Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
Office in Gum Log called Napoleon and its founder, Napoleon Bonaparte
the Gum Log District of Union County, a post office by the name of
opened June 20, 1881. This northwestern district of the county
borders North Carolina,
Towns County to the east, Ivy Log
the west, and a portion of Lower Young Cane and Blairsville Districts
Why the unusual name Napoleon for this
post office? It was given the first name
of its first postmaster, Napoleon Bonaparte Hill. When
he made application for a post office,
he requested the name Reece’s Creek, as the location was on this creek. Evidently the U. S. postmaster general
Napoleon would be an unusual name, as indeed it was.
About two hundred people lived within the
vicinity of the post office and would be served by it, according to the
statistics given on the application.
Those who served the Napoleon post
office were: Napoleon B. Hill (twice),
June 20, 1881-March
and October 2,
19, 1891. Miss Mary Ursula Hill, his
daughter, served from March 12, 1883 until her father took the position
again in 1884. The other three postmasters
were Miss Callie
Charles N. Hill (4-22-1897),
and Theodosia E. Mauney (5-17-1902)
until the post office was discontinued March 30, 1907.
Napoleon Bonaparte Hill led an
interesting life. Born to Felix Walker
and Elizabeth Cooper Hill in Rutherford County, North Carolina on November 14, 1832,
seemed destined to become a soldier, with a name honoring that of the
Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France and military leader during the
Wars and the French Revolution. The name
itself shows that the family was familiar with personages in world
Napoleon Bonaparte Hill married Mary
Arabella Evans in 1860 in Cherokee
County, North Carolina. Their first child, Mary Ursula (born September 14, 1861)
after he signed up for service in the Civil War, along with his
and Noah, on June
17, 1861. They served in
Company A of the 29th
Regiment of the North Carolina Infantry, State Troops, Confederate States
of America. Napoleon was promoted to Second Lieutenant on
November 4, 1861.
Napoleon saw action in many battles in
and back to Tennessee. He was wounded and in a hospital in Atlanta when the
siege by Sherman’s
Army occurred in August, 1864. Hill was
sent back to Cherokee County,
North Carolina in October,
with orders to recruit absent, paroled and recently released soldiers
Company A, as well as any others eligible for enlistment.
The forty-five men joined as Company H to
Major Ben M. Ledford’s Calvary Regiment of North Georgia Troops. They patrolled North
Georgia and Western North Carolina
for renegades and bushwhackers, the most notorious of whom were the Ray
Brothers. Napoleon Bonaparte Hill
received the rank of major prior to his company’s surrender and release
at Kingston, Georgia
on May 12, 1865.
In 1865, Napoleon, his wife, Arabella,
their daughter Mary Ursula, Napoleon’s parents, Felix Walker and
Cooper Hill, and other of the family moved to Reece Creek, Union County, Georgia.
The Hills became the third owners of a land
grant issued first in 1832.
Napoleon built an imposing two-story
house north of Reece Creek on the Blairsville to Murphy, NC road (now
129). He farmed the land and opened a
general store. It was probably in the
store where the Napoleon post office opened in June, 1881.
There, as people came to the store and for
their mail, they no doubt heard of Napoleon Bonaparte Hill’s
experiences in the
Napoleon “Poly” Hill served as sheriff
County in 1876 and
Clerk of Superior
Court in the late 1880’s. His brother
Charles Hill, had served as sheriff and was killed in the line of duty
Besides their firstborn, Mary Ursula,
Napoleon and Mary Arabella Hill had these children:
America Victoria, Benjamin Harrison, Julia
Elizabeth, and Charles Napoleon.
Napoleon Bonaparte Hill died at age 78
on January 17, 1910. His wife died June 22, 1917.
Both were interred in the Antioch Baptist
Church Cemetery, as were others
of the Hill family. Today, many
descendants of this hardy family live and work in Union County
and have made and continue to make contributions as worthy citizens.
One of the famous quotations
attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte of France is:
“He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.”
This could well be a motto to the life and
service of the Emperor’s namesake, Napoleon Bonaparte Hill.
Jones; published May 26, 2005 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Dyer Jones is a retired educator, freelance writer, poet, and historian.
She may be reached at e-mail email@example.com;
phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708
Updated August 31,
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