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Polly JOHNSTON

Female 1787 - 1870  (83 years)


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  • Name Polly JOHNSTON 
    Born 19 Jan 1787 
    Gender Female 
    Died 18 Apr 1870  McMinnville, Warren Co., TN Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • Polly Johnston was a family friend of Henry J. A. and Susannah Swales who was persuaded to move from GA to TN with them in the early 1800's when she was sixteen yr. old. Thus began a long term extramarital affair with Henry J. A. Hill, which resulted in six children being born to them; Hariett, Sally, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, William Carroll, and Elenza Grundy. Polly was 13 yrs. younger than Henry, and 20 yrs younger than Susannah. The two families lived next door to each other and names of children by both women were entered into the family Bible. (I have a photocopy of the famly Bible page for births from the Henry J.A. Hill Bible and it clearly lists the names of all his children and their mothers' names in two columns. It also shows Polly's last name as "Johnston" with a "t" despite her modern headstone (obviously a replacement) showing her name as "Johnson".

      Polly, Henry and Susannah are all buried in the Center Hill Cemetery (formerly called Hill's Creek Cemetery) outside McMinnville, TN. Some time after Henry died in 1824, Polly married a Mr. Bazle Bess (date unknown) and had one son, Issie John Bess in 1834. In the 1850 census for Warren Co., TN she does not show up in the household for Bazel Bess, although her 16 yr. old son is listed, and her mother-in-law, Mary Bess are there. When she died, her children by Henry wished to bury her on the other side of Henry. The "legitimate" children of Susannah objected and erected an iron fence around the graves of Henry and Susannah in order to keep Polly "out." The children of Polly had to settle for burying Polly at the foot of Henry's grave outside the fence. The fence is no longer in place but the three graves are clearly marked as described. Polly's gravestone had been replaced in more recent times and reads simply:
      "Polly Johnson Bess
      Jan. 19, 1787
      April 18, 1870"


      Oct. 27, 2000. Genforum post from Edwin Johnston, [email protected]
      "I think I can clear up the mystery (on Polly's background). I am now in a hurry to leave on a trip to New England for two weeks. Contact me about the 10th of November I will be glad to help you with the information."
      (wrote back 11/20/00 and am awaiting response)
      2/2003. Never rec'd a response from this person.

      November 24, 2000
      Judy Richard ([email protected]) send me data from "Tennessee Records, Tombstone Inscriptions and Manuscripts, Historical and Biographical" compiled by Jeannette Tillotson Acklen, which included a section called "Hill Burying Ground." In this reference Polly Johnston is listed with the "t" in her surname with the years 1787-1870 from her original marker.


      The name "Polly Johnson" is among those listed for Warren County, Tennessee
      1828 Membership List, Primitive Baptist Church

      2/10/03
      In searching for clues to Polly's ancestry, I find in the 1790 census for Martin Co., NC that along with Isaac Hill, Sr. and family, there is a Johnston family listed as well nearby on the same census page.

      JOHNSTON, Sarah 1 2 3 - 3 3

      {Name of head of household, then one free white male over 16, two free white males under 16, 3 free white females, 0 all other free persons, 3 slaves). Apparently this Sarah was widowed or divorced since she is head of household. If this is Polly's family, Polly would have been 3 yrs. old)
      In later years, Polly named her second daughter "Sally" which was often the nickname for Sarah.
    Person ID I0040  Hill Genealogy
    Last Modified 3 Jul 2008 

    Family 1 Living KASPER 
    Children 
     1. Issie John BESS,   b. 1834
    Family ID F0317  Group Sheet

    Family 2 Robert Eugene BAILEY,   b. 24 Oct 1929, NE of Billings, Oklahoma Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 23 Jul 1984, Tulsa, Okla. Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 54 years) 
    Children 
     1. Harriett HILL,   b. 22 Sep 1808, TN Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Aug 1886, Warren Co., TN Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 77 years)
     2. Sally HILL,   b. 30 Mar 1811,   d. BEF. 29 Aug 1870  (Age < 59 years)
     3. George Washington HILL, MD,   b. 22 Apr 1814, Hill Creek, Warren Co., TN Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 May 1860, Spring Hill, Navarro Co., TX Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 46 years)
     4. Andrew Jackson HILL,   b. 25 Apr 1816
     5. William Carroll HILL,   b. 1 Apr 1818,   d. 8 Sep 1870, Hills Creek Cemetery, Warren Co., TN Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years)
     6. Ellenza Grundy HILL,   b. 1 Feb 1822, TN Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Nov 1901, Warren County, TN Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years)
    Family ID F0021  Group Sheet