Copyright The Columbia University Press

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. The Columbia University Press

Hill, Joe

Joe Hill, 1879–1915, Swedish-American union organizer; b. Sweden, as Joel Hägglund, also called Joseph Hillström. He came to the United States in 1902 and worked as a miner and a longshoreman, when he joined (1910) the Industrial Workers of the World. He wrote many labor songs, including "Casey Jones" and "The Union Scab." Found guilty in 1915 of murdering a prominent Salt Lake City man, Hill was executed; later information indicated that he had not committed the crime. Hill, who became a legendary hero of radical labor, is memorialized in a well-known 1936 ballad.

See biography by W. M. Adler (2011).