(1886 – 1960)
Benjamin Franklin Hill was born on September 30, 1886, in Hazelhurst, Mississippi. He was born to a poor farming family and decided early in life that he was going to get a proper education and learn all he could about agriculture so that he could lend a hand to farmers like his father. He did just that and spent thirty-six years of his adult life dedicating himself to the rural population of Limestone County, Alabama.
Young Benjamin attended Brookhaven High School and Tuskegee Institute and in 1909 was a teacher for the A&M Institution. On September 15, 1916, Mr. Hill began a long and successful career with the Extension Service, stationed in Limestone County. His position was titled Negro Local Agent, and he was one of the first so titled agents in Alabama, the Cooperative Extension system being in its infant stages.
Mr. Hill’s first love was the care of animals. He studied animal science at Tuskegee, pored over whatever material he could find on the science of veterinary and became a self-taught veterinarian. Formal veterinarians were scarce in North Alabama at the time Mr. Hill began his work as a county agent, and word spread quickly that the young county agent knew what he was doing. In order to introduce himself to the farmers, he first tended to their sick animals. Once they knew they could trust him, he could do his farming demonstrations and help the farmers on both levels. Soon he was no longer just Mr. Hill, he was Doctor Hill, and for the rest of his life, he was called “Doc” Hill.
Believing in the concept of the extension system, “Doc” Hill carried on a strong farm demonstration program. His counsel and advice were sought often on many matters, and his workday could easily be sixteen hours long.
To honor his thirty-six years of dedicated service to the people of Limestone County, we inscribe the name of Benjamin Franklin “Doc” Hill on the dedicatory plaque of the Extension Memorial Chapel.
Chapel Plaque Inscription Number: 273