NAPOLEON HILL HOUSE. Corner of 3rd and Madison. Built in 1881 in French Renaissance style. Napoleon Hill was so successful in business that he became known as 'the Merchant Prince of Memphis.' He joined the California gold rush as a teenager in the late 1840s, returning to Memphis in 1857 with $10,000 and a plan: he would use his gold to open a cotton brokerage house. He did and he became emornously wealthy. Hill lived ostentatiously in this mansion he built at the present site of the Sterick Building. The mansion was befitting of the 'gilded age' of Memphis.
The merchant prince of Memphis, Napoleon Hill was born in 1830, the second of eleven children of Duncan and Olivia L. Bills Hill. Hill's physician father died in 1844, leaving his widow an estate valued at more than forty thousand dollars, including Longwood plantation in Marshall County, Mississippi. At age sixteen Hill moved to Bolivar, where he clerked in a dry goods store. Three years later, he joined the California Gold Rush and reportedly accumulated several thousand dollars before returning to Tennessee. By 1857 Hill was back in Memphis after a brief stopover in Bolivar. He opened a wholesale grocery and cotton commission house on the eve of the Civil War.
In postwar Memphis, Hill became one of the leading businessmen among the cotton and merchant houses of the day. He also invested in banking and real estate, as well as in New South industrial development. As Memphis rose to prominence as the world's leading cotton spot market and one of the nation's largest wholesale grocery distribution centers, Hill became wealthy, powerful, and socially prominent. The city's cotton merchants organized the Memphis Cotton Exchange in 1873; Hill headed it in the early 1880's. Unlike in other southern cities, Memphis cotton men (instead of the railroads) owned and operated the city's cotton compress and storage facilities. In 1887 Hill succeeded founder Henry Montgomery as head of the Merchants' Cotton Press and Storage Company with its giant warehouses and daily compress output of six thousand bales. In 1885 Hill, Sam Tate, and Robert B. Snowden formed Citizens Railway Company, a streetcar line serving the Fort Pickering, Cole's Mill, Scotland, Elmwood Cemetery, and Leath Orphan Asylum areas. The line was soon absorbed by Memphis City Railroad Company. Hill's biggest investment was in Hill, Fontaine and Company, a cotton and wholesale grocery business. In addition to his other investments, Hill owned 1,250 shares of Pratt Coal and Coke Company, developers of the Birmingham, Alabama, steel industry. He was also a strong investor in Union and Planters Bank and served as a bank director.
Hill lived ostentatiously in a mansion he built at the present site of the Sterick Building. He died in 1909 and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery.
Napoleon Hill Jr.
Birth: Jun. 18, 1866
Tennessee, USA Death: Jul. 3, 1905
From death certificate
Father: Napoleon Hill
Mother: Mary M. Wood
Died from cirrhosis of the liver
Napoleon Hill (1830 - 1909)
Mary Morton Wood Hill (1835 - 1922)
William Duncan Hill (1859 - 1860)*
Olivia Polk Hill Grosvenor (1861 - 1934)*
Napoleon Hill (1866 - 1905)
May Hill Overton (1868 - 1964)*
Francis Fontaine Hill (1874 - 1935)*
Plot: Lenow Circle, Lot 79
Created by: Neil Loftiss
Record added: Nov 10, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 80174975