The Apalachicola River Community of Indians ARCITO

Hill Family Origins in the Creek Nation

The Roots of the Hill Family in the Old Creek Nation

Though most of the families of what would become the Cheraw Indians of north Florida were rooted in the eastern Siouan populations of the Carolinas, a few had other tribal roots as well, such as the Hill family. In March of 1829, three Creek Indian girls, all citizens of the Creek Nation, married three brothers from the Hill family of Union County South Carolina. Nancy, Sarah, and Amanda Doyle, all described as “Belles of the Creek Nation” by the South Carolina Marriage Index listings, married George, Alexander, and James Hill, three brothers stationed at Fort Mitchell, in the Creek Nation.

 The three young soldiers, George Robert Wesley, James Jr., and Alexander, joined the American Army in 1828. Nearby the Hill boys’ duty station of Fort Mitchell, Creek Nation was a school for Indian Girls called the Asbury Missionary Institute, which the Hill family was already involved with. The “Reverend Mister Hill”, a relative of the boys, performed hundreds of marriages on this frontier during his time there. Eventually, George and Alexander left the area. They first moved first to Decatur County, Georgia and then on to Jackson County Florida, along with their Indian wives, Nancy and Sarah Doyle. Upon researching the oral histories passed through the various Hill family branches in Florida, as well as those in the Creek Nation in Oklahoma, we found indicators of where to search for the records. Amanda was the daughter of Nimrod Doyle, and Nancy and Sarah most likely his nieces, daughters of Edmond Doyle a Creek Nation trader with the Leslie, Panton, and Forbes Trading company.

 During our research, we found a South Carolina Marriage Index Book at the Florida State Archives in the Capital Building Complex in Tallahassee Florida (the R. A. Gray Building) which listed an indexed reference to the marriages of these three couples. It seems from the documentary evidence that the Cherokee Phoenix, the national newspaper of the Cherokee Nation, as well as four other local Milledgeville, Georgia area newspapers, covered the weddings. It was said to be very extravagant for the times, according the article. Fort Mitchell was located on the frontier near where Creek Nation, Cherokee Nation, Georgia, and South Carolina met. Using the Index reference as a guide, we began to inquire about the possibility of one of the original newspapers which carried the article possibly being still in existence.

We were eventually able to secure a copy of it with the (much appreciated) assistance of the research staff at the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma’s Tribal Headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Included in this chapter is the letter sent with document. We also were able to gather several documents that were compiled by the Decatur County Georgia Historical Society, documents that listed all the descendants’ of the George Hill- Nancy Doyle and Alexander Hill-Sarah Doyle marriages, which were many. As recorded in “Millidgeville, Georgia Newspaper Clippings (Southern Recorder), Volume II 1828-1832” by Tad Evans, found in the stacks of the Florida state Archives, (as well 5 other periodic sources from the times, including an April 29 1829 edition (Volume 2 number 7) of the Cherokee Phoenix,) on March 3 1829 the brothers Alexander, George, and James Hill, all brothers from Darlington District in South Carolina and stationed at Fort Mitchell, Creek Nation were married by the Reverend Mr. Hill, to Sarah, Nancy, and Amanda Doyle, Creek Indian girls attending the Asbury Missionary Institute. The details of this marriage were captured in the Cherokee Phoenix article from 1829:

“Married on the 3rd of March, at the Asbury Missionary Institute, near Fort Mitchell Creek Nation, by the reverend Mr. Hill, the Mr. James Hill of the US Army, to Miss Amanda Doyle, a Creek Pupil of the Institution. This establishment is under the charge of Mr. and Mrs. Hill, who were desirous of showing the natives how this ceremony is performed in a refined state of society, and the highest encomiums are due them for their entire success. Great exertion and ingenuity were necessary to accomplish it. The company consisted of about twenty white persons and one hundred and fifty natives.

The bride and her two maids were dressed with great taste and propriety, according to the fashion of the age. The groom and his two associated were in full military costume; and those persons present accustomed to wedding scenes, pronounced this bridal party one of the handsomest they had ever witnessed. After the marriage ceremony, the happy pair were congratulated with all good wishes; cake and wine were passed around, and in due time a bountiful supper was partaken of by the whole company , and the evening passed on in the most agreeable manner possible. All parties seemed delighted with the occasion. A number of strangers present will never forget the kind and hospitable reception given them by Mr. and Mrs. Hill.-Georgia Courier”-transcribed from the Cherokee Phoenix 1929

 

The indexed reference in the Millidgeville, Georgia Newspaper Clippings (Southern Recorder), Volume II 1828-1832” states:

“HILL, Mr. James of the US Army m. DOYLE, Miss Amanda, a Creek pupil of the Asbury Missionary Institution near Fort Mitchell Creek Nation, m. there 3-3-1829 by Rev. Mr. Hill. AC 3-18-1829; CP 4-29-1829; A th 4-7-1929; SP 3-21-1829; SR 4-21-1829. DG 4-19-1829 gives wedding date as 4-3-1829”

“HILL, Alexander of the US Army m. DOYLE, Miss Sarah, a belle of the Creek Nation, m. there 3-3-1829 State of Georgia CP 4-29-1829”

“HILL, George W. of the US Army m. DOYLE, Miss Nancy, a belle of the Creek Nation, m. there 3-3-1829 State of Georgia CP 4-29-1829”

This is a transcription of the “Alexander Hill” narrative, by Robert Earl Woodham, from the “Decatur County, Ga. Past and Present 1823-1991” a genealogy index compiled by the Decatur County Historical Society.

The Hill Family has been in Seminole County since the 1830’s. Several related Hill families moved to Spring Creek and nearby areas across the river in Jackson County (Florida). They came here from Darlington District, South Carolina.

The first to settle here was Alexander hill Sr., who was born in 1812 and died in 1880. His wife’s name is Unknown. She was the sister of the wife of his brother, George W Hill. Alexander had 7 children, all born at Spring Creek.

Alex’s son Ferdinand Hill was born in 1839 and died 6 May 1864 as a confederate soldier at the Battle of the Wilderness near Richmond VA.

Alex’s daughters Lovie and Mahalia Caroline never married. Nothing is known of sons William and Richmond.

Alex’s son Harmon Hill (1849) married Julia R. Minton 15 February 1877. Their children include Ella, Noah Lonzo, Emma, Luther D, Zenie, Jewel, and Meck (married to Cleveland Conyers)

Alexander Hill Jr. was born 1852 and died 1923. He and his wife Mary Ann (1852-1921) are both buried at   Spring Creek. They had at least nine children: Marcus M. (1875-1904) married Mary Hall; Sophia Ann (1881), married Tully Murkison; Mathew D.; Rufus A. who married first Rhoda M.J. Thursby, and later to Annie Wilson; Mary; Preston Ulysses (1889-1964) who married first Corene Holt, then later Kate Shores; Alto E, who married James K Braswell; Alma S. (1893-1952) married to Joe Barber; and John C.

 Alexander’s brother, George Wesley Hill Sr. was born in 1804 in Darlington District South Carolina. His wife Nancy was the sister of Alexander’s wife, making the two couples (descendents) double first cousins.

George moved from South Carolina to Spring Creek (Georgia) about 1856. He lived for several years at the intersection of Desser Road and Spring Creek Road. Nancy (born 1815) died about 1856 and is buried in a family plot at the intersection. They had at least 13 children.

George’s son John A Hill was born in 1835; He married Mary Ann Dowell on 22 June 1852. He was a confederate soldier.

George’s son Rueben Ezekiel Hill was born in 1836, he married Martha Frances Minton on 7 September 1865, and they had one daughter Rebecca.

George’s son Thomas was born in 1838 and died on 12 November 1864 as a confederate soldier in a Yankee POW camp.

George’s daughter Emma Elizabeth (1840) married Daniel Minton.

George’s son Allen Hill (1842) married Amelia Conyers on 27 February 1868. They had one son, Asberry.

George’s daughter Julia Hill (1844) married Waydon Hewitt.

A son, Dempsey Hill (1845) married Catherine McMillan on 18 August 1870. He lived in Jackson County (Florida)

A son, Johnathan H. Hill was born 2 February 1848 and died 18 October 1918. He married Nancy Melvina Summers; they had at least 14 children and lived at Grand Ridge (Jackson County, Florida)

William Cato (“Cate”) Hill (1853) married Caroline Bennett in 1872. Cate and Carrie had seven children and lived at Grand Ridge.

Susan Catherine Hill was born 24 December 1853 and died 29 August 1931. She was married to Moses F.J. Conyers.

George W Hill (1856) married first Caroline Conyers 2 February 1872. They had 2 children, James Wesley and Martha.

The generation’s long saga of the intermarriages among the above mentioned families and the other Indian families of the area of the Apalachicola River that would be the nucleus of the Woods settlement.  The Cheraw Indians of North Florida community of today is a complex one. I am including copies of the documents we gathered about the Hill family as an example of the multiple tribal origins of some of the Cheraw Indians of North Florida families, though again, the majority of families are of predominantly Catawba and Lumbee (Cheraw-Siouan) stock, with some, like the Hills from Creek ancestry.

This small take on the Hill family is by no means nearly comprehensive or inclusive of the entirety of this branch of the Hill family, and their experience since leaving Creek Nation. As well there is a copy of the roll of Thlekatchka (Broken Arrow) Tribal Town of the Creek Nation that lists Nimrod, Jackson, and Muscogee “Doyell” as dwelling therein. These are the only persons on the 1832 Abbot-Parsons Roll (Creek Nation Removal Roll) with the surname “Doyell” and are the relatives of these three girls, Nancy, Sarah, and Amanda Doyle (Nimrods daughter), who were attending the missionary school at Fort Mitchell. A well-known historical figure in the decades after the war of 1812 who was heavily involved in the Creek and Seminole Nation intrigues of the times was Edmund Doyle, who is most likely the father of the “Creek Nation Belles” Nancy and Sarah.

He established a trading outpost on the Apalachicola River and was part of the Leslie, Panton, & Forbes Company West Florida economic endeavors. He was licensed to trade with the Creek and Apalachicola Indians living in the area at the time. I have found numerous history book narratives about his involvement in the important events in “West Florida” and the control of the area struggles between the English, Spanish, and Americans as well as the Indian tribe’s part in these dramatic events. He is listed in historical references as having an Indian wife and children and is probably the relative of the Doyell family at Thlekatchka (Broken Arrow). He is known as well for having a price on his head by the Miccosukee chiefs, causing him and his family to have to retreat to a Lower Creek town for safety at one point, according to Seminole oral history.

The trading post he founded became the famous “Negro Fort”, known to history as stronghold retreat by hostile Blacks and Seminoles and destroyed along with three hundred partisans and their families who were inside. This massacre happened amazingly from the first shot from Andrew Jackson’s naval cannonade into the fort as his forces invaded Spanish Florida and took on the poorly armed hostile ‘Red Sticks’ (the anti-American faction of the Creek Nation, versus the ‘pro-American’ White Sticks). During the Civil War it was reconstituted as a confederate garrison and named Fort Gadsden, and fell soon thereafter to union forces. It has had many incarnations throughout the long history of Florida. It was bloodied ground on many occasions in the tumultuous journey of Florida to becoming American. Fort Gadsden is a state park today, and is near Apalachicola, Florida, a community located on the coast a few miles downriver from Blountstown.

Research continues on the interconnections between the Doyle family and the Hill family. Nimrod Doyle, who would eventually be a Texas Ranger, along with his daughters Amanda and Muscogee moved to Texas after receiving land under the Treaty of Fort Jackson in Alabama. Amanda later wound up living in Eufaula India n territory after years in Texas, where her family helped found the town of Sulphur Springs. Her nephew George Hill, son of Nancy Doyle Hill would move to Creek Nation as a young man taking an allotment. He would be appointed Chief in the 1920’s, and have a large family.

Citage:                                                             

-“Names in South Carolina” edited by Claude Henry Neuffer.Pg.XII:41

-“South Carolina Land Grants” (1784-1830) 160, vol. 32.R A Gray Library Private Collection, Florida State Archives, Tall. Fl

-“Early South Carolina Marriages” Vol.2 (1735-1885) implied in SC Law Reports, Union County

-“North and South Carolina Marriages 1800-1885” R A Gray Library Private Collection, Florida State Archives, Tall. Fl

-Records of US Army enlistees (South Carolina) 1795-1850

-Federal Census of Georgia:

1860 Decatur County1870 Decatur County

-Federal Census of Florida:

1860 Jackson County1870 Jackson County1885 Jackson County1870 Holmes County

1885 Holmes County

-“Decatur County Past and Present” 1823-1991, compiled by the

 Decatur County Historical Society

            -Ellen Payne Odom Genealogical Library

 

Scanned images of the documents discussed above:

 

the above pic is from the broken arrow tribal town roll from the abbott parsons 1832 roll of creek nation 

 

 the above is an areticle from 1829 from the cherokee phoenix describing amanda doyles marriage to james hill at fort mitchell creek nation. below is another reference to this same wedding in a carolina marriages index book from the archives 

 

 below is refewrence from the carolinas marriages index book at the FL state archives about the marriages of nancy and sara doyle, creek citizens to george and alexander hill in 1829