Saturday, July 29, 2017

Alston Hill or Austin Hill or Auston Hill--A Man Who Left No Deep Mark

After a couple of days of focusing on this son of Henry Hill and Judith Nabors Hill (both of whom have gravestones I have seen in Lauderdale, Alabama) I realized it's time to throw up my hands, temporarily. I am used to genuinely ornery ancestors and collateral relatives, people who had recorded displays of individuality. Recently, for instance, I found that David Knox, an ankle-bracelet sort of Whig allowed loose in Charlotte during Cornwallis's brief occupation, risked his life when news came of King's Mountain, jumping onto a pile of logs and crowing like a rooster, slapping his thighs, and saying "THE DAY IS AT HAND." That kind of thing delights me but does not surprise me anymore. But what about Austin or Alston or whatever Hill, born around 1818 in (different records say) South Carolina, Alabama, or Kentucky? His father Henry was a Methodist preacher, a circuit rider, who is said to have died in Lauderdale Co. just because his grave is there but who really died off on a preaching mission to Mississippi. Could he and Judith and some their mob of children have gone to Green (meaning Greene) Co. KY to take a church only to find it hostile to the Hill brand of Methodism? Well, I could trace all the older children and see if they dropped off along the travels. But where does the information about KY come from? Oh, from Fold3 and Austin's service on the (gasp) Union side in the Civil War, where there is a physical description I hope is for my Austin, 6' 1" being the highest white ancestor, though not comparing with Grandpa John B. E. Glenn's well documented Mex War height, 6' 5"--. He was living in Arkansas near enough to have enlisted at Dardanelle in Yell County. Or was he the Aston Hill in the 4th Arkansas Cavalry--Confederate? Was he born in SC as one census says or in Ala as another says or in, gasp again, KY, as the clear 1880 census says. He married, and married, and maybe married again, the middle one to Mary Jane Sims who by that time had children from her marriage to the late G. W. Meek, as documented in the 1860 census. Mary Jane was the daughter of the very vivid Absalom Sims, son of the Widow Sims who married the great senator from multiple states, William Cocke, the hero of the Lost State of Frankllin, and died in their great 2 story log house, dog trot, cross hall, on the site of the present Tennessee Williams Welcome Center. Austin or Alston or whoever left no record in Arkansas county histories that I have found. No anecdotes about him are known to survive. It is as if he made no mark or seems so because I have found no marks I am sure are his. This puts me where I was 15 years ago, knowing nothing but the difference was that then I really knew only 2 tiny anecdotes about two ancestors. Now, hundreds of earlier Americans are alive to me--but not, yet, not yet, Aught, Ought, or Naught or whatever those who knew him called him. Maybe someone who knows more will see this . . . .

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