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The History Mystery #20

Submitted by Lynn Northrop of the Raymond Museum

The man in this photo is Thomas Hill. The Raymond Museum History Mystery is…. Where did the famous American landscape artist, Thomas Hill, live in Raymond?

Mr. Hill painted the very well-known depiction of “The Last Spike” about the joining of the east west transcontinental railroad and he painted many beautiful works representing Yosemite Valley.

His studio still stands next to the Wawona Hotel in Yosemite and is visited by many tourists every year. He spent his summers in Wawona and winters in Raymond. He died on June 30, 1908, in Raymond.

Jay’s Funeral Home has the old record that states his body was picked up in Raymond, no address, no street, just picked up in Raymond. His daughter-in-law, Willeta Hill, was his caregiver toward the end of his life and she continued to live in Raymond after Thomas Hill died and was registered to vote there, but there is not an address given.

Our Museum has had several of Mr. Hill’s ancestors visit Raymond and our museum and all would like to know where he actually lived. He was great friends with the Washburn family and may have used one of their houses in Raymond but there is not a deed to be found that has the Hill name on it.

Any information about Thomas Hill’s Raymond days would be wonderfully appreciated!

Results from last month’s Hisory Mystery #19

Thanks go to those who offered comments. It sounds conclusive that the car in the photo was a 1928-1931 Ford Model A sedan, and likely the 1929 model.

The comments about the location are not as clear-cut, but the North Fork History Group will investigate the locations mentioned to see if we can line up the mountain range in the background to determine the best possibility.


The North Fork History Group is a not for profit corporation. It conducts meetings at the North Fork library on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. (Exceptions: no meetings in July, Aug, & Dec) All who are interested in attending are welcome. We discuss the history of the North Fork area and the ongoing projects of the History Group. For information, call Ginny Smith at 559-877-4807.


  1. Could there be a connection with the tavern out on the Knowles road called Hill’s Pride? Perhaps he lived near there.

  2. I checked our Madera County Government Archives (now at the Madera Library), specifically; Personal Property Rolls, Wills, Business Licenses and Voter Registrations and found nothing for Thomas Hill. If I come across anything, I will be sure to pass it on.

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