Biography - George Washington Hill
 

George Washington Hill
of Navarro County, Texas


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GEORGE WASHINGTON HILL, M.D. - l814 -1860

A definite date of the arrival of Dr. Hill in Texas has not been discovered, but he was in Texas prior to December 15, 1835.  He was paid a fee of twenty-five cents on February 5,1836 for services rendered on December 15, 1835. Early Texas records reveal that W. C. J. Hill received title in 1836 to "one league (4400 acres) on the waters of Yegua."  (The Hill titled many of their children with three given names.)    William Carroll Hill, a brother to Dr. Hill, was born in Warren Co. in 1818.   There was the name "John" in his Father's name and he could easily have been W. C. J. Hill.

Despite the fact that he was one of the leaders of the Republic of Texas and was so honored in having Hill County, Texas named for him, little is known concerning the life of Dr. George Washington Hill.

He was born April 22, 1814, in Warren County, Tennessee. His parents were Henry John Alexander Hill and
Susannah (Swales) Hill.  His parents were married, supposedly, in Warren Co. Tennessee in 1807. One brother, William Carroll Hill born 1818, has been mentioned.   The Hills, also, had a daughter, Elenza Grundy Hill born 1828.     (The name "Grundy" came from a prominent Tennessee family that may have been close friends or relatives.  Grundy Co. Tennessee was named for them.)

The Hill Family appears to have risen to prominence wherever they settled. Major Green Hill served in the American Revolution as did Daniel Hill. Benjamine J Hill, Dr. Hill's brother, bore a son who became General Benjamine Hill of the Confederate army.

Some sources state that his family originated in Wales and that some family members came to America during the early Colonial Period. They first settled in Virginia, moved from Virginia to Georgia, and later, to Tennessee.  Mountain Hill, found in Georgia in the early 1800's, lived later in Warren Co. Tennessee.

Dr. Hill grew up in Warren County, Tennessee, approximately seventy miles southeast of Nashville.  His parents were, probably, of some means in that George was permitted to attend College in Wilson County, Tennessee, located twenty or so miles east of Nashville.   Few parents in those days had financial means to provide such an education for their children.



A large stone monument over his grave at Spring Hill Cemetery, Dawson, Texas, states that George Washington Hill received a Medical Degree from Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, but an inquiry to the curator of that school revealed that he did not graduate, in fact, did not attend Transylvania. However, several references have been discovered associating Dr. Hill with the Medical Profession. Dr. Hill was, apparently, mentioned in a story by a former Texas Ranger as "D. Hill, a medical student" when the former Texas Ranger recounted an Indian fight that occurred in 1838.  Dr. Hill's payment for "Services" rendered has been mentioned previously and could have been for "medical" services. And.. he could have received a "Medical Degree" from the college in Wilson County, Tennessee. Official records of Texas lists "G. W. Hill, Medical Censor, Milam County, Texas 1837."

Dr. Hill arrived in Franklin, Texas at some point in the 1830's, probably, in company with his brother, Allen J. Hill who was married to a lady whose given name was Lucenda.   Allen Hill and Lucenda had two sons.  Allen Hill died in 1838 and Lucenda married Ethan Melton July 7, 1843.  Melton had purchased a track of land north of Richland Creek near a community later named Dresden and had constructed a log house on his property.  Melton added a room for the two young sons of his new wife.

Lucenda died two years later in 1845 and in her dying wish requested that Dr. Hill be made guardian for her two small sons .  Melton objected to the dying wish of his wife and the court at Franklin awarded Melton guardianship of the two small boys as well as administrator of their large estate located near Franklin.  Melton may have been more interested in the "Large Estate" than the boys.  Melton became a strong political figure in Navarro County and, evidently, someone of considerable means.  He died 1873.

The 1850 Census reveal four male Hills living with George Washington Hill at Spring Hill.   B J C Hill is 20 (b.1830) and G W Hill is 19 (b. 1831).  Benj. F Hill and John Hill, who may have been sons of Allen Hill and who were involved in the court dispute, are both ten years of age. Tradition holds that the two younger boys were born after Allen Hill's death 1838 and could have been near ten years of age at the time of the 1850 census.

It may be noted that the 1850 Census record of Ethan Melton (52) revealed he had, apparently, married Hannah (24) from Missouri and they had a new baby, Emily G Melton, born the previous December.  Lucinda Melton, age 5, was listed and was probably the daughter of Lucenda Hill who had married Melton in 1844, and who had, probably, died during the birth of the child.

A note of interest....J. H. Hill and Jack Hill were listed as Privates in the Navarro Rifles in a Civil War Muster dated August 8, 1861.  Both were involved in a skirmish in Virginia in 1862, J. H. received a shoulder wound.   Jack was wounded in the hand. J H was, no doubt, Johnson H Hill, son of Allen.

The graves registration of the Spring Hill Cemetery lists "Benjamin Hill...Died "nine" or "thirteen years of age" and buried next to Dr. Hill and his wife, Minerva Catherine.  No date or other information is to be found on the faded stone marker.   Benj. F. Hill, age ten, was living with Dr. Hill in 1850 and probably died in 1853-1854.

Wills probated in Robertson Co include
Hill, Benjamine 25 Oct 1838
Hill, Benjamine, George W, J C  (minors)    Oct 1844
Hill, H J A  (decd) 21 MaR 1849
Hill, J K & Sibbie (minors) 28 Aug. 1843
         (Sibby Hill was buried at Dresden)
Hill, J L  (decd) 27 June 1859
Hill, James W   (decd) 28 Aug. 1843
Hill, John A (decd) (died Aug. 20) 25 Oct 1838

Dr. Hill and Robert Harve Matthews, probably, if they had not known each other in Tennessee, became close friends soon after both arrived at Franklin.  The were both single...both were from Tennessee.  Both were born in 1814..both vitally interested in their new home.  Both did their part to protect the frontier.

Major H. D. Prendergrast, a retired Texas Ranger, related in 1879, the story of when c. 1840 Indians had stolen some horses from a settlement near the center of Robertson County and north of Franklin.  The group organized at Franklin to pursue the Indians included G. H. Love; Judge S. B. Killough; Harvey Matthews; and A. C. Love and D. Hill, two medical students.  (It is assumed that D. Hill, a medical student, was Dr. George Washington Hill.  One early writer stated that the "D Hill" was David Hill.   However, no David Hill has been identified in that area of Texas in that time period.

The pursuers overtook the indians, cornered them, and a vicious hand to hand battle ensued.  Dr. Hill shot one of the indian's horses, but as the horse went down its rider fired point blank in the face of Dr. Hill, "who fell to the ground, his jawbone shattered."  (The only picture of Dr. Hill shows him with a long beard.   The beard could have been worn to cover any scar the injury may have left.)

The following year Dr. Hill began to serve in the Republic of Texas Congress as a representative from Robertson County.  On December 4, 1839 Dr. Hill voted with Sam Houston to move the Texas Capital to the Falls on the Brazos (Marlin, Texas).  The vote carried against Sam Houston and Dr. Hill.

Dr. Hill continued to serve in the Texas Congress until 1843 when President Sam Houston appointed him as Secretary of War, replacing Gen. Albert Sidney Johnson.  Dr. Hill was reappointed by President Anson Jones and continued to serve until 1845 when The Republic of Texas became a state.

Francis Slaughter, the brother-in-law of Robert Harve Matthews, had come to Franklin with Robert Harve in 1835, died in 1842.  Minerva Catherine Matthews Slaughter was then a widow with three young children. Minerva Catherine needed a husband and  father, .....Dr. Hill needed a wife and family...both received their needs.  Dr. Hill married Minerva Catherine November 17, 1846.

Some references state that Spring Hill, Texas was the oldest community in what became Navarro County and that Dr. Hill had established a Trading Post at the Indian Spring by 1838 when the Battle Creek Massacre occurred. Serious study of the dates of Melton's and Chamber's colonies and the activities of Dr. Hill appear to refute both positions.   Dr. Hill was extremely busy with State of Texas matters until after 1844, when Sam Houston's presidential term ended..  More, his tax records were in Robertson Co until 1848 and not found in Navarro Co. until 1849.  It is doubtful that he did more than visit the area until after his marriage in November 1847.  It is likely that the move from Franklin to the Indian Spring area was in January of 1848.

Dr. Hill moved his new family, probably in 1848, approximately one hundred miles north of Franklin and opened a trading post. His friend from Franklin and fellow indian fighter, Robert Harve Matthews, apparently, made the move with them.

Another of Robert Harve's sisters and her family had arrived in Franklin in 1835 or 1836 and may have made the move to the Indian Springs as well.  Martha Patricia (Patsy) Matthews, ten years older than Robert Harve, had married her first cousin, James D. Matthews in Maury Co. Tennessee in 1823. James D Matthews died in 1844 in Franklin. Patsy and four of her children are listed in the Navarro Co. Texas census of 1850.

Another sister, Prudence Matthews, had married Samuel Wright in l836 in Maury Co. Tennessee. She, her husband, and six children arrived at the Indian Springs in 1849.   Other families were moving into the area, many from Franklin and more from Maury Co. Tennessee.

A United States Post Office was established at the Indian Springs Trading Post and Dr. Hill was named Postmaster in 1849, serving until 1852. He sold his interest in the Trading Post to Robert Harve Matthews became Postmaster in 1852.

The selling of the Trading Post was prompted by the fact that Dr. Hill was appointed by Robert S Neighbors to serve as "Special Agent, Texas Indians" of the United States Indian Service, replacing Jesse Stem.  His primary duty was to supervise several agrarian Indian tribes which had been located on the upper Brazos River.  He was at Fort Belnap on 28 Sept 1853 when the Indians were moved to Young County south of present day Graham, Texas.  The new facility was named The Brazos Reservation and Dr. Hill was the First Agent.  He remained Indian Agent for some time after the resettlement and returned to Spring Hill.

A note of interest is that Robert Harve Matthews soon joined Dr. Hill in Young County and was named Young County Surveyor.     Robert Harve Matthews and several members of the Hill family purchased property in Young County during this period.

Dr. Hill, apparently, served as a Real Estate Broker and may have been a "Land Agent" for the State of Texas.  A Warranty Deed executed June 30, 1847 reveals that "G. W. Hill" served as "Agent" to convey " one third league situated in Robertson District on Richland Creek" from heirs of A. J. P. M. Smith to William C Hill. (William Carroll Hill, brother of Dr. Hill)  The deed was filed at the Courthouse in Corsicana August 4, 1847. James M. Love, probably a member of the Love family from Franklin, notarized the document.

William C. Hill sold the above property.. approximately fifteen hundred acres... to G. W. Hill in 1852.  William C. Hill had paid $650.00 and sold it for $500...33 cents per acre. Dr. Hill sold five hundred acres of the property to Robert Harve Matthews April 15, 1857 for $500.00.  This appears to be the property Robert Harve Matthews developed with streets, town lots, and farm lots and recorded on the flyleaf of the Navarro County Clerk's book as the town of Spring Hill, Texas.

Witnesses to the deed from G. W. Hill to Robert Harve Matthews were "B.J.C. Hill" and "N. W. Matthews."  N. W. Matthews was, probably, Newton Matthews, son of Robert Harve's sister, Patsy.  Newton was born in 1832 and would have been twenty-five years of age in 1857.

Little has been recorded about the last years of the life of Dr. Hill.  He had sold the Trading Post to Robert Harve Matthews in 1852.  He had served as Indian Agent for some time beginning in 1853.  He was appointed by the Commissioners of Navarro Co. to represent Navarro County at a celebration in Austin July 4, 1854.    He had sold Robert Harve Matthews five hundred acres of land in 1857.  He, apparently, had assembled large land holdings in the area, was engaged in raising cattle, and owned several slaves.  He was busy just attending to his holdings.

He did have sufficient time to engage in some political life and ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the State Legislature in 1860.  His opponent was Roger Q. Mills, a good friend.  It was Mills, who, in l853, when a new county was being carved out of Western Navarro County, read into the minutes of the proceedings the name of George Washington Hill....thus naming the new county...Hill County.

George Washington Hill died May 29, 1860 at age fifty-four.  He was buried in the little cemetery located a short distance from the cabin he had built when he first came to the area.  His will specified that two acres of land be set aside from his property to serve as the cemetery.  He made provision in his will for his wife and for the step-children.  His death, as had been his life, was in order.

Carl W. Matthews, Jr.
POB 454
Roswell GA  30077

Copyright 1993



THE HILL FAMILY IN TENNESSEE -  Info from LDS & Census

Henry John Alexander Hill

  m. Polly Johnson   1807

  s. Hugh Lawson White Hill
       m. Virginia Ann Dearing
       s. Virgil Hill          185l
       s. Livingston Hill     1845
       d. Atelia Hill          1859
       d. Bethia Hill          1842
       s. Franklin Hill        1855

  s. George Washington Hill   1814
       m. Minerva Catherine Matthews Slaughter

       ss. Robert Francis Slaughter
       sd. Mary Ann Slaughter
       sd. Louise Slaughter

  s. William Carroll Hill     1818

  d. Elenza Grumby Hill       1828


Isaac Hill
  m. Elizabeth

  d. Arvina   1850
  s. Carroll 1820
  s. Virgil Hill               1851
  s. Livingston Hill          1845
  d. Atelia                    1859
  d. Bethia                    1842
  s. Franklin                  1855

Mountain Hill                  1823
  m. Sarah    1845
  d. Caroline Hill              b. 1847

James W. Hill
  s. Benjamine Hill        b. 1850

Benjamine Winslow Dudley Hill  b. 1828


HILL FAMILIES IN MAURY COUNTY, TENNESSEE

James Bias Hill
  m. Mary Nancy Smith

  d. Elizabeth Hill b. 1839

Duncan Hill
  m. Emily Eugenia  1822

Isaac Hill
  m. Margaret Steele  1823

Allen Hill
  m. Annie Parham
  s. Augusta Hill b. 1822
  d. Elizabeth                 b. 1818

Anne E. Hill
  m. Alexander Morgan  1842

Asa Hill
  m. Elizabeth Barksdale

  s. Asa Hill                   b. 1825  m. Louisa



DR. GEORGE WASHINGTON HILL
Born 1814   -   Warren Co. Tennessee
Died 1860  -  Navarro Co. Texas

A huge oak rises majestically over the tallest marker in the Spring Hill Cemetery off Texas Highway 31 three miles Northwest of Dawson.  The inscription on the marker reads:

Dr. George Washington Hill
1814 - 1860
Came to Texas 1837
Agent 1840 - 1841
Member of the Congress of Texas 1839-1842
Secretary of War under Presidents Houston and Jones
Hill County was named in his honor
Dr. Hill was a graduate of Transylvania University

The marker was placed over the grave of Dr. Hill in 1936 by the Texas Historical Commission that future generations would honor this early pioneer, statesman, Indian fighter, husband, physician, slave owner, trading post operator, and frontier postmaster.   He had lived fifty-six exciting years, almost a quarter century on the Texas frontier.

Dr. Hill was born in 1814 to Henry John Alexander Hill and Polly Johnson.    Polly Johnson lived next door to Henry John Alexander Hill and his wife, Susannah Swales.   Henry never married Polly and never divorced Susannah.   Both women bore his children in the same time period.  Names of children born to both women were entered into a common family Bible.  Both women were buried in the same plot with Henry at the Old Town Cemetery, McMinnville, Tennessee. It was a most unusual arrangement, but one, apparently, accepted by the community.

Both women outlived Henry.  As far as is known, Susannah Swales never remarried.   Polly Johnson, however, married Bazle Bess, and bore a son, Issie John Bess.    An unidentified John Bess married a Virginia Hill who was born in 1880.   And...Elizabeth Grundy Hill b. 1822, a daughter of Henry and Susannah, married another John Bess. The Grundy name was prominent in Warren Co. and the name given to a county adjoining Warren.

The Hill Family first settled in America in Virginia or Maryland, migrated to North Carolina, Georgia, and then to Tennessee. The family appeared to rise to prominence wherever they settled.  Major Green Hill served in the American Revolution as did Daniel Hill.   Brig. General Benjamin Hill, (son of Benjamin J Hill, brother of Dr. George Washington Hill), served with distinction in the Civil War.  Benjamin Harvey Hill served as a state senator from Jasper County, Georgia.


Dr. Hill grew up in Warren Co. Tennessee located approximately seventy miles southeast of Nashville. His parents must have been of some means based on the fact that he attended an early college in Wilson County, Tennessee.  Few parents in those days had financial means to provide such an education for their children. The stone marker above his grave states that he received a medical degree from Translyvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, but a reply to an inquiry to that institution stated that he had not graduated from there, in fact, had never attended the school.  We must keep in mind that one hundred seventy years have passed since he was in school and many records of early schools have been destroyed.  It is possible that the College mentioned in Wilson Co. Tennessee was a type of "Prep School" and that Dr. Hill may have gone from there to Translyvania University.

Some writers state that Dr. Hill came to Texas in 1837, but early records indicate that he was in Texas prior to December 15, 1835. He was paid a fee of Twenty-five Cents on February 5, 1836 for services rendered on December 15, 1835.  No explanation was provided concerning the type of services rendered, but, since Dr. Hill was a medical doctor it must be assumed that he had performed some type of medical service.

A possibility exists that Dr. Hill could have been with the group that arrived at Fort Franklin on December 1, 1835 from Maury Co. Tennessee and surrounding counties. A check of The McLean Papers (Corsicana Library) could answer that question.

Early Texas records show that William Carroll J. Hill received title in 1836 to one league of land (4400 acres) located "on the waters of Yequa."  Yequa (Yay-wah) Creek has been located between Bryan and Caldwell, Texas and is the headwaters of Lake Sommerville. This William Carroll J Hill was in all probability a son of Asa (b. 1784 Edgecombe Co NC) and Elizabeth Barksdale Hill.  Asa Hill and his son, William Carroll A J Hill came to Texas in 1834, selected a homesite, and returned home.  They moved their families to Texas in 1835. Asa Hill was said to have been in the Battle of Mier. Another son, Dr. Green Washington Hill, married Susan Cade Webb in 1834 in Troup Co. Georgia and settled on Cedar Creek near LaGrange, Texas at some date.

Other Hill family members from Warren County, Tennessee are recorded as having been in Texas at this time period.  Benjamin J. Hill, a brother of Henry John Alexander Hill was born in North Carolina in 1792 and had married Rebecca Wallace.   Benjamin is reported to have died in Tennessee in 1852, twelve years after divorcing Rebecca, but that may be an error.  1938 Robertson Co. records show the death of a Benjamin Hill and the 1850 Navarro Co. Texas census shows Rebecca...age 63..living with Dr. Hill with five or six of her grandchildren.  Her sons are not listed, nor are their wives.    Son J Ashley Hill had died in 1838.  His widow, Lucinda Langston Hill,   who married Ethan Melton had died in 1845.  Son Henry J A Hill  whose first wife had died and whose children were living in the home of Dr. George Washington Hill in 1850, remarried in 1851 to Anna Sneed.

Benjamin J and Rebecca Wallace Hill, apparently arrived in Texas prior to 1838 with their sons John Ashley Hill and Henry J A who were married at the time.   Robertson County records show John Ashley Hill, who had married Lucinda Langston, died in 1838,and according to some writers, was killed in the Battle Creek Massacre in Navarro County. His name is not recorded on the Battle Creek Marker erected in 1881, but much early history was not always accurate.   There were, as well, several other battles with Indians in the area.    Son Henry J A Hill must have died at some point prior to 1850.  The 1850 Navarro Co census for Dr. George Washington Hill includes, not only Rebecca Hill, but two sets of her grandchildren.  

B J C Hill age 20 b.
Tenn. and G W Hill age 19 b. Tenn. were children of John Ashley Hill.   
Benjamin F Hill age 10 b. Texas, John Hill age 10 b. Texas,  Pernetha Hill
age 8 b. Texas, and Beeda Hill age 6 b. Texas were children of Henry J A
Hill.   Benjamin Hill died in 1853 and was buried at the Spring Hill
Cemetery.  His grave is adjacent to that of Dr. Hill.

After the death of John Ashley Hill, Lucinda Langston Hill remained unmarried until 1843 when she married Ethan Melton b. SC who had lived in Robertson County, but had settled north of Richland Creek about one hundred miles north of Fort Franklin.  Ethan Melton built a new room on to his cabin for the sons of Lucinda and, later, created a Trading Post there. Lucinda died two years later while giving birth to a daughter, Lucinda Melton.    Lucinda Hill's dying wish was that her sons, then fourteen and fifteen, would be raised by Dr. George Washington Hill.  Ethan Melton, however, had other ideas.   The Hill estate was, apparently, considerable, and Melton went to court and gained custody of the two sons...and control of...the considerable estate.  The boys, apparently, did not remain with Melton long and are shown living with Dr. Hill.

Ethan Melton became a strong political figure in Navarro County and, evidently , an individual of considerable financial means. The 1850 Navarro County census records Ethan Melton age 53 (1797) still lived in the county, is married to Hannah b. Missouri age 24.   They have a new baby.  Lucinda Melton age 5 lives with them.  Ethan Melton died in 1873.

One records shows that Elizabeth Jane Hill 1832-1861  married William R Melton b. SC-TN  1830.  They had a son, Alexander Melton.  Could this have been a son of Ethen Melton by an earlier wife?

Dr. George Washington Hill, meanwhile, was busying himself in service to The Republic of Texas.  He was shown to have been the Surgeon at Fort Houston (present day Anderson County, Texas)in 1836.  He was named in 1837 Medical Censor for Milam County in an area that later became Robertson Co.  Some early writers record that Dr. Hill was appointed by President Sam Houston in 1837 as an Indian Agent.  Dr. Hill began in 1838 to serve the first of five terms as a member of The Republic of Texas Congress representing Robertson County.  He served The Republic of Texas at Capitals located at Washington-on-the-Brazos, Houston(Harrisburg), and Austin.

AN INDIAN FIGHT

Major H D Prendergrast, a retired Texas Ranger, related in 1879, a story of  an incident that occurred in 1838-1840 when Indians had stolen horses from a
settlement located near the center of Robertson County and north of Fort Franklin.  A group was organized to pursue the Indians that included:

G H Love; Judge S B Killough; Harvey Matthews; and two medical students, A C Love and D Hill*

*One early writer states that the D Hill was David Hill, but no David Hill has been identified in that time period in that area of Texas.

The pursuers overtook the Indians, cornered them, and a vicious hand to battle ensued.   D. Hill shot the horse of one mounted Indian, but as the horse went down its rider fired point blank in the face of D. Hill, who "fell to the ground, his jawbone shattered."   The only picture that exists of Dr. George Washington Hill shows him with a long beard.  Could the D. Hill mentioned have been Dr. Hill?   Could Dr. Hill have worn the beard to cover the scars of battle?

The records show that on December 4, 1839 Dr. George Washington Hill from Robertson County voted with Sam Houston to move the capitol of Texas from
Washington-on-the-Brazos to the Falls on the Brazos near present day Marlin, Texas.   The vote carried against Dr. Hill and Sam Houston and the capital was moved to Austin.

President Sam Houston appointed Dr. Hill 1843 to replace Gen. Albert Sidney Johnson as Secretary of War for The Republic of Texas. Dr. Hill was reappointed to the position when Anson Jones became President, but resigned before Anson Jones formed his cabinet.

President Sam Houston, apparently, named Dr. Hill acting Commissioner of  Indian Affairs.  Dr. Hill traveled frequently in attempts to bring border Indians to a council on the Red River.  Dr. Hill and President Sam Houston met with Indians to hold a council at "The Falls" that resulted in a treaty which was signed near present day Waco, Texas and known as "The Treaty of Tehuacana Creek" signed March 23, 1843.

Signers of the treaty included Thomas I Smith, James C Neill, Leonard H Williams, Jesse Chisholm (Interpreter) and Chief Jose Maria of the Anadarko tribes.

Jose Maria appears many time in Indian history  of Central Texas.  Chief Jose Maria was once wounded in a battle on the Brazos River in a conflict with the Texas Rangers.  He was Chief when the Andarko tribe was moved from Rusk Co Texas and settled with four other tribes in 1855 on the "Brazos Indian Reservation" located about fifteen miles south of Fort Belknap.  The tribe numbered 222 in 1856.   The Indians began to raid white settlers in 1857 and all tribes were moved to Fort Cobb, Indian Territory (Oklahoma).

One order signed by Sam Houston remains.

Exec Dept
Washington    27 Sep 43

To  H J Raymond  esq
Actg Treasurer

Sir, please pay Hon G W Hill the amount of the above claim of
One hundred fifty dollars out of the appropriations for Indian
purposes.
Your obt servant
SAM HOUSTON

Dr. Hill returned to Fort Franklin in 1844 and began the practice of medicine.  He is mentioned again and again as the executor for many wills filed in Robertson County, a testimony expressing the confidence the community held for him. One such member of the community was Francis Slaughter who had arrived at Fort Franklin on December 1, 1835 with a large group of new settlers from lower middle Tennessee.   Slaughter had been associated with Sterling Clack Robertson, Impresario of Robertson's Colony, for some time and may have been in his employ. A receipt for several travelers on the steamship Criterion for passage from central Tennessee to the Ohio River dated 1831 was paid by Sterling Clack Robertson.  Slaughter's name was on that list.

Slaughter was named Magistrate of Robertson County, responsible for keeping records of land transactions, marriages, deaths, etc.  His name is found on many early land grants for Navarro County.  Slaughter died in 1842 and named Dr. Hill to be executor of his estate.   Slaughter had married Minerva Catherine Matthews in the summer of 1836 in Maury Co. Tennessee.  Minerva Catherine b. 1812, was the daughter of Robert and Mary Ann Stewart Matthews who had migrated from Mecklenburg-Guilford Counties, North Carolina to Tennessee at some point near 1810.   Her single brother, Robert Harve Matthews, and some family servants had been with the group that arrived at Fort Franklin on December 1, 1835.

Dr. Hill and Robert Harve Matthews, probably, if they had not known each other in Tennessee, became close friends soon after both arrived at Franklin.  The were both single...both were from Tennessee.  Both were born in 1814..both vitally interested in their new home.  Both did their part to protect the frontier.

Slaughter's widow, Minerva Catherine Matthews, had three children and remained a widow for five years.   It was on November 17, 1847 that she married Dr. George Washington Hill at Fort Franklin.

Some early writers stated that Dr. Hill had established a trading post at the Indian Springs near Richland Creek in 1838 and that Spring Hill was the oldest community in Navarro County.  Claims have been made that the surveyors involved in The Battle Creek Massacre had been camped at his Trading Post.

Serious study of the dates of Melton and Chambers settlements appear to refute the above claims.   Additional refutation includes the following facts:

1. Dr. Hill was extremely busy with matters pertaining to The Republic of Texas from 1839-1945.  He was a member of Congress from 1839 to 1843 and Secretary of War 1843-1844, and was practicing medicine at Fort Franklin in 1844-1847.

2. Hill's Trading Posts is not mentioned in accounts of The Battle Creek Massacre written by those who were present

3. The Tax Records of Robertson County list Dr. Hill through 1848 and he is not shown on the Navarro County rolls until 1849.

4. His name appears on numerous will and probate records of Robertson County through 1847, but none in Navarro County.

5. Dr. Hill was well known throughout the Republic of Texas and had he been in Navarro County prior to 1848 his name would have surely been mentioned in County records.

6. The Spring Hill Post office was not established until 1849, three years after Ethan Melton was named Postmaster at his store.    National Archives

7. The name George Washington Hill was not found on the 1846 Navarro Co. Pole List.  It is quite possible that Dr. Hill visited the area of the Indian Springs prior to 1848...possibly as early as 1838...on some assignment given to him by Sam Houston.

The truth as to why Dr.Hill settled in Navarro County may be found in a Warranty Deed executed June 30, 1847 in which George Washington Hill served as a "land broker" in the sale of "one third league (approximately 1500 acres) situated in Robertson District on Richland Creek" from the heirs of A J P M Smith to William C Hill. The deed was filed at the Courthouse at Corsicana August 4, 1847 and notarized by James M Love.  This William C Hill was likely the younger brother of Dr. Hill rather than the cousin who had settled on the Yequa River near Caldwell, Texas.   William C Hill b. 1818 would have been twenty-nine at the time.

That same property was sold by William C Hill in 1852 to Dr. George Washington Hill...for thirty-three cents per acre.

It is believed that Dr. Hill; his new bride, Minerva Catherine Matthews Slaughter Hill and her three children: Robert F Slaughter age 11, Mary Ann Slaughter age 9, and Louisa Slaughter age 6; Robert Harve Matthews; family servants Vinny, her daughter Caroline, and another female, and, perhaps other servants..all moved to The Indian Springs in the late Fall of 1847 or in the early part of 1848.

Another of Robert Harve's sisters and her family had arrived in Franklin in 1835 or 1836 and may have made to an area east of The Indian Springs.  Martha Patricia (Patsy) Matthews, ten years older than Robert Harve, had married her first cousin, James D. Matthews in Maury Co. Tennessee in 1823.    James D Matthews died in 1844 in Franklin.  Patsy and four of her children are listed in the Navarro Co. Texas census of 1850.

Another sister, Prudence Matthews, had married Samuel Wright in l836 in Maury Co. Tennessee. She, her husband,and six children arrived at the Indian Springs in 1849.   Other families were moving into the area, many from Franklin and more from Maury Co. Tennessee.

THE WEBBS AND THE HILLS

Sarah Webb, b. 1822, died in August 1848 near the cabin Dr. Hill had built for his family at The Indian Springs and was buried just north of the cabin in a grove of oak trees that overlooked Rock Creek.  Sarah Webb would be the first to be buried in what would become Spring Hill Cemetery.  The Webb family had arrive in a covered wagon and had traveled to Texas from Giles Co. Tennessee.

Members of this Webb Family were not strangers to the Hills. Robert Hill b. 1615 had married Mary Webb and lived in Surrey Co Virginia.   Isaac Hill had married Mary Barnes in 1788, but by 1820 Isaac had migrated through Georgia and Tennessee and Kentucky and was living in White County, Illinois.  His son Richard Hill married Mary Ann Webb in 1822.   Dr. Green Washington Hill was born at Sparta, Hancock Co Georgia, married Susan Cade Webb in 1814 at West Point, Troup Co. Georgia.  And Mary Ann Hill, sister of Dr. George Washington Hill's father, married Thomas Webb.    All of these Hill family members were related to Dr. Hill.

George Washington Hill was taxed in Navarro Co. Texas in 1849 and 1850 for two parcels of land.  The first was for 640 acres which was located southeast of Spring Hill, often referred to as "The Black Land."  This was a 3rd Class Certificate for land filed for by Dr. Hill when he first arrived in Texas.   The second was for 500 acres of the of the AJPM Smith survey which may have been purchased at the same time his brother purchased land for the same heirs.  It is possible that the land was payment for Dr. Hill having "brokered" the sale, an often used practice in that area in that time period.

Meanwhile, Dr. Hill was operating the Trading Post and, as operator of the Trading Post, became the Postmaster of Spring Hill in November 1849 and served until 1852.

The 1850 Navarro County Census reveal the following individuals living with
George Washington Hill at Spring Hill.
Catherine Tenn 1812 His wife
R F Slaughter TX 1838 His wife's Child
Mary J Slaughter Tenn 1841 His wife's Child
L M Slaughter TX 1844 His Wife's Child
B J C Hill TX 1830 Son of John Ashley Hill
G W Hill TX 1831 Son of John Ashley Hill
Benj F Hill* TX 1840 Son of HJA Hill
John Hill TX 1840 Son of HJA Hill ??
Pernatha Hill TX 1842 Dau of HJA Hill
Beeda Hill TX 1842 Dau of HJA Hill
John Reed NH 1831 Relationship unknown
Rebecca Hill SC 1783 Mother of JA & HJA Hill
R H Mathis (Matthews)TN 1814 Brother of Catherine
Benj Harper VA 1787 Carpenter


*  Registration of the Spring Hill Cemetery lists "Benjamin Hill...Died "nine" or "thirteen years of age" and buried next to Dr. Hill and his wife, Minerva Catherine.  No date or other information is to be found on the faded stone marker.

Dr. Hill sold his interest in the Trading Post in 1852 to his brother-in-law, Robert Harve Matthews, who became Postmaster.

The following year,1853, Dr. Hill was assigned by U S Indian Service Supervisor Robert S Neighbors to replace Jesse Stem as Indian Agent for the agrarian Indians tribes on the upper Brazos River.  The area was in Young County, Texas.   Dr. Hill wrote from Fort Belknap on September 23, 1853,

I think it best to address any important communications to me at Spring Hill, Navarro County, as I keep private communication with that post office when here or absent with the Indians.
Signed:  G W Hill
Special Agent Texas Indians

When the Indians were relocated on the new frontier at the Brazos Reservation south of Graham, Texas Dr. Hill served as the first agent, but soon resigned and returned to Spring Hill.

A note of interest is that Robert Harve Matthews soon joined Dr. Hill in Young County and was named Young County Surveyor.  Robert Harve Matthews and several members of the Hill family purchased property in Young County during this period.


Little has been recorded about the last years of the life of Dr. Hill.  He had sold the Trading Post to Robert Harve Matthews in 1852.  He had served as Indian Agent for some time beginning in 1853.  He had sold Robert Harve Matthews five hundred acres of land in 1857.  He, apparently, had assembled large land holdings in the area, was engaged in raising cattle, and owned several slaves.  He was busy just attending to his holdings.

He did have sufficient time to engage in some political life and ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the State Legislature in 1860.  His opponent was Roger Q. Mills, a good friend.  It was Mills, who, in l853, when a new county was being carved out of Western Navarro County, read into the minutes of the proceedings the name of George Washington Hill....thus naming the new county...Hill County.

George Washington Hill died May 29, 1860 at age fifty-four.  He was buried in the little cemetery located a short distance from the cabin he had built when he first came to the area.  His will specified that two acres of land be set aside from his property to serve as the cemetery.  He made provision in his will for his wife and for the step-children.  His death, as had been his life, was in order.


Carl W. Matthews, Jr.
POB 454
Roswell GA  30077

copyright 1999

A note of interest....J. H. Hill and Jack Hill were listed as Privates in
the Navarro Rifles in a Civil War Muster dated August 8, 1861.  Both were
involved in a skirmish in Virginia in 1862, J. H. received a shoulder wound.
  Jack was wounded in the hand.

Wills probated in Robertson Co include
Hill, Benjamine 25 Oct 1838
Hill, Benjamine, George W, J C  (minors)   Oct 1844
Hill, H J A  (decd) 21 Mar 1849
Hill, J K & Sibbie (minors) 28 Aug 1843
        (Sibby Hill was buried at Dresden)
Hill, J L  (decd) 27 June 1859
Hill, James W   (decd) 28 Aug. 1843
Hill, John A (decd) (died Aug. 20) 25 Oct 1838

********************

HILL FAMILIES IN MAURY COUNTY, TENNESSEE

James Bias Hill
  m. Mary Nancy Smith
  d. Elizabeth Hill b. 1839

Duncan Hill
  m. Emily Eugenia  1822

Isaac Hill
  m. Margaret Steele  1823

Allen Hill
  m. Annie Parham
  s. Augusta Hill b. 1822
  d. Elizabeth                 b. 1818

Anne E. Hill
  m. Alexander Morgan  1842

Asa Hill
  m. Elizabeth Barksdale
  s. Asa Hill                   b. 1825  m. Louisa


WESTERN NAVARRO CO CONTROVERSY
When did Dr George Washington Hill arrive in Western Navarro Co Texas?”

Spring Hill, Texas, located in Western Navarro Co, Texas, was reported by many early area historians as being the oldest settlement in the county, and their writings have been used by others who have written about the area over more recent years.

Those early writers….Alva Taylor, Annie Love, Barbara Davidson Patterson, and others… stated that the Spring Hill Trading Post, operated by Dr George Washington Hill, was standing at the time of the 1838 Battle Creek Massacre and that he had been appointed by President Sam Houston to establish a Trading Post at that site.

A Historical Marker at Dawson, Texas states that Dr Hill built the Trading Post in 1838 and, in October of that same year, the “skirmish” between “the Kickapoo Indians and the surveyors” occurred.

The 1838 date, highly suspect for a number of reasons, probably, had its origin in a printed account of The Battle Creek Massacre written by two of the survivors, Walter P Lane and William F Henderson. The account, published in THE NAVARRO EXPRESS NEWS of Corsicana, reported that Lane had mentioned that they surveyors had camped near Hill’s Trading Post.

Hill’s Trading Post, by 1860, located just south of the present day Spring Hill Cemetery, had become a Western Navarro County landmark. Lane did not say that Hill’s Trading Post was there in 1838….only that the surveyors had camped near that site. Based on various factual information, Lane was, probably, referring to the location of Hill’s Trading Post at the time of the writing…1860.

The year 1838 Dr Hill may have been in an Indian fight near Marlin area
December 1839 Dr Hill and Sam Houston were outvoted on moving the
Texas Capitol to The Falls on the Brazos…Marlin TX area.
The year 1840 Dr Hill began serving in the Texas Legislature
The year 1842 Dr Hill named executor of estate of Judge Francis Slaughter
who lived at Fort Franklin
The year 1843 Pres. Sam Houston appointed Dr Hill as Secy of War,
replacing Albert Sydney Johnson, a post he held until
1845 when Texas became part of the United States.
The year 1846 Dr Hill’s name was not shown on the 1846 NavCo Poll List
May 1846 Ethan Melton named Post Master at Melton, later Dresden.
This was the first U S Post Office established in Navarro Co.
The year 1847 Dr Hill paid taxes in Robertson Co
June 1847 Dr Hill served as agent for land sale south of Richland
Creek. He…may….have received payment in the form of
acreage from the land sale.
November 1847 Dr Hill married Mrs Minerva Katherine Matthews
Slaughter, widow of Judge Slaughter and sister of Robert
Harve Matthews
The year 1848 Dr Hill paid taxes in Navarro Co.
August 1848 First burial at Spring Hill Cemetery
The year 1849 Dr Hill named Post Master at Spring Hill
The year 1852 Dr Hill named “Special Agent, Texas Indians” by Robert S Neighbors, replacing Jesse Stem. His principle duty was
the removal of Indian villages on the Brazos River to Young
Co TX, a move accomplished by May 1853.
The year 1852 Robert Harve Matthews named Post Master at Spring Hill

Dr George Washington Hill died in 1860 and was buried at the Spring Hill Cemetery. He had stipulated that two acres of his land be set aside for the Cemetery. {See biography of Dr Hill at the USGen Navarro Co Web}

Copyright 2006
Carl W Matthews
POB 600441
Dallas TX 75360-0441

 

 See Also:


Navarro County TXGenWeb
© Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox