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.