Hill's Mill

This is the first of what I hope will be several contributions of research, recollections and memories of Hill's Mill in the Concord community of Schley County. It is my desire that this collection will not only relate Hill family history but give some valuable insight into mill life and the part it played in the community. Keith Hill's contribution is presented below. Keith ( KHill90444@aol.com )is great, great, grandson of the mill's first owner-operator, Lewis Hill, and has done extensive research on the mill's history.--Harris Hill

Lewis Hill Mill near Concord

Hill's Mill has been a landmark in Schley County for well over 100 years. It is located in the Concord Community, about 8 miles north of Ellaville, just off of Highway 240. In its hey day, it was a thriving business, where the local farmers would go to have their corn ground into to grits or meal. The farmers would also bring their “cash crop,” cotton, to be processed through the cotton gin. It was also a source of news and information, which was often passed via word of mouth, and served as a place to gather and socialize.

The land where the mill still stands today was in the Hill family since before 1873, which is when Slaughter Hill sold the land to Louis & Elbert Hill. Slaughter, Louis, and Elbert were all brothers, sons of Archibald Hill & Samantha Barfield Hill of Taylor County.

Lewis Hill Mill near Concord

February 15, 1873 Schley County Georgia, Deed Book K, Page 245-246, Slaughter Hill of Schley County Georgia To Louis Hill & Elbert Hill of Taylor County Georgia, $500 for 40 acres, “lot of land number eighty eight (88) in the Third District originally Muscogee now Schley County containing fourty (sic) acres more or less; the line commencing at the west at the head of the pond then running down the bank of the pond of the northeast side of the pond running due east to where the road crosses the branch thence due south to the old road thence down the road and thence cross the creek South, then up the road to the west line again together with all privileges” Signed: Slaughter (x) Hill, Witnessed: E. J. Royal, Recorded December 8th, 1909 (Slaughter Hill is Lewis & Elbert’s brother)

Per the deed, it appears that the dam and pond were in place, but it doesn’t appear that the mill had been built yet. It was almost 30 years before another deed can be found on the property. It appears that this deed is where Lewis Hill purchased his brothers half of the business, or his interest in the land from him. It is unclear whether the brothers worked the actual business together.

January 14, 1902 Deed Book K, Page 246-247, State of Georgia Schley County - between Elbert Hill of the County of Schley State of Ga, and Lewis Hill of the same; $300 his ½ interest in 40 acres of land more or less in the 3rd District G. M. of Schley County Georgia being a portion of lot #88, upon which Hill’s mill is Located Bounded on the West by line at the head of the Mill pond then running down the Bank of the pond of the north east side due East to where the road crosses the branch thence due south to the old road thence down the road and cross the creek South, then up the road to the West line again. This deed is in fulfillment of a Bond for title made by the undersigned to A. B. Hill on April the 8th 1892. ….Signed: Elbert (x his mark) Hill (seal), Witnesses: Arthur Hill, J.M. Murray, clerk, s.c.s.c; Recorded Dec. 9th, 1909 E. B. Barrow Clerk. (Elbert is Lewis’s brother, Arthur Hill was Elbert’s son, A. B. Hill was Lewis Hill’s son Arrelious Bonapart Hill, he went by the name of “Bunk” -kh)

In 1905 Lewis Hill died, and the heirs sold the Mill to a Henry Hurst per the following deed.

September 9, 1905 Deed Book J, Page 574, State of Georgia Schley County This indenture made this ninth day of September year of Our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred and five Between Mrs Mary Hill Wife of Lewis Hill deceased heirs of the same Lawrence Hill, Emma Hammonds, Martha Appy Watson of the County of Taylor, Auretus Bonapart Hill of the county of Talbot Mary Liza Bryant, Lewis Napolien Hill, Lucy Snider, and Katie Warmack of the county of Schley, John Lewis Lightner of the County of Terrell and Nannie Lightner of the county of Worth, and the state Georgia and Jeremiah of the county of Russell of the State of Alabama, Party of the first part and Henry Hurst of the county of Schley and the State of Georgia Party of second part. Witnesseth that they the said party of the first part for and in consideration of the sum of Five Hundred Seventy Five ($575.00) Dollars in hands paid by the (Page 575) the second part, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, …(legal stuff omitted here)…. described property situated in the County of Schley and State of Georgia, and knowing and described as follows to wit - Forty acres of land more or less in the Third District G. M. of Schley County Georgia being a portion of lot no. 88 upon which the Hill mill, Gin and dwelling house is located bounded on the West by line at the head of Mill Pond, on the North by line of lot no. one Hundred and Five (105) Turning East until reaching the public road, Then go South until crossing the branch then take the old Mill road until in seventy yards of the mill creek, then run due East seventy yards then South seventy yards to the creek then back up the creek to the road, then cross the creek running south about one hundred yards, then, Turning North West going up beside the Pond reserving 1/4 of acre at the clay bank and onesd/// along beside of Pond from high water until it reaches the West line again. To have and Hold …(more legal)… Fee simple.. …. Signed, Sealed and delivered in presence of us the day and year above-written attest
Signature A. B. Hill

A.B. Hill & Mrs. Mary E. Bryant (Seal)
S. Montgomery
Mrs. A. E. Hammonds & L. N. Hill (Seal)
OK. T. Montgomery
Mrs. M. A. Watson & J.L. Lightner (Seal)
Ex? + Offices J.P
Miss Nannie Lightner & Lawrence Hill (Seal)
Mrs. Mary Hill (Seal)
Witness J. A. Murray L A. Giles N.P. + J.P.

Recorded November 22nd 1905 E. B. Barrow Clerk S.C.

Almost exactly one year later Henry Hurst sold the Mill to Josiah Hill who was Lewis’s half brother, son of Archibald Hill and his second wife Catherine Barfield Watson Hill.

October 6, 1906 Schley County Georgia, Deed Book L, Page 129, W. H. Hurst of Schley County Georgia To J. S. Hill of Schley County Georgia, $900 for 40 acres, The following land - Forty acres of land more or less in the Third District G. M. of Schley County Georgia being a portion of lot no. 88 upon which the Hill mill, Gin and dwelling house is located said land bounded on the West by the original land line at the head of the Pond, on the North by line of lot No. 105 running East until it crosses the branch then follows the old Mill road until within seventy yards of the mill creek, then due East seventy yards then South seventy yards to the creek then West up the creek to the road, then across the creek running south about one hundred yards joining a small piece of land belonging to Lewis Hill estate then Turning North West going up beside the Pond reserving 1/4 of acre at the clay bank and the road the side of the of Pond from high water until it reaches the West line again. Signed: W. H. Hurst, Witnessed: ?, Recorded December 8, 1909 (J.S. Hill, is Josiah, Lewis’s ½ brother – KH)

November 2, 1910 Schley County Georgia, Deed Book L, Page 206, J. S. Hill of Worth County Georgia To Columbus Terry of Schley County Georgia, $500 for 40 acres, 40 acres of land off the North East corner of Land Lot no. 88 also 45 acres off North West corner of Land Lot #87 in 3rd District of Schley County Georgia bounded as follows: On the North by lands of Lewis Hill place & Lawrence Hill, & on the East by E. J. Lightner on South by Repress place & Mrs. E. F. Moulton & on the Wet by Mill seat of J. S. Hill Signed: J. S. Hill, Witnessed: ?, Recorded ? (Need to verify it was for 40+45 acres or just the 40 acres. – KH)

The mill changed hands several times for the next 30-35 years, however in 1944 it returned into the Hill Family for good.

July 17, 1944 Schley County Georgia, Deed Book S, Page 422, Mrs. Annie M. Pruitt of Marion County Georgia sold the mill to Elton B. Gleaton of Schley County Georgia. He later sold it to his father and mother in law, George R. & Ozzie Hill Standridge (daughter of Pole Hill). Elton Gleaton was married to their daughter Dyxie in 1940.

August 4, 1947 Schley County Georgia, Deed Book T, Page 93, Elton B. Gleaton To Mr. & Mrs. Geo. R. Standridge. Witness: Dixie Standridge; Recorded August 4, 1947.

The mill property is still in the family as of 2004.

Lewis Hill Mill near Concord

Stories about Mill life -

When reading the stories below, the reader should keep in mind that when talking about Hill's Mill, there were actually two mills known by that name. One is the mill in Schley County as per the deed listing above, and another lies in Taylor County on the border of Marion County on the road heading toward Buena Vista. Lewis Hill’s son Lewis Napoleon “Pole” Hill lived and worked at the Schley County mill until after his fathers death in 1904. He then moved to a farm in Taylor County at Mauk. In 1918 he purchased the mill in Taylor County, from W. F. Garrett and ran it until about 1949, just shortly before his death. I believe the stories are pertinent to both mills, and sometimes the writings actually cross between the 2 mills.

Keith’s Thoughts:
The mill was not only a business that provided a valuable service to the community, but quite often a social focal point for that community. People would stop by and “visit”, and get caught up on what is going on in the community. They would swim and fish at the millpond, and quite often have picnics.

The “Toll” was the charge for the providing the service of grinding the mill. This was a portion of the corn being ground, for instance if the patron brought a bushel of corn to be ground, which equals 8 gallons, the miller would take 1 gallon (the toll) for his service of grinding that corn. Pole Hill would not charge a toll to widow woman for grinding her corn.

Conversation between Theron Hill and his grandson, Keith Hill on June 7, 1997 about working in the mill, cotton gin and farming (questions by Keith in all CAPS):

“Big papa loaned me $30 the day we got married (August 16, 1933) and that’s how much money we had. (laughter)”
THAT’S ALLOT OF MONEY BACK THEN. Yeah that was a heap of money. That was a bail of cotton or more. A bail of cotton brought about $30 back then.

AND LAMAR WON'T BE ABLE TO FILL UP HIS WINEBAGO TOMORROW FOR $30. A big farmer didn't make but 50-60 bails of cotton, I mean a big farmer. There wasn't a half a dozen in the county that, the average person had about three plows. One to three plows which if they done well they would make about seven eight bails of cotton, and that was a money crop.

HOW MANY ACRES WAS THAT ON? Well, if you had good land, and fertilized it well you made about a bail to the acre.

REALLY, THAT’S IT? YOU GOT TO HAVE A LOT TO LAND TO MAKE A LOT, BUT HOW MUCH DID A BAIL SELL FOR? According to how things was, when I was growing up, a bail brought from $30 to $150.

WHAT THE SIZE OF A BAIL? An un-ginned bail, right out of the field, just picked cotton was 1500-1600 pounds. When you ginned it, you got about 800 pounds or 900 pounds of seed, 400 or 500 of lent cotton.

WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT BAILS I THINK OF BAILS OF HEY OR PINE STRAW. When it was ginned, if you laid it on its side, it was about three feet high and seven feet long. A one horse plow used to plant about seven acres, a farmer that had 25-30 plows which he had 25-30 sub farmers which was a fellow if he had kids he three of them plows. We didn't fool with farming, we had a one horse farm, we run a grist mill, gin, saw mill and shingle mill, 99% of our money was made some where else it wasn't made on the farm.

SO WHAT YOU DID WITH COTTON WAS GINNED IT FOR OTHER PEOPLE A LOT OF TIMES? Oh yeah we ginned as high as 300 bails of cotton a year sometimes.

IS THERE TIME CONSTRAINTS THAT ONCE YOU PICK THE COTTON YOU HAVE TO GET IT GINNED REALLY FAST? OR DO THEY PUT IT IN BARNS UNTIL YOU CAN GET TO IT? OR HOW DID THEY DO THAT? Cotton wouldn't spoil if you put it under something, keep it out of the weather and it would keep for twenty years without ginning it. You see the seed is in there, and it won't sprout unless you wet them. So it don't hurt, you can pick a bail of cotton and set it up in a shelter, leave if for 5 years if you want to, and then have it ginned and sell it. Of course farmers didn't, they would usually have it ginned, I had two uncles, momma had two sisters, one of them made about 150 bails a year, and the other made 75-80. They would set them, about 75-80 or 150 bails sitting out in front of there house, or side or the back yard or somewhere if they didn't needed it.

SO WHAT ONE GUY OWNED THE LAND, AND THEN OTHER PEOPLE WOULD COME AND WORK IT? Momma had two brothers; one of them had 150 plows down at Charing Georgia. He had 60, 70, 80 at Madison Georgia, he was a big farmer.

SO WHAT HE REALLY DID WAS, HE OWNED THE LAND AND OTHER PEOPLE CAME IN WITH THEIR EQUIPMENT? No, the plows were stationed at their house where 50 plows or 75 plows, they had one barn, and they would take the mules out and farm, every day. Some of them was just hired so would give 50 cents a day or a dollar or whatever the labor was at that time. They would plow all day for that dollar or dollar and half, whatever it was. At the end of the year all the cotton, corn, and stuff that fellow made you see would go back to my uncle. Then a share cropper got half of it, so if a fellow had plenty of money he would buy the share croppers half from him.

SO YOU MILLED CORN? Yes. Granddaddy ground corn six day a week for the public.

I BET HE DIDN’T WORK ON SUNDAY! No, HE DIDN’T BELIEVE IN THAT DID HE?

CAUSE I KNEW THAT YOU WOULD NEVER WORK ON SUNDAY AND YOU WOULDN’T GO FISHING, AND I NEVER UNDERSTOOD WHY YOU WOULDN’T GO FISHING ON SUNDAY. Fishing is the same thing as work for me. The bible says you work six days and rest the seventh, and that’s doing nothing. And we was just brought up that way. Folks don’t think to much about it now, but that’s the bible part of it, that’s what we would go by then. We wouldn’t have ginned a bail of cotton for nothing on Sunday. Ginned it six days, if a man wanted to bring it on Sunday we gin for him on Monday morning.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GIN A BAIL OF COTTON, WAS IT A DAY? OR A WEEK? No, for the last ten of twelve years that we run the gin we would gin 12-15 bails a day, starting early in the morning and run till dark. Taking about anywhere from 40 minutes, its according to who was doing it then, if the kids was doing it, we could do it twice as fast as Big Pappa (Lewis Napoleon Hill) being 75-80 years old. With the gin, it was just as much cotton for him as it was for me. Big Papa was my daddy, every grandchild he had called him Big Papa. Momma (Lillie Mae Woodall a.k.a. Big Mamma) even called him Big Papa, cause there was so many grandchildren and they all called him Big Papa.

SO DID YOU EVER PICK COTTON, DID YOU HAVE TO DO THAT SIDE OF IT? Oh yeah, I picked many a pound of cotton.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PICK A BAIL? Well, a good cotton picker could pick three hundred pounds a day. A bail of cotton is 1500 pounds, of what we call seed cotton, that is what comes out of the bur (sp?) before it was ginned, a bail of cotton ginned weighed 500 pounds and the seed would weigh about a 1000 pounds.

SO COULD YOU PICK 300 POUNDS A DAY? That would be a good picker, the average person picked about a 100 pounds a day, Big Mamma could pick around 200 hundred, Big Papa got about 75. (laughter) He pick right along side her, but she’d pick half his row or near about it. Picking cotton if you the fellow keeps up with you, you can carry on a conversation just like me and you are.

THEY SAY IT HAS A SPUR OR A SPIKE ON IT. There’s a spike on everyone, there’s either four or five locks of cotton to the bole (sp?) when it opens up like that every one of them got a sticker just like a dull safety pin.

Newspaper Accounts

June 26, 1902 Schley County News 06/26/1902 Vol. XII, No 27 - Murray News - On last Wednesday night some one broke in Mr. Lewis Hill’s mill house and took there from about two bushels corn and one of meal. Next morning Mr. Hill missed the corn, looked about and found a fresh track that had been made during the early part of the night. So he went for L. N. Hill who managed to keep on the track until he reached the plantation of Mr. Darling Lawhorn a mile or so away; there Mr. Lawhorn joined in the search, and from the evidence at the trail he is equal to any blood hound, so they followed it about two miles further right straight up to Man Hobb’s house, which they searched and found some corn and meal. Mr. Hill came down and swore out a warrant for Man and the commitment trial was held, four witnesses testified for the state and then Man was allowed to make his statement, which was as follows: “Now, I jest tel you Mr. Jedge that dar is lots ob mean peoples up dar on Sedar Creek sides Man Hobbs, dey will do all sos mean things, and the people jast say dat Man Hobbs am de N…. (N word used in article, no longer politically correct to insert it even if it was written in the paper that way, and he called himself that-kh) whut done all dis. Nother thing I wants to call your tention to, s day Man Hobbs am not de only gemerman up dar our of corn, case dar is Walter Stewart, Eli Lightner, Jim Downs, and all dem Brewers is out of corn and Capen Eli Stwart ain’t had none since May. Still ebry thing mean dats done up dardey hops rite on Man Hobbs, and say he done it.” Now it might be best for those fellows over there to get together and have a talk with Man, in order to get him to hold up on them or they might get in trouble. (found by Harris Hill, copied by Keith Hill)

The Schley County News Friday, April 3, 1908 No. 14 - PICNIC AT HILL'S MILL - Quite a crowd of Schley County people enjoyed themselves at Hill's Mill on last Saturday. Everybody carried well-filled baskets and with the pig Mr. Hill barbequed, the dinner was quite a feast. (from Harris Hill)

From the Swampfox, Volume 7, Fall 1987, Issue 1, Interview with Ozzie Hill Standridge
Page 22, “Daddy had a store out there and Lala (her sister) could come out between his legs and snitch a pile of stuff, candy and stuff. I know he saw her. And we’d go up there to a branch and eat it. We had company all the time ‘cause they’d come there to swim, you know. All the kin folks’d rather stay there than anywhere, out there at the mill. Mama and Daddy entertained.
We had an ol’ ox named Mordel, a great big old cow. He went around and around and packed that cotton. Daddy let us get done in there with the Negro and our company and pack that cotton. We thought we was doin’ somthin’. And it’d make a bale of cotton. Mama and Daddy made a heap of money there making mattresses. I got one on my bed there. It sleeps so good. You know it come out of that gin, just unfold.”
THERE WAS A COTTON GIN OUT THERE? “Yeah, Daddy had a cotton gin and a cane mill out there run by that water.”

*Ozzie was a daughter of Pole Hill, granddaughter to Lewis Hill. She was born at the Schley County Hill’s Mill, and later lived at the Taylor County Mill. Ozzie and her husband George Standridge bought the Schley County Mill in 1947.

From the Swampfox, Volume 7, Fall 1987, Issue 1, Interview with Odessa Hill Parker
Page 29 & 31, “I was raised at Hills Mill. I lived there until I was sixteen years old. I was born up at Mauk. But, I was two years old when my mama and daddy moved down to Hills Mill. My daddy run a gristmill and a gin and her raised cows and hogs and he farmed. We always cooked syrup in the fall. He had al little store that he run. We had two flowing wells. We had a wonderful place to fish. My daddy had a pond.”

DID THE POND HAVE A NAME? “No, it was just known as Hills Mill. It didn’t go by name, it just went by Hills Mill. Everybody went to Hills Mill for picnics. In the summertime there wasn’t a day past, hardly, that there wasn’t a picnic there. Sunday and all. I got so tired of company when I was growing up I didn’t know to do, because Mama made me wear little patent leather shoes. I remember. I didn’t go with shorts on, I was forbidden to do that. I had to have on a dress and my slip and panties. Now that was when I was a little girl.”

Page 31 & 32: WHAT KIND OF GAMES DID YOU PLAY WHEN YOU WERE A YOUNG GIRL? “Oh, we played hopscotch. We played handkerchief. We played kissing games. We just had a good time. In other works, we had to create our own entertainment. But, there was never no drinking or anything. That was something my mother and daddy did not allow. As I said, that was the reason everybody – if it was gonna be down at Hills Mill, why the mothers and fathers would let their girls come because they knew my mother and daddy were gonna be chaperoning and then if any of the mothers and daddys wanted to come and be with the crowd why they was always invited. We just had all sorts of games to play. But, we had more fun boiling peanuts and going to the cane patch and getting cane to chew and parching peanuts and most of all making candy. We’d pull, you know syrup candy. We didn’t make it with sugar and stuff. We made it with syrup. We’d pull candy. Boy, I could just see it. People don’t do things like that now. But we did back then. As, I said, we’d wind up dancing. We had music and everything. Just having a good time. In other words, we created our own entertainment.”

*Odessa was another daughter of Pole Hill, granddaughter to Lewis Hill. She was born at their farm in Mauk in 1916, and they moved to the Taylor Mill in 1918.

Story related by Pole Hill’s son Theron:
Pole and Lillie raised a young black boy by the name of Simms. He helped with the chores around the house and was treated like one of the family. A story is told that one year he had his son bring him from Atlanta to the Hill family reunion at the mill. His son asked if they were at the right place since there was nothing but white folks here. Yes son this is my family was his reply.

Fond memories of Ozzie Hill Standridge as related by her daughter Dyxie: "My mother Ozzie Jewell, born at Hill's Mill in Schley County at Concord. She remembers going to school at Concord school, playing in the branch near the pond, Big Mama fishing below the dam while Great Grandpa Lewis watched the babies, going in the buggy with Great Grandma to visit the neighbors, Big Papa and Papa running the grist mill and gin, Great Grandpa having a store and she and Lala would snitch candy from it. She also remembers, when Great Grandpa died, he had a stroke beside the pond in 1904, they carried him to the house across the road, on the bank (the same house burned in 1963) he died very soon there after. Ozzie also tells about a large steer named Mordell, that went round and round to pull the press screw, that packed bales of cotton.


Gary Alvin Hill's Memories

I am Gary Alvin Hill, son of Alvin Chasso Hill, grandson of Lewis Napoleon, and great grandson of Lewis Hill who built the gristmill at Concord near Ellaville, Georgia. My 1st cousin, once removed, Keith Hill (my father Chasso and Keith's grand dad Theron were brothers) has posted the history of the two Hill mills, to this page. My cousins have asked me to tell of my experiences at the Concord, Lewis Hill mill.

I was born in Forsyth, Georgia but moved to California at age 4, therefore, my experiences span about 50 years and are limited to occasional summer visits, at the annual July 4th, Hill family reunions. As a visitor to the south, many things that I did, saw and ate, were highly memorable to me.

In the summer of 1955, I was 6 and we arrived at the mill, in the middle of the night after several days on the road driving from California and I remember being put to bed with my 1st cousin Dyxie Gleaton's son, Butch. In 1955 my uncle George and aunt Ozie (Hill) Standridge owned the mill. Dyxie was their only child. The next morning I awoke to the smell of fried eggs, grits, smokehouse ham, bacon and fresh baked biscuits. Later that day, Butch showed me about the mill house, where uncle George still ground corn into meal for anyone who needed it. Inside the mill was a bunch of large canvas or leather belts that connected the mill's water wheel and main power take off (PTO) to the pulleys on various work stations. The power from the water wheel could be used to perform many tasks but mainly it ground corn into meal using the large stone wheel. Outside over the millhouse door was the head of the largest big mouth bass that I had ever seen. Butch said it had been caught in the lake, out by a large tree snag.

I remember uncle George had a small cinder block store that was in front of the mill. There was a Coke machine that said 5 cents on it. It was the kind you opened from the top and all you could see was the bottle caps. You slid your choice along the metal rack and pulled it up, out of the ice cold water. To this day, I remember what I drank that day, 50 years ago. It was a small bottle of 7up, ice cold and it tasted better than any soft drink has ever tasted since. Some things can only be truly experienced once in a lifetime, but you remember it forever...even a simple bottle of 7up.

That evening was the 4th of July and people had been arriving at the house on the hill, across the road from the mill, all day long. I didn't recognize anyone, but I was told they were all my relatives. That evening, after a huge meal with fried okra, black-eyed peas, snap beans, potato salad, ham and fried chicken, there was watermelon. After sundown, there were fireworks and sparklers, but I was more impressed with the fire flies I had captured in the mason jar.... I'm sure it was hot and humid and the mosquitoes were out in force...I'm sure there were turnips and collard greens on the table...but who wants to remember those things.

I have been to the mill many times since, as an adult and I always come away with the same feeling. To me, that millhouse, lake and spillway with the water wheel and all, was a magic place...did I mention the watermelon?


This photo shows the spillway at Lewis Hill's, Concord mill and the smiling faces enjoying summer fun and good times at the 1946 Hill family reunion. The mill is just down the road from the Concord Methodist Church, located near Ellaville, Georgia. The lady in white is my mother Mary Elizabeth (Smith) Hill, wife of Alvin Chasso Hill, (youngest son of Lewis Napoleon) and L-R, are Christine Thurmond (wife of my aunt Lala's oldest son Wayne Thurmond), man in the hat is (we believe) uncle Charlie Otis Hill (son of Lewis Napoleon Hill) and blocking our view of Charlie is Mignon Hill, daughter of Charlie and Kitty (Lawhorn) Hill.

In the photo, as you look across the spillway, the path around the lake begins. Countless cane poles and cans of worms have crossed that spillway. As a Hill cousin who wasn't fortunate enough to have grown up in Georgia, I was introduced to the fine art of cane pole, bobber fishing, somewhere down that path.

Below the dam spillway was a concrete ledge where the older kids could stand behind the waterfall, which was the only place to cool off in the days before air conditioning. About 30 yards up the road, toward Concord Church was a wooden bridge across the road. Below the bridge, were enough frogs and tadpoles to light up the eyes of any kid, who wasn't afraid of snakes.


Out in the lake 30 yards out from the spillway was a wooden diving or fishing dock about 8 ft. square. There were always rowboats tied up at the lake edge for fishing or romantic outings across the lake, away from the ever watchfull eyes of the adults.

Since I was not born until three years after the photo of my mom at the spillway, it wasn't until the summer of 1969, that I discovered the purpose of the row boats. That was when I took my 17 year old wife to be, back to "Home Ground" in Georgia to meet the rest of the Hill family. My aunt Odessa and Ozie were constantly on the watch to insure that I behaved as a gentleman. I have a picture of my girl on the lake at the front of the rowboat that day and it is still my favorite picture of her, 34 years later.

Note: As to the purpose of the row boats, the writer admits only to the fishing...and what a great day on the lake it was.

Gary Hill


Hill's Mill in Taylor County
By Theron Haines Hill

The mill was powered by an undershot water wheel - the power came from water moving thru the wheel, which was under water (Hill's mill in Schley county was powered by an overshot wheel - water ran over the top to produce power).

I watched my "Big Papa" (Lewis Napoleon "Pole" Hill) grind corn meal for the public in the late 40's.  They would arrive at the mill with their dried corn.  The corn would be put through a "sheller", removing the corn from the cob.  He then measured the corn and removed a small amount for his pay.  He would then start the rocks to grind the corn.  My grandfather (Big Papa) was hard of hearing - but he knew from the vibration if the mill was correct.  He would then "feel" the meal to see if it was correct.  The meal was warm and tasted good to a 10-year- old boy.  The cut of the "rock" could be changed to produce "grits".  He could also just crack the corn - which many folks used then as chicken feed.

The stream also powered a cotton gin, small shingle mill and a feed mill.

When my mother (Lucile Parker Hill) and father (Theron Hill) married in August of 1933 they lived on the farm and worked with Big Papa operating the mill.  My father bought a 1931 black Ford pick-up truck in 1934 - the year I was born.  He developed a good business selling meal, grits, eggs and sausages.  He would deliver to stores in Buena Vista, Ellaville and Columbus.  When I was about two, I started traveling with my father in the truck.  One day when we were stopped in Geneva, I saw and heard my first train.  I was scared to tears.  Another time I was caught on the front porch dropping eggs over the side.  Daddy had a case of eggs ready for market - I would pick up an egg, go to the edge and drop it and soon as it splashed I would get another one, Dad lost some profit that day before they caught me.  But the law of gravity does work.  We moved to Thomaston in 1936 - but we returned to the farm/mill for regular visits until 1952.

Hill's mill was a great place for friends and relatives.  Almost every Sunday there would be 30 to 40 people in during the day.  In the summer we would swim in the pond or ride in the small rowboat.  We would fish during the week, but never on Sunday.  There was a tradition of throwing a newly married couple in the pond regardless of weather and it wasn't unusual for one of the parties not to know of the tradition until it was too late.

During the war years, 1940-1945 you could hear the artillery firing at Fort Benning - the sound just traveled down the creek.  Little did I know that I would be making the noise in the late 1950's.

My "Big Mama" (Lillie May Woodall Hill) was a small lady - she ran the show and could she cook.  That was the real reason many of our "friends" came by on Sunday.  The "dining room" table would hold 12 to 14 people.  They would serve at two tables on Sunday noon plus those who dropped by later in the afternoon to swim.

Then there was special occasions such as the 4th of July - Big Papa's birthday was the 3rd of July (differs from his tombstone which states Sept 6th) so this was a reason for an expanded party - this one went outside and everyone brought food.  Several of the boys would open a pit and cook 6 or 8 hams or shoulders.  Aunt Lala's family made the famous Hill BBQ sauce.  All of the families brought enough food to feed an army.  But Aunt Odessa would out do them all - she was a great cook.  She had an old fashioned large "steamer trunk" which she always brought full of food.  Most of these occasions were held at Hill's Mill in Taylor County.  On some occasions we would go to Concord Methodist Church near Lewis Hill's Mill in Schley County for our big meals.  This was done more after Aunt Ozzie bought Lewis Hill's mill back into the family in 1947.  The Concord Methodist Church is the grave location of Lewis & Mary Hill, Pole & Lillie Hill and three of the brothers.  Big Papa (Pole) was Methodist and Big Mama (Lillie) was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church (Mount Nebo), they made an agreement that whoever died first the other would select the burial site.  Lillie died first, thus they were buried at Concord with his family not at Nebo with her family (Woodalls)

**Note:  The Phillipi Church minutes revealed that they had attended that Church in the early years, and might both have been members until they moved to Taylor County. - Keith**


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