I am descended from Richard L Hill, son of Harsey Hill and Mary Rogers. Harsey was the son of Ferris Hill and Mary Barstow, and Ferris was the son of Abraham Hill and Hannah Ferris. Ferris and Abraham owned property on Lot #6 of the Philipse Patent near Carmel, Putnam County, NY. Abraham and Mary are buried in the Old Baptist Cemetery in Carmel. I recently met a long-lost cousin on-line who sent me a will that shows that Mary was the daughter of Amos Rogers who appears to have descended from John Rogers and Priscilla Hamblin through John to Benjamin to John (I’m trying to make a positive connection). Supporting that argument and the argument that Priscilla’s mother Sarah Bearse was the daughter of Mary “Little Dove” Hyanno, the wife of Austin Bearse, who would truly have been an Indian, is a letter that Richard L Hill wrote to my great-great-grandmother-to-be, Julia Havens, December 19, 1860, of which I have a photocopy. I have transcribed the last page below (first two pages are typical lover’s dribble):
“I have a story to tell you.” Yet had I told it thus, it would have been incomplete. - - - I will tell but a part of it now, and that in confidence simply because I consider that you have a right to know all that concerns me which may have an influence on your future actions. Having for a long time had a curiosity to know who my ancestors were, I have been investigating the matter and have used every endeavor to unravel the mystery which I have long known was connected with it. Since I saw you my efforts have succeeded and that success has established the fact, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I derive my “stiff neckedness” from Indian ancestors. - - -John J. Saxe has recommended persons not to be over anxious to ascend the “family line” lest they might find it end in a “coil of stronger twine that plagued ones worthy relation.” – perhaps I had better taken his advice. - - - What do you think of having for second cousins some of the “coppers”? - - Please be plain.
(This is not known to my brothers & sisters and I shall keep it from them)
But tis getting late and I must bid you “goodnight”. Yours truly, R. L Hill Baldwinsville, Os. Co. NY
Obviously, great great grandfather Hill was not proud of his Native American ancestry and, apparently was giving Julia the opportunity to reconsider her relationship. Unfortunately, he did not reveal who or what tribe. It’s possible the letter could have been referring to the Barstow line, but I haven’t been able to find anything even remote there. If it does refer to the Rogers line, then this would lend credence to Franklin Ele-Watum Bearce’s 1930 benefit application because it was written 70 years before. It’s interesting that Richard refers to Indians as coppers – the same description as that of Mary “Little Dove’s” skin. Was that a typical (obviously derogatory) term for Native Americans in those days – I’ve never heard that before? I realize this is all very circumstantial, and any assistance in helping to “unravel the mystery” would be deeply appreciated. Thanks - Denny