John Hill Part II: Spencer native in famous battle

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Last time, we wrote about the brothers Hill and their trip down the mighty "Mississip" to New Orleans with Col. Jackson and their participation in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. On Nov. 14, 1831, John Hill was appointed by the Spencer County court as overseer of the road from Salt River, from Downs? Ford near the mouth of Simpson Creek to the crossroads at William Payne's.

During 1833-1834, Hill built a covered bridge across Brashears Creek with the lumber from his mill by contract from the president and directors of the Salt River and Taylorsville Bridge Company. The sheriff was ordered to pay Hill on installments of dividends of 30 shares of stock the county owned in the company.

The sheriff was given until Jan. 1, 1833 to pay Hill $450, plus $750 by July 1 and $400 by March 3, 1834. By Nov. 4, 1834, $685.75 was due to Hill. The total cost of the bridge at Taylorsville was $2,280.75.

In August, 1835, Hill's brothers-in-law, Joseph and Mahlon Shields, bought out Sally's interest in her father's estate and any future estate of her mother for $250. (As you may recall from last week, John Hill married Sarah 'Sally' Shields. The wedding took place Aug. 21, 1817 at her father's place on Simpson Creek).

On Jan. 16, 1839, for the 'great benefit of a good school,' and consideration of $1, Edward C. Hayden sold a tract of land to John Hill and other subscribers for construction of Spencer County's first school.

'Foreman's School' was constructed three miles west of Taylorsville in Waterford on what became Kentucky 44.

The other subscribers were: Benjamin Foreman, Joseph Foreman, Aarom Foreman, George Crist, William Griffen, Albert Ringo, Davis Ringo, James Coomes and other neighbors.

By an act of Congress and through his application, Hill received two 80-acre bounty land tracts from the government (Nov. 5, 1851 and June 13,1856) for his services in the War of 1812. He sold the tracts a short time after acquiring, then received an $8 per month pension from 1871 until his death.

In September, 1860, Hill's sister, Martha, deeded him 26 acres next to Eliab Cooper on Elk Creek at the Salt River. Last week, we pointed out that Martha Hill, and her husband Robert Cunningham, farmed 800 acres on the north side of Simpson Creek.

John Hill died at his home near Waterford Dec. 16, 1878 at the age of 82. Hill had joined the First Baptist Church of Taylorsville "by experience" June 21, 1834 and was appointed a deacon in May, 1837.

John's wife, Sally, born June 19, 1799, also died at the age of 82 on Feb. 27, 1882. She never learned to read or write. She stayed home and helped her mother with the difficult jobs required of keeping a pioneer family going. Sally Hill was described as having a "beautiful countenance" with a fair complexion, dark hair and green eyes. She was one of the first members of the First Baptist Church of Taylorsville in 1828, and was baptized Dec. 6 that year by the Rev. William Stout.

John and Sally Hill were buried in the garden of their log house on the 144-acre farm, atop a hill on the west side of the road from Kentucky 44 to Downs? Ford on Salt River. Their daughter-in-law, Josephine Porter Hill and granddaughter Anna Mae Hill are also buried in the same location.

There had been marble gravestone, but they deteriorated over the years and the border rocks were moved away. All buildings at the site of the Hill settlement were destroyed by fire in 1929. A well and part of the stone foundation of the log house were all that remained to mark the site.

Historic Pathways is indebted to Larry Hill for this information. is the website of

©2001 The Spencer Magnet

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