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Hitt, Samuel M.

Born: 1799-01-22 Bourbon County, Kentucky

Died: 1859-11-16 Mount Morris, Illinois

Samuel M. Hitt was a farmer, general store owner, real estate investor, state representative, Methodist, and Republican. While still a child, he and his family moved to Urbana, Ohio. When a young man, he relocated to Washington County, Maryland and married Barbara A. Hershey in 1823. The two had twelve children together, although six died in childhood. In the summer of 1836, he and Nathaniel Swingley traveled together from Washington County to examine lands in Ogle County, Illinois. After staking claim to lands near present-day Mount Morris, they returned to Maryland in the fall to recruit others to relocate to Illinois with them and help work the land. The group, which was known locally as the "Maryland Colony," settled in Ogle County in the spring of 1837. Hitt operated a general store for some time in the 1840s and became active with the Rock River Seminary. He also became a member of the Illinois chapter of the American Colonization Society when it was formed in 1845. Well known in the area, he represented Ogle County in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1844 to 1846. Between 1836 and 1853, he purchased thousands of acres of public land, primarily in Ogle County, but also in Carroll and Macon counties. By 1850, his real estate holdings were valued at over $38,000. In 1858, he served as one of Ogle County's delegates to the Republican State Convention in Springfield.

Harry G. Kable, Mount Morris: Past and Present, An Illustrated History of the Village of Mount Morris Ogle County, Illinois (Mount Morris, IL: Kable Brothers, 1938), 15-16; Harvey J. Kable and Harry G. Kable, Mount Morris: Past and Present (Mount Morris, IL: Mount Morris Index Print, 1900), 80-81; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 23 January 1845, 3:4; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 17 June 1858, 2:4; Louis L. Emmerson, ed., Blue Book of the State of Illinois, 1919-1920 (Springfield: Illinois State Journal, 1920), 534; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Mount Morris, Ogle County, IL, 13; For an exhaustive list of Hitt's land purchases, search "Hitt Samuel M," https://www.ilsos.gov/isa/landsrch.jsp; Gravestone, Oakwood Cemetery, Mount Morris, IL.