Steam King Passes On

Case Portable #611

Morgan Hill in 1979 standing by his Case Portable #611.

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13140 Madison Road Middlefield, Ohio 44062

The life of Morgan H. Hill sadly came to an end August 26, 1988. Born in June 1913, he was raised in Linesville, Pennsylvania. Moving a few times in the area, on different farms with his parents and two sisters, he was interested in 'improving' the way of back-breaking farm chores. As a young boy riding his pony to school past a blacksmith shop, he would stop sometimes, skipping school to help and learn the trade. The German 'Smitty' had patience and took the time to teach. Soon Morgan had his own forge and shop made from a small grainery on the farm. Not interested in school, he got a job with the highway department. Working the job, he would travel around the county spotting a steam engine here and there. He bought a 12 HP Westinghouse and Buffalo-Pitts 16 HP. While he was at work one day his mother unknowingly sold them to a passing scrap dealer for $22.00. When he got home and saw nothing left but the governor belt he was disgusted and quit the highway job and bought a sawmill, deciding to work at home from then on doing repair work for area people.

He built up his sawmill business and butchering shop. A self taught sawyer, he began to hammer and fit saw blades. He became an expert in this field and at the end was equaled by no one! People came from all parts of the U.S. to get saw blades repaired.

He would buy a steam engine every now and then. He had 18, all of which he rebuilt, and they were all in good repair.

Morgan was an early member of Blake's Reunion and Rough and Tumble at Kinzers, PA, and was an important founder in our hobby.

Steam was no hobby for Morgan. Setting and designing factories and heating systems was his business, Skinner engines being his favorite for power. He knew them inside and out, to get the best results for each installation. He operated his steam powered sawmill for over 50 years, sawing millions of feet of lumber. His small portable mill was one of the main attractions at our shows. He enjoyed using his 15 HP Farquhar and getting the last puff of steam out of the cylinder.

Morgan had a threshing run for 30 years. A 22 inch Nichols & Shepard separator, Russell 12 HP steam engine, and Oliver Hart-Parr supplied the power. He also filled 22 silos each fall after the threshing was done.

He made many friends at the different shows. He liked recalling the good times with Bill Sater of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; Gilmar Johnson, of Wisconsin; Clarence Fisher, of Pennsylvania; the Holp family of Ohio. The list of names could fill two pages. I could write a book on the 'perdicaments' he helped people out of, including myself, but time won't permit. His generosity and ability to fix anything put him in a class above most of us. His determination from start to finish amazed all of us. A hard man to try to write about because he did so much and helped so many. He will be sadly missed.