniel Hill I and all of his nine siblings. Richard sent Daniel I into the care of a White Quaker family named Tyson, in Maryland. Daniel I was educated at Storer College in Harpers Ferry and eventually went onto study at Lincoln University before becoming a minister of the African Methodist Church in Baltimore. He married Margaret Phoebe Peck.



Photo: Margaret Phoebe Peck-Hill
Margaret Phoebe Peck-Hill
Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-9-2-14
Archives of Ontario, I0027956
Photo: Daniel Hill I
Daniel Hill I
Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-9-2-14
Archives of Ontario, I0027957

























The Parents of Daniel Hill III

Daniel Hill III was born in Independence, Missouri on November 23, 1923. His father was Daniel Hill Jr., a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and a theologian at Howard University.



Photo: Daniel Hill Jr. with ILIFF Graduate School of Theology classmates, April 1928
Click to see a larger image (170K)
Daniel Hill Jr. with ILIFF Graduate School of Theology classmates, April 1928
Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-9-2-4.2
Archives of Ontario, I0027951

Photo: May Edwards, Graduate of University of California with Certificate in Social Work, 1937


His mother was May Edwards Hill, a graduate from Howard University, and later a social worker.


Click to see a larger image (103K)
May Edwards Hill, Graduate of University of California with Certificate in Social Work, 1937
Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-9-2-15.1
Archives of Ontario, I002795

Photo: May Edwards Hill (Standing fourth from left) with her sorority at Harvard University in Washington D.C, 1916
Click to see larger image (326K)
May Edwards Hill (standing fourth from left) with her sorority at
Howard University in Washington D.C., 1916
Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-9-2-15.2
Archives of Ontario, I0027950

The photograph below shows Daniel G. Hill II at Lincoln University in 1916. Lincoln University in Pennsylvania is a historically Black college where men in the Hill family went to study. The Daniel Hills I, II and III all studied there, although Daniel Hill III’s course of study was interrupted by the war and when he returned to university later, he attended Howard University in Washington D.C.-another historically Black American college.


Photo Daniel Hill Jr. (back row, first left) with Lincoln University classmates, 1916
Click to see larger image (337K)
Daniel Hill Jr. (back row, first left) with Lincoln University classmates, 1916
Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-9-2-9.2
Archives of Ontario, I0027988
Photo: Daniel Hill Jr. (on left) with Ethiopian Emperor Haile Salassie (middle) at Howard University, 1954
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Daniel Hill Jr. (on left) with Ethiopian Emperor Haile Salassie (middle) at Howard University, 1954
Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-9-2-17
Archives of Ontario, I0027953

The Politics of Marriage

Daniel Hill’s parents, although they were both Black Americans, encountered significant challenges within the Black community when it became known that they were romantically involved. Daniel Hill II had three strikes against him, as far as some of May Edwards’ relatives were concerned: he was a dark-skinned Black man (and she was light skinned); he was a Protestant (she came from a Catholic family); and he came from a family of modest means (she was the daughter of a well-to-do dentist). Opposition was so intense to their union that Daniel II and May finally eloped to marry in secret. They had to keep their marriage secret until May had graduated from Howard University, because May would have been forced to abandon her studies if the university had discovered that she had married.




War Interrupts Marriage

Daniel Hill III’s father, Daniel Hill II, served as a Second Lieutenant in the 368th infantry division of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, fighting overseas in the trenches of France. At the time, it was considered a great honour for a young Black American to become an officer in the American Army. During his time overseas, Daniel Hill II and his wife May Edwards Hill wrote to each other many times.

Here is a brief excerpt from a letter that Daniel Hill II wrote to his young wife, May Edwards Hill, on August 1, 1918, while he was stationed in Europe:

click to see a larger image
and the rest of the letter (246K)

Letter from Daniel Hill Jr. to
May Edwards Hill, August 1, 1918
Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-1-1-1
Archives of Ontario

Letter from Daniel G. Hill II to May Edwards Hill, August 1, 1918


1 August, 1918

Dearest Little Girl,

My location during the past week has been such that I have been able to visit the post office daily only to find nothing from the States. I guess there is mail here somewhere for me but as usual there often happens to be a tie-up at one of the bases; then again a Deutsch submarine gets in a lucky shot occasionally and thereby sends a few loving letters to the bottom to be censored by “sea-weed” and “sharks.” …

I am just about as crazy as I can be to hear from you and the home folk. Not a word has reached me from anyone except you!  I have such little opportunity to write anyone and my opportunities will decrease in the future, but you must never weary or despair of hearing from your boy. 

Tell my little pal, Tom “hello” from me.

When you write send me only the good news, you will instruct my other friends and relatives likewise. I do not want to hear of anything “bad” from America.

Take good care my little girl, May, my wife.

Your boy,

Dan

P.S. Ask any questions you desire.  I shall try to answer them.

Yours,

Dan

Excerpt of letter from Daniel Hill Jr. to
May Edwards Hill, August 1, 1918
Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-1-1-1
Archives of Ontario

Envelope containing May Edward Hill’s letter to Daniel Hill Jr., January 5, 1919
Click to see a larger image (79K)


Envelope containing May Edward Hill’s
letter to Daniel Hill Jr., January 5, 1919
Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-1-1-1
Archives of Ontario

Here is a brief excerpt of a letter that May Edwards Hill wrote on January 5, 1919 to her husband, Daniel Hill II, while he remained stationed in Europe:

The envelope of the letter reads:

Lieut. Daniel Grafton Hill Jr

Co. M-368 Infantry
American Expeditionary Forces
Via New York
And the letter begins:

1205 Linden St., N. E.,
Washington, D.C.,
January 5, 1919.

My own darling Boy:

I received yesterday your letter of Nov. 23, 1918 addressed to Daddy Hill, Mother, and me. What an interesting letter!! I know you will be months and months relating all your experiences and even then fresh details will be presenting themselves. I am eager to know all about my Boy's great adventure. How glad I shall be when he can tell me from his own lips about his experiences in France. I was surprised to learn that you crossed on the transport George Washington.....

Excerpt of letter from May Edward Hill to Daniel Hill Jr., January 5, 1919 Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-1-1-1 Archives of Ontario

Letter from May Edward Hill to Daniel Hill Jr., January 5, 1919
Click to see a larger image with links to the rest of the letter (138K)
Letter from May Edward Hill to Daniel Hill Jr., January 5, 1919 Daniel G. Hill fonds Reference Code: F 2130-1-1-1 Archives of Ontario

Daniel and May had four children, Jeanne, Margaret, Daniel and Doris. The photo below shows the children when they were teenagers.

Photo: Daniel G. Hill and his three sisters when they were teenagers, [ca. 1937-1939]
Click to see a larger image (208K)
Daniel G. Hill and his three sisters when they were teenagers, [ca. 1937-1939]
Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-9-2-6.1
Archives of Ontario, I0027968

The picture below shows Daniel at about 18 years of age relaxing with friends.

Photo: Daniel G. Hill (middle) with friends, 1941
Click to see a larger image (291K)
Daniel G. Hill (middle) with friends, 1941
Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-9-2-5
Archives of Ontario, I0027969