Willis Hill Interview, April 6, 1990


Willis Hill


Ileen Ricci and Daniel Hall



Download Audio Interview (97.9 MB)

Download Transcript of Willis Hill Interview (404 KB)


Willis Hill recalls his childhood in Minnesota, Canada, and Montana. He describes working for a dragline outfit based in Lovell, Wyoming, building roads and digging canals in the Cody and Jackson Hole area, starting when he was 16. Hill discusses the wildlife saw and the harsh weather he endured, as well as stories about equipment breaking down. He talks about moving his family back to Great Falls, Montana during a winter snowstorm, traveling in temperatures as low as 40 below. He details his time working for the Anaconda Copper Mining Company [ACM] in the smelter at the zinc plant in Great Falls, before moving to the Bitterroot Valley during World War Two. Hill recalls dairy farming in the Valley, where some of his cows died from brucellosis and he fell ill with ungulate fever. He talks about moving to Missoula and working as a carpenter until his eyesight began to fail and he had to retired. He discusses his volunteer work with the city food bank, Meals on Wheels organization, and other community institutions. He also concludes by mentioning his membership in fraternal organizations and talks about his children and grandchildren.


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Document Type

Oral History


Canada; Minnesota; Dragline; Great Depression, 1929-1939; World War, 1939-1945; Butte, Montana; Mining; Great Falls, Montana; Missoula, Montana; Bitterroot Valley, Montana; Judith Gap, Montana; Lovell, Wyoming; Cody, Wyoming; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Teton National Park; Dairy farming; Brucellosis; Ungulate fever; Zinc refinery; Smelters; Anaconda Copper Mining Company [ACM]; Family history

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Settlers, Homesteaders, Ranchers, and Farmers Oral History Collection Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana-Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 243-001, 002

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

2 sound cassette (60 min.): analog + 1 transcript (22 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

01:19:20 minutes

Local Filename

OH_243_001_002.mp3; OH_243_001_002.pdf

Willis Hill Interview, April 6, 1990