” Col. William Hill refuses to acquiesce to the British and helps lead the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution.”
City Directories and History: Informative links: Hill’s Ironworks
The historic home at Clay Hill, overlooking the point at which stood the Hill’s elaborate rock furnace once stood, is perhaps the Hill’s home from the third or forth
generation of the at family living on the site. Note on the Walker’s 1910 map the mill site is listed as Plexico’s Mill on Big Allison Creek. It was also later refereed to as Hand’s Mill. By 1803 Hill’s had a P.O. operated by William Hill which continued until ca. 1813. (Courtesy Harvey Teal’s History of S.C. Post Offices, 1989)
HISTORIC IMPORTANCE: Lord Rawdon dispatched an emissary to meet the citizens of the New Acquisition at the Hill Iron Works on Allison Creek. Colonel Hill tells us that Rawdon’s emissary harangued the citizens, telling them the American cause was lost, and that they had best make their peace with the king. William Hill arose and addressed the assembly of citizens, and told them that the American Cause was in a more prosperous way than it had been at any time. To make a long story short, Lord Rawdon’s emissary was driven from the grounds. Andrew Neel and William Hill were elected colonels. They proceeded to set up camp at the Iron Works and were joined by neighboring Whigs and refugees from S. C. and Ga. After a time Colonel Neel went in pursuit of Colonel Floyd, a Tory colonel, who was committing depredations in the western part of the district. During the absence of Neel, Captain Huck with a party of British and Tories came to the Iron Works and totally destroyed the houses, forges, grist mills, and other property carrying away about ninety of Colonel Hill’s negroes. We next find Col. Andrew Neel engaged in the Battle of Williamson’s (Plantation] along with Colonels Lacey, Hill and Bratton, and Captain McClure. Here Colonel Huck was killed. Colonel Ferguson, commander of the Tory militia, was also killed, and their whole force killed, captured and dispersed. This battle, while small in the number of men engaged, was a very important victory because it occurred at the darkest hour of the Revolution in S. C. (Courtesy of the YCGHS Magazine March – 1998)
JOHN DRAYTON ON HILL & HAYNE’S IRON WORKS:
(John Drayton, ex-governor of South Carolina and owner of famed Drayton Hall near Charleston, wrote a book, A View of South Carolina, that was published in Charleston in 1802.)
In York district, Messrs Hill and Hayne possess a forge, a furnace, a rolling mill for making sheet iron, and a nail manufactory; all of which, are worked by the waters of Allison creek. Hill & Hayne’s are by for the most complete and extensive —a forge of four fires and two hammers, for manufacturing iron from pig iron; a furnace for melting the iron ore, and making castings therefrom; and a rolling mill, and nail manufactory. The nail manufactory consists of two large cutters worked by water, a smaller one worked by hand, and seven iron headers for heading spikes and nails. And the hearth stones used for the work are within a mile of them, in great plenty, of a coarse gritty nautre, resembling a grind stone, dressing easily and standing well the heat of the furnace. At these mills heavy cannon have been cast, and iron four pounders, have lately been made for the use of artillery companies attached to different infantry regiments of this state. Other things: chimney backs, gudgeons, cranks, pots, kettles, skillets, hammers for forges, and boxes for cart and wagon wheels. The iron ore a mile and a half away from the works [furnishes] 500 lb. per ton of ore. The works use a water blast rather than common bellows which Mr. Hill simplified and improved from the original. Water runs down a perpendicular funnel and strikes against a receive at the bottom, is forced to ascend a spout which is directed to the fire —so long as the water runs there’s a steady blast. (Information courtesy of and from: YCGHS – The Quarterly Magazine)
BURNING OF HILL’S IRONWORKS: The party entrusted with the destruction set out from Williford’s Mill on Fishing Creek and proceeded up the Catawba as far as the place now known as India Hook. Here they commenced the work of destruction. On the plantation now owned by William N. Simril, there lived at that time a man by the name of James Simril. In the orchard of William N. Simril stood the barn of James Simril. This together with four horses, was burned by the Tories. This accomplished the party set out for the iron works. On their way, they forced a man by the name of Henderson, (the same man that was accustomed to kill deer at the Adickes comer in Yorkville), to show them a ford on the creek below the works. The people had been, for some time, expecting that an attempt would be made to destroy the works and had taken most of the cannon balls and thrown them into a hole in the creek not far below the works. These balls are in the creek yet. After Henderson had piloted the party across the creek, and given them all the information they desired, they stripped him and whipped him severely and then went off and left him tied to a tree. William and Robert Hill, sons of Col. William Hill, part owners of the iron works, determined that they would resist the attempt of the British to bum their father’s property. Although but boys they prepared a swivel, which carried a pound ball, and mounted it on top of a stump on the high hill north of Allison creek. When these brave boys learned that the British were approaching, which fact was announced to the whole neighborhood by the burning of Simril’s barn, they took their stand behind their swivel and waited for the advancing foe. They thought that the Tory party would advance to the iron works from the direction of Allison Creek church. In this direction they had pointed their loaded swivel and in this direction they looked for the Tories. Before they were aware, the party noiselessly advanced up the creek and they were surrounded. They were made prisoners for the time and their swivel was taken by the Tories and thrown into a hole in the creek. (YORK COUNTY IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION by Rev. Robert Lathan—Part Two – Courtesy of the YCGHS—June 1999)
PAYROLL OF CAPT. GILES CO, HELL’S REGIMENT South Carolina state troops during the Revolutionary War often received no wages other than the promise of payment at the war’s end. Unlike many other states, South Carolina had practically no bounty land to use for payment One of the means used to raise money for the payment of state troops was the sale of property of those who had remained loyal to King George III. Most of the Loyalists had lived along the coast and their confiscated plantations were sold to raise the needed money. Some of their slaves were sold but apparently the market could not absorb the large numbers. Besides, the slaves had to eat and the state did not, and probably could not, become plantation managers. To resolve its problem the state distributed the slaves as bounty pay to the veterans. One of the company’s that received slaves in lieu of cash was the company commanded by Capt. James Giles of Col. William Hill’s regiment. Colonel Hill had a large iron-works on Allison Creek in York County and had been a wealthy man before the war. But Hill was one of the prime targets of the British in the upcountry. Christian Huck and his men destroyed Hill’s ironworks, burned his houses, and confiscated 90 of his slaves. Hill’s revenge was the raising of a sizable number of local militiamen to harass the British. Capt. James Giles’ men were mostly, if not all, from York, or the New Acquisition as it was called then. April 18, 1782 Giles made oath that the following pay roll was accurate and that each man served ten months. As a result the state awarded each of the privates “Grown” Negroes and each officer a proportionate larger number. Capt James Giles received two slaves; Lt. Joseph Davies, Lt. George Graham, and Q. Mst. Sergt. John Liddy were each awarded one adult slave and one “small Negro.” Q. Mst Sgt John Walker [Walker?], Sgt John Davies, and Sgt. James Wilson were each granted one adult slave and 1/4 small Negroes but did not receive the small Negroes. Among the privates, David Hains received one even though marked as “Kild the 6 Sep,” as did John Moor, marked as “Deceased” Pvt. Thomas Reed was put down for one but the notation was made that he “Deserted” and “none to be allowed says the General Assembly.” The privates who received one slave were: John Nicholson, William Wilson, James Denny, John Wilson, Samuel Knox, David Hains, Abrm Liveston, Matthew Brian, William Gerret, Sam Hall, and D. Calhoon. Still due Negroes were: David McCall, Robert Knox, Robert Curry, Henry Liveston, John McCall, John Cummens, Hugh McGibenay, Wil Smith, Hugh Cohom, William Hill, Jams Clark, Jon Smith, George Reed, William Green, Thos Nicies, Thos Williams, Willis, Jon Dowall, Wil Ward, Miles Cunningham, Thomas Reed, and John Moor.
A memorandum was added: “There appears to be due on this Pay Bill, a balance of Twenty Three Grown & Three fourths of a small Negro Thomas Jones / Wm Henderson.” The Regimental Pay Roll followed. Col. William Hill was paid three Negroes, “Mager” William Buford was granted three but received one; Capt. Jon McKenzey, two; and Capt Sam Neely, Lt Charles Reese, Lt. John Camil, Lt. James McDowll, and Lt. John Reed received one each. Capt William McGay’s company (names of company not given) was granted 51 “great Negroes” and 2 3/4 “Negos smal.” The Memorandum that followed this list: “There appears to be due on this Regiment Pay Bill, a Balance of Seventy Three Grown & Three & one half small negroes — & that there are Eleven Negroes to be accounted for by Col. Hill- Thos Jones / William Henderson. Certified by Rich** Hutson Chairman of the House of Representatives.
(Lists taken from data collected by the Historical Commission of South Carolina, A. S. Salley, Jr. Secretary and Editor. Documents Relating to the History of South Carolina During the Revolutionary War. The State Company, Columbia, S. C., 1908.) (Information courtesy of and from: YCGHS – The Quarterly Magazine)
R&R Note: The location of Williford’s Mill is unknown, it is more plausible that the British left White’s Mill on Fishing Creek. White’s Mill was not far from Fishing Creek Pres. Church and was a regular point of rendezvous by the British and particularly, Capt. Christian Huck who led the raid.
“This community was known as Hill’s Ironworks, and was a public meeting place before, during, and after the American Revolution. Since Hill’s Ironworks was the area s first unofficial postal station, it might be considered the first seat of government of the New Acquisition, as a large part of York County was called in earlier times.
Some years after the American Revolution, Hill’s Ironworks was made the site of a United States post office, probably just after the Federal government was put into operation in 1789. The writer owns a copy of a letter written by John Chesnut of Camden, South Carolina, to his nephew-by-marriage Jonathan Sutton on December 2,1782, and addressed to Captain Sutton “at Col. Hill’s Iron Works”. (Sutton actually lived several miles west of what became Yorkville in 1786.) “Hill’s Ironworks” post office, the first in York County, was operating before 1803. Col. William Hill was the postmaster. The second post office to be established in York County was “York C. H.” (York Courthouse)” – Information from: The Genesis of York, by Wm. B. White, Jr., Yorkville Historical Society, 2015 – Jostens Publishing Company
Col. WILLIAM HILL: “A Great Rebel”
Principal Leader in Putting into Operation the Original
Government for York County, South Carolina, and Founder of
Yorkville, the County Seat.
The people of the New Acquisition (later York County) reached the zenith of their history
in the year 1780 when they refused British protection and then actively resisted the Royal
authority in South Carolina. Minor skirmishes here and there ultimately grew into the Battle of
King’s Mountain, October 7, which victory marked the turning point of the Revolution. The
man who led his neighbors in their defiance of British domination was Col. William Hill
(1741-1816). One of Lord Cornwallis’s principal officers referred to Colonel Hill as “a great
rebel.” Hill’s Ironworks on Allison Creek was the seat of patriot activity in the days before
King’s Mountain. Ironmaster Hill was the premier patriot of the New Acquisition. Following the
Revolution Colonel Hill took the lead in creating and naming York County, South Carolina.
William Hill and his family were natives of Northern Ireland. They settled in York
County, Pennsylvania, when they emigrated from The Green Isle. The parents of Colonel Hill
were John Hill and his wife, Rachel ( — ). Rachel Hill died in Pennsylvania in 1757. John Hill
signed his will on September 10,1754. It was proved on November 16,1754. This family of
Hills was of English, not Irish, stock.
We know from the Pennsylvania records that John and Rachel Hill were the parents of at
least thirteen children, to wit:
i. Jane Hill
ii. Mary Hill
iii. Elizabeth Hill, born 1743
iv. Rebecca Hill, born 1748
V. Violet Hill, born 1750
vi. Samuel Hill
vii. (infant, name unknown)
viii. Edward Hill, who moved to South
Carolina with others of the family.
ix. John Hill, Jr., born 1754
X. Robert Hill
xi. James Hill
xii. Margaret Hill
xiii. William Hill, born 1741.
We learn from various estate papers that the Hill family lived in Chanceford Township of
York County, Pa.; that Rachel Hill was the executrix of John Hill; and that Thomas Scott and
Moses Wallace were Rachel Hill’s administrators. One of the most important items found in the
estate papers of Rachel Hill is the date of birth of Col. William Hill, and that date is September
13,1741. The writer knows of no other place where the full date of birth of Colonel Hill
The Pennsylvania records reveal that the young William Hill was a cutler by trade. The
Hills came to Pennsylvania from Northern Ireland probably in the 1750’s. William Hill and
others left Pennsylvania for South Carolina after 1765.
Here follows a verbatim copy of the last will & testament of John Hill, father of Col.
William Hill, from Pennsylvania records.
Genealogy information from: The Genesis of York, by Wm. B. White, Jr., Yorkville Historical Society, 2015 – Jostens Publishing Company (Additional genealogical information is available in this publication on the Hill family.)
Open the MORE INFORMATION link (found under the primary picture), to view an enlargeable, 1896 Postal Map of York County, S.C.
Yorkville Enquirer, Thursday, December 5, 1861
Monroe Anderson Letter: sick men
Monroe Anderson wrote a letter to the Enquirer dated November 25, 1861, Coosawhatchie. He was at the hospital at Coosawhatchie, housed in two buildings. He solicited supplies from York. General Lee is there and seems to be the right person for the job. The transfer of “Gen. D. H. Hill to his own coast” would have been wonderful. The 13th Regt., SCV was at Coosawhatchie. It was a splendid regiment but there were a number of sick men from that unit but they were well cared for by Drs. Kennedy and Kilgore.
“I had the pleasure, a few evenings since, of witnessing the dress parade of Col. Dunovant’s regiment. As there is but little sickness in this command, the companies were nearly all full.” York and Lancaster were well represented.
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