Sunday, June 22, 2008

Hillsborough / Scenery Hill PA

When I was growing up my Grandfather Hill used to like to talk about the family history. Unfortunately, like most teenagers I wasn't really that interested. I'm kicking myself now for not paying more attention and taking advantage of the knowledge and interest he had. Fortunately, he saved everything, was great at labeling people in photo albums, taking pictures of everything and everyone. He was an avid letter writer with many friends and family members and he saved many of the cards and letters he received. When we would visit my grandparents in Washington PA, we used to sit for hours and watch the slides that he had taken of family get-togethers, the grandchildren, aunts and uncles, etc. Fortunately some of that soaked in.

I did have the foresight at one time when I was in college to ask Grandpa to write a diary of his life and I gave him a blank book. He wrote faithfully until his health started failing. I didn't know that he had stopped writing though until he was gone. He had written in detail about his life growing up in Centreville, PA (near Beallsville) and about many of his relatives that also lived in the area. He sketched out the family tree and was very proud of the fact that we were descendants of a Revolutionary War Veteran (he even started writing a letter explaining our connection in hopes that one of the granddaughters would become a member of the DAR which I'm proud to say I finally did some 5 years ago!). He stopped writing when he got to the time of his life when he was a Freshman at Penn State. There is so much more I wish he had written about - his time at school, his service in the war, his courtship and marriage to my grandmother, the family they had (the children that they lost young). I am thankful for what I do have and that my dad and his brother have been able to fill in many of the gaps. I'm also thankful that my grandparents both lived well into their 80s and that I did pay some attention to much of what the talked about. I was also fortunate enough to inherit the slide collection of a few thousand slides, all his photo albums, boxes of letters, family trees that he had created, boxes and boxes of family memorabilia. These things have fueled my love of genealogy and have made my family research so much easier. Grandpa gave me a great start even though I didn't appreciate it at the time.

Grandpa was also very proud of the fact that one of our Hill ancestors built the Century Inn in Scenery Hill. This tavern was built in 1794 and has been in continuous service ever since. People such as Lafayette and Andrew Jackson among others, are listed in their guest books. We held our Hill Family reunion at the Century Inn pictured below.

"Hill's Tavern - this tavern, in continuous operation since 1794 when it was opened by Stephen Hill, is one of the oldest on the National Road. It was a popular stop for stage coaches and waggoners"

This is my Grandfather Hill under the Hill's Tavern sign outside of the Century Inn.

My 4th great grandfather Stephen Hill built the inn and there is a plaque with his name on it next to the front door of the Inn.

Stephen's father George served in the Revolutionary War and is buried in a small family Cemetery not far from Beallsville. The George Hill/John Welsh Cemetery listing and photos are on the cemetery website.

Stephen's grandson, Joseph Welsh Hill, served as Quartermaster Sergeant in Co B. of the Ringgold Cavalry in the Civil War. This is another source of interest that Beallsville Cemetery holds for me as there are many, many Ringgold Cavalry soldiers buried here as well as many other Civil War and other war veterans. My Grandfather Heston McKinley Hill served in the Navy during World War I.

Joseph Welsh Hill - Co. B Ringgold Cavalry - Civil War

Heston McKinley Hill - Navy - World War I

Scenery Hill is located on the Rt 40 - the famous National Pike. It was formerly named Hillsborough after Hillsborough County Down Ireland where my Hill family came from in the mid 1760's. The Hill family settled the town and named it for their homeland (which research has indicated was probably named for the Hill Family).
Scenery Hill/Hillsborough Sign

Hill Fort in Hillsborough, County Down, Ireland

Century Inn menu from 1965. A shrimp dinner was $2.75 !!

Below are several old postcard and photos of the Century Inn that I have collected.

1 comment:

Clem said...

I am trying to locate a Stephen Hill of Washington Co Pa. He had a child by Elizabeth Iams and they were never married. The child was named Thomas Iams Hill. I am a direct decendent of his. Please point me in the right direction.