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December 22 2009

Press Release: Historic Marker Dedication & History of Joel Hill


Born 1 August 1845 in Otsego County, NY, Joel G. Hill came to Equinunk with his family in 1848 and began rafting lumber down the Delaware when he was nine years old. At the age of 18 he enlisted in the 52nd NY Engineers and was present at Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House. Back in Wayne County, Hill married Mary Jane Flynn and re-entered the lumbering business. At one time he operated simultaneously a farm, acid factory, cider mill, grist mill, saw mill and general store. He also found time to serve as Pennsylvania State Senator, Wayne County Commissioner and Associate Judge. Joel Hill's father, Alpheus Hill, had gone west around 1860 and the family did not hear from him for twenty-seven years. Joel went to California to bring his father back to Manchester Township and gave him a home until a tragic fire in the Hill home in 1904 killed Alpheus, 92, and three employees. Today the Joel Hill Sawmill is owned and operated by the Equinunk Historical Society, which has restored it and runs demonstrations for visitors several times a year.

On Saturday, August 8, members of the Wayne County Historical Society's Historic Preservation Committee joined the Equinunk Historical Society and visitors to the Joel Hill Sawmill at the dedication of a new historic marker at the site. The committee's Floyd Schnakenberg Memorial Historic Signage Project hopes eventually to place markers at all of Wayne County's historic sites. Markers have already been placed at the Old Stone Jail in Honesdale, the Bethel School in Berlin Township, and several others are projected for the balance of 2009. The sign at the Joel Hill Sawmill was generously donated by Joseph Harcum. Photographed immediately to the left of the sign is Equinunk Historical Society President Carol Ann MacMaster, flanked by (l to r) Historic Preservation Committee members Margaret Synder, Ann O'Hara, Albert Rutherford. Sharon Carroll, Marge Hook and Sally Talaga, who is also the Wayne County Historical Society's Executive Director.

For more information, contact the Equinunk Historical Society at ehs22@verizon.com or write to PO Box 41, Equinunk, PA 18417.