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First Court House

The First Court House of Hill County
1853 A. D.

     According to legend, the first court house was built by C. N. Brooks of elm poles. The building was approximately twelve by twelve feet with one clapboard door and two shutter windows. There was no furniture of any kind and had a dirt floor. There is no definite proof of location, but more than likely it was built in Hillsboro.
     According to A. Y. Kirkpatrick, the first citizens to go to court, with their troubles were Ridlen and Hartgraves who each claimed possession of a certain yearling. During the trial Ridlen suggested to Hartgraves that they settle the matter between themselves, but the trial went on as scheduled. While the six-member jury was trying to reach a verdict, Ridlen pulled a pistol and shot at Heartgraves but missed. Ridlen ran and caught Hartgraves, pulled a Bowie knife and slashed him up so mercilessly that the died in a few minutes. Louis Boda, who was deputy sheriff, arrested Ridlen, but he was able to escape that night. Hartgraves' widow offered a reward for the capture of Ridlen. He was caught at Lockhart and was killed while resisting arrest.

Contributed by Mr. Lem Young -- 2003
(Builder of the replica of the first court house for Hill County. It is now on display at The Hill County Cell Block Museum.)