Bill was born in that part of Groton which later became Ledyard. Educated locally,
he taught school for a time in his native town before resigning to travel and
sell books in both this country and Canada. In 1856 he joined his brother Gurdon
in the publishing business in Springfield, Massachusetts, until the outbreak
of the Civil War in 1861 when he disposed of his interest to his brother. Following
the war, he engaged in the importation and manufacture of linen goods in the
firm of Tracy & Bill in New York City. He purchased the interest of his
partner in 1870 and three years later sold the entire business and retired from
commercial life. Mr. Bill bought a farm in Groton near the mouth of the Thames
River, where he lived until his death.
Mr. Bill's first wife, Lucy F. Denison Bill, died April 2, 1894, and on August 14, 1895, he married Julia 0. Avery, the first librarian of the Bill Memorial Library.
In addition to the BML, which he founded, built, and endowed, Mr. Bill gave generously to the support of the Groton Congregational Church, paid for the Groton Heights School in 1912, and was an early supporter of Connecticut College.
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