William Hill and His Dog Footstone

William Hill’s ornate monument at Wilmington’s Oakdale Cemetery was not unlike many others on the grounds, boasting that rural cemetery flair that I love so much.

What was unique about this grave; however, was the dog-shaped footstone which my trusty canine sidekick Esther noticed before I did and reacted as though it was a real animal.

Intrigued, I read the inscription on the main marker and found nothing on the footstone but there was nothing indicating why this particular piece was present unless I overlooked something or the inscription had weathered away.

If you recall, on this same trip I encountered the grave of a man and his dog who were buried together after perishing in a fire and wondered if this was a similar circumstance.


William was born in 1825 to John Hill and Elizabeth Bradley Hill. He married Mary Elizabeth Outlaw in 1850, only ten years before he died. There is no evidence that the couple had any children.

Weekly Standard, September 19, 1860
Weekly Standard, September 19, 1860
hill marriage The North-Carolina standard., January 23, 1850
The North-Carolina Standard, January 23, 1850

A year after taking these photos I don’t know much more about William Hill’s life, but his grave is still beautiful and when I return to Wilmington I will visit again.

I hate to assume things, but it’s heartwarming to think that maybe Mr. Hill was simply a dog lover.

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