Hill was born on April 6, 1789 in West Cambridge, Massachusetts (now Belmont). He attended the schools of West Cambridge and Ashburnham, Massachusetts. He was then apprenticed to a printer in Amherst, New Hampshire.
In 1809 Hill moved to Concord, New Hampshire, where he became owner and editor of the New Hampshire Patriot newspaper, which he operated until 1829.
Hill was Clerk of the New Hampshire State Senate in 1819 and 1825.
A Democratic-Republican, he served in the New Hampshire State Senate from 1820 to 1823 and 1827 to 1828. In 1826 he was a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
Hill supported Andrew Jackson for President in 1828. When Jackson was inaugurated, he appointed Hill as Second Comptroller of the United States Treasury, a position Hill held from 1829 to 1830. Hill became a Jackson confidant, and was considered a member of the Kitchen Cabinet, a group of unofficial advisors who played a major role in shaping the administration's policy.
In 1831 Hill was elected to the United States Senate as a Jacksonian. He served from March 4, 1831 to May 30, 1836, when he resigned in anticipation of assuming the governorship.
Hill was elected Governor in 1836. He was reelected twice, and served from June 2, 1836 to June 5, 1839.
From 1840 to 1841 Hill was Subtreasurer of the United States Treasury office in Boston, Massachusetts. From 1840 to 1847 he was owner of another newspaper, Hill's New Hampshire Patriot, which was edited by his sons.
Hill also became active in other ventures, including railroads, real estate and banking.
He died on March 22, 1851 in Washington, D.C., and was buried at Blossom Hill Cemetery in Concord.
The town of Hill, New Hampshire is named for him.