If At First You Don’t Succeed – Try, Try Again!

1860 Census – Jefferson County, Kentucky

I will admit that sometimes I feel I will never find a piece of information about one of my ancestors.  My case in point – my great-grandfather, Isaiah Hill.  He was born in Garrard County, Kentucky, to Isaiah Hill and Lucy Murphy, in February of 1839.  That sounds like a long time ago for a great-grandfather – most people my age have grand-grandfather’s born at the turn of the twentieth century, but I come from a long line of ‘one of the youngest sons of many children’ – which stretches the generations more than most.  Isaiah was 55 when his son, Jessie Delbert, my grandfather, was born in 1894 – and Jessie was 59 when my dad, James Philip, was born in 1935.  Over 100 years for three generations – quite different from the norm of 20-25 years each – which would produce 4 to 5 generations in a 100 year period.

Research on Isaiah Hill has been very productive – he married Lydia Ann Ross May 4, 1870, in Washington County, Kentucky.  He enlisted in Company E, 19th Kentucky Infantry, during the Civil War.  He contracted small pox during the war which resulted in deafness in one ear, injuries to one eye and complete disability.  Isaiah and Lydia had 10 children:  William Taylor, Randall, Rutherford B. Hayes, Lucy Jane, John Garfield, Elizabeth Ann, Isaiah, Louisa, Alphie and Jessie Delbert Hill.  He is listed in the 1850 census of Garrard County, Kentucky, with his father, Isaiah, his mother had died in March of that year.  He and Lydia are listed in the 1870 and 1880 Washington County census, 1900 Nelson County Census and 1910 Washington County census.  Isaiah died September 8, 1919, in Marion County, Kentucky.  Isaiah and Lydia are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Willisburg, Washington County, Kentucky.

But one piece of information has eluded me until just the other day.  I could not find Isaiah Hill in the 1860 census – anywhere!  This was not surprising since the Hill-Evans feud culminated in the tobacco house fight of March 13, 1852, in Garrard County, Kentucky, killing Isaiah’s father, Isaiah; his uncle, Russell Hill, and mortally wounding his uncle, Frederick Hill, who died a few months later.  Many of the Hill family left Garrard County in the next few years, most moving to Anderson, Washington or Jefferson counties.  But try as I might, I could not find Isaiah.

One evening a couple of weeks ago I had a phone call from a Hill descendant.  She told me of two murders in Jefferson County on New Year’s Eve of 1860, thought to be feud related.  William Hill, brother to Isaiah, was one of those killed.  I checked the 1860 census record for William and – lo and behold! – there was Isaiah – living in Louisville with his brother.  Granted, his name was spelled Isaah – not took likely to come up when searching for Isaiah!  William is listed with his wife, Mary, and three children, James, Jesse and William.  Also living in the household are brothers James and John.  There is a Russell Hill listed, but is too old to be the brother of William; he is probably a cousin. Presley Brock, William Brock and Gabriel Boothe are also living in the household.  The occupation of all men is wood chopper – interesting!

My hunt is over – after a 35 year search!  In the 1860 census my Isaiah Hill lived in Jefferson County, Kentucky!  Never give up, that elusive piece of information will eventually turn up!

1 reply »

  1. Congrats!! At last is a hugh accomplishment.I’m still searching for some proof of the parents to my William Hollis Culver (1798-1855) with no leads or luck, but it’s only been 15 years!!! On your search, my first thought was it was spelled quite strangely, as I’ve found for my Culvers…..people did not spell very well back then.

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