Annie Violet Hill
Annie Hill, the daughter of George Barney Hill and Maggie Forbes Hill, was 11 years old when the family moved to Cliffside in 1918. Annie went to work in Cliffside Mills when she was 14 years old, and worked there until her retirement. After her father died in 1944, she became head of the household, responsible for taking care of family business and making the decisions. Her sister, Ada, looked after the house and cared for their mother, who was bedridden for a number of years before her death in 1961. In the late 1950s, when their house on South Main Street was scheduled to be torn down to make way for an extension of the Cliffside Railroad tracks, they moved into a house off North Main Street. Because of the corporate decision to dispose of all the mill houses, either by selling them or tearing them down, the demolition crews eventually reached the North Main Street area, also. Annie then bought one of the houses and had it moved across Broad River onto what would later become Old Highway 221A South. She and Ada lived there for a number of years, helping to raise a grand niece, until Ada died in 1993. Annie then lived alone until about 1996, when health problems forced her to move into Oak Grove Health Care Center, where she died in 1997.
When Annie went to work, she began to save what money she could after paying room and board to her mother. She watched her pennies and gradually, over the years, accumulated a nice little “nest egg.” The family did not have a car until 1937, when Annie, at age 30, bought her first car, paying cash for it with the money she had saved. It was a 1937 Dodge that she bought new at the Dodge dealership in Shelby, NC. The car was kept in a wooden framed, plank sided garage between their house and the house next door. The garage had double doors that fastened with a wooden bar that swiveled on a nail to secure both doors.
Because of gasoline rationing during WWII, those with cars did very little unnecessary traveling. During the summer of 1945, however, gasoline was more available, and one could even buy tires to replace their old ones, whose tread was worn almost bald.
Annie decided she would like to take a trip to see the mountains, but was reluctant to drive herself, doubting her ability to follow all the road signs and reach her destination without becoming lost. Her nephew, Sam Hill, was 15 years old, and although he had not yet obtained his driver license, he confidently offered to chauffeur Annie’s car on the trip. He drove the car, with his Aunts Annie and Ada Hill and neighbor Jessie Carpenter as passengers, on a tour or the Great Smoky Mountains in Western North Carolina and Tennessee. Luckily Sam was a hefty young man, and did not look as young as he really was, so was not stopped by a state trooper and asked to show his driver license. He was apparently a competent chauffeur, also, since they had no mishaps and arrived back home safely.