Mes Familles family genealogy website for Besancon, Fox, Hart, Hill, Louys, et al, from Ohio, Pennsylvania, France, Germany, Ireland, England, and more.
James B. Hill (1856-1945)
James B. Hill (1856-1945)

First wife: Ella McDonald or MacDonald (b. 1860)

Ten children:
  1. Ernest Hill (b. 1881)
  2. Ivan Harold Hill (1883-1968)
  3. Mabel Hill (b. 1886)
  4. Grover A. "Dick" Hill (1888-1970)
  5. Glenn Hill (b. 1890)
  6. Iola James "Jim" Hill (1892-1963)
  7. Cloyce Hill (b. 1895)
  8. Zona Hill (b. 1902), married Mr. Thompson
  9. Goldie Hill Nina Hill
Second wife: Elizabeth "Lizzie" Christian Jurgens

James B. Hill was born on November 29, 1856, near Fremont, Sandusky County, Ohio, U.S.A. He was the son of Abraham Adam Hill (1833-1871) and Caroline Stiger (1837-1914). Abraham died felling trees near Traverse City, Michigan, leaving James to help provide for his family. In later years, James would invent a device to prevent the sort of accident that led to his father's death. James had four brothers: Amos Hill (husband to Clarinda Shaffer); Clarence Hill (husband to Edith Frankhouser?); Francis Hill (husband to Anne Duce?); and David "Dave" Hill, who died young.

James B. Hill invented and improved many things, from the tree felling safety device, to an early amphibious craft, to new breeds of corn. What he is most remembered for, however, is the famous caterpillar wheel (which he called "apron traction") that was first used on the Buckeye Traction Ditcher.

In the nineteenth century, a large portion of northwest Ohio was covered by the Great Black Swamp. Finding work draining this swamp, James found the process unnecessarily labor-intensive. Envisioning the ideal machine to do the work, he fabricated a prototype in a machine shop in Bowling Green, Ohio. This first ditcher ran on steam power. James imagined that, were he to name his invention after himself, people might mistakenly believe that it was designed for use solely on hills. Instead, he named his invention in honor of his home state, Ohio. The Buckeye Traction Ditcher Company operated out of Findlay, Ohio.

Its ditching machines were used all over the world. Within the United States, large parts of Florida and Louisiana were drained using Buckeye Traction ditch-digging machines. When ditching brought James to Louisiana, he was offered land as part of a business transaction. He settled in Raceland, Louisiana, where he died in 1945. One of his ditchers can be found at the Hancock Historical Museum.

James B. Hill on Wikipedia - James B. Hill at the ASME - James B. Hill on Farm Collector
  James B. Hill and Sons   Traction Apron Patent   Roller Bearing Apron Wheel Patent (1915)   American Society of Mechanical Engineers on James B. Hill and the Buckeye Traction Ditcher   Traction Ditching Machine (1894) U.S. Patent 523790  
  Ditcher Patent 865702                  
Buckeye Traction Ditcher
Original Buckeye Traction Ditcher. James B. Hill named his invention after his state (Ohio) symbol, the buckeye, because he realized that naming it after himself would lead people to conclude it was designed to be used for hills.
James B. Hill and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Christian Jurgens
James B. Hill with his second wife, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Christian Jurgens.
Daniel Hill (1793-1880)
Abraham A. Hill (1833-1871)
Catherina Kummerer (1789-1859)
James B. Hill (1856-1945)
Joseph Peter Stiger (1812-1888)
Caroline Stiger (1837-1914)
Sarah Faust (1815-1867)