On a late summer evening on 19 September 1961, Barney and Betty Hill were driving through Franconia Notch in New Hampshire, and reportedly saw an unusual light in the sky, and were subsequently abducted by aliens.
Betty and her husband Barney did not seek out publicity, but when a reporter leaked information about their encounter in 1965, they received international attention.
Their story has been the subject of a 1995 book, “The Interrupted Journey,” by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, and a television movie called “UFO Incident,” that starred James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons. Betty Hill lectured on her UFO experience, and made many personal appearances up until 1991.
Betty Hill was raised on a chicken farm in Kingston NH. She had graduated from Sanborn Seminary in 1937, and graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1958 with honors. She later participated in graduate studies. She was a member of Alpha Kappa Delta Sociology Honor Society. As a social worker she trained foster parents and worked in the area of adoption, taking special interest in her wards. She was also an activist throughout her life for human rights, and was a member of the NAACP and a founding member of the Rockingham County Community Action.
In a 1979 story published in a Boston magazine, she is quoted as saying: “That’s what I want to be remembered for–my social work, not as the woman who sees UFOs.” Her niece, Kathy Marden of Stratham, wants her aunt to be remembered a “wonderful, generous, kind, witty, vivacious person.”
Whether you believe in UFOs, aliens, and alien abductions, or not, Betty Hill was an intelligent and compassionate woman who deserves to be remembered for the good she accomplished. In 2017 New Hampshire placed an official highway marker to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Hill’s close encounter.
**Additional Reading or Research**
Betty & Barney Hill Papers: at University of New Hampshire
*PARTIAL FAMILY TREE OF BETTY HILL**
Lawrence Barrett, b. abt 1815-1820 in Ireland, died 1 May 1884 in Kingston NH; m. — to Mary –. Possibly he is the Mr. Barrett who arrived in Boston MA from St. George, New Brunswick on 6 July 1840 aboard the ship: North America. Unsure whether the Bridget shown in the 1870 census is his wife or his sister. Son John’s marriage record indicates his parents are Laurence and Mary Barrett. James Barrett and family who lived in Kingston NH at the same time, usually living next door or nearby, is probably his brother.
U.S. Census > 1870 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Rockingham > Kingston
Barrett, Lawrence 50 M W Carpenter 500/150 Ireland
Barrett, Bridget 40 F W keeping House Ireland
Barrett, Mary A. 14 F at home NH
Barrett, John 10 M W attending School NH
Barrett, Sarah A. 7 F W attending School NH
–living next door–
Barrett, James 60 M W Farmer 900/150 Ire
Barrett, Mary 57 F W Keeping House Ire
Barrett, Michael 22 M W Farm Laborer Ire [b 1845, d. 2 Aug 1894]
Barrett, Mary 27 F W Keeping House Ireland
Barrett, Abbie C. 18 F W works for shoe manuf NH
U.S. Census > 1880 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Rockingham > Kingston > District 214
Barrett, James W M 68 Farmer Ire Ire Ire
Barrett, Michael W M 31 son works in shoe shop Ire Ire Ire
–living next door–
Barrett, Lawrence W M 65 farmer Ire Ire Ire
Barrett, John W M 20 son works on farm NH Ire Ire
Barrett, Thomas W M 35 works on Railroad Ire Ire Ire
Barrett, Ellen W F 32 wife keeping house Ire Ire Ire
Barrett, Mary E. W F 6 dau NH Ire Ire
Barrett, Thomas W. W M 2 son NH Ire Ire
Children of Lawrence & Mary (–) Barrett:
1. Mary A. Barrett, b. abt 1856 in NH
2. +John E. Barrett, b. Sep 1860 in NH
3. Sarah A. Barrett, b. abt 1863 in NH
John E. Barrett, son of Lawrence & Mary Barrett, b. Sep 1860 in NH ; m. 12 July 1887 Boston MA to Lizzie E. Trafton, dau of Benjamin & Julia A. Trafton [intentions recorded at Epping NH 11 July 1887 per NEHGS Register 122:314]. She b. July 1862 in York Maine. He was a cutter in a shoe shop and resided in Kingston NH.
U.S. Census > 1900 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Rockingham > Kingston > District 196
Barrett, John W M Sept 1860 39 married 13 yrs NH Ire Ire, Cutter, shoe shop
Barrett, Lizzie S. wife W F July 1862 37 married 13 yrs 5 ch 3 living Maine Maine Maine
Barrett, Marion B. W F Oct 1890 9 single Massachusetts NH Maine at school
Barrett, Ruth F. dau W F Sept 1892 7 single NH NH Maine at school
Barrett, Raymond H. son W M Dec 1894 6 single NH NH Maine at school
—living next door—
Barrett, James Head W M March 1810 90 widow Ire Ire Ire imm 1840 60 yrs in the US
Barrett, Thomas Head W M May 18– 58 married 28 yrs Ire Ire Ire Laborer RR
Barrett, Ellen M. wife W F Aug 1849 50 married 28 yrs 4 ch 3 living Ire Ire Ire
Barrett, Nellie M. dau W F July 1875 26 single NH Ire Ire — Shop
Barrett, Fannie C. dau W F July 1881 18 single NH Ire Ire
Barrett, John J. son W M Apr 1886 19 single NH Ire Ire at school
Children of John E. & Lizzie S. (Trafton) Barrett:
1. Lawrence T. Barrett, b. 1888, d. 13 Sep 1899
2. Marion/Marian B. Barrett, b. Oct 1890 MA
3. Ruth F. Barrett, b. Sept 1892 Kingston NH
4. +Raymond H. Barrett, b. Dec 1894 Kingston NH
Raymond Holway Barrett, son of John E. & Lizzie S. (Trafton) Barrett, b. 11 Dec 1894 in Kingston NH, d. April 1968 in Newton Junction, Rockingham Co NH; He m. bef June 5, 1917 to Florence Dora Rollins of Lynn MA, dau of Frank E. [b NH] & Dora S. (Dow) [b Newburyport MA] Rollins. She b. 23 July 1897 in Lynn MA. They resided in Kingston NH. In 1942 working in Haverhill MA.
U.S. Census > 1920 United States Federal Census > New Hampshire > Rockingham > Kingston > District 127
Barrett, Raymond H. Head M W 27 Married NH NH Maine cutter, shoe shop
Barrett, Florence wife F W 23 married MA US MA
Barrett, Eunice E. daughter F W 2-6/12 single NH NH MA
—living next door—
Barrett, Ellen Head F W 70 widow imm 1853 naturalized Ire Ire Ire
Barrett, Mary E. dau F W 46 single NH Ire Ire
Barrett, Katherine F. dau F W 38 single NH Ire Ire
—living next door—
Barrett, John E. Head M W 59 married NH Ire Ire cutter, shoe shop
Barrett, Lizzie S. wife F W 57 married Maine Maine Maine
Children of Raymond H. & Florence (Rollins) Barrett:
1. +Eunice Elizabeth “Betty” Barrett, b. 28 June 1919 Newton NH
2. June Lamb Barrett, b. 1921; m. 1 July 1949 in Hampton NH to Alexander Lazos of Haverhill MA, son of Coasta & Effie (Kasadimous) Lazos. They had at least one child, Cherlyn.
3. Robert Barrett, b. 16 Aug 1925, pre-deceased his sister “Betty”
4. Janet C. Barrett, b. 7 Apr 1929 Kingston NH, d. 27 June 2007 Exeter NH ; m. 2 Nov 1947 Donald M. Miller; res. Kingston NH [ dau, Kathleen Florence Miller (Charles Francis) Marden of Stratham NH; sons Glenn P. (and Leslie) Miller of Kingston and Thomas J. (and Joyce) Miller of Hampton]
5. Norma Jean Barrett, b. 1933; m. 15 June 1952 to Richard A. Sears; m. 2nd) Ward Coats of Petersburg TN
Eunice Elizabeth “Betty” Barrett, was born 28 June 1919 in Newton NH; she died in her sleep on 17 October 2004 at her home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire of lung cancer. She was 85. Her burial took place on October 23, 2004 at Greenwood Cemetery in Kingston NH. She married 1st) Robert Stewart of Kittery ME, and divorced; she married 2nd) 1960 to Barney Hill of Philadelphia. Barney Hill died of a cerebral hemorrhage on 25 February 1969. Betty had no children by her second marriage.
Children of Robert & Betty (Barrett) Stewart:
1. Rose Marie Stewart; m. Nelson Norton. Resided York Maine, pre-deceased her mother. Children: Tamara L. Norton (1956-2008) who married Michael Fleeman; and Danny Norton. Buried Battle Creek, Michigan.
2. Constance Jean Stewart ; m. Paul Zukowski; res. North Little Rock Arkansas [? m1) — Starratt]. [?ch: Tamera Starratt (Mrs. Steve) Miller, Charles Calvin Starratt, Susan Starratt Downs].
3. Kenneth James Stewart of San Jose California
Obituary: “Ms. Hill is survived by her daughter, Constance Jean Stewart Zukowski of North Little Rock, Ark., a son, Kenneth James Stewart of San Jose, Calif., and a niece, Kathleen Florence Miller Maden of Stratham. She is also survived by three sisters, seven grandchildren; great grandchildren, nieces, nephews and grandnieces and grandnephews.”
Originally written: August 23, 2007
Updated: 22 March 2018