Hill County Texas
TXGenWeb Project



George Washinton Hill

My name is Carl Matthews, age 90, Cedar Hill TX…..a descendent of Minerva Kathryn Matthews Slaughter Hill who married Dr. Geo W. Hill Nov. 1847. This bio of Dr. Hill was created over a period of 25-years. A copy may be found in the USGenWeb site of Navarro Co. TX, and I thought you might be interested in making it a part of the Hill Co. USGenWeb.

Sincerely….Carl Matthews



Indian Agent


A definite date of the arrival of Dr. Hill in Texas has not been discovered, but he was in Texas prior to December 15, 1835, when he performed services for which he was paid a fee of twenty-five cents on February 5, 1836. Dr. Hill arrived in Franklin, Texas, at some point in the 1830's, probably, in company with his brother, William Carroll Hill.

Recent research indicates that Dr. Hill came to Texas in the early 1830s in company with a brother, William Carroll Hill, and two first cousins, J. Ashley Hill and Henry John Alexander Hill, sons of Rebecca Wallace and Benjamin Hill

Early Texas records reveal that W. C. J. Hill received title in 1836 to "one league (4400 acres) on the waters of Yegua." (The Hill family titled many of their children with three given names.) William Carroll Hill, a brother to Dr. Hill, was born in Warren County in 1818. There was the name "John" in his father's name, and he could easily have been

W. C. J. Hill.


Despite the fact that he was one of the leaders of the Republic of Texas and was honored by having Hill County, Texas, named for him, little is known concerning the life of Dr. George Washington Hill.

He was born April 22, 1814, in Warren County, Tennessee.

His father, Henry John Alexander Hill 1775-1825, was living near the Tar River in Edgecombe County, North Carolina, when he married Susannah Swales Savage, widow of Sterling Savage.

Susannah brought her daughter, Britiania Savage, and two step-sons, Jesse and Sterling Savage into the marriage. The Hill family migrated to Georgia soon after the marriage.

H. J. A. Hill had led a party of 30 men from Georgia into the North Carolina wilderness to reconnoiter land grants available to veterans of the American Revolution and their descendants, an area that would later become the State of Tennessee. Isaac Hill, father of Henry John Alexander Hill, had served as a drummer for a Maryland Militia group during the American Revolution, and was still living in the early years of the 1800s.

H. J. A. Hill chose to settle in an area that eventually became Warren Coonty, Tennessee. His land was on a stream given the name Hill’s Creek.

During the two to three years the family lived in Georgia, they befriended a young lady whose name was Polly Johnson, thirteen years younger than Henry, twenty years younger than Susannah. Nothing is known concerning the family background of Polly Johnson. A current Tennessee source stated that “Street Talk” handed down suggested that Polly may have been a Mulatto.

Poly Johnson was sixteen when she migrated with the Hill family from Georgia to Tennessee. Henry John Alexander Hill constructed two adjacent residences, one for Susannah, and one for Polly Johnson. Both women began to bear the children of Henry J. A. Hill, and the names recorded in a common family Bible.

The community appeared to have accepted the unusual arrangement, and respected Henry J. A. Hill so much he was elected to three consecutive terms in the state legislature beginning in 1807.

Six children were born to Polly Johnson and Henry J. A. Hill. Their children were:

Harriett Hill
Sally Hill b. 1809…m. Isaac Sims
George Washington Hill b. 1814 Physician
Andrew Jackson Hill (b. 25 April 1816)
William Carroll Hill Migrated to Texas
Elenza Grundy Hill


The 1860 will of Dr. Hill also mentioned 1,000-acres he owned in Robertson Co., and that the land was originally granted to Henry J. A. Hill.

.I desire that my tract of land of over 1,000 acres in Robertson Co. near “Owensville,” being a part of the head right of Henery J. A. Hill, dec’d, if not sold previous to my death, shall be equally divided between Pernitta Fullerton (formerly Pernetta Hill), and Benj. Hill, children of the said Henry J. A. Hill, dec’d.

Owensville, now a “Ghost Town, was located five miles northwest of Franklin. It” was the first County Seat of Robertson Co. Nothing remains except the cemetery

Henry J. Alexander Hill was father of Pernittia and Benjamin Hill, a son of Benjamin and Rebecca Wallace Hill, and a first cousin of Dr. Hill

Pernetta Hill 1842-1873 was first married to William Fullerton who was living in 1860, but died during the Civil War. Her Tennessee cousin, Larkin Hill, orphaned by the Mexican War, returned from the Civil War, and promptly migrated to Dallas TX. Later, he moved to Spring Hill where he and Pernetta married. She died in 1873 and was buried at The Spring Hill Cemetery.

Larkin Hill was a son of John A. Hill and Martha Killian. His father and his uncle, Jesse Hill, served in the Mexican War. His father was killed in 1846 and his mother died soon afterwards. Larkin and his sister were raised by relatives. Larkin served in the Civil War with Co. K 6th Alabama Regiment. He came to Texas in 1868, first to Dallas Co., then to Navarro Co. where he married his cousin, Pernitty Hill Fullerton, widow of William Fullerton.

After the death of Pernitty, Larkin married Sarah Priddy\, a sister of Bettie Pridd who married of Robert Harve Matthews. Larkin Hill died in 1911.



The 1850 Spring Hill census listed Geo W. Hill, born TN 1814, a physician. His wife was Catherine Hill. born 1816 TN, a daughter of Robert and Mary Ann Stewart, and widow of Francis Slaughter who died 1842. The following individuals were listed as living in the home.


R.F. Slaughter born 1836TX; Mary J. Slaughter born 1838 TN; L. M. Slaughter born 1842 TX, children of Catherine Hill by her first husband, then deceased.


Robert Harve Matthews born 1814, brother of Catherine Hill


Rebecca Hill born 1783 SC was, also listed. Rebecca Wallace had married Benjamin Hill c1801 in Warren Co. TN. They separated and divorced c1840 when Benjamin Hill published the following in THE CENTRAL GAZETTE, McMinnville, Warren Co TC,


"Notice - I forewarn all persons from trading or crediting my wife Rebecca Hill, on my account as I will not pay any of her contracts. Benjamin Hill."


Two of their sons, John Ashley Hill and Henry John Alexander Hill had settled in Texas. When both sons died, Rebecca went there to care for her grandchildren; B. J. C. Hill and G. W. Hill, sons of John Ashley Hill; and Benjamin F. Hill, John Hill,, Permethia, Hill, and Bedea Hilll, children of son H. J. A. Hill.



Henry J. Alexander Hill, father of Dr. George Washington Hill, died in 1825 and was buried at Center Hill Cemetery. Susannah contracted to have an iron fence surround the grave with room for only one additional person. Susannah was buried next to Henry inside the iron fence. Polly Johnson was buried just outside the fence.


Some sources state that his family originated in Wales and that some family members came to America during the early Colonial Period. They first settled in Virginia, moved from Virginia to Georgia, and later to Tennessee. Mountain Hill, found in Georgia in the early 1800's, lived later in Warren County, Tennessee. Suspicion exists that the first Hills in America arrived in 1606 as part of the Jamestown, Virginia, settlement


Dr. Hill grew up in Warren County, Tennessee, approximately seventy miles southeast of Nashville. His parents were, probably, of some means in that George was permitted to attend college in Wilson County, Tennessee, located twenty or so miles east of Nashville. Few parents in those days had financial means to provide such an education for their children. A large stone monument over his grave at Spring Hill Cemetery near Dawson, Navarro County, Texas, states that George Washington Hill received a medical degree from Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, but an inquiry to the curator of that school revealed that he did not graduate, in fact, did not attend Transylvania.

Several references have been discovered associating Dr. Hill with the medical profession: One: Dr. Hill was, apparently, mentioned in a story by a former Texas Ranger as "D. Hill, a "medical "student" when the former Texas Ranger recounted an Indian fight that occurred in 1838. Two: Dr. Hill's payment for "services" rendered has been mentioned previously and could have been for "medical" services. Three: Official records of Texas lists "G. W. Hill, Medical Censor, Milam County, Texas 1837."


Dr. Hill and Robert Harve Matthews , probably, became close friends soon after Robert Harve arrived at Franklin. They were both single. Both were from Tennessee. Both were born in 1814. Both were vitally interested in their new home, both did their part to protect the frontier.


Major H. D. Prendergrast, a retired Texas Ranger, related in 1879 the story of when c. 1840 Indians had stolen some horses from a settlement near the center of Robertson County and north of Franklin. The group, organized at Franklin to pursue the Indians, included G. H. Love, Judge S. B. Killough; Harvey Matthews, A. C. Love, and D. Hill, two medical students. (It is assumed that D. Hill, a medical student, was Dr. George Washington Hill. One early writer stated that the "D Hill" was David Hill. However, no David Hill has been identified in that area of Texas in that time period.


The pursuers overtook the Indians, cornered them, and a vicious hand to hand battle ensued. Dr. Hill shot one of the Indian's horses, but as the horse went down its rider fired point blank in the face of Dr. Hill, "who fell to the ground, his jawbone shattered. The only known photo of Dr. Hill s presents him with a long beard. The beard could have been worn to cover any scar the injury may have left.


The following year Dr. Hill began to serve the Republic of Texas Congress as a representative from Robertson County. On December 4, 1839, Dr. Hill voted with Sam Houston to move the Texas Capital to the Falls on the Brazos (Marlin, Texas). The vote carried against Sam Houston and Dr. Hill.


Dr. Hill continued to serve in the Texas Congress until 1843 when President Sam Houston appointed him as Secretary of War, replacing Gen. Albert Sidney Johnson. Dr. Hill was reappointed by President Anson Jones and continued to serve until 1845 when The Republic of Texas became a state.


Francis Slaughter, brother-in-law of Robert Harve Matthews, had come to Franklin with Robert Harve in 1835, died in 1842. Minerva Catherine Matthews Slaughter, sister of Robert Harve Matthews, was then a widow with three young children. Minerva Catherine needed a husband and father. Dr. Hill needed a wife and family. Both received their needs. Dr. Hill married Minerva Catherine November 17, 1847.

Some references state that Spring Hill,Texas was the oldest community in what became Navarro County and that Dr. Hill had established a Trading Post at the Indian Spring by 1838.

Serious study of the dates of Melton's and Chamber's colonies and the activities of Dr. Hill appear to refute both positions. The many references stating that The Hill Trading Post existed in 1838 are in error.


There WAS a massacre of several surveyors in 1838 near the banks of small creek several miles northwest of present day Dawson. Several accounts were written by survivors, two of whom mentioned Hill’s Trading Post. Eighty-four years after the massacre, known at The Battle Creek Massacre, one writer noticed the mention of Hill’s Trading Post in the two accounts, and assumed wrongly that Hill’s Trading Post existed at the time of the battle.

Writers who came later accepted as fact what the early historian had written and perpetuated the error.

The first account about the battle was written in 1860 by William Henderson and Walter Lane, both survivors. Hill’s Trading Post was twenty-two years old at the time, and had become a Navarro Co. landmark. When the two authors wrote that the surveyors had camped near Hill’s Trading Post, they were not saying that the Trading Post was there at the time, but that they had camp where Hill’s Trading Post was located at time of their writing.

Dr. Hill was extremely busy with State of Texas matters until after 1845, when Sam Houston's presidential term ended. More, his tax records were in Robertson Co. until 1848 and not found in Navarro Co. until 1849. It is doubtful that he did more than visit the area until after his marriage in November 1847.

Robert Harve Matthews, interviewed in 1893 by a Chicago firm preparing his biography, stated that he had moved from Franklin to the Indian Spring in January, 1848, an area located approximately one hundred miles north of Franklin.

It may be assumed that Dr. Hill, and his new family migrated to the Indian Springs at the same time. Family servants, including Viney and her two children, would have made the trip as well.


A United States Post Office was established at the Indian Springs Trading Post and Dr. Hill was named Postmaster in 1849, serving until 1852. Dr. Hill sold his interest in the Trading Post to Robert Harve Matthews who became Postmaster in 1852.


Selling the Trading Post was prompted by the fact that Dr. Hill was appointed by Robert S. Neighbors to serve as "Special Agent, Texas Indians" of the United States Indian Service, replacing Jesse Stem. His primary duty was to supervise several agrarian Indian tribes who had been located on the upper Brazos River. He was at Fort Belnap on 28 Sept 1853 when the Indians were moved to Young County south of present day Graham, Texas. The new home for the Indians was named The Brazos Reservation and Dr. Hill was the First Agent. He remained Indian Agent for some time after the resettlement and returned to Spring Hill.


A note of interest is that Robert Harve Matthews soon joined Dr. Hill in Young County and was named Young County Surveyor. Robert Harve Matthews and several members of the Hill family purchased property in Young County during this period.


Dr. Hill, apparently, served as a Real Estate Broker and may have been a "Land Agent" for the State of Texas. A Warranty Deed executed June 30, 1847 reveals that "G. W. Hill" served as "Agent" to convey " one third league situated in Robertson District on Richland Creek" from heirs of A. J. P. M. Smith to William C Hill. (William Carroll Hill, brother of Dr. Hill) The deed was filed at the Courthouse in Corsicana August 4, 1847. James M. Love, probably a member of the Love family from Franklin, notarized the document.

William C. Hill sold the above property, approximately fifteen hundred acres. to G. W. Hill in 1852. William C. Hill had paid $650.00 and sold it for $500, 33-cents per acre. Dr. Hill sold five hundred acres of the property to Robert Harve Matthews April 15, 1857 for $500.00. This appears to be the property Robert Harve Matthews developed with streets, town lots, and farm lots and recorded on the flyleaf of the Navarro County Clerk's book as the town of Spring Hill, Texas.

Witnesses to the deed from G. W. Hill to Robert Harve Matthews were "B.J.C. Hill" and "N. W. Matthews." N. W. Matthews was, probably, Newton Matthews, son of Robert Harve's sister, Patsy. Newton was born in 1832 and would have been twenty-five years of age in 1857.

Little has been recorded about the last years of the life of Dr. Hill. He had sold the Trading Post to Robert Harve Matthews in 1852. He had served as Indian Agent for some time beginning in 1853. He was appointed by the Commissioners of Navarro Co. to represent Navarro County at a celebration in Austin July 4, 1854. He had sold Robert Harve Matthews five hundred acres of land in 1857.

He had assembled large land holdings in the area, was engaged in raising cattle, and owned several slaves. He was busy just attending to his holdings.

He did have sufficient time to engage in some political life and ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the State Legislature in 1860. His opponent was Roger Q. Mills, a good friend. It was Mills, who, in l853, when a new county was being carved out of Western Navarro County, read into the minutes of the proceedings the name of George Washington Hill, thus naming the new county.

George Washington Hill died May 29, 1860 at age fifty-four. He was buried in the little cemetery located a short distance from the cabin he had built when he first came to the area. His will specified that two acres of land be set aside from his property to serve as the cemetery. He made provision in his will for his wife and for the step-children. His death, as had been his life, was in order.


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