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The Hill Letters

donated by: Druscilla Hill

I want to share letters I received back in 1980 from Donald Webb. The names mentioned are HILL, HAMILTON, WILLIAMS, PETERS, WEBB, FERGUSON, PELFREY, BROWN, PRESTON, FAIRCHILD, STAFFORD, VAUGHAN, RAMEY, PETERS, BOONE, COLE, SKAGGS, COUCH, LEMASTER, JONES, CRAIG. I have seen most of these names mentioned in the Johnson County archives. I hope in some small way this information will be helpful to you in your research. It certainly was a great deal of help to me. Any questions, I'm here.

Druscilla Hill


18 July 1980

Dear Cousin Druscilla:

The name Druscilla Hill takes my mind back to Druscilla Hill who was a sister of Edward, Spencer, and Wesley Hill, the first settlers, along with the Hamiltons, of Paint Creek. This Druscilla married David Hamilton, a brother of Sarah Hamilton who married Edward Hill.I am sorry that you did not mention your parent's names, so I am withholding genealogical information until I hear from you with this information. I'm sure you don't mind waiting a few days longer, for I have more genealogical information on your families than you can shake stick at, as they would say back on Paint. Being close neighbors to the Joe Hill family as well as to Ellen Hill, we seemed like one large family. Jesse Hill, Bill's brother was my age and we spent much time at each other's homes, working together, as country boys would do, and also playing together. I remember long before Bill and Pearlie were married. Bill was just a few years older than me.

When you were at Myrt's did she show you the pictures of her grandparents, Jacob Peters and his wife, Ellen's parents? Also, the picture of Wallace Hill, her father? I was there last year and she showed them to me. If I were you I would have copies made from them. I had our ancestors, Cynthia Ann Williams Hill's picture copied. I am sending you a copy of it. I had several made, and sent one to the Licking Valley Courier which was used in connection with an article I had written on the Hill and Williams families. It is important to have a number of copies of old pictures made due to the fact that by accident or fire, the original might be destroyed.

Just as soon as I hear from you I will write you a longer letter, filling in some of the gaps in our genealogy which you might have failed to get together.

You will be surprised to learn of the many different families to whom you are related back there in the Hills of Kentucky, the most lovely place this side of Heaven.


Donald E. Webb



24 July 1980

Dear Cousin Druscilla:

I was glad to get your letter, and have filled in a number of Pedigree Charts, giving all the information that I have on your various lines. I hope that this will help you to conduct your research in the lines of which I have little or no information. Read the Pedigree Charts as you read this letter, as I will comment on some o the family connections as I personally know them or have learned by research in the records. You and I have the same family connection as regards the Hills and Williams. My family traditions were handed down to me by my father, Cornelius Webb who was almost 40 years older than me, and who well remembered his grandmother, Cynthia Ann Hill. Although he did not write anything, I absorbed the traditions as I would hear him relate it so often, and I remembered it. These traditions went back to Squire John Williams and his wife, Phoeba Ferguson. Dad knew just the spot where they were buried, there on the Williams Fork of the Elkfork, so I know. There is no marker to indicate their names, as the cemetery has been researched by Morgan County histories, and I noted their names are missing. I know where Spencer and Cynthia are buried. Spencer and Cynthia lived on Patoker branch, originally called Lick branch. Fortunately the Government is not going to bother much of Patoker, so their graves will be intact. The other graves, those of Edward Hill and his wife Sarah Hamilton, will be moved. The Office of the Army Engineers sent me a copy of the drawing of the grave plots of the old cemetery, and I noted that the headstone of Edward Hill had been destroyed, but that of Sarah was still intact. Perhaps you did not know it, but Elliott Hill and his wife Mary Brown are buried at Coldrion Cemetery. This was the original burying ground for the Brown family, and not only Mary Hill and husband was buried there, but also her sister Elizabeth and her husband, James Monroe Ferguson, as well as, Foster Brown, and his wife Nancy Hill, who was a sister of Edward Hill II and my grandmother Sara Hill Webb. I hope that the Army will keep the grave in their order when they move them. Now back to the Pedigree Charts; No. 4 on Pedigree Chart No. 2, William Spencer Hill, your grandfather, was name for two of his uncles, Spencer for Joe's brother, and William for William Pelfrey, his mother's brother. I remember this William Pelfrey very well. Ed Hill's name is John Edward, and was named for his two grandfathers: John Pelfrey and Edward Hill II. I have heard Joe tell how he named his children. That is why I know that John Pelfrey was Selina's father, and as you will note in No. 29 on Pedigree Chart No. 1, I have left it blank, as I am not certain who John Pelfrey's wife was, but am under the impression that she was a Brown. There was much marrying of kin folk back in those days. But I note in the 1850 Census of Morgan County in the family of John Pelfrey and Catherine Ferguson family, John Jr. is four years old at that time.

Catherine Ferguson was a daughter of Richard Ferguson I and his wife Nancy Jones. Richard was a brother of Phoeba Ferguson who married Squire John Williams, the parents of Cynthia Ann Williams Hill. Because of this intermarriage you are very close kin to yourself. Fergusons, Browns, Pelfreys and Hills. But the charts will explain everything.

Edward No. No. 16 on Pedigree Chart No 1 and No 1 on Pedigree Chart

No. 2, Edward Hill married Amanda Fairchild. I do not know who her parents were. But the family lived on Jenny's Creek in Johnson County.

In your research of the Fairchild family, you will run into an Asa Fairchild, whom I believe is related to your ancestress, Amanda Hill.

27 Sept.

Sorry for the delay, but have not been feeling very well and the heat almost got me down so had to take it easy. Paul Fairchild sent me his Fairchild lineage which ties in with Webb line. It seems that there were two Revolutionary War veterans by the name Fairchild who came to what is now Johnson County and settle. If you can tie your Fairchild lineage into the line of Paul, then you are in luck. The 1880 Federal Census of Johnson County should list Amanda Fairchild and it would show whose daughter she was. I do not have any of the Census records of Johnson County except a few individuals on my mother's side. Now I have the name of a lady living in Ft Mitchell Ky., who has all the U.S. Census records of all the counties of Ky., from the first to the 1880 census whom I employ to search for me. I have hunted all over the place but can't find her address although I have it somewhere. Just try finding a letter among several thousand when not catalogued! I will look further for it and when I find it will send it to you so that you may have her to look up the Fairchild family for 1880.

I remember Aunt Amanda Hill very well, but Uncle Edward had died before I could remember. Dad called him Uncle Neddy.

Since writing the first part of this letter I have come upon the account of the Brown family which I had Xeroxed from Kozee's history.

This was taken word for word from Hall's History of Johnson County. I do not have that book. Although it is pretty good for a family outline in some lines of the Johnson County families it is not very complete. The Brown Family is pretty well written up, as whoever gave the information did a pretty good job, as I personally know about some of the branches of this family. See I was right, Selina Pelfrey Hill's mother was a Brown as I stated above that I thought she was.

See Pedigree Chart No.5, for Selina's lineage. She was a daughter of Amanda Brown and John Pelfrey. Amanda was a daughter of William Brown and his wife, Julia Ann Stafford, and a sister of Mary Brown who married Elliott Hill. Again you are a kin to yourself as I mentioned above.

Now as you will note William Brown who married Julia Ann Stafford, was a son of Francis Asbury Brown and his wife Edy Preston. Edy's father was Nathan Preston, a Revolutionary War veteran, and you can add another Revolutionary War veteran to your list, of which you have many. Nathan Preston married Elizabeth Vaughan.

The Vaughan family was prominent in the development of Paintsville and Johnson County. Francis Asbury Brown was a son of Thomas C. Brown and his wife Mary Brown. Thomas C. Brown was also a Revolutionary War Veteran and he came from Hampshire County, Va. (now West Virginia) when he came into Johnson County just after the turn of last century. Thomas C. was a son of Daniel Brown. That was as far as I could trace the line in any degree of continuity.

As far as the family of Julia Ann Stafford is concerned I do not know how it ties in with the Staffords of Paintsville. I personally knew some of the Paintsville Staffords, specially Miss Mae Stafford, who died a few years ago at an extreme old age. She was a great one in the DAR and helped to compile the Stafford history which is contained in the History of Johnson County by Mitchell Hall. They trace far back before the Revolutionary War, and is said to be of royal descent. I feel that the Lawrence County branch of which Julia Ann Brown was member was of the Paintsville line.

Elliott Hill who married Mary "Aunt Polly" Brown was a son of Edward Hill I, one of the first settlers of Paint Creek. Edward Hill had at least two brothers of who I now: Spencer and Dr. Wesley. Spencer lived over in Lawrence county and married Lucy Ramey. I know of his descendants. Some of them went to Floyd County, near Prestonsburg and Edward P. Hill III whom I had the pleasure of meeting was an attorney and Judge of Floyd County, and elected to the Kentucky Court of Appeals. I haven't heard from him in many years. I also know his father, who I met at Prestonsburg. Dr. Wesley lived on Smith Creek and was married two or three times. He left a large number of descendants, many who live on Smith Creek.

Edward Hill I married Sally Hamilton, a daughter of Benjamin Hamilton, A Revolutionary War Veteran, who was raised in Beford County, Va. near the Forks of Otter River. He went down into Sullivan County, Tenn., and later migrated to Morgan county, and settled on Paint Creek about the year 1812, according to what I heard Old Uncle Jack Hamilton tell. Uncle Jack (his real name was Andrew Jackson) was a son of Benjamin and his wife Nancy Fairchilds. Nancy was a sister to Aunt Amanda Hill. Uncle Jack was a local Methodist minister and was very intellectual. He knew the family histories of all the families on Paint Creek. I wish I had taken notes on what he had to say when I was young and he was living. He died when I was still young and did not think much about family history.

Now about the Peters family. I once asked Ellen who Jacob's father was and she said his name was Ira. I did know who his grandfather was, as I had heard dad say that he was Jacob Peters who lived in Scott County, Va. from where the Webbs came when they came to Johnson County, Ky., in 1844. While doing research in Scott County, Va., I found where this Jacob Peters had bought land from my ancestor, John Webb, about 1840. Funny thing the Peters still live over there in Scott County. While Ira Peters came to Ky., others must had remained in the very area. My son and I made a trip to Berks County, Pa., to see where our Webb and Boone ancestors lived and followed the migration route down into Sullivan County, Tenn., and on over into Scott County, Va., going over onto Copper Creek where my grandfather was born and went down to see where they lived at the mouth of Flower Branch, and we stopped to ask a man where it was located and his name was Peters. I told him that my ancestor had sold land to his ancestor, the very place where he was living. This after 150 years.

Genealogy is certainly a romantic thing. One runs into all kind of surprises

Now if you don't know Jacob's first wife's name write to Myrt and ask her. Also ask about the Cole family. I don't know anything about the family. They came into the area after 1850, but the 1880 census might tell something. I do not know who Ira Peters married. There were Peters who lived on Newcome in Elliott County, but I do not know what relation, but they were related. The descendants still live there.

I remember the Uncle Elliott Hill place as it was when the last Hill lived there. I was very young. The youngest son of Elliott and Polly was Loranzo Dow Hill. He was called Ranny. I remember him before he died. He was young. He died with TB. He married Louisa Skaggs, a daughter of Amanda Hill Skaggs. Amanda was William Hill and Martha William's daughter and sister of Thorton Hill. I doubt if Proctor remembers Thornton. Louisa then married James Ferguson and lived up on Paint Creek somewhere. Amanda, after her Skaggs husband died, married Andy Blevins (A.J.) and had a number of children. Martha Williams,

William Hill's wife was a daughter of Squire John Williams and a sister of Cynthia Ann Hill. Wow, what a family connection! Very few people know these connections. Spencer Hill, who married Cynthia Ann Williams, William Hill who married Martha Williams, Elliott Hill who married Mary Brown were brothers. They had a number of sisters who married Williams brothers, and one whose name was Nancy Bell married Wallace W. Brown, a brother of William Brown. I am telling you this so you will know the family relationship of the various families who lived on Paint Creek.

Cynthia Ann Williams who married Spencer Hill II was a daughter of Squire John Williams and his wife Phoeba Ferguson. Squire John Williams was son of Elder Daniel Williams and his wife, Violet Couch. I spent two weeks once down in Montgomery and surrounding counties researching this Williams family. Daniel Williams was a son of Edward Williams who settled in Montgomery County, Ky. before the Revolutionary War. Elder Daniel Williams went to where West Liberty is now located and built a cabin in 1804. His son Squire John went over on the Williams Fork of the Elk Fork and built a house in 1816. The house still stood there as part of a larger house which was built on to it up until a few years ago when Bruce Williams tore it down to build another house. That was where great grandmother Cynthia Ann Hill was born. I was sorry that it was torn down.Cynthia Ann Williams mother was Phoeba Ferguson, a daughter of Elder William Ferguson I and his wife Catherine Lemaster. Phoeba Ferguson was a sister of Richard Ferguson I whose daughter Catherine married John Pelfrey Sr. Richard Ferguson I married Nancy Jones, a daughter of Elder Ambros Jones and his wife Martha Craig.

I'm worn out and going to quit here, and ask that if you want more information just write and ask. There might be something I've left out.

I don't know what my greatest thrill was in my genealogical research.

One of them was; while on a trip to Culpeper County, Va., I ran into a Hill by the name of Roland Hill who lived in a a big pre-Revoluntionary War house at Orange, Va. Although I could not make any connection of our Hill line with his line, we believe it is the same. We had our picture made showing part of the house. He was glad that I knew the Hill family history of Virginia, as he knew it, having same information.

I wrote a column of genealogy for 10 years which appeared in a nationally circulated magazine. That was a great thrill. I also published my own book on finding ones ancestors. The list goes on and on.

Sincerely your distant cousin,

Donald E. Webb