2023 Veteran Honoree
One hundred and twenty five years ago, the United States fought what is known as the Spanish-American War. While the motivation for the war was primarily to free the peoples of Cuba, Porto Rico, Guam and the Philippines from Spanish rule, the outcome propelled the United States onto the world stage.
One of the many National Guard units were activated and sworn into federal duty as volunteers was the 14th Ohio Infantry Regiment, which contained Company E, from Union County. When sworn in, the 14th was renamed the 4th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and Company E became Company D. And one of it’s men was Samuel Layton Hill.
Samuel was born on July 3rd, 1875 in Delaware County, and lived for a time with his parents, Israel and Martha Blaney Hill in Concord Township, Delaware County which borders Jerome Township here in Union County. After his father died, he moved with his mother to Paris Township in Union County, where she later remarried. He graduated from Marysville High School on East Sixth Street. In the newspaper write up on his re-burial in Oakdale cemetery, he was described as “a young man of strictest integrity, and a dedicated sense of honor. He was always upright, candid and open-hearted. He was a good boy in his home, a good boy in school, and a good soldier.” On April 26, 1898, two days after war was declared, he joined Company E of the 14th Ohio. On May 9th, he was mustered into federal service with the rest of the company.
After their training, Samuel and the men from Union County left for Porto Rico. They landed there on August 3rd at Arroyo, and on August 4th was sent to the front-lines outside Guyama on outpost duty. The Spanish were on the other side of the front. After participating in the battle for Guyama from the 7th to 10th of August, the 4th was again on outpost duty outside the city when Private Hill was struck down by friendly fire. He was originally buried outside Guyama, but in 1899 was brought home to Union County and re-interred in Oakdale cemetery with full military honors on May 3, 1899.