Hillsboro Church

Old Grave Yards In The County

By O. W. Baylor

On a hill, reached by a winding rock road which rises rather abruptly from Mayes Creek, stands the old Hillsboro Church.  Beside this house of worship is one of the earliest burying grounds in Washington County.

There are a considerable number of graves in this burying ground, the oldest of which, however, are marked with native stones bearing no inscriptions.  A few of these older graves present a quaint appearance, looking much like those to be found in the burying grounds of Virginia.  Huge stones, built up coffin-shape, cover the entire grave.  These must be very old, and if they ever bore inscriptions, one cannot discern them now.

The oldest grave with an inscribed stone, is that of Ann, wife of Squire Baker.  She was born in 1787, and died September 5, 1829.  She was Squire Baker’s first wife, for he was twice married, as one learns from another stone some yards away.  Polly was the second wife, born October 6, 1795; died June 1, 1851.  Squire, himself, is buried there beside his second consort.  He departed this life June 12, 1857, age 65 years, 20 days.

One stone marks the graves of Berry Lewis and Mary, his wife.  He was born November 10, 1795; died April 2, 1836.  She was born September 22, 1798, lived for 29 years after the death of her husband, departing this life December 8, 1885.

William G. Short was born May 3, 1800.  He lived to celebrate his 73rd birthday, and died September 12, 1873.  his wife, Rebecca V., was born September 24, 1800.  She lived to the ripe old age of 89, surviving her husband 16 years, and died July 11, 1880.

Beside the the graves of William and Rebecca Short is that of Mattie E. Short, wife of James C. Ewing.  She came into this world on May 20, 1836, and died at the age of 39 years on November 24, 1875.  She was probably a daughter of William and Rebecca Short.

Nearby is the grave of James Ewing, Sr., and from the stone we learn that he was born April 23, 1791; died September 27, 1874.  He was probably the father of James C. Ewing who married Mattie E. Short.

William Hardesty and Anna B., his wife, are buried side by side.  One stone marks their graves.  He was born March 5, 1798; died August 4, 1888.  She was born April 4, 1799; died February 11, 1885.

Daniel M. Ewing, probably a son of James Ewing, Sr., was born May 12, 1825; died September 15, 1864.  By the insignia of the Masonic Lodge which appears on his stone, we learn that he was a member of that order.

“Sacred to the memory of Mary B., consort of James Elder,’ runs the inscription on another stone.  She departed this life February 16, 1827, aged 38 years and 18 days.

Two old timers of the neighborhood, Spencer Coulter and James P. McIlvoy, were buried at Hillsboro.  Coulter died June 22, 1892, aged 72 years.  McIlvoy was born November 23, 1839.  He was slain in a shooting affray in Springfield on August 26, 1880.

The records of the Washington Circuit Court show that James P. McIlvoy came to Springfield on August 26, 1880, with Henry Cutsinger.  The two men attempted to cross the street from Luckett’s corner to go to the Clerk’s Office, where Ed Sutton was standing.  They intended to ask him to go to the Fair Grounds with them.

As McIlvoy and Cutsinger crossed the street to Leachman’s corner, near or at the crossing to the corner of the Courthouse Square, Thomas R. Phelps shot at McIlvoy with a pistol.  This shot missed the mark; but as McIlvoy ran up the street towards the Clerk’s Office, Phelps pursued him and shot a second time, the bullet striking McIlvoy in the back or side of the head, killing him.

Ed Russell was marshal of Springfield in 1880.  He was in Leachman’s store when the first shot was fired.  Hearing the shot, he went to the door.  As he stepped out, a second shot was fired and he saw McIlvoy lying on the pavement.  Phelps was standing on the sidewalk with a pistol in his hand . . . Several young men were with him.  Phelps handed his pistol to Russell.  The marshal examined the weapon and found that two shots had been fired.

Robert McIlvoy and Phelps had engaged in a shooting affray on the Monday previous.  Several shots were fired on that day, with no one being killed, though Robert McIlvoy was slightly wounded.  James McIlvoy had told John Craycroft about 20 minutes before the fatal shooting on August 26, that he intended to “make Phelps and Bob McIlvoy make friends”.  He did not want to be dragged into the quarrel.  Phelps, however, must have thought that James McIlvoy intended to take up Bob McIlvoy’s fight.

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