Handed down through the generations of our Hill family is the tradition that our first ancestor in America was a William Hill who left England to escape persecution for his religious beliefs.  He was one of many Englishmen driven by the strict laws and corruption of the state church to reject its doctrines and the supremacy of the ruling monarch as its head.

      History tells the story of the troubled times in England during the succession of reigning monarchs from King Henry VIII to Charles II.  It was the period of the Reformation of the Church of England and a time of upheaval and conflict.  Many people in England opposed the changes and the strict government enforcement of the new laws.  As a group, these people were called Puritans and held widely different views.  Various laws were passed to ensure that everyone in England would conform to the new laws of the state church.  Because the Church did not allow any freedom of conscience in matters of religion and enacted harsh new penalties to enforce obedience to the Church authorities, many Puritans decided to leave England.

      It was in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I that the Puritans first began to suffer from this intolerant policy.  A Bill of Coercion was passed by Parliament to deal with the increasing problem of religious dissenters.  This bill provided that any person who refused to attend church during the space of a month, or who denied the supremacy of the Queen in church affairs, or who attended religious assemblies other than those of the Established Church, should be committed to prison.  Unless he recanted within three months he would be banished, and, if he returned, he would be put to death.  The prisons were soon full of dissenters, and once their prison terms were completed many of these people fled to the Netherlands.

      These non-conformist Englishmen of free thought were first called "Separtists" or "Brownists" after their leader, Robert Browne.  Browne was the first to preach openly on English soil the doctrine of the separation of church and state.  He fled England in the 1580's and established the Ancient Church in the Netherlands.


Edward Bennett Of London

Religious Leader and Man of Enterprise


      Edward Bennett was born in 1577, the 15th and youngest child of Robert Bennett, a tanner of Wivelscombe, Somersetshire, and his wife, Elizabeth Edney.  Bennett married Mary Bourne, the granddaughter of a wealthy and well-positioned merchant of Wells, England, whose brother was the Bishop of London and whose uncle was Secretary of State to Queen Mary.  As a young man he inherited great wealth and responsibility through his marriage.  By about age forty, Bennett owned a fleet of sailing vessels involved in fishing and world trade that extended from the Banks of Newfoundland to the Caribbean Islands and Europe (Fig. 1).  Bennett himself commanded his fleet from his flagship, "The Edward of London."


Figure 1.  Map of Colonial Trade Routes.  Ships of Edward Bennett’s fleet transported people and cargo between England, the Caribbean islands, the British colonies, and European ports.


Bennett and his religious peer, Christopher Lawne, were Elders of the Ancient Church in the Netherlands.  Both men led companies of immigrants to establish plantations along the south side of the James River in Virginia in 1618.

To finance these ventures, The Virginia Company of London had been created with a charter issued by King James I in 1609.  This profit-making company was organized by the ablest merchants, manufacturers, and statesmen of their time, including Bennett and Lawne.  Some of the shareholders associated with the Virginia Company undertaking were leading artisans of London. 

The Virginia Company could be called an early "venture capital" firm designed to capitalize on opportunity across the Atlantic in the Colonies.  "It provided an agency for assembling adventure capital and supplying able management to enterprises of great moment.  It offered an invitation to the industrious to participate in the growing wealth and expanding power of the great English middle class.  It supplied an opportunity to small investors and it limited their liability.  It was an adaptation by practical people to practical problems."1  Centuries later, these joint enterprises or "charters" as they were called, would be identified as the forerunners of today's business corporations.

"The Gift of God," one of the ships believed to be under charter to Edward Bennett, brought two hundred English citizens to Martin's Hundred in Virginia in 1618.  Timothy Clare, the ship's captain, was a Puritan and later became one of the first Quaker converts of record in the Chuckatuck Monthly Meeting held in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, in the middle 1600's. 

In that same year Christopher Lawne came with a company of immigrants aboard the "Marygold" and settled at the mouth of a small creek, which emptied into the James River from the south and which came to be known as Lawne's Creek. 

In February, 1622, Edward Bennett undertook a new plantation with one hundred twenty settlers who arrived on his ship, "The Seaflower," at Warriscoyak on the south side of the James River.  Other names have also been given to the Bennett plantations-- Wayanascoyak, Warwick Squeake, Bennett's Welcome, Bennett's Plantation, and perhaps an apt description, "The Rocks."  This party of immigrants was led by Captain Ralph Hamor, a veteran of the 1609 settling in Jamestown (Fig. 2).



Figure 2.  Map of James River Plantations.  In the first fourteen years of emigration to Virginia, forty-six individual settlements were started along the James River.  Courtesy of Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.


The Virginia Company voted a patent in November, 1621, to Nathaniel Basse and Arthur Swayne (Swan ?), adventurers, and to their associates to transport one hundred persons to Virginia.  By October, 1622, Basse was in Virginia with his settlers.  They located in the Warrascoyack area downstream from Bennett's Plantation.2  This settlement was named Basse's Choice and was populated by a small number of families.  In the "Census of the Living" taken Feb. 16, 1623, the following are listed as living at Basse's Choyse:  Richard Jones, William Julian and his wife, Sarah, John Hill, Edward Hill, Hannah Hill, Elizabeth Hill, William Hill, Thomas Hill, Frances Hill, and Adam Thorogood.3

The early plantations and settlements in Virginia resembled military camps.  Individual colonists were under command as if in service.  The environment was one of rigorous administration of justice, strict economic regulations imposed by the Virginia Company, and outright fear of Indian attack.  These agricultural settlements went by different names.  They were called  "plantations" or "hundreds," and were given identifying names.  These settlements were located on both sides of the James River in the vicinity of Jamestown (Figs. 3 and 4).  On these plantations the residents planted crops and built palisades and forts for their common defense.  Over time, as these settlements grew, some particularly independent planters left more organized communities to start individual plantations in hitherto unsettled places (Fig. 5).



Figure 3.  Map of James River Area.  The peninsula between the York and James Rivers became the center of the Virginia Colony because of its easy accessibility by water.  In addition, it could be protected from Indian attacks by palisades built between the rivers.  Courtesy of Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.





Figure 4.  Map of James City Area.  Around 1650 a William Hill and Henry White I were living near Queen's Creek in York County.  Courtesy of Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.





Figure 5.  Map of James River and southern areas.  The early settlements were divided into counties in Virginia between 1625 and 1660.  Courtesy of Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation.


      In the early years of settlement (from 1609 to 1614) all property was controlled by the Virginia Company, but by 1614, settlers could own three acres of land as long as they provided two and a half barrels of corn a month to the company.  By 1619, however, there was general division of the land among the colonists.  The strict military rule over the colonists began to ease and all freemen were allowed to pick members for a representative governmental body called the House of Burgesses.

      In 1619, the first year this legislative body met, a Dutch ship brought the first shipment of slaves into the country and a shipload of maidens arrived to become wives for the settlers.  At this time men began to work for themselves. They could take up land for themselves if they had completed their indentures.  An adventurer or speculator could get fifty acres of land by paying the cost of transportation for each tenant he brought into the country.

      The House of Burgesses or General Assembly, which met at Jamestown in 1619, was the natural child of the Virginia Company.  Some of the planters along the James River were shareholders in the Company; they were entitled to a voice in its management.  It was logical, therefore, that the plantations should send their chosen representatives to the local governing body which would manage the civil affairs of the colony.  In this way the first freely elected parliament of a self-governing people in the Western World came into existence.  Its principles were based on those of the corporation chartered and organized for profit by businessmen. 

      The first two charters were granted April 10, 1606, and May 23, 1609, respectively.  Listed among its shareholders were: Richard Bannester, merchant, Edward Harrison, Anthony Crew, Robert Hill, Ralph Harrison, Richard Cox, Griffith Hinton, James Russell, Thomas White, John Culpepper, gentleman, Thomas Culpepper, Esq. of Wigsell, Harmon Harrison, John Gray, William Moore, David Bourne, Robert Smithe, merchant-taylor, John Davis, William Bennett, Tristram Hill, Thomas Jennings, grocer.  The Third Charter was granted March 12, 1612, and included among its shareholders: Anthony Hinton, Doctor in Phisick, John Culpepper, John and Thomas Smith, sons of Sir Thomas, and John Jones, merchant.  Many of these participants in the Virginia Land Company are names with which we find the Hills associated in the early years of their residence in Virginia, as will be seen in later parts of this story.

      The economy of the colony was given new life around 1619 by the discovery of a new strain of sweet-scented tobacco.  This tobacco, introduced by John Rolfe, could compete with the Spanish product in the British and European markets.  John Rolfe fell in love with and married Pocohantas, the daughter of Powhatan, the Indian chief.  This marriage resulted in a period of peaceful relations with the local Indian tribe, which allowed the settlers time to become established.

      For seven years before King Charles I of England took over control of the settlements and plantations, enterprising colonists, including Edward Bennett, grew, harvested and traded tobacco and represented their plantations in the House of Burgesses.

      The lifespan of the first Virginia plantations was limited.  Illness and Indian assaults wiped out many settlers and crippled the operations.  The Indian Massacre on Good Friday, March, 1623, killed three hundred and fifty settlers on plantations south of the James River.  Those who escaped fled across the James to older, more protected settlements.  The settlers at Bennett's Plantation were hit hard in the Good Friday attack.  Having arrived so recently, they had not had time to build adequate defenses.  Fifty-three settlers died there, and the survivors fled to more secure settlements.

      In the "Census of the Living and The Dead" taken in 1623 the list of survivors includes Hill family members: Edward, Hannah, Elizabeth, William, Thomas, Frances, and a new addition, little Elizabeth, born in Virginia.4

      Bennett's ships brought more immigrants in 1623.  He came himself with his daughters: Sylvestre who married Colonel Nicholas Hill and Mary who married first Edward Bland and secondly, James Day.  For a short time Bennett himself represented his plantation in the House of Burgesses.  His son-in-law, Colonel Nicholas Hill,  was the Burgess for the Bennett plantation from 1659 to 1666 and died in 1675. 

      As Commissioner of Virginia, Edward Bennett was the first person to advocate prohibiting the importation of all tobacco from Spain into England, thereby increasing English trade in the new colonies and the Caribbean and spurring the development of the tobacco industry in Virginia.  His knowledge and experience in world trade positioned him as an important voice and advisor to the English government in spite of his independent religious beliefs.

      There is a reason for outlining the life and accomplishments of Edward Bennett in a book about the Hill family.  The two families must have been known to each other in the area of Edward Bennett's birth--Wivelscombe, Somersetshire.  The records show that a Henry Hill was a servant of Edward Bennett in Somersetshire.  The first Hills recorded in Virginia were settlers next door to the Bennett's plantation, Warrascoyak, on the James River in 1623.  They were Edward, William and Thomas and their wives.  Ten or fifteen years later more Hill men came to live in the area of Lower Norfolk County where Richard Bennett established his plantation.  Somersetshire was the home of a score of Hill families in the 14th Century in England, and it was a center for sea-going activities from exploration to trade.  There is every reason to believe that the Hills were associated with these enterprises and would have known Edward Bennett and his older brothers and sisters.

      The fact that Edward Bennett's daughter, Sylvestre, married Nicholas Hill, the daughter of Thomas and Margaret (Wyke) Hill, is added evidence of a relationship between these families.

      Sometime in the late 14th Century or early 15th Century some members of both families moved closer to London to live.  Edward Bennett was apparently living in London where he conducted his trading business as evidenced by his flagship, "Edward of London"  and it was in London that he was involved in the planning of the venture of colonization in America.  It is logical to assume that members of the Hill family who had been involved in his shipping operations in Somersetshire would at some point locate near him in London.  The finger points to the Parish Records of Buckinghamshire and Hertsfordshire where one finds many Hill families living close by London (today this would be in central London) in the 15th and 16th Centuries.

      While I cannot at this time give accurate proof that the Bennett and Hill families were closely acquainted in England, I do believe that some future researcher will uncover the records which will give ample evidence to prove it.  For this reason, I am including in this chapter a variety of information about the various early Hill men in Virginia.  I regret that I cannot offer any information on the Hills in New England who more than likely also were associated with the Bennett enterprises.  It is something another researcher should look into.


Edward Hill


      Edward Hill was living at Basse's Choice at the time of the Good Friday Massacre in 1623.  He survived and escaped with William and Thomas Hill to Elizabeth City and is known to have held a land grant of one hundred acres there.  He may have been wounded on that day, as he is listed as dying in Elizabeth City in May of 1624.  The "Census of the Living" also lists as survivors his wife, Hannah (Jordan) Ashton, and their daughter, Elizabeth, the one mentioned in Thomas Spilman's Muster as "borne in Virginia."  He was also survived by a son, Edward II (the first to settle at Shirley Hundred), a grandson, Colonel Edward Hill III, and a great-grandson, Colonel Edward Hill IV.  All of the Edward Hills were Burgesses, Members of the Council, and held other offices in the Virginia colony.  "Shirley," the home built by the fourth Edward Hill, still stands on the northern shore of the James River above Williamsburg.


William Hill


      The first William Hill was recorded as surviving the Indian Massacre and living in Elizabeth City in 1623.  Little is known about him, as the early records of Nansemond and Norfolk Counties were destroyed by fire and war.  A William and Elizabeth Hill were transported to St. Kitt's in the Caribbean in 1634.  These William Hills may have been one and the same person.

      The name, William Hill, is mentioned in seven land patents issued to grantees as a person transported to the colony between 1636 and 1654.  It is not possible to know if there were actually seven different William Hills.  It is quite possible that a sea captain by the name of William Hill (who made numerous trips to the colony), sold his rights to fifty acres of land to different passengers, claiming 50 acres for each trip into Virginia.  This was a common practice (or abuse) of the law entitling each new settler fifty acres of land for every person he brought into the colony.

      William Hill was listed as an immigrant brought into the Virginia colony by four different men who claimed his head rights for land grants:5


      William Julian, Elizabeth City Co., in 1636

      George Menifye, Charles City Co., in 1639

      Thomas Matthews, Henrico Co., 1639

      John Hill, Upper Norfolk Co., in 1644


      Another claim in the right of the transportation of William Hill was made by Henry Ashwell of Queen's Creek in York County in 1650.  At Queen's Creek he would have known Henry White Senior and Rowland Jones, minister at Bruton Parish Church.  In 1631 settlers were encouraged to resettle in Middle Plantation when the government decided to secure the area between the James and York rivers.  At that time a palisade was built across the peninsula and incentives of land were offered to attract settlers to move into and secure the area.

      From English legal records we find that the master of the ship the "Blessing," on her last voyage from London to Virginia in October 1639, was a William Hill.6  This documented evidence is the first indication that there was a sea captain named William Hill.  The "Blessing" was one of the ships under charter in Edward Bennett's fleet.

      Therefore, it seems likely that the Hills were a seafaring family.  It is certain that they were a family engaged in trade between the colonies, the Caribbean Islands, and the mother country.  Like other trading families the Hills had relatives stationed in the different ports to which they transported their cargo who conducted their business locally.  In ships captained by family members they transported cargo such as timber, tobacco, pitch, and food from one port to another.  They appear to have been a part of Edward Bennett's fleet, and this is additional evidence that the Hill men had family ties with Bennett's family.





     James Jones first appears in the colonial records when he was granted a patent for land in Charles City County in 1663.  He owned more land in Weyanoke Parish, Charles City Co. in 1683 and 1684, and also had a grant in Surry County in 1702.  His granddaughter, Elizabeth, married Thomas Chappell, the son of Thomas Chappell who sailed from Gravesend, England, on the "America" in 1635 at the age of 23.  Evidence, but not proof, indicates that the first Thomas was the brother of Capt. John Chappell, Master of the "Speedwell," which sailed from Southampton for Virginia in the same year.  This Jones family figures often in the records with various members of the Hill family.

     A Captain John Jones was one of the most active ship captains in the early years of the Virginia colony.  It may be that he left descendants in Virginia as another Jones family is found in York County.  A John Jones is named in the Bruton Parish Church Records as servant to Henry White Senior. Rowland Jones served as minister of Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg in the Middle Plantation and had a son, Orlando, who married Martha Macon.  Orlando and Martha Jones were the grandparents of Martha Daindridge Washington.  The Lawrence Washington family came to Virginia from Hertfordshire in England.  The Hill family named several generations of sons Aaron Orlando.  It seems reasonable to assume the Orlando came from ties with the Jones family.

     Edward Jones of Isle of Wight County had a  daughter, Susannah, who married William Bressie, overseer of the will of Major Nicholas Hill, Edward Bennett's son-in-law.  Bressie was a prominent Quaker convert who resided in Isle of Wight County.  Edward Jones came to Virginia in 1629 with Captain Adam Thorowgood and was listed on Thorowgood's rights for 5350 acres of land in 1635 in Norfolk County along with Henry Hill, servant to Edward Bennett, Mary Hill, Jr., and John Hill.  Edward Jones Jr. was arrested and imprisoned in 1663 for attending an illegal religious meeting at William Yarrett's home on Pagan River.  Yarrett was an early Quaker convert.



Hill Links Between England and the Colonies


      Perusing the Parish Records of Buckinghamshire and Hertsfordshire in England one can find quite a few Hill families located within a radius of about twenty miles from a central point in St. Alban's, Hertsfordshire (Figs. 6 and 7).  It is  interesting to find in the Parish Records of Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, and St. Alban's Parish, Hertfordshire, many family names represented in the earliest Virginia settlements such as: Adam Thorowgood, John Sanders, Jennings, Bennett, Greene, Godfrey, Duke, Mansfield, Smith, Cocke, Ball, Penn, and Batt.7  Among the listings in the St. Alban's Parish Records is the marriage of William Hill and Mary Chappell in 1675.



Figure 6.  Map of English Counties.  The Hill families of early Virginia were primarily from Somersetshire, Devonshire, Hertfordshire, and Buckinghamshire Counties in England  and County Down in Ireland.





Figure 7.  Map of Buckinghamshire County, England.  In Buckinghamshire County several Hill families lived near the little town of Jordans, which was probably the English home of members of the prominent Quaker Jordans of Virginia.  Today, the beams from the Mayflower are believed to be built into the barn at Jordans.


      This should come as no surprise as the little village of Jordans was within a few miles and not far from Stokes Poges.  Another five miles would find you in Hitchen, the home of the first stronghold of Quaker families. (And incidentally, the home of an early Quaker, Thomas Janney, a name which will surface in the last chapter of this book.)

      In 1661 records document a William Hill as one of five Quaker men who lived in Antigua at the time the French took over the island from the English.  The fact that he and fellow Quakers, Justinian Holliman, Jonas Lankford, and Samuel Winthrop, refused to take an oath of allegiance to the French king caused them to be suspect and threatened with imprisonment until they proved their loyalty without taking the oath of allegiance.8  This William Hill should be noted, because of his association with a William Jennings, another early settler of Antigua.  The Jennings family also had representatives in Virginia in Middle Plantation, in Isle of Wight Co., and later in Carolina.  Mary Hill, daughter of Major Nicholas Hill and Sylvestre Bennett, married John Jennings, Jr., son of old William Jennings of Isle of Wight County.  This William Jennings was banished from Virginia after Bacon's Rebellion and went to New Begun Creek, Pasquotank County, NC.9

      In a will dated 1721 Basil (Basis) Sanders willed to William Hill of Antigua title to a tract of 860 acres land in Chowan County, North Carolina, on which his mother, Mary Porter had lived and another tract where his father John Porter lived "near to Bluff Point."11  John Porter was an Isle of Wight County Quaker, often named in the early Quaker meeting minutes as being fined for holding illegal meetings, one of which was on the ship, "Blessing."  Porter was sentenced to be banished from the colony but died before the sentence was carried out.

      It seems possible that the William Hill who was in  Antigua in 1664 was the son of the William Hill, Master of the ship "Blessing" in 1639, and was also the William Hill who married Mary Chappell in St. Alban's Parish, Hertsfordshire, England, in 1675.  He may have lived for a time at Queen's Creek, York County in 1650 with an earlier wife and had sons William, Jacob, and Moses.

      William Hill was in Nansemond County, Virginia, in 1704 where he paid tax on 150 acres of land.  His name is listed with: Thomas Spivey (his future father-in-law) 200 acres; Henry Hill, 175 acres; George Spivey, 200 acres (presumably Thomas' father); James Spivey, 600 acres, and John Smith, 100 acres.10 

      The will of Thomas Spivey dated December 23, 1729, mentions William Hill, husband of his daughter, Mary Spivey.12

      William Hill is named on a Tax List for 740 acres in Chowan County, N.C., in 1721.  Other deeds mention Henry and William Hill purchasing land along Catherine (Katotene) Creek and Bennett's Creek in North Carolina from Thomas Hoyter, King of the Chowan Indians, in 1734.  Catherine Creek was later renamed Little River.  The record of William Hill's will in Chowan County, NC., is dated 1750 and lists his children:13


Grandson, Aaron, son of Moses, son, Moses, father-in-law, Thomas Spivey, Grandson Robert; son, Aaron; daughter, Rachel Hill; son, William; daughter, Sarah Barrow, wife of Joseph; wife, Mary, daughter, Mary Nicholson, wife of Thomas; daughter, Susannah White, wife of John; daughter, Leah Moore ,wife of Truman Moore; and daughter, Ruth Davis.


      When the William Hill family moved from Nansemond Co., Virginia, to Chowan County, NC., they settled on land between Catherine Creek and Bennett's Creek, next door to Henry Hill and his family.  The proximity of these two Hill families has produced much speculation by researchers as to their relationship.  Each family had a different tradition as to its origin.


Henry Hill


      Family tradition states that the ancestor of Henry Hill was from an Irish branch of Hills and that this tradition was passed down by generations of the family.14  Henry Hill's will does not name William as a son or indicate a close tie between the families.  Both families were likely Puritans as they came from the heart of the Puritan settlements in Nansemond County, VA.

      A study of the Hill families in Ireland shows that the Hills descended from several brothers who went to Ireland with Cromwell's Army in 1648.  An earlier branch of Hills had left England to settle on a tract of land located in County Down; this land was given to Sir Moses Hill as a reward for his services in the army of Sir Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, in 1580.  Examination of the records of the Moses Hill family shows that none of his descendants were of the names of the Hills who emigrated to Virginia.  From this family descend the Marquises of Devonshire.


Samuel Hill of York County, Virginia


      The other Hills of Ireland came later with Cromwell's Army in 1648.  One of the brothers was Samuel Hill, Treasurer of Buckinghamshire in 1642 who went with the Cromwell forces and served as Treasurer of Ireland.  He became disillusioned with the persecution of the Irish by the Army and emigrated to Virginia.  It appears that his son, John Hill of Upper Norfolk County, had patented land in Virginia and was living there with his family.  John had a son, Samuel, living in York County (Fig. 8).  Existing records of Warwick Co., Virginia, show that Samuel Hill and his wife, Mary, sold 4000 acres of land in Albemarle in November, 1693.  This land had recently been the property of Samuel Stephens, late Governor of Albemarle, and was sold by Hill to Governor Southell of Albemarle.  One wonders if Samuel Hill's wife, Mary, was a daughter of Stephens, or if Samuel Hill's mother, Mrs. John Hill, married secondly Samuel Stephens.  The records offer no explanation.  Samuel Hill had a son, Hugh or Henry, who may have been the Henry Hill of Nansemond Co., Virginia, and Chowan County, NC. (Figs. 9 and 10).


Figure 8.  Warwick County Court records contain a bill of sale of 4000 acres of land by Samuel Hill and his wife, Mary, to Governor Southell in 1693.  Southell became Governor of Albemarle County in 1689.  The land was previously owned by S. Stephens who at one time was Governor of Albemarle County.





Figure 9.  Legal document pertaining to the Samuel Hill estate.  Samuel Hill of York County was doctored by Dr. George Allen of Williamsburg, who billed his estate in March 1725.  Martha Hansford was Samuel Hill's second wife.




Figure 10.  Legal document listing expenses charged to Samuel Hill's estate at his death.


James Hill of Isle of Wight County, Virginia


      The records of the Quaker Chuckatuck Monthly Meeting in Isle of Wight County list the deaths in the James Hill family from 1674 to 1677.  One of these deaths was probably his wife, but which wife is not clear --Rachel, Elizabeth, or Ann.  James Hill later married Hannah Baskel, widow of Nicholas Phelps and Henry Phelps.  James Hill died after 1681 and is recorded in the Diary of William Edmundson, the Quaker Missionary who visited him in Isle of Wight County and had known him previously in Ireland.  James Hill was Deputy to the Duke of Albemarle in Virginia.  Records show that Hannah Hill, his widow, later claimed head rights for Samuel and Martha Hill for importing them into Carolina from York Co., Virginia, indicating a family relationship.


William Hill of Chowan County, North Carolina


      William Hill lived close by Henry Hill in Chowan County, but there is no indication that they were as closely related as brothers.  In fact, it appears he may have come from Antigua where a William Hill, possibly his father, had settled in 1664 at Five Islands with four other Quaker Englishmen.  A link with Antiguan roots is also indicated in a will dated 1721 in which Basil Sanders willed to William Hill of Antigua title to a tract of  860 acres of land in Chowan County, NC., on which his mother, Mary Porter, had lived.  It is unclear whether Mary Porter was the mother of Basil Sanders or of William Hill, but Mary Porter may well have been the wife of John Porter, who was banished from the colony for preaching at illegal Quaker gatherings, including the gathering on the ship "Blessing."  


Nicholas Hill of Isle of Wight County, Virginia


      Nicholas Hill of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, married Silvestre Bennett, daughter of Edward Bennett.  He was the son of Thomas Hill and Margaret Wyke of Ninehead Flory, Somersetshire, England.  Margaret Wyke had seven younger brothers and sisters, names unknown, but one of whom was almost certainly Peter Wyke who can be found on the Hill Fan Chart in this book.  Peter Wyke also came to Virginia in its earliest years of settlement and lived in Prince George County on the south side of the James River.  Aaron Hill, son of William Hill of Chowan County, went to Prince George County to marry Margaret Chappell, daughter of Thomas Chappell and great-grand-daughter of Peter Wyke, in 1736.  This marriage is indicative of alliances between families as arranged in those times.

      In searching the Parish Records of Bucks, Herts, and Somerset Counties in England, I found the marriage record of William Hill and Mary Chappell in St. Alban's Parish, Herts in 1675.  I believe this may be the William Hill of Antigua who was involved in trade, and while in England, married as his second wife, Mary Chappell.  Her parents are unknown but probably were of the Chappell sea-faring family and related to the Thomas Chappells who settled in Prince George County, Virginia.   It is possible that the Chappels and the Hills had first met in Antigua when the island was under French government.  William Hill of Chowan County would have been a son of William Hill of Antigua's first marriage, his mother unknown.  His step-mother, Mary Chappell, would have provided the connection with the Chappells in Virginia for the marriage of their grandson, Aaron, to Margaret Chappell in 1736.

      If this analysis is correct, Col. Nicholas Hill of Isle of Wight County would be the brother of William Hill of Antigua and uncle of William Hill of Nansemond County, Virginia, and Chowan County, NC.  Certainly the interrelationships of the Wyke, Hill, and Chappell families are logical extensions of the known links on the chart.  (See Chart of the Wyke Family of Nynehead Flory, Somerset, England and the Daniel Hill Family of Antigua in the Appendix.)  These marriage ties between families were typical of the period.

      William and Henry Hill's families lived in Chowan County, NC., for two generations.  Some of their lands were purchased from the Indians.  William had a son, Moses, who lived in Isle of Wight County and a son, Jacob, who lived in Nansemond County, but their families are not followed in this story.  It may be, however, that their sons were involved as scouts in the surveying of western lands.  William's son, Aaron, married and raised a large family in Chowan County.


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