Dr. Alonzo Dufrey Hill was born in Schuyler County, New York on August 24, 1836. He attended the University of Miami Medical College in Ohio and became a doctor in his native county. When Civil War broke out, he joined the 9th New York Heavy Artillery and later became the brigade surgeon. When the war ended in 1865, he traveled west to Bloomfield, Missouri to start a new medical practice. In 1873, he became aware that a town would be built south of Bloomfield along the newly completed railroad there. Dr. Hill built a home that doubled as his office and opened for business that same year, becoming the first doctor located in Dexter, and one of the first businesses in the fledgling community. On January 6, 1877, Hill married Emily Montgomery, daughter of Captain Samuel Montgomery, a former Union army officer in Stoddard County. The couple had three children, only one reached adulthood, Zoe, who married local businessman, Ira White, who owned a store on Stoddard Street in Dexter. Dr. Hill had a brother that also settled in Stoddard County, while his oldest brother was elected senator of his home state of New York and later became the governor there.
Hill became instrumental in organizing a county health department board, made house calls at all times of the night or day, and was known by all to be a polite and courteous physician that genuinely cared for his patients. He and Emily had three children, but only one, Zoe, outlived her parents. Zoe was born in 1880, so judging by the photograph and the little girl with Dr. Hill and Emily, this image was most likely taken in 1881, making it the oldest known image of a Dexter business. His office was located on South Walnut Street.
He died in 1912 of pneumonia at his daughter’s home in Dexter, he was buried in the Dexter Cemetery.
Photos provided by: Paul Arnold
Article written by: Paul Arnold