Hills Ferry founded 1849 by Judge O D Dickerson
Named for Jesse Hill operator of the ferry boat that landed just upstream under the present bridge.
Marker placed July 18, 1964 - B.S.A.
1850. Jesse Hill established Hill' s Ferry, just north of the junction of the Merced and San Joaquin rivers, on the Orestimba Rancho. -- Chronology of Stanislaus County History
MONDAY, April 6 , we started on and rode thirty-one miles without any incident. We stopped that night at Hill's Ferry, a dirty place, where a drunken "Secesh" made an uproar the whole night. A few vaqueros were managing a lot of wild Spanish cattle, to get them on board the ferryboat, and gave us some specimens of horsemanship and lassoing that were decidedly fine. ... Firebaugh's was even a harder place than Hill's. I ought to have mentioned that near our Sunday's stopping place a murderer had just been arrested, and that at Hill's four horses had just been stolen. -- Up and down California in 1860-1864; the journal of William H. Brewer
In 1878 old Los Banos and Hill's Ferry were the only West Side towns. At Hill's Ferry there were two stores, Newman's and Kahn's. A man named Charles Harris had a lumber yard at Hill's Ferry. There was a school there, called the Orestimba School. There was also a Cottonwood School when Mr. and Mrs. Smith settled on their ranch. -- History Of Merced County California
These comparisons enable us to reconstruct in some measure the California of 1880. ... It will be noted that the towns in the Mother Lode country — Mariposa, Sonora, and their neighbors — were of a good deal more importance than they are now; and so also were the towns along the San Joaquin River. Hill's Ferry had 161 people; the railroad had not yet come to the West Side, and this town had not moved to Newman. Hill's Ferry is now just about as completely gone as its neighbor, Columbia, up near Sonora — once, in the early gold days, a good deal larger than the 650 which it had in 1880, and one of the first incorporated cities in the State. -- Merced County History