Mary Hill Simpson is Second From the Right

This picture was taken at the funeral of her son George.

Mary Jane Hill Simpson

Today is the 176th anniversary of the birth of Mary Jane Hill, daughter of Isaiah and Lucy Murphy Hill, of Garrard County, Kentucky.  She was the oldest daughter of thirteen children, born into a family involved in one of Kentucky’s lesser-known, but no less deadly, feuds.  The Hill-Evans feud began in the latter years of her grandfather’s life and continued until the death of her father and two of her uncles in 1852.

Mary’s mother, Lucy Hill, died in childbirth in 1850, shortly after or during the birth of her daughter, also named Lucy.  Isaiah Hill, Mary’s father, was killed on 13 Mar 1852 at the tobacco house fight, along with his brother Russell Hill.  Brother Frederick Hill was seriously wounded during this fight and died several weeks later.  Isaiah’s son, James, was also wounded, but survived.

At the age of 16 Mary became mother to her  eight younger siblings.  Three months later, 14 Jun 1852, Mary married James Simpson.  During their marriage of 57 years they were the parents of twelve children.   James died 15 Apr 1909, and was buried in Gunns Chapel Cemetery in northern Garrard County.  Mary lived another ten years, until 31 Jan 1919, when she was buried beside her husband.  On their gravestone is engraved two beautiful hearts.

After the tobacco house fight in March of 1852, the feud continued for several more months.  Most members of the Hill family moved to Washington County or Anderson County.  Mary was the only one who remained in Garrard County.  More than a dozen people lost their lives during this feud.

Mary was my dad’s great-aunt – her brother Isaiah was my great-grandfather.  The feud was never mentioned in my family.

7 replies »

  1. Hi there, just ran into this webpage from reddit. It’s not an article I would normally read, but I loved your perspective on it. Thanx for making something worth reading!

  2. Hello! My name Is Stephanie D. Simpson. George Zachariah Simpson would have been my Great-Grandfather. My father Mason H. Simpson is the son of Richard H. Simpson, G. Zachariah Simpsons second to youngest son. I’m Just learning of this part of my family history. Can you tell me who supplied the portrait of Alice B. and G. Zachariah Simpson? Actually, any of these photos that are use to tell our family story?? Any information would be greatly apppreciated as this is a fascinating story!!! 😉

    • Stephanie, I believe it must have been your great-aunt, sister to Richard Simpson, who gave me the photos. I’m sorry I don’t recall her name. She loved my book, A Garrard County Tragedy, and asked to meet at the Dairy Queen in Harrodsburg – in fact we met twice! We took photos together and on the second visit she brought me copies of the photos. The second time Richard Simpson was also there. This was about 10 or 11 years ago.

      • Okay! Thank you! It must have been my Aunt Stella Harlow. Stella is my dads sister as Richard is my dads brother. Also, I was wrong about my dads father Richard because he is the youngest son, not the second youngest, to Alice B and G. Zachariah Simpson. It is absolutely amazing to me that this story is only a couple generations away from me!!

  3. Hi ..I am Phyllis Simpson, daughter of Bobby Simpson,who is son of Letcher Simpson,who is son of G Zachary And Alice Simpson ….My father (Bobby) Recounted to me his Dad’s (Letcher) rememberance of this tragedy …Letcher was present at time of his fathers death…I am amazed to see the names of family members I remember as a child .
    Thank you for posting !

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