Robert Thomas Hill began life on August 11, 1858, in the aristocratic comforts of his parents' Nashville, Tennessee, home. His family, however, suffered tragic losses during the Civil War and by 1864 young Robert was an orphan living in his grandmother's Nashville home. He left Nashville in 1874 for Comanche County, Texas, to join his brother, Joe, as an employee of a local newspaper known as the "Comanche Chief."
Hill developed a passion for geology while studying a nearby formation known as Round Mountain. He entered Cornell University in 1882 and in 1887 graduated with honors in geology. In 1888 the University of Texas established a Geology Chair to honor Hill for his landmark discovery of Cretaceous deposits on Round Mountain. . He participated in the State Geological Survey and dentified and named the Balcones Escarpment. In 1891 Hill became president of the Cosmos Club, a society of the nation's most distinguished scientists. In the 1890s and early 1900s Hill explored aquifer formations in the Southwest U.S., West Indies, Mexico, and Central America.
Hill's publications represent one of the most distinguished geological studies produced by one individual. Following his death on July 28, 1941, Hill's body was cremated and his ashes scattered over Round Mountain.