By Elaine Kangas and Anne Kalliomaa Pohto
Our Finnish Heritage Museum November program was Francis Oscar and Aini Margaret Hilston Hill family presented by their youngest daughter, Faith “Susie” Susanna Hill Hinkelman. Susie combined her presentation with commentary and fascinating historical video that had been converted from the Oscar Hill’s family movie footage from the 1920’s to the 1950’s.
Susie had three brothers; Francis “Brooks”, David and Charles “Charlie” Hill and one sister, Karen “Maiju” Hill Mackey. Her parents were born in Fairport Harbor. Her grandparents were all born in Finland. Her grandfather Matti Oskari “Hill” Hautamaki came from Ylistaro.
Oscar Hill owned the Fairport Harbor Hill’s Hardware store that was the supplier of marine materials for the Great Lakes freighters. He often was asked to accompany the boats on their trips to various ports. In the 1920’s the Hill’s had three small sons and the family lived on the second floor of the hardware store. The boys needed space to explore so the Hills purchased a summer camp on River Road in Perry. Here Aini spent the summers raising the boys. The video had wonderful nostalgic scenes of outdoor activities at the camp. On weekends, many relatives and guests joined the family. The Hills had also helped raise several of the relative’s children.
Susie shared video of the relatives at Fairport Beach. There was extensive video of the freighters in the ports of Lake Erie from Fairport, Cleveland, Sandusky, Toledo and all the way to Duluth, Minnesota and the Iron Range in Bernidji, Minnesota.
As the Hill boys grew up they all were in the family hardware store business supplying the orders for the freighters. Some of the grandsons worked on the Great Lakes ships as well.
Susie had as extensive collection of Hill family heirlooms and other items on display in the Hall of Fame Room.
We enjoyed refreshments provided by Dorothy Rintala Rosenberg and Marie Rosenberg Kovich
Photo © Lasse O. Hiltunen