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James Monroe HILL

Male 1818 - 1904  (85 years)


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  • Name James Monroe HILL 
    Born 13 Mar 1818  Putnam Co., GA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 14 Feb 1904  Oakwood Cemetery, Austin, Texas Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • James Monroe Hill was born in Putnam Co., GA., lived several years in Hillsboro, and emigrated to TX with his father's family in the Spring of 1835. Just before reaching his 18th birthday, March 1836, news was received of the invasion of TX soil by Santa Ana's Army of 15,000 soldiers. Not long after, the news of the fall of the Alamo reached his family and that Gen. Sam Houston was raising an army. James Monroe and his father both left to join Gen. Houston, coming across a detachment of the TX Army guarding the ford of the Colorado River. James M. joined Capt. W. W. Hill's Company while his father proceeded on to report to Gen. Houston, who was then opposite Columbus, TX.

      James Monroe fought in the memorable battle of San Jacinto April 21st, served throughout the Spring and reinlisted in the Fall, serving three months longer. He was also in several raids against Mexicans and Indians over the next few years. In 1840 he was with Col. John H. Moore on a raid against the Comanche Indians, whom they attacked on the Red Fork of the Colorado River, killing all men except one who escaped. They captured thirty-six women and children, and two Mexican boys, besides 750 horses and mules, which they brought to Austin and distributed among themselves. The Indian prisoners were sent to the U. S. Station on Red River and exchanged for white prisoners.

      On Sept. 2, 1843 James M. married Miss Jane Kerr in Washington Co.,and resided in Fayette Co. until 1885 when he moved to Austin.

      (Much of the above was taken from a May 1899 biographical sketch in Biographies of Leading Texans, Part II, copied from the TX State Archives.)

      In a March 1896 newspaper article written about James M. and Jane, it says in part that he and his wife "...having celebrated in 1893 the golden anniversary of his marriage...in his own words, he says his wife is just as sweet and pretty today as she was the day he married her, and that she still blushes with the same pleasureable delight when he tells her so."

      In Austin James ran a mercantile business, Hill & Hill, for many years on Congress Ave. He and his wife had eight children. James was issued Bounty Certificate No. 1924 for 320 acres of land for serving in the Army in 1836. He died in Austin Feb. 14, 1904, while a member of the TX Veterans Assoc. He is buried next to his wife in Oakwood Cemetery.

      (Taken from the book, "The Heroes of San Jacinto" by Sam Houston Dixon and Louis Wiltz Kemp, and copied from the TX State Archives.)

      James Monroe Hill served as a Pvt. in the Confederate Army, joining at Brenham, Washington Co. TX on November 8, 1861, Company G, 10th Texas Infantry. This unit was organized Oct. 25, 1861 by James S. Lauderdale. James was captured "near Atlanta, GA" on July 22, 1864.

      He was a Methodist and an honorary life member of theTexas State Historical Association. His papers, including a typescript of his reminiscences of San Jacinto, are preserved at the Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. (TX Archives)

      James Monroe Hill was president of the Texas Veterans Association in 1902, an organization of those who had served prior to, during, and immediately after the Texas Revolution, est. 1873. (From the Texas Handbook Online)

      The following short biography was taken from the San Jacinto Museum of History, Houston, Texas, written by Louis Wiltz Kemp who was born in 1881, TX.

      "HILL, JAMES MONROE -- Born in Putnam County, Georgia, on the Oconee River, March 13, 1818, a son of Asa and Elizabeth (Barksdale) Hill, who emigrated to Texas in the spring of 1835.
      Mr. Hill was a member of Captain William W. Hill's Company at San Jacinto and on July 10, 1838, was issued Donation Certificate No. 427 for 640 acres of land for having participated in the battle. He was issued Bounty Certificate No. 1920 for 320 acres of land for having served in the army from March 1 to May 13, 1836.

      On a roll of Captain William W. Hill's Company at muster April 11, 1836, a photostatic copy of which is in the Archives of the Texas State Library, the following information about Mr. Hill is given: He was born in Columbus, Muscogee County, Georgia, in 1818; he was five feet four inches in height; was of dark complexion; had black hair and black eyes. He was enlisted at the home of Asa Mitchell in Washington County by Captain Joseph P. Lynch.

      Mr. Hill was married to Jane Hallowell Kerr, daughter of Hugh Kerr, in Washington County, September 10, 1843, by Rev. O. Fisher. Mrs. Hill was born near Cornersville, Tennessee, October 28, 1824. Mr. Hill died February 14, 1904, while President of the Texas Veterans Association. Mrs. Hill died March 18, 1905, and her remains were placed by the side of those of her husband in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin. Their graves were marked.

      Children of Mr. and Mrs. Hill were James Leonidas, who married Annie Fordtran; John William, who married Grace Pearsall; Homer Barksdale, who married Ella Rankin; George Alfred, who was married first to Mrs. Annie Hill, widow of his brother and after the death of his wife, Mr. Hill was married to Julia McHugh; Lucy Amanda, who married William B. Jones; Mary Elizabeth, who married Dr. Wilbur Fisk Flewellen; Iola Jane who died in infancy; Frank Webb, who married May Blanton; and Nola Hill who married Henry G. Connell.

      Son of Asa and Elizabeth (Barksdale) Hill

      Elizabeth B. was a daughter of Jeffrey Barksdale, a soldier of the Revolutionary war.

      Asa came to Texas in 1834 and settled in what is now Washington County. The next year he returned for his family. His family and 16 others chartered a schooner that arrived at Matagorda May 31, 1835.

      J. M. Hill married Jane H. Kerr, daughter of Hugh Kerr."

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      From the online site, https://www.tamu.edu/ccbn/dewitt/miscmemoirs3.htm#hill, titled "Short Memoirs and Sketches from Old Texians"

      From San Jacinto Veteran James Monroe Hill 1894. AUSTIN, TEX, June 22.---Noticing in The Post a list of the survivors of the Battle of San Jacinto and the probable visit of a number of them to the famous grounds on the Fourth of July, for the purpose of designating same incident to their purchase by the State, the writer called upon Col. James M. Hill, chairman of the committee charged with the duty above mentioned, and also a member of Houston's army at the time of that memorable engagement. The following interesting incidents pertaining to the battle were gleaned from him. They are, in brief, the actual experiences of Colonel Hill from the time he joined the army on the Colorado River to and after the Battle of San Jacinto:

      I left the family homestead near Independence, Washington County, in a party of nine, composed of my father, Asa Hill, Nicholas Whitehead, Scates, Chas. Williams and others, and joined Houston on the Colorado River at Columbus, on the north side of the river. Houston, with his army, had crossed the river some 12 miles above at Bunshams Crossing, on his retreat from Gonzales. Shortly after my arrival a division of Santa Anna's army confronted Houston at Columbus. A small detachment of Houston's men crossed and engaged the Mexicans in a skirmish, without casualties. I was attached to a detachment of about 300 to hold the ford just north of the town. Houston got information that the main Mexican Army was crossing the Colorado River some 15 or 20 miles below, at what was called the Tusky Seat crossing with the evident object of surrounding the army of Houston and getting between them and their families. On getting this information Houston took up his line of march east for the Brazos at San Felipe, where we camped the following night. Next day we marched up the Brazos River, crossing Mill Creek, and camped, and on the following day continued up the river, opposite Donahoe's, where the army remained in camp 12 days. The Brazos was very high and no means were obtainable to cross.

      A messenger was sent to Washington to have the steamboat Yellowstone come down and aid the army in crossing. Houston left at San Felipe Captain Baker's company to guard that crossing. They crossed and encamped on the east side and remained until the main army crossed at Donahoe's, when they were notified and joined them. My recollection is that Captain Baker's company brought the two cannon, Twin Sisters, up with him to Donahoe's, which was the first time Houston had them. The steamboat Yellowstone was used to cross the Brazos. No incident of consequence transpired during the 12 days in camp, except one notable desertion from the Regular Army. The party was caught, court-martialed, and sentenced to be shot. The grave was dug and all preliminaries arranged to carry into execution the sentence, when Houston pardoned him. He afterward became a brave and daring soldier and did valiant service.

      After the Yellowstone had finished crossing the army at Donohoe's she proceeded down the river loaded with cotton; in passing San Felipe the Mexicans who occupied the east bank made a heroic and novel attempt to capture her. She was riddled with bullets and an effort made to lariat her, but she passed in safety as they were well protected by cotton bales. The day the army took up the march east from Donohoe's, the road being almost impassable, the wagons became bogged and progress was very slow and difficult. One very commendable incident is treasured to the credit of General Houston, who left his horse and lent a helping hand at the wheel when the wagons were in the bog. His sympathy and earnest assistance was ever present with the soldiers, which doubtless contributed to the wonderful influence lie possessed over his men. The trip from the Brazos to Buffalo Bayou opposite Harrisburg was made by continuous march, when the army went into camp. Upon our arrival we found that the Mexicans had burned Harrisburg and their trail indicated that they had continued their march east toward Galveston Bay. The opportunity that Houston planned presented itself soon after encamping on the bayou. Deaf Smith captured a courier of Felisol's or Urea's army, I forget which, who bore important dispatches that revealed the position of the various Mexican armies and the whereabouts of Santa Anna and his mission to the bay, which was to capture President Burnett, who at the time was residing on the East Bay. This attempt at capture came very near proving successful, as President Burnett escaped in an open boat with some ladies on the approach of the Mexicans.

      I will not attempt to give anything like an accurate statement of anything that did not occur of my own knowledge and of which I was not personally cognizant. Soon after the capture of the courier and a short consultation between Houston, Rusk, and Deaf Smith, Houston had the army drawn up in a hollow square and made them a speech, which, in brief, was that the time had arrived and as the men had been wanting to fight an opportunity presented itself. Santa Anna with his army was located and he intended to engage him. He told them that the battle cry should be "Remember the Alamo."

      General Rusk followed Houston eloquently, urging them to let the battle cry be "Remember the Alamo," "Remember Labadie." The soldiers were dismissed to procure 3 days' rations, with knapsacks, guns, and ammunition. Captain McNutt, with his company, was detailed to remain at camp, and a detail of 10 men from the left of each company was announced would be made to remain in camp. When the command to 'fall in' was given a regular scramble and rush was made to get in line to save the detail. The eagerness to engage the Mexicans was so intense that great feeling was manifested among all the army. Those that were slow in getting into line comprised the bulk of the detail. No time was lost from the capture of the Mexican courier until arrangements were consummated to commence the march to intercept and engage Santa Anna's army. This was in the evening. Buffalo Bayou was crossed to the south side about 1 mile below Harrisburg on a small leaky boat, which would hold about 1 dozen. It was with great difficulty the boat could be kept afloat, had to keep bailing constantly to do so. A rope was extended from bank to bank and the trips were made back and forth with great rapidity. Rations were very scarce and to give one an idea of each man's supply I give the following as my allowance for the 3 days---1 small rib chop of beef, partially cooked, which did not last me through the night; 1 pint of flour. The bayou was crossed and the army took up the march toward the bay about dusk. They marched all night and halted about 1 hour just before daylight, when they continued until about 9 o'clock, when they halted for 15 minutes. News arrived that our spies had intercepted theirs, when orders were given to continue the march. An amusing effort was made by the worn and hungry soldiers to get something to eat during this small stop. I depended upon my flint, steel, and punk to get a spark of fire and then dry grass with the burning punk passed rapidly through the air to create a blaze.

      I hurriedly poured a little flour into my gourd and wet it and put the dough around a stick and thrust it into the fire when the command "March" was given. We continued until the Mexicans were sighted and were seen to be approaching; this was on the morning of the 20th of April about 10 o'clock. Houston took up a position on the bayou near the spot that the killed were buried and which is commonly supposed to be the spot where the main battle was fought. The Mexicans advanced to within a few hundred yards, where they planted their cannon, a 9-pounder, and commenced a fierce cannonading between their gun and our Twin Sisters, small 4-pound guns under command of Colonel Neal. During this engagement Colonel Neal was wounded very extraordinarily, a full account of which has been published. The Mexicans after a time withdrew and went into camp at a point about 1 mile distant, between San Jacinto River and a small bayou. During the afternoon the Mexican Cavalry engaged our Cavalry between the two armies in quite a lively skirmish. In this engagement Gen. W. P. Law then a private soldier, was knocked off his horse and was daringly rescued by Gen. M. B. Lamar. The bravery of General Lamar on this occasion was highly commended by General Houston and his popularity and promotion followed this incident. The night was spent in expectancy, both armies being supposed to be ready for action. The hungry soldiers of Houston's army made the best they could by catching crabs. However, this supply was only sufficient to whet the appetite of the soldiers.

      The following day, the 21st the morning was spent anticipating an attack from the Mexicans. They in the meantime were building breastworks. Commencing near the point of timber next the river, brush was used, then blankets and apparatus, pack saddles and camp equipage for some distance into the prairie, which sufficed for the protection of the entire army. Their cannon was planted near a little tree at the southern end of their breastworks, some distance out in the prairie. About noon Cos' division, about 600 strong, reinforced Santa Anna. Houston dispatched Deaf Smith to burn the bridge over Vincents Bayou and made arrangements to attack Santa Anna. About 3 o'clock in the evening the army advanced to make the attack, with Sherman's division to the left next the river, Burleson's in the center, Willard's to the right, and Lamar's Cavalry on the extreme right. The Twin Sisters were next to my company in Burleson's regiment. The march was at a rapid pace from start until we were within about 400 yards, when the command was given to double quick. The Mexicans opened fire as quick as we came in sight and continued by platoons. We ran up within 80 yards and halted and at the command "each get your man" we fired, and nearly decimated their ranks. Our aim was effective and the distance so close our fire carried death and dismay to the Mexicans. We were yelling at the top of our voices "Remember the Alamo," "Labadie", etc. We carried the rifle balls in our mouths and loaded our flint-lock rifles with great rapidity. After our first deadly volley the Mexicans became demoralized and commenced retreating. The officers tried in vain to rally them, but each succeeding fire did such destruction that the officers' efforts were in vain and a general stampede ensued.

      After this every man in our Army, so far as I was able to judge, was his own commander. We followed them across the boggy run, which was so full of dead we crossed without miring, stepping from one to another. We continued pursuit of them down to the neck of land between San Jacinto River and McCormick Lake. When many tried to swim across the run to the marsh on the other side. Our deadly rifles and unerring aim ended the existence of all that made the attempt; but few of those remained to tell the tale. The Cavalry to the extreme right captured most of the prisoners. The firing continued until nearly night. The estimated number killed was about 1,500. In answer to our yell, "Remember the Alamol" "Remember Labadie" the Mexicans would say, "Me no Alamo" "Me no Labadie" but the memory of those recent butcheries were too fresh in our minds and the excitement of the occasion was not such as to arouse our sympathy.

      We returned through the Mexican camp after our pursuit and witnessed large quantities of beef stewing in large iron kettles, which was very tempting to our hungry and almost famished Army, but a rumor became current that it had been poisoned and we foolishly let it alone and went hungry. It has been stated that Deaf Smith ran down the lines shouting that "the bridge was burned, fight for your lives." Nothing of the kind occurred. The only man who rode down our line during the time of the advance was Colonel Somerville, who bore in order from General Houston, shouting, "Passed the word to Sherman to hurry up his command." When we commenced yelling nothing was audible but such words as "Go it, my, brave boys." Officers as well as men were doing execution and the result tells the tale.

      After visiting the grounds with my old comrades, I will give you some other data that may be of interest to some of your readers. I hope the good people of Houston will render our committee the necessary facilities to visit the battlegrounds and consummate our mission. We want to present the matter to the legislature in a tangible and businesslike way and have no doubt that the purchase will be made and an appropriation requisite to beautify the same.

      July 5, 1894. ON HISTORIC GROUND---VETERANS' VISIT TO SAN JACINTO BATTLEFIELD---THE TRIP DOWN BUFFALO BAYOU---REMINISCENCES OF THE FAMOUS BATTLE AND OF ITS CHIEF ACTORS---LOCATING THE BATTLEFIELD

      The battlefield of San. Jacinto. What a flood of memories of other days and other men the sight of that famous spot must have awakened in the bosoms of that little band of survivors of the battle who viewed it yesterday. With one exception not one of them had been to the battlefield since the day after that famous engagement in which Texas at one lump attained her independence and the men who fought there carved for themselves a monument in American history more lasting and resplendent than either marble or brass. The object of the visit to the battlefield by a committee of the survivors of the battle was in obedience to a resolution passed at the Waco meeting of the Texas veterans to designate the exact location of the battle and gather other data with a view to a purchase by the State of this famous ground. Through the generosity and thoughtfulness of Maj. James Converse, who offered the use of his swift and beautiful steam yacht, the Boston, the veterans were enabled to make the trip with comfort, ease, and pleasure.

      In connection with the trip of the veterans, San Jacinto chapter, Daughters of the. Republic, which organization has taken the initiative in the patriotic work of attempting to rescue from vandalism all the sacred spots in Texas history, had arranged for a general excursion. The general excursion left an hour later than the Boston with its load of veterans, and it proved to be a popular idea. It was in charge of Capt. John H. Gray and the steamer Eugene, with barges in tow, was crowded with excursionists. The Boston left its wharf at the foot of Fannin Street with the following on board:

      Col. James M. Hill, of Austin, chairman of the veterans' committee to visit the battlefield; L. C. Cunningham, of Waelder, J. W. McHorse, of Leander, Williamson County, J. W. Winters, of Big Foot, Frio County, J. M. Harbour, of Killeen, Bell County
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      March 9, 2003, Received the following obituary transcription from Loy Burgess, Waco, TX.

      " MEMOIR OF COLONEL JAMES MONROE HILL
      1818 to 1904
      Soldier and Patriot – Veteran of Several Wars –Fought With
      Gen. Sam Houston – Career Remarkable in Different Respects

      After spending eighty-six years of eminent usefulness and distinguished patriotic service to his country, the immortal spirit of James Monroe Hill plumed its snowy pinions and sailed away to the pearly portals of paradise at 8 o’clock last night.

      No ordinary man has fallen, and his passing is no ordinary event. Sixty-eight years ago General Sam Houston, with 883 patriot soldiers, untrained in the science or vicissitudes of war met thrice their number, the flower of the army of Mexico, at San Jacinto and when the smoke had lifted its vapory folds from the field of battle and drifted to the field of battle and drifted to the sea the president of Mexico and commander of its army and invading forces, were prisoners of war, and the liberties of the people established.

      When the sun came shimmering from the east yesterday morning only two of these veterans remained in mortal flesh- James Monroe Hill of Austin and S. F. Sparks of Rockport. When it sank in the west, Col. Hill had passed to an unending rest beyond the grave, S. F, Sparks remained on earth as the only human who had participated in the renowned engagement.

      Col Hill’s career was remarkable from every point of view. He was born in Putnam county, Georgia, March 13, 1818, and when only a lad of 17 years old he came to sink or swim, live or die with the struggling colonists. Motives of the purest love and liberty prompted him in his movements. He was a cousin of Ben Hill, the foremost man the state of Georgia ever produced and his social and financial relations guaranteed him immunity from the storms of life. These, however, were secondary matters and his joy was to turn his back to them all and bare his breast to the bullets that stood between the people of Texas and liberty, to which every creature of God has the right. His cousin, Isaac Hill, a brother of Ben Hill had preceded him to the wilderness of Texas and a member of the convention that met March 1836 in Old Washington on the Brazos and formed the constitution of the Republic of Texas that was destined to be established as the result of the achievement of Houston at San Jacinto.

      Few men who have ever lived had a more remarkable military career. On his arrival in Texas in 1835 he rendered service to Mexico under the impression that that government was endeavoring to execute the provisions of the constitution of 1824.

      When convinced that this was a delusion he shouldered arms in 1836 in the revolutions between Texas and Mexico and was the last survivor but one of that glorious revolution.

      Again in 1843, when General Woll invaded the state for the purpose of again reducing it to Mexican domination, he enlisted again in defense of the perpetuity of a republic he had fought to establish.

      Incidentally he engaged in a half dozen Indian campaigns. Again in 1846 je enlisted as a soldier in the war between the United States and Mexico, and served to the close of that sanguinary struggle, in the capacity of a minute- man and ranger. From 1848, the close of the Mexican War in 1881, Colonel Hill saw much service in those disquieting times against the Indians and occasional Mexican incursions. During that year, although advancing in life, he volunteered as a soldier in the Confederate army and saw much service in the war- between the states.

      Since the end of that eventful struggle he has lived in quiet and retirement and passed to unending rest at his home at 708 West Nineteenth Street, surrounded by his friends and children at 8:10 last night.

      He leaves surviving him a wife and the following children: John W. Hill, Austin, Dr. Homer B. Hill, Austin, George A. Hill, Beaumont, Miss Lucy Hill, Austin, Mrs. W. F. Flewellen, Belton, Frank W. Hill, Austin, Mrs. H.G. McConnell, Haskell.

      His wife was Miss Jane Hallowell Kerr. She preceded her husband to Texas by four years, coming in 1831 with her father Hugh Kerr, who rendered conspicuous service to his adopted state. In all of his trials, struggles and triumphs she was loyal to him and the cause for which he fought and deserves all honor from the people of Texas and a crown of supernal brightness in the life to come.

      The funeral will be held this afternoon from the family residence at 4 o’clock, and all that is mortal of this grand old hero and patriot interred in the City cemetery of the state he fought so gallantly to win from the grasp and tyranny of despots."
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      (Old news clipping sent to Marie Brady Hunter by Sister Andrea Harrington of the Sisters of Divine Providence, Fayetteville, Texas on April 9, 1972. Note: Appears to have been published in the Fayetteville Newspaper as an obituary and tribute in 1904.)

    Person ID I0098  Hill Genealogy
    Last Modified 14 Feb 2016 

    Father Loe Wayne BAILEY,   b. Private 
    Mother Mable Iva MORLAND,   b. 18 Aug 1912, Fairvalley, Oklahoma Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Nov 1991, Collinsville, Okla. Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 79 years) 
    Family ID F0018  Group Sheet