Benjamin B. Hill was born to Benjamin and Rebecca Hill in 1830 in Middlesex, Massachusetts. His first marriage was to Sarah A. Steele in 1850. They had five children while Hill worked as a machinist in Chicopee, Massachusetts. He was successful in his trade, and holder of roughly 75 patents related to the stamp trade. By 1867 he was a manufacturer of Seal Presses in Springfield, Massachusetts and his travels took him as far west as California. He formed the B. B. Hill Manufacturing Company in 1880, which employed 18 skilled workers.

Hill’s life was not without tragedy. In 1875, his youngest daughter, Sarah, died at the age of 15. He and his wife divorced soon afterward. By 1880 he had married his second wife, Nellie E. Channing who had also been married before to a man named Stafford. The Hills moved to Philadelphia about 1882 when he relocated his business there. They traveled to Europe at least twice.

Hill’s interest in Spiritualism began before the death of his daughter. He was a delegate to the National Spiritualists Convention as early as 1873 and a well-respected early pioneer of the spiritualist movement in the United States. He was also active in the Camp Meeting Association in Maine. An 1881 newspaper account stated that “Dr. Abbie E Cutter on her travels spent a few weeks at the home of B. B. Hill and his wife in Springfield, Mass. Mrs. Hill who was formerly a public medium, is doing a great deal for the cause of Spiritualism. A great interest has been awakened in Springfield by the book of Samuel Bowles.”

At some point, they adopted Mercy C. Cadwallader as their daughter. In the 1890s, Cadwallader lived in Philadelphia where she worked for the Oriental Publishing Company. She was involved with the publishing of Antiquity Unveiled by J. M. Roberts. It was here that Cadwallader became interested in Spiritualism. Cadwallader joined the National Spiritualist Association (NSA) which was organized in 1893, and in 1894 she was elected honorary Vice-President. Unfortunately, Nellie died in 1898 of “fatty degeneration of the heart” and Hill remained a widower the remainder of his life.

Hill sponsored the publication of the book by Boston Banner of Light Publishing Co., The Christ Question Settled or Jesus, Man Medium, Martyr. written by J. M. Peebles in 1899. Hill said of Peebles book: “Now we come to those historical characters to which Dr. Peebles in his book refers to as witnesses to prove the authenticity of the historical Jesus. He and others point to the mutilated histories of these celebrated characters for proof, but they now speak to us off-hand from spirit life. This I consider direct testimony; therefore, it should take precedence of all book testimony that has been manipulated by priestcraft.”

Hill died in 1913 at the age of 83 while living in Chicago with Mercy C. Cadwallader and her husband. Services were held at the Temple of the First Association of Spiritualists of Philadelphia on July 12th 1913. In his will, he stipulated that he would be buried at Northwood Cemetery, in a plot that he bequeathed to Cadwallader.