Grandpa Hill died in November of 1973, forty-two years ago. I was on the way at the time, in Mom’s tummy, so sadly I never got to know him, even as a baby. But I’ve been getting to know him little by little through the years from those who knew him.
of Jones County, North Carolina
& His Mother Sarah in Pennsylvania
It looks like we finally have a breakthrough on the Hill family. Combining the power of DNA and a bit of genealogical detective work, I have found a connection between two of the genetic lines in the Hill DNA Project that are clearly related. But how was unknown until some of the puzzle was unraveled today by the last will and testament of one Samuel Hill, a resident of North Carolina. I’m guessing that Samuel Hill is the grandfather or uncle of Joseph Hill, husband of Mary Warren, as detailed in the lineage of Kit 74401.
Samuel Hill of Jones County, North Carolina mentions his mother, Sarah of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in his will, dated 1772. Bucks County is where I happened to find a group of people named Hill and another named Crooks living in close proximity to one another. It was a hunch that has apparently paid off. One of my ancestor James Hill’s sons is named John Crooks Hill. Now there is another piece of evidence pointing to Bucks County, PA as the likely birthplace of James Hill, husband of Sarah ‘Sallie’ Tidd, who lived to the age of 99 and died in Ohio.
The obituary of Joseph Hill, a distant cousin shown to be related to my Hill family by DNA, included some interesting details, possible clues as to where to track down more information. It was published in The Christian Index, a Baptist newspaper in Georgia,
How is this man, Joseph Hill, related? Born in North Carolina, he married a woman named Mary, surname Warren or Warner. She was born in Georgia. The DNA proves that we are cousins. But the connection, the paper trail, remains elusive. Was he a brother of my ancestor James Hill?
Here’s an odd little nugget I found the other day. A James Hill, about the same age as my paternal ancestor, was christened on November 1st, 1765 in Hanover, Jamaica. His mother is listed as Sisly Crooks. Since one of James’ sons had that name — John Crooks Hill — is Sisly his paternal grandmother? The problem is that my James Hill wasn’t born in Jamaica, but Pennsylvania or Maryland.
1. Sisly may be misspelled. It may be Cicely instead.
This may be a new lead in the hunt for the elusive Hill clan in early Pennsylvania. On the 1790 census for Bucks County, there are some familiar names: James Hill and a few folks with the name Crooks. There’s Thomas Hill, James Hill, Nathan Crooks, Mary Crooks, and William Crooks.
Was James Hill, future husband of Sarah Tidd, living in Bucks County in 1790 rather than what I had assumed, Northumberland County? With a son named John Crooks Hill, I know there is a meaning to the name. But what are the specifics?
A James Hill is documented on Ancestry as having 400 acres of land. It was actually 426 acres, according to the notation in the books. That is quite a swath of land.
The warrant is dated July 19, 1792 and the land is located in Luzerne County. It may have been Northumberland County at the time. There are some named Jordan who also acquired land in Luzerne County, brothers-in-law and other relatives of James Hill through his wife Mary. The Jordans, except one, claimed land in November of 1789. That exception was John Jordan, who claimed land in August of 1792.
So what the heck is a land warrant? I was wondering the same thing myself.
“An application was a request to purchase a certain amount of land in a particular locality from the State government. The successful applicant received a land warrant from the State Land Office, and both the applications and warrants are filed in Record Group 17, Records of the Land Office, at the Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg.”
James returned the land on May 6, 1794, though why he did isn’t known. Nor do I understand how this ‘return’ process works.
Here is more evidence supporting my theory that James Hill of White Deer Township — then in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania and what is now Union County — is my ancestor, the same James Hill who married Sarah Tidd and died in Hardin County, Ohio in 1862.
In White Deer Township in 1796, James Hill is living in a small cabin and working as a shoemaker. A John Hill is nearby, residing in a cabin, presumably a larger one. He, too, is a shoemaker.
My ancestor, James Hill of Hardin County, Ohio—born in June of 1763 in Pennsylvania, was also a shoemaker.