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Biographies

The Hill Family
Isaac Hill | Isabella Cox Hill


The Hill Family
1881-1946

I am a Hill descendant by virtue of the marriage of my great-grandfather, Isaac H. Tate, to Mariah Elizabeth Hill, who was the daughter of Isaac Hill of Harris County, Georgia, and his wife, Isabella Cox Hill.


Uncertainty About Line of Descent

It is possible, but not proven, that we are descended from a man named Robert Hill, who, along with his young wife, came to America from England in 1642 as an indentured servant. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts to find a documentary or DNA match link to Robert Hill and his known descendants, I have as yet been unable to do so.


Isaac Hill
(1800-1833)

Our earliest confirmable Hill ancestor was Isaac Hill, who was born about 1800, allegedly in Halifax County, North Carolina. On November 2, 1822, he was married in Jones County, Georgia, to Isabella Cox, the twenty-one-year-old daughter of Asa Cox and his wife, Mildred Mariah Rountree Cox, Justice-of-the-Inferior-Court Joseph Day, officiating.

Our next public record of Isaac Hill is the 1830 federal census for Jones County, Georgia, in which he is listed as head of a household that included 2 males under the age of five, 1 male age five to ten, 1 male 20 to 30 (Isaac himself, obviously), 1 female under five years of age, 1 female age five to ten, and one female 20 to 30 (Isaac's wife, Isabella). Isaac had no slaves, but interestingly, there were three "Free Colored Persons" living in his household: 2 males under the age of ten and 1 male age 24 to 36. Who were these free persons of color and what was their relation, if any, to Isaac Hill and his family, Unfortunately, the answers to those questions have been lost to history.

The names of the known children of Isaac and Isabella Hill are as follows:

  1. Mariah Elizabeth Hill, born October 3, 1823, in Jones County, Georgia.
  2. Louise or Louisa Jane, born about 1825, in Jones County, Georgia.
  3. Jackson Lafayette Hill, born about 1826, in Harris County, Georgia.
  4. James Henderson Hill, born October 25, 1829, in Harris County, Georgia.
  5. Camilla Ann, born about 1831, in Harris County, Georgia.

As can be seen, the number of children in the list above does not match the number of children in the Isaac Hill household in 1830. Jackson and James were obviously the 2 males under five, but what happened to the boy age five to ten? We may only surmise that he did not survive childhood.

Land Transactions

There are several land transactions of file in the deed records of Jones County, Georgia, for Isaac Hill, from 1811 to 1822. All but one predates the attainment of "our" Isaac Hill's majority, and each one also involves the sale of large tracts of land, which doesn't seem like something that a young man just getting started in life would do. We may therefore assume that all, or almost all, these deeds are for a different Isaac Hill, albeit one that could be a kinsman of some kind.

Jones County, Georgia

The only land transaction for Isaac Hill on file in the deed records of Harris County, Georgia, confirms three things: 1.) That prior to 1830, Isaac Hill was a resident of Jones County, 2.) that he and his family moved to Harris County in 1830, and 3.) that he died young.

  • Harris County, Georgia Deed Book B, p. 97. September 18, 1830. Isaac Hill (identified as a resident of Jones County) paid Aaron Goodman of Meriwether County $100 for 202 acres of land in Harris County (originally part of Troup).

This land was described in the deed as "lying and being in the County of original Troup now Harris state aforesaid known and designated as Lot No. 5 in 3 in the third Dist. of said County."

Harris County, Georgia

Sadly, Isaac Hill did not get to enjoy his new property very long. On August 31, 1833, he died in Harris County, Georgia, presumably at home. The cause of his death is unknown, but as he was still a relatively young man, we can only guess that it was due to some accident or serious illness. From all appearances, he died intestate, that is without a will, because there is a document in Harris County that records the appointment of his brother, Sion L. Hill, as administrator of his estate, and another naming his brother-in-law, James Cox, as guardian of Isaac's orphan children: "Marie" (obviously Mariah), Jane (obviously Louise or Louisa Jane), Jackson, and James, but not, curiously, Camilla, who was the youngest.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no record of where Isaac Hill was laid to rest.


Isabella Cox Hill
(b. 1801; d. after 1870)

Isabella Cox Hill was born November 16, 1801 in Warren County, Georgia. Following her husband's untimely death, she lived another fifty years, but never remarried. From all appearances she devoted herself instead to the raising of her children, and then, to taking care of her aging father, Asa Cox, until his death in 1863.

Presumably, Isabella inherited her husband's property, but what she did with it is a mystery owing to the fact that here are apparently no land transactions for her on file in Harris County, Georgia. Nor is it known what became of the free black persons that were living in the Hill family household. They are not there in the 1840 federal census, only Isabella and her two youngest children. On November 26, 1838, Isabella's oldest daughter, Mariah married a young man named Harrison Tate and slightly more than a year later, on November 29, 1839, next-oldest daughter, Louisa Jane, married her beau, Elisha Mullins.

Isabella Cox and her children are conspicuously absent from the 1850 federal census but she is found in the 1860 federal census, residing in the home of her eighty-four-year-old father, Asa Cox. At that time, she was fifty-nine and all her children were grown up and married with families of their own. Her father owned a dozen slaves, ranging in age from a three-month-old female infant to a seventy-year-old black woman. Isabella herself owned three slaves: a thirty-five-year-old black woman with two girls, ages 3 and 10.

The early 1860s brought grief, three times, into Isabella's life. On October 9, 1861, her oldest daughter, Mariah Hill Tate, died at her home in Russell County, Alabama. A little more than a year later, her son, Jackson Lafayette Hill, a Private in the 19th Georgia Infantry, C.S.A., died at Richmond, Virginia, reportedly from wounds received while defending the Confederate capital. The following year, on December 7, 1863, Isabella's father, Asa Cox, passed away at his home in Harris County, Georgia. In recognition of her devotion, in his original will, her father was generous, writing: "My will and desire is that my daughter Isabella Hill shall have at my death one Hundred Dollars more than my other children, which hundred dollars I desire shall be laid out by my Executors for her home, wherever she may wish or in any other property that she may wish." Later, in a codicil to his will, he added: "In my last Will and Testament, I, Asa Cox, gave to my daughter, Isabella Hill, over and above an equal share in my estate One Hundred Dollars, but being dissatisfied, I have thought proper to give to the said Isabella Hill One Hundred Dollars more, making in all, two hundred dollars, which I leave in the hands of my sons James and Jesse Cox and Trustees for the said Isabella. The object of the above sum is to purchase for the said Isabella a home after my death and to further give to the said Isabella my buggy and also thirty dollars annually for her care of me. All of the above I give to the said Isabella Hill over and above an equal share in my estate, because she, the said Isabella, has broken up and taken care of me and my interest while I have been unable to take care of myself when all of my other children have been taking care of their own interest."

Isabella Cox Hill outlived her father Asa by two decades. The 1870 census shows her at age sixty-eight, living with the family of her widowed daughter Camilla Stephens, in or near the Harris County seat of Hamilton.42 In 1880 Isabella and her daughter and family were living in Carroll County, Georgia.

On 9 October 1883, Isabella Cox, at the age of nearly eighty, Isabella Cox passed away and was buried at the Buchanan City Cemetery in Buchanan, Haralson County, Georgia. Her daughter Camilla died in 1910 and was buried in the same cemetery. Both graves, and those of other family members, are marked by unusual oblong covers that appear to be made of some sort of ceramic and from a distance, resemble the cannon barrels.

Isabella Hill gravesite
Grave of Isabella Cox Hill. Author photo,


The Hill Family
Isaac Hill | Isabella Cox Hill


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