Deacon Rei Hills was born in Windham on June 26, 1818. He studied at Phillips Academy and laid stonewalls to fund his education. He spent most of his life in Windham, but spent time living in Litchfield, as well as Pelham. Hills is recorded as having been a fine teacher, and was equally skilled as a farmer and stone layer. While he was in Windham, Hills was active in town affairs including serving on the school committee, and serving as a town selectman. In 1844 he married Nancy Jane Parker of Litchfield. She was also a teacher, and taught for several years in Methuen, MA.