A Documentary History
Compiled by Mary Helen Haines
This history has been in the
works for several years and thanks are owed to many for their work that helped
guide my research. First and foremost, is the research and history written by
my grandfather, Joe Meredith Hill, who was born in
So this short history is not to duplicate his work, but is intended to take the history back to the period before William Ransom Hill and his wife Amanda Meredith (Mandy, or Granny Hill, as she was known by the younger descendants). I started this with research using the Sons of American Revolution application, and the research compiled by my father, Joe McFarland Hill. Then using information from the “Obituary” of Abner Hill as a guide, began looking for the primary source references to back up the history written by Abner. Some had questioned whether this “Obituary” was authentic, but I have found nothing in my research that contradicts his memories to any significant degree. I found instead, that Abner had a phenomenal memory and an excellent self-taught education.
Many thanks go to various
relatives. Charles Massey, a descendant of William Jasper Hill, generously has
shared his research about the early years of William Hill in
So here we are today, in June,
2007, reunited in
Mary Helen Haines
Our ancestor Thomas Hill was born in 1759 near the Dan River, close to the
However, DNA says otherwise. The Hill descendants of Thomas are genetically descended from a male with the last name of Grogan. The Hill descendants of Thomas’ brother are not connected by DNA to Thomas’ descendants. So now the investigation into our Hill roots before Thomas, shifts gears to the Grogan family. DNA will give us no more information; from here we must rely on the familiar paper trail of deeds, censuses, tax lists, etc.
What do we know about the
Grogans? According to Grogan descendants, two brothers came to
The first documented record in
The land in this area of
The earliest record of a Hill in
the area of the Dan River, is the purchase of 160 acres by William Hill on Rock House Creek from James Sims in 1763 (Rowan Co.
Deed Book 5, p. 355). Rock House Creek is south of the
Since our Thomas Hill was born in 1759, and he is not the son of William, but a Grogan father, he most likely is the son of Bartholomew.
Another relation also appears in
the early years in this area: William
Bridges. In 1755, Robert Jones sold
to Wm. Bridges two plots of land, one is 190 acres on the north side of the Dan
River, and the other is 100 acres on both sides of the
When Lord Granville died, the
land office closed in 1763, so no new land grants were made in the years before
the American Revolution. That does not mean that the land was uninhabited,
however. Enough people had moved into the territory that demands for a county
seat closer to their place of residence led to the creation of
According to family researchers,
Bartholomew and his wife Lurenia (Lurina) came from the same county in
(1) Eleanor "Nellie" Grogan born about 1750, later married to Drury Smith
(2) John Grogan born about 1752, married Ann Nancy Edwards
(3) Lurenia Grogan born about 1754, married Benjamin Smith
(4) Samuel Grogan born about 1760
(5) Thomas Grogan born Sept. 7, 1762, married Martha Smith
(6) Francis Grogan born about 1763, married Elizabeth Price
(7) Daniel Grogan born about 1764, married Jane Smith
(8) William Grogan born about 1766, married Sarah Davidson
(9) Bartholomew Grogan Jr. born about 1768, married as his second wife Elizabeth Price.
(Source: The Heritage of Rockingham County North Carolina, Entry “Bartholomew Grogan Family,” written by H. Wendell Grogan, p. 284)
Bartholomew Grogan appears first in the new county records in 1773 when he and his wife Susannah sell 240 acres on both side of Buffaloe Island Creek to Constant Perkins. This was not registered, however, until 1780. Another question—are Susannah and Lurina the same person? It could be that there are two wives.
During the years of the American
Revolution, local militias were recruited to fight against the English and the
Indians. In 1775 a treaty signed between
a land company and the Cherokee opened a huge area for settlement from the Ohio
River to the Watauga settlement in what became
Our Thomas Hill was only sixteen when he was drafted into Captain Leek’s company. In the words from his pension statement made in 1832 in White Co., TN:
The object of the draft was to raise men to go against the Cherokee
Indians on the
The troops marched to the Cherokee Towns and destroyed them. The first
town they entered was Watauga. The second was called
His next service was the year of the
He was acquainted with Colonel Martin, Colonel Crisby, and General
Green. After this battle of
William Shropshire, Thomas Hill’s future brother-in-law, fought as well. The pension application states:
WILLIAM SHROPSHIRE, a resident of
“That he, WILLIAM SHROPSHIRE, enlisted for
the term of twelve months in the month of September 1775 in the County of
Guilford, state of North Carolina, in the company commanded by Captain JOHN
ARMSTRONG in the regiment commanded by Colonel ALEXANDER MARTIN in the line of
the state of North Carolina in the continental establishment. That he continued
to serve in the said corps until September 1776 when he was discharged in
Rockingham County, SNEED STRONG, made oath that WILLIAM SHROPSHIRE was
in the militia service of the
Listed as part of Captain Richard Vernon’s militia found in Room 400 of the National Archives were James Hill, Gustavous Hill, and Winkfield Shropshire. The year is not included, however 1781 would be likely based on Richard Vernon’s pension statements. (Heritage of Rockingham County, p. 11)
We know about Thomas Hill’s and William Shropshire’s Revolutionary war service through pension applications filed in White County, Tennessee; however, Bartholomew Grogan did not live that long, so his military adventures are second-hand. In the book, The Old North State in 1776, written by the Rev. Eli W. Caruther, D.D. in 1854, Grogan is mentioned on page 87 of Vol. II as having joined Col. Dugan (Thomas Dougan), Capt. William Clarke, Jacky Veach and many others as they hunted down a Tory Major John Elrod who lived near the fork of the Yadkin River. It seems that Elrod had killed a Whig neighbor named Johnson and Thomas Dougan, who was home recovering from his time on a British prison ship, raised an informal militia to go after Elrod. “The alarm having been given in the neighborhood, a trip of mounted men was quickly paraded and ready for marching orders, consisting of colonel Dugan, Captain William Clarke, Jacky Veach, Bartholomew Grogan, and many others.”
There was a lot of skirmishing
between the British Loyalists (called Tories) and the United States Patriots
(called Whigs) in this area, and often it was neighbor against neighbor. It
culminated in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in 1781, where Lord Cornwallis
fought against the Patriots in what is now
In the interim of the Revolution
the unsettled land in
The warrants were issued on a first come, first serve basis. The settler would mark off the section of land he was claiming, then go to the Entry Office to have his entry claim logged in by number with a description of the land. The settler would receive a Surveyor’s Warrant, which gave him permission to have the claim surveyed. The surveyor would usually use chain carriers to mark the lines, frequently these would be neighbors or relatives of the settler. Once all the paperwork was completed, the state then issued the grant, which was the primary deed for the piece of land.
William Hill very quickly acquired the warrants #160, and #161 on Feb. 26, 1778. One was for 350 acres, and the other for 382 acres, both with his improvements (meaning a house or structure, which indicates he had been living there). Both were on Buffaloe Island Creek, one adjacent to Joseph Gibson, the other to Henry Scales. #161 was surveyed in July 1779 and the grant #298 was issued March 1, 1780. #160 was surveyed in 1779 and issued as grant #313 also on March 1, 1780. (Guilford Deed Book 2, p. 156, p. 165)
These were followed by:
Warrant #311 issued to Henry Grogan for 200 acres on both sides of Little Buffloe Cr., a branch of Matrimony Creek. This was surveyed for 150 acres in 1779 and grant issued March 1, 1780.
Warrant #879 issued to Gustavus Hill (brother to William?) on Dec. 1, 1778 for 200 acres on North fork of Buffloe Island Creek, with improvement, next to Winkfield Shropshire, William Hill, and Gibson on south. One of the chain carriers was Henry Grogan.
Warrant #1638 issued to Thomas Bridges (brother to Hannah Bridges Hill) for 350 acres on North side of Buffloe Island Cr. William Bridges was one of the chain carriers and the grant #760 was issued on Oct. 14 1783.
Warrant #2111 issued to Winkfield Shropshire (either brother or father of Catherine Shropshire Hill, wife of Thomas Hill) for 100 acres on Buffalow Creek. One of the chain carriers was St. John Shropshire, and the grant #816 was issued Oct. 14, 1783.
Below is a close-up map of part
It wasn’t long before the Hills
and Shropshires made plans to move away. William Shropshire received a land
grant in the newly opened territory of
The stay in
Image of 1790 census of
Thomas decided to try his luck in
Although two Winkfield
Shropshires and St. John Shropshire had households in
1791 to 1804
In the 1793 Tax Returns in Capt.
Humphrey Edmonson’s Co. in
The confusion with counties where
Thomas Hill lived in
In Abner Hill’s “Obituary” the
There is also a description of
Thomas’ baptism in the
In December, 1804 Thomas Hill
sold 60 acres to Peter Kimbro and made his move to
1805 to 1901
The journey into
Below is the original land grant for the 100 acres Thomas Hill received.
The transcript is as follows:
Thomas Hill’s White County Tennessee Land Grant
THE STATE OF
To all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting:
KNOW Ye, that in consideration of military service performed
by Micajah Henry to the State
No. 4755 dated the 27th day of February 1797, and entered on the
29th day of August 1807 by No. 484~
there is granted by the said state of
assignee of the said Micajah Henry.~
A certain tract or parcel of land, containing one hundred acres, part of
said warrant lying in
range, and ninth Section on the waters of Cany fork including
the improvement where on said Hill now lives. Beginning at a hick-
ory in a conditional line formerly made between said Hill and
John Chissum, one hundred and twenty one poles west of a point-in
the Eastern boundary line of said Section, five hundred and eighty
poles North of the South East corner, and running thence South
eighty nine poles to a blackoak, thence West one hundred and seventy
eight-poles to a a poplar and black gum, thence North eighty nine
poles to a
to the Beginning—Surveyed July 11th 1808.~
With the hereditaments and appurtenances—To have and to hold the said
Tract or parcel of land, with its appurtenances to the said Thomas
And his—heirs for ever—In witness whereof John Sevier Governor
of the state of
seal of the state to be affixed, at
April--, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
nine, and of the
By the Governor,
R. Houston Secretary John Sevier
This grant is mentioned in Deed
Book H, p. 55 as being the Thomas Hill survey of 100 acres. It was witnessed by
Joel Smith, Elijah Hill and William Shropshire. Thomas Hill’s land, as well as
the land received by his son Abner, and then purchases and grants by son
Elijah, were all located in the southern part of the county, near what became
known as Cave Hill. Cave Hill was about 5 miles south of
Below is a map that incorporates modern roads marked with old homesteads and cemeteries.
The Hill and Meredith names show
up in official documents from the earliest years in
In 1810 Thomas Hill and William Meredith were asked by the court to review and mark off a road, so the Hills and a family of Merediths must have been early neighbors. There is also a mention of property being taken from James Meredith in 1809 and being sold by the sheriff. The Meredith name appears again in the records in 1817 when John Meredith bought a certificate and Platt for 12 ½ acres. It is not known if these Merediths are related to our Martin Meredith.
Thomas Hill served on his first
grand jury in 1809, and starting in 1811 taxes were paid by Thomas Hill (b.
1759) for 126 acres, Abraham (Abner, b. 1788) for 87 acres, and Elijah (b.
1784) for 150 acres. They were all part of Capt. James Randale’s militia
district. In another district (Isaac Pruvet’s.) John and James Hill have 50
acres each on the
In 1813 Thomas (176 acres), Abner (197 acres) appear together in Randale’s militia company again, and then John (50 acres), James (48 a.) and Elijah (180 a.) are in Capt John Cummings Militia. Also appearing on that same page is John Meredith, with no land (p. 116). There is no proof of any connection yet between this John Meredith and our own Merediths. Why Elijah is in two places is a mystery.
In 1816 in Capt. William Grimes Company of
militia is John Meredith, Elijah, Thomas, Joab, and a Hill widow. The Hill
widow is Eleanor Cummings, wife of James Murray Hill, who died in the War of
By 1821 Wingfield (correctly
Winkfield) appears on the tax rolls for the first time. All of the rolls have
classifications of WP and BP. This stands for the poll tax that was levied for
each adult. The WP means White poll and the BP means Black poll. Men over fifty
years old were exempt from paying, therefore Thomas Hill, Sr. never has to pay.
In 1822, Thomas Hill was appointed Constable in
During the 1820s, some of Thomas’
sons began to move on to newly opened lands in
In 1832, Congress passed
legislation to give pensions to veterans of the Revolutionary War. On
Below is the image of his Certificate #13633:
The transcription of his war record was cited earlier on pages 3 and 4. He went on to state some other facts:
He states that he was born on December 22, 1759 near the Dan River in
Thomas records that he moved 8 years after the war to Surry County, North Carolina and lived 2 years, then moved to Green County, Georgia and lived 13 years, then to Claiborne County, Tennessee for 2 years thence to White County, Tennessee.
He called the following people to testify as to his veracity: James
Anderson Esq., Major James Randals, Thomas Crawley,
In 1845, Thomas, now eight-six
years old, began making arrangements for his property. In Probate Deed Book,
Vol. C p. 267, Thomas Hill deeded to Winkfield Hill 200 acres, known as the
Thomas Hill survey. Dated
In 1850 widow, Catherine Hill, applied for continuation of his Revolutionary War pension as his widow. Their children, Elijah and Winkfield Hill, also made collaborating testimonies:
Be it remembered that
on the 18 day of February 1850, personally appeared before the undersigned acting Justice of Peace and
for the County and State aforesaid, Elijah Hill
aged upwards of 65 years and Winkfield aged 57 years with whom I am
personally acquainted and who made oath
in due form of law, that they are sons of the above mentioned Thomas Hill and Catherine Hill that
they have respectively heard their father the said Thomas Hill speak of his
wife the said Catherine and of their marriage and that they verify believe they
were legally married as aforesaid and that they lived as man and wife until the
death of said Thomas Hill on the 5 day of April 1849 and that they verify
believe all the statements made in the foregoing declaration to be true
and subscribed I further certify there are now of good
standing, sworn and subscribed before me
File No. 624
A collaborating statement was
also given on June 14th, 1850 by a friend, Martha McElroy, who said
she had known Thomas and Catherine Hill since 1800 in
At the time of Thomas Hill’s death in 1849, only a few of his children were nearby.
Using the 1850 census records, their locations can be verified.
Elijah Hill: 66 years old, living nearby in
James Murray Hill: died during the War of 1812. He was present at
the siege of
Abner Hill: 60 years old, living in Hopkins Co.,
William J. Hill: died in 1846 in Fulton Co.,
Winkfield Hill: 58 years old, living on family land in
Hannah Hill Bates: died in 1837 in Bradley Co.,
Jane Hill Bates: died in 1850 in Itawamba Co.,
Thomas C. Hill: 52 years old, living in Hopkins Co.,
Cynthia Hill Chisum (Chisholm): 50 years old, living in Franklin
Winkfield Hill did not live much longer than his father Thomas. In the 1848- 1850 Tax Listings, Winkfield was living on the Thomas Hill survey in District 3 with a total of 245 acres worth $900. His son Joab Hill was also living in Dist. 3 with 300 acres, worth $450. His son James Anderson Hill had no land yet, but by the time of the 1850 census, he was living on land valued at $700, and was a close neighbor of brother Joab, who was listed as a merchant on land valued at $900.
Winkfield and Martha “Patsy”
Anderson had eleven children at their home in
Joab Hill: born in 1820, married to Elizabeth Pinner, buried in
Catherine Hill: born in 1822, married to Levi Jarvis Kerr, buried in Anderson Cem.
James Anderson Hill: born in 1823, married first to Hulda Greer, and second to Mary Lowrey, buried in Bethlehem Cem.
Elizabeth A. Hill: born in 1825, married to James M. Sanderson
William Jasper Hill: born in 1827, married to Mary Carnes
Cynthia C. Hill: born in 1829, married to William F. Greer, and then to Henry P. Smith
Helen Hill: born in 1830, married to E.T. Moore
Martha Jane Hill: born in 1831, married to George Washington Real
Hannah B. Hill: born in 1833 and died in 1835.
Riley Hill and Permelia Hill: born in 1837.
When Winkfield died intestate in March,
1851, son James A. Hill was appointed the administrator of the estate.
Winkfield’s effects were sold and the profits were divided among the heirs
according to the court papers. In
Probate Deed Book Vol. D. , page 188, on Feb. 10, 1851, Joab Hill deeded to Wm.
Anderson 30 acres, and to James A. Hill, 209 acres a month prior to Winkfield’s
death. The fact that James A. Hill was appointed administrator of the estate
indicates to me that Joab may possibly already have been ill, because he died
in 1853 at only 33 years old. There is no known cause of death, but it left his
widow Elizabeth with 7 children ranging in ages from 13 to less than a year
Thomas, Winkfield, and Joab are
all buried together at the
Joab and Elizabeth’s children were:
Martha J. Hill: born in 1840, married to William C. Warren
Ellen Katharin Hill: born in 1841, died in 1856, buried in
William Ransom Hill: born in 1842.
First wife was Mary L. Anderson, daughter of Matthias Anderson. Second wife was
Amanda Meredith, daughter of Elisha Meredith and Lee Ann Scott. Buried in
James M. Hill: born in 1845, married to Rutha Wallace.
George M. Hill: born in 1847, married to Hulda Rogers, and to Anne Austin.
Russell B. Hill: born in 1850, married to Nan Yeager. Moved to Ladonia, Fannin
Mary Eveline Hill: born Jan. 30, 1852,
died March 3, 1852. She has never appeared on this family’s tree; however, her
Cynthia Josie Hill: born abt. 1853,
From this point on the story of William Ransom Hill is told very well in Joe Meredith Hill’s books. However, some documents were not included.
William R. Hill, age 19, joined the Confederate Army on July 26, 1861. He was recruited in Cave (near present day Doyle), White Co. and became a member of Company C, of the 25th Infantry and was ranked a Sergeant. A reorganization took place in May, 1862 and Lt. Col. George C. Dibrell was not reelected, so Dibrell organized the 13th (8th) Cavalry Regiment and W.R. Hill transferred to this unit on May 10 1862. The 13th is also called the 8th as well as Gore’s Cavalry. Source: Tennesseans in the Civil War.
Archival Records: Two records
state he was Enlisted by Lt. A. B. Hardcastle on July 26, 1861 for 12 months in
White Co. as a Sgt. In Co. C, 25 Reg’t Tennessee Infantry. This was organized
for State service on Aug. 10, 1861, and transferred to the service of the
Confederate states on October 1, 1861. On October 1 muster-in roll he is shown
as present, 19 years old, and Sgt. In Capt. Wm. G. Smith’s Company of the 25
Regiment Tennessee Infantry. Another record for a company muster roll dated
April 7, 1864 near Zollicoffer, E. Tenn. Agrees he joined July 26, 1861 at
A more detailed look at the whole Civil War period for our relations is found in the document “Our White County Relations in The Civil War.”
After the war, William came home
to Cave and paid his poll taxes in Dist. 3 (his family home) in 1865. By 1866
he had married Mary Anderson and had moved into
In the 1875-1886 White Co. Tax
Books (FHL #507970),Wm. R. Hill was living in Dist. 1, which is the district
It is during this time that Amanda Meredith Evans Hill’s inheritance from her marriage to Sevier Evans was being finalized. The land was put up for sale and W.R. Hill bought the 365 acres, known as Evans Cove. The money paid for the land would be the inheritance for Mollie Evans. So now William Ransom owned two parcels of land in Dist. 1.
Land records: In Book W, p. 421
W.R. Hill on March 17, 1877 sold the mineral rights to G. M. Colbert for 100
acres on the Calf Killer tributary of Caney Fork of the
Below is the last will and testament of W.R. Hill, made July 27, 1900.
He died June 3, 1901. When Amanda
Hill moved to
Details of birth dates, death dates, children’s names, etc. for the Hill line can be found in the Descendants of William Hill Genealogy Report in print and on-line.
The Meredith Relations
Although there are scattered
references to Merediths in
He is shown with no land, and
living in town. He died that same year, and was buried in the
Could the father of Margaret
McCoy possibly be this Daniel McCoy? Margaret states in the 1880 census that
her father was born in
During the years in
Martin and Margaret McCoy Meredith’s children are:
Ann Meredith: born abt. 1817 in
Matilda Jane Meredith: born abt. 1823
Joseph B. Meredith: born in 1825 in
Martha Meredith: born abt. 1826, m. J.H.C. Groning in 1841 in Warren Co., TN, where he worked as a blacksmith.
Elisha Meredith: born in 1828 in
Franklin Co., TN, married Lee Ann Scott in 1852 in White Co., TN, had 10
children. Moved to
Edward W. Meredith: born 1830 in TN,
married Elizabeth C. Wallace, in 1861. Never had children. Died in 1900 in
White Co. and is buried in
James W. Meredith: born 1833 in White Co. TN, married Mary Lucetta Lisk in
1858 and had one son, married Mary Beaver in 1890 and had three children. James
and Mary Beaver are buried in
John S. Meredith: born in 1835, died during the Civil War.
William H. Meredith: born in 1840 in White Co., TN, married Frances Brown in 1865 and had three children, including Daniel Martin Meredith, and then married Kitty Hudgens in 1884 and had two sons. His burial place is not known, nor the year of death, although he was alive in 1904. William was not included in my grandfather’s listing of children, however he was present in the 1850 and 1860 censuses with Margaret Meredith and the rest of the family, so I am not sure why he was not included.
Our forefather, Elisha Meredith
is described in his Civil War papers as 5' 10" with blue eyes, and brown
hair. He had been married to Lee Ann for nine years when the Civil War broke
out, and after an unprofitable foray into
James Scott Meredith: born in 1853 in White Co., TN, died bef. 1915
Amanda Meredith: born in 1856 in
Cumberland Co., TN, died in 1948 in
Margaret “Maggie” Meredith: born in
Edward Meredith: born in 1861 in Ellis
Sallie Meredith: born in 1864, died early.
Elizabeth Meredith: born abt. 1866 in
Mary Lou Meredith: born in 1868 in
Nettie Meredith: born in 1871 in Tenn.
Married F.M. Slough in 1892 in Alvarado. He died before 1900 and she married
Finis Ewing McKay in 1902 in
Kitty Meredith: born in 1873 in Tenn.
Married W.W. Edwards in 1893 in
Jonathan Thomas Meredith: born in 1875
in Tenn. Married Estelle Orr in 1909 in
The details of their birth dates, death dates, names of children, etc. are available in the Descendants of Martin Meredith Genealogy Report in print and on-line.
The Genealogy Reports and updated family trees, documents and pictures are housed on-line at http://www.genealogy.com/users/h/a/i/Mary-Helen-Haines/
And I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org