The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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1803, when he was married to Miss Sarah, daughter of Col. John Geddy. Col. Geddy was a staunch Whig. He was captured by the British and imprisoned for a long time in Charleston, S. C. He was a member of the first convention of the people held in the State on the 25th of August, 1774, at New Berne; also of the convention held at Hillsboro' on the 21st of August, 1775; and he represented Halifax County in the State Legislature from 1774 to 1835.

        A son and four daughters, all now living, were the fruits of this marriage. His wife died on February 14, 1833. A short time after his marriage he engaged in the mercantile business at Haywood, Chatham County, where he remained but a short time, returning to Raleigh during the year 1804. Here, for a while, he followed the same pursuit, at Richard Smith's old stand, Mr. Smith being then his clerk. At the session of the Legislature of 1804-5 he was appointed Magistrate for Wake County. At the February term of the court of pleas and quarter sessions in the year 1806, he was elected Register of the County; and at February term, 1807, he was elected County Court Clerk, which office he held until he was elected Secretary of State in November, 1811, succeeding William White, who died in October, 1811.

        In the year 1834 or 1835 he again married. His second wife was Mrs. Frances C. Blount, relict of Joseph Blount, Esq., of Chowan County. Her maiden name was Cannor. She is a lineal descendant from John Archdale, a Quaker, who succeeded Philip Ludwell as Governor of Carolina in the year 1694. By this marriage there was no issue.

        At the burning of the old Capitol in 1831, Mr. Hill succeeded, by strenuous efforts, in preserving the records of his office, and had them removed to what is now the site of the Deaf and Dumb Asylum. By laboring incessantly he succeeded in arranging all his papers before the meeting of the Legislature.

        He held the office of Secretary of State, through all the mutations of party, to the day of his death.

        Mr. Hill joined the M. E. Church in 1811, when Bishops Asbury and McKendree preached in the old State-house. He was baptized privately, by immersion. There was then no church building in Raleigh. The first church built here was that of Rev. Mr. Glendening, a Unitarian, and the building is now used as a shop. It is situated on Hargett street, near the shop of David Royster, sr. The next church was the Presbyterian, and the next the Methodist. The only person now living in Raleigh who joined the church with Mr. Hill is Wesley Whitaker, sr.

        Many years ago he journeyed to Tennessee, then an almost unbroken forest. At that time it was a perilous undertaking. Robberies were by no means uncommon, and Indian outrages were of frequent occurrence. The passage of the mountains, too, was fraught with danger, as there were but few roads, and they almost impassable. While there he met a widow lady with an infant, left by her husband's death in a land of strangers, friendless and alone. She was endeavoring to make her way back to her relatives in Carolina. Obedient to the generous impulses of his nature he endeavored to secure her comfort and to shield her as far as he could from the hardships incident to the journey, frequently carrying her infant for hours in his arms. In 1811, when a candidate for the office he so long and worthily filled, he was opposed by a gentleman of deserved popularity and powerful family influence. Twice they received each an equal number of votes. Several members of the Legislature were confined to their rooms by sickness, and a committee was appointed to visit them and obtain their votes. One of these gentlemen, a brother of the widow above mentioned, but an entire stranger to Mr. Hill, recollected hearing his sister speak of the kindness shown her by him, and cast his vote, on that account, for William Hill. That one vote secured his election.

        Mr. Hill had two brothers, one of whom is still living. The other was at the battle of the Horse Shoe, under Gen. Jackson, and was called by the Indians "Captain Big John Hill." He has been dead several years.

        In conclusion we append an article, published several years ago in the Asheville Messenger, and supposed to have been written by the late Gen. John G. Bynum:

        "William Hill--Secretary of State. Perhaps there is not a gentleman in North Carolina who has held office as long, or given as general satisfaction to the whole State through its representatives and private business intercourse, as the one whose name stands at the head of this article. James Glasgow was the first Secretary of the State of North Carolina after the declaration of Independence. He held that office until 1798, and was succeeded by William White, who held it till removed by death in 1811, when the present Secretary took possession of an office
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