160 Years Ago, The Feud – Now, A Quiet Memory

This area of Garrard County, Kentucky, is very quiet now.  The sound of gunshots is very far removed by time.  The birds sing in the little copse of trees.  Cows moo and swish flies with their tails.  Corn grows in the fields surrounding the cemetery.  Queen Anne’s Lace grows in abundance.  It is so far away from everything that you don’t hear cars or other signs of civilization.  An idyllic place.

To get here you drive through a creek, and a little way up the hill, stop and politely ask the farmer that lives on the edge of the property if you can visit the graveyard.  He gladly obliges, tells  you to drive back on his property about a mile, when you get to the barn climb over the fence – you are now on farmland that belongs to his neighbor.  Walk down the little hill and up the next and you’ll see it – on the edge of the cornfield.

There are only two purchased stones in this cemetery.  Alex Hill, a Civil War soldier, no dates – and Lucy Hill, died 4 March 1850 in the 43rd year of her age.  Lucy was the wife of Isaiah Hill, killed in the Hill-Evans Feud, 13 March 1852, during the tobacco house fight – the tobacco house was very close to this cemetery.  Isaiah’s stone we found face down.  When we turned it over it was very brittle and crumbling.  Cows had walked through the cemetery and many stones were overturned.

This is what we could read on Isaiah’s stone:

I.  Hill, Was Born, the 8 of      , And died, Mar

Isaiah and two brothers were shot on the same day.  Russell and Isaiah died immediately, Fred lived a few weeks, but eventually died of his wounds.  Their brother Jesse had been shot and killed three years previous, in March of 1850.

We found one stone that had some lettering – J. S. Hill Was Born – that’s all.  It’s almost as if this stone is frozen in time – no dates to possibly calculate who J. S. Hill was.  Why was it not finished?  Could this be the stone for Jesse?  Of course there were several John’s in the family; James was a popular name, also.  It is impossible to say for sure whose stone this is.

This photo was taken in 1981 – I was pregnant with my son when we went on this adventure! This is a better picture than the one taken during our visit in 1997.

Another view of the cemetery – you can see some of the stones standing in the upper left-hand corner – and Ritchey diligently checking a stone for any name or date.  Other than the four stones I’ve mentioned, we found nothing written on any of the others.  There are about 30 graves in this cemetery – most having a headstone and a footstone.  Several are very close together – a child’s grave.  I made a drawing of the location of all the stones, and it has been very helpful through the years.

I think it’s time to make one more trip to the Hill Cemetery – it’s been 15 years!  Perhaps there will be something we’ve missed the first two trips!  And most of all, I just want to make sure it is still there!  After all the bloodshed and violence of those tense years, the area is calmly beautiful now.

9 replies »

  1. Thank you so much for the phots and the story that goes with this place! I’m sure these folks never imaged somebody like me would be reading about them on something called a blog!

  2. Loved reading this! My family and I actually live on a farm that has the Hill Family Cemetery located on it now. I have been researching trying to find background information from the names on the tombstones. I googled Lucy Hill and your web page popped up, pictures and all! The cemetery is still here, still quiet, and is still beautiful.

    • How fantastic to hear from you! Ritchey and I have always wanted to know who owns the property where the Hill cemetery is located! We hate to go on people’s land without their permission! Is there an easier way to get to the cemetery? The tobacco house where the three brothers were killed on March 13, 1852, is not far from the cemetery. This has made my day!

  3. Yes, the way to get to the cemetery is extremely easy now. We moved here a few years ago and have made getting to the top of the hill, where the cemetery is, very accessible because we keep our cows up there. We actually are trying to find out how far back and how wide the gravesite is so that we can fence it off. It’s been hard trying to find that out though because no one has a clue or any information on the cemetery. As far as the tobacco house location, I have no idea where it is, but I’m sure there’s no problem going over to where it once was. Here is my email jenica@mespecialty.com feel free to email me and when the weather gets a bit warmer come out for a visit!

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