WILLIAM HILL (1773-1857)
North Carolina Secretary of State for 46 years

From The Durham Sun, November 20, 1981 ...William Hill served as North Carolina Secretary of State from November 29, 1811 until his death on October 29, 1857 -- just a month short of 46 years.... Hill was born on Sept 23, 1773, in Surry (now Stokes) County, the son of a Baptist minister by the same name and Eliza Halbert Hill. Both parents came from Caroline County Va. With little schooling Hill nevertheless became a teacher at age 16, but after a few years moved to Raleigh and clerked in Secretary of State James Glasgow's office. In 1803, he married Sarah Geddy. For a few months the couple lived at Haywood in Chatham County, but returned to Raleigh where Hill was appointed magistrate and register of deeds for Wake County. In 1807, he became clerk of court. When Secretary of State William White died in 1811, Hill was appointed to the position. About the time of his appointement as secretary of state, Hill was converted to Methodism by Bishop Asbury and McKendres, who preached in the state house. His Baptist heritage, however, dictated that he be baptized by immersion (in a private ceremony). Thereafter, he was one of the state's leading Methodists. Sarah died in 1833 after bearing a son and four daughters. Hill later married Frances Connor Blount, "relict" of Joseph Bount of Chatham County. They had no children. As flames lapped through the state house in 1831, William Hill "by strenuous exertions" helped carry his records from his office. For months he laboriously put his records back into order, and in the 1850s an observer wrote, "A reference may be now had by him to anything pertaining to the history of the State and the Colony, that has been preserved..."

I found this information on the "Find a Grave" site:

William Hill, III was born in Surry (now Stokes) County, NC in 1773, one of 11 known children born to Rev. William Hill, Jr. and Hannah Elizabeth Halbert. His father came from Caroline County, VA and was a Baptist minister, patriot, and owner of "Popular Hill" Plantation in Rockingham Co, NC.  

William Hill III came to Raleigh as a clerk to James Glascow, who went out of office in 1798 when William White was elected. In 1803, 30-year old William married Sarah "Sally" Geddy, daughter of Col. John Geddy of Raleigh. The couple would have 5 known children. In 1811, William Hill 
became Secretary of State for NC, and served at that post for almost 50 years.

Sarah Geddy died in 1833, and William married again around 1834-1835 to Frances Clark Pollard Connor, the widow of Joseph Blount, III of Chowan Co. No children came from this union. He passed in 1857 at the advanced age of 84. Upon his death, the following appeared in the North Carolina Argus on November 7, 1857:

"WILLIAM HILL, who so faithfully filled the office of Secretary of State for North Carolina for 46 years, is no more. He died at his residence in the City of Raleigh, on Thurday, the 20th ult., at an advanced age of 84 years.
MR. HILL was a native of Stokes County in this State. In 1795, he went to Raleigh and served in the capacity of clerk to JAMES GLASCOW. On the death of JAMES WHITE, who succeeded JAMES GLASCOW in his official position, which occurred in October 1811, MR. HILL was elected Secretary of State, and filled that responsible position from that time until his death. WILLIAM HILL has passed to this rest -- having through his long and useful life enjoyed the confidence and respect -- and carrying with him, in his death, the regrets of the whole people irrespective of party, of his native State."

William Hill was born in Surry (now Stokes) county, N. C. on the 23rd of September 1773 and died in Raleigh on the 29th of October, 1857, being 84 years, 1 month and 6 days old. In January 1908 he married to Miss Sarah Geddy, daughter of Col. John Geddy. They had a son and four daughters. She died on February 14th, 1833. In 1834 or 1835 he married Mrs. Frances C. Blount, relict of Joseph Blount, Esq., of Chowan county. Her maiden name was Conner. She was a lineal descendant of John Archdale, a Quaker, who was Governor of Carolina in the year 1694. They had no children. She died after 1857. A version of the biographical information reproduced below also appears in Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians by John H. Wheeler, Columbus OH: Columbus Printing Works, 1884, which also contains the following information about the Secretary's son Dr. William Geddy Hill and grandson Theophilus H. Hill.

"His son Dr. William G. Hill was long a resident in Raleigh, and much respected as a generous and kind friend and skillful physician. He died a few years since universally esteemed. His son, Theophilus H. Hill, is named among "The Living Writers of the South," by James Wood Davidson, A.M., 1869. He is also a native of Raleigh, born 1836. He is a lawyer by profession, and at one time edited the Spirit of the Age. He wrote verses early in life, always under impulse or inspiration, without system or object. A small volume of Mr Hill's production appeared in 1861, entitled "Hesper and other Poems," full of fire, irregular, hasty and crude. His later poems, Narcissus, A Gangese Dream, the Pit and the Pendulum and Sunset, give proof of the poetic genius he possesses, when regulated by study and system. Rev. Dr. Craven, the President of Trinity College, pronounces the Song of the Butterfly one of the finest of this kind of poetry in the English language. Much may be hoped in the future of Mr. Hill. The critic in "The Living Writers of the South", on Mr Hill's productions, says that he has been too careless of the gift he possesses, trusting too much to the inspiration of genius, rather than to reflection and study, that there is something of the moody style of Poe and not enough of cheerful romance in his poems." [Theophilus Hill's papers are in the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, at the University of North Carolina. His poetry books can still be bought.] 

Hill, William Geddy

by Grady L. E. Carroll, 1988 published in the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography (William S. Powell ed.),

11 Sept. 1806–4 May 1877

William Geddy Hill, physician, was born in Raleigh, the son of William Hill, North Carolina's secretary of state for more than forty years, and Sarah Geddy Hill, a native of Halifax County. He was the grandson of William Hill, Revolutionary patriot and in August 1775 a representative of Surry County in the Provincial Congress at Hillsborough. Hill received his education at the Raleigh Male Academy, whose principal was the Reverend William McPheeters; The University of North Carolina; the office of Dr. Joseph W. Hawkins, eminent physician of Warren County; the office of Dr. Rufus Haywood in Raleigh; and the University of Pennsylvania, from which he was graduated in medicine and surgery in 1827.

Hill entered the medical profession in Pittsboro, but in deference to his wife he settled in Raleigh where he was a successful practitioner until his death. In 1849 he was an organizer of the Medical Society of North Carolina, successor to an earlier group founded in 1799, and in 1872 served as president. In 1870, at the organization of the Raleigh Academy of Medicine, Hill was elected its first president and regularly attended its meetings. In addition to his private practice, he was physician to the state penitentiary. During the Civil War, in the administration building of Peace Institute (now College), Hill ministered to the sick and wounded soldiers of the Confederate and Union armies.

For many years Hill was active in the Masonic order. In February 1830 he was initiated, passed, and raised in Hiram Lodge No. 40, Raleigh; then, briefly, he belonged to Columbus Lodge No. 40, Pittsboro. On returning to Raleigh, he renewed—in 1842—his membership in Hiram Lodge, where he was Junior Warden (1844–45) and Worshipful Master (1846–47, 1856). During 1849–50 he was Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, and on 3 Dec. 1861 he received the highest honor of Ancient Craft Masonry when elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, serving for one year. He was also Grand Representative near the Grand Lodge of North Carolina of both the Grand Lodge of Vermont and the Grand Lodge of Mississippi. In 1864 a company of Masons dimitted from Hiram Lodge in Raleigh and organized a lodge which was named in Hill's honor; the first meeting was held on 18 May, and the charter was dated 7 December. A portrait of Hill is on display at the Masonic Temple (former residence of Josephus Daniels) on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh.

Hill married first, Adelaide Hill, a daughter of Theophilus Hunter Hill of Wake County and later Rachel Jones of the well-established Wake County family. Hill's son, Theophilus Hunter (1836–1901), was a Wake County poet. William G. Hill became a Methodist and "was an exemplary member for twenty years." He was interred in the Raleigh City Cemetery on New Bern Avenue and East Street near the grave site of his father

William Geddy Hill was born in Raleigh, 11 Sept 1806, and died there 04 May 1877, being one of the most beloved Masons and citizens of the state during his life.  In his honor William G. Hill Lodge, No. 218, of Raleigh, was chartered 07 Dec 1864, during his lifetime.  William G. Hill was educated at the Raleigh Male Academy, University of North Carolina and the University of Pennsylvania, from the last of which he graduated in 1827 with the Doctor of Medicine degree, after an intermittent absence and training under private physicians.  He was one of the outstanding medical practitioners of his day and enjoyed a widespread and deserved popularity and practice. He was one of the founders of the Medical Society of North Carolina and the Raleigh Academy of Medicine, serving both organizations as president. For more than a score of years he served Edenton Street Methodist Church as a steward and in all community activities he was deeply interested and ever active.

William G Hill Masonic Life

It is primarily of the Masonic life of William G. Hill that we are interested in this microscopic sketch. He was initiated, passed and raised in Hiram Lodge, No. 40, of Raleigh, in February, 1830, from which he demitted the following May to become a member of Columbus Lodge, No. 102, at Pittsborough, to which community he had removed and lived a few years. In March, 1842, he reaffiliated with Hiram Lodge and served as Master thereof in 1846-1847 and in 1856. Dr. Hill served Grand Lodge as Senior Grand Warden during the terms 1849-1851 and was elected Grand Master 03 Dec 1861, declining reelection at the expiration of his term. He was Representative of the Grand Lodges of Vermont and also Mississippi near the Grand Lodge of North Carolina. During his term as Grand Master the country was torn asunder with the strife of the War Between the States and many were his problems as the head of North Carolina Masonry. Elsewhere we have noted his attitude toward military lodges and here we will not discuss the matter. Under his guidance a Masonic relief association was formed in Raleigh to render aid to soldier Masons and many pages could be written of the charitable services rendered in that field.

Unfortunately, the early records of Raleigh Royal Arch Chapter, No. 10, are lost, so that it is impossible to state when William G. Hill was exalted; however, he served that body as High Priest for many years and in Grand Chapter he served as Deputy Grand High Priest from 1848-1851 and in 1868 was elected Grand High Priest, serving for one term.

Whether or not Brother Hill belonged to other Masonic bodies is not known, as no records have been found to indicate the fact; however, the Grand Chapter Proceedings of 1877 state that he was not only a Royal and Select Master, but served the Council at Raleigh as Illustrious Master.

Few men and Masons have enjoyed the love and esteem that Dr. William G. Hill did during, and after, his lifetime. A man, who as a young man imbibed freely of whiskey and then suddenly quit, lived to become a champion of sobriety and clean living.  It is recorded that he rose in Grand Lodge on one occasion and stated:

“Why, Most Worshipful Grand Master, the Stewards, in their extravagant expenditures, furnish enough refreshments to keep themselves drunk the entire session, enough to make the whole Grand Lodge drunk on the night of the banquet, and then have enough left to keep Hiram Lodge drunk the balance of the year.”

Great Mason, lovable citizen, prosperous physician and God-fearing churchman, William G. Hill will live forever in the hearts of his friends and brethren.

According to "Theophilus Hunter Hill" by Elzabeth E. Norris, 1988, published in the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography (William S. Powell ed.), he was a poet and librarian who was born to and William G. Hill, an eminent physician and Adelaide Hunter on October 31, 1836 at Spring Hill plantation in the home of his maternal grandfather, Theophilus Hunter, Jr., the son of Theophilus Hunter, a pioneer settler of Wake Country. His paternal great -grandfather was the Reverend William Hill, a chaplain in theAmerican Revolution. His grandfather, William Hill, served as North Carolina's secretary of state.  was the daughter of    and died on June 29, 1901. Theophilus received his early education from an aunt, Eliza Hill, who later ran a private school in Raleigh. He attended Raleigh Male Academy directed by J. M. Lovejoy. He entered the University of North Carolina, but had to complete his studies at home because of family financial reverses. He became editor of  a Raleigh newspaper, The Spirit of the Age. Judge Daniel Fowle, who later became governor encouraged him to study law. He was licensed in 1858 but, preferring a literary life, never practiced. His first volume of poems, Hesper and Other Poems was published in 1861. It was the first book published under the Confederate copyright laws. His second book, Poems, was published in New York in 1869 and his last book Passion Flower was published in Raleigh in 1883. He published other poems in periodicals and newspapers. He was state librarian until he became the editor of The Century, published in South Carolina. He also represented sevral insurance companies and book concerns. He married Laura Phillips of Northampton County on January 22, 1861. She did in Northampton County in 1878. They had three children: Theophilus Hunter, Frank E. and Rosa. He married Mattie Yancey of Warren Country in september 1879. They had one child Tempe, who painted a portrait of her father fro the State Library. He died of a fever in Raleight on June 29, 1901 at the age of sixty-four and is buriedin Oakwood Cemetery .

Hill cousin Rich Fischer sent me this great article on William Hill from The Standard of Raleigh dated November 4, 1857:

The Late William Hill

In our last we briefly announced the death of William Hill, Secretary of State. His funeral took place at the Methodist Episcopal Church, in this City, on Friday last, and was attended by a large concourse of people. The public offices at the Capitol, and the principal places of business through the City, were closed as a mark of respect for the deceased. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. Mr. Wheeler, the minister in charge, who preached an impressive sermon from the following text: "For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though, after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God." Job, ch. 19: vs. 25, 26.

Partly from facts furnished us, and partly from our own knowledge, we are enabled to give the following brief biography of the deceased:

William Hill was born in Surry (now Stokes) County, N. C. on the 23rd of September 1773 and died in Raleigh on the 29th of October, 1857, being 84 years, 1 month and 6 days old.

Of his early life little is known beyond the few brief reminiscenses occasionally narrated by himself. His father, who removed from Caroline County, Va., was a Baptist minister, a sterling patriot and an honest man. During the war of the Revolution his stirring appeals stimulated the Whigs of his section. He was a chaplain in the American army at the battle of Guilford Court House. His son William was then about eight years old, and he well recollected hearing the roar of the artillery being only four miles distant from the field of battle. He has been heard to relate that a short time prior to this battle, a band of Tories called at this father's house, where he and his mother were, and enquired for his father. On being told that he was not at home they departed, avowing their intention to hang him if they found him. He had incurred their hate by his devotion to the patriot cause. He was a member of the Convention that met a Hillsborough in August 1775 to improvise a system of government for the State. --the maiden name of his wife, the mother of the subject of this memoir, was Eliza Halbert. She was a native of Caroline County, Va.

The late Secretary had in youth but limited educational facilities. He followed the plow for several months during the year to obtain money sufficient to pay his tuition at school the remainder of the year. At the early age of sixteen he taught school, thus improving his mind while he earned a liveihood.

In the month of July, 1795, having obtained a letter of introduction from Mark Hardin, Esq. of Chapel Hill, afterwards Major Hardin, to James Glasgow, then Secretary of State, he came to Raleigh and entered his (Glasgow's) office as a clerk. Associated with him in the like capacity was William White, Esq., who succeeded Glasgow in office in 1798. He continued in the same position under Secretary White until about January, 1908, when he was married to Miss Sarah, daughter of Col. John Geddy. Colonel G. 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, 1775; and he represented Halifax county in the State Legislature from 1774 to 1885.

A son and four daughters, all now living, were the fruits of this marriage. His wife died on the 14th of February, 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 a 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 a 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 Conner. She is a lineal descendant of John Archdale, a Quaker, who succeeded Philip ?udwell as Governor of Carolina in the year 1694. By this marriage there was no issue. She is still living.

At the burning of the old Capitol in 1881, Mrs Hill succeeded, by strenuous exertions, 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 ....

Mr. Hill was a sincere Christian. His leading characteristics were fidelity, industry, simplicity, honesty, integrity, benevolence and charity. But for the two last named virtues he might haved amassed wealth. He was for many years a class leader and steward in the church of which he was a member. There was no gloom nor austerity in his religion. -- He was ever cheerful. He looked with leniency upon the failings of others, and never spake harshy of them. Regular as was his attendance at the sanctuary, his strict observance of private duty was equally unremitting and methodical. Method, indeed, was one of his most prominent characteristics and one of the main causes of his success in life. It is related of him that often on Saturday evenings, when he supposed no eyes was on him except that of his God, he would kneel in his office at the Capitol to return thanks for mercies past, and to implore the Diving blessing upon the approaching Sabbath. He was distinguished in a remarkable degree for his uniform kindness and cordiality in his intercourse with his fellow-men. He was a man of naturally strong feelings, but he learned to control them. He was decided in his political principles --no trimmer or time server, but he always treated others as he was treated himself. It is believed that he never voted, either in county or State elections, to turn out an officer who had done his duty. It was owing to the fact that he was a good officer, an honest man, and a kind and courteous gentleman, and not that he courted favor by cringing to a party, that he held his office so long. All esteemed him --none doubted his capacity or his fidelity.

When a good man dies, any incident, however trivial, illustrative of his character, is eagerly sought and treasured up by those who loved or admired him; and the following anecdote, occasionally related by Mr. Hill himself, will not be without interest. By it he inculcated both as a pleasure and a duty a constant regard for the feelings of others and unvarying kindness and courtesy to all with whom he should chance to meet. He remarked that he who did this was often rewarded even in this world.

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 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 inmpulses 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 desrved 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 General 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 General 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 Sate of North Carolina after the declaration of Independence. He held that office till 1798, and was succeeded by Wm. White, who held it till removed by death in 1811, when the present Secretary took possession of an office that he had held without interruption over forty years! ever faithful, ever at his post. Mr. Hill was born in Surry County, on Dan River in 1773, we believe, his father a Baptist, and was first recommended to consideration by a letter (now in the Secretary's office) from Mark Hardin to Glasgow. --Amid all the changes of political strife, the contention, ascendency and overthrow of parties in the State, and the consequent scrambling for office, the finger of proscription has never been applied to this now venerable citizen and faithful public servant. --In glancing at the order in which he has the books and papers pertaining to his office arranged, while paying him a visit in June last, we were struck with the order, precision and methodical arrangement of everything belonging to this important public office. After years of labor, he has just completed the arrangement of every book and paper in his office in alphabetical order. He begins with the counties commencing at A and going through , then he takes up the names in the same order; then in the file of his papers, he takes up the years beginning with the first records at 1694. The counties are arranged from 1735, and State papers from 1776. A reference may be now had by him to anything pertaining to the history of the State and the Colony, that has been preserved, in a moment's time, for the last 157 years, now shrouded n the gloom of by gone days and many and singular and woeful are the musty records that are now imprisoned and speechless upon his shelves. The first grants given by the State of North Carolina were dated in 1777. Mr Hill is now in a green old age, and little to hope from the pleasures of this fleeting world, more than that consciousness which is of more value than gold, of having honestly and faithfully performed his part upon the stage of human action, with an eye single to truth, honesty, and the glory of his God. His probation upon the confines of this earth is fast approaching that point "where the good man meets his fate" and evinces to the world the excellence of religion and the blissful reward of a virtuous and consistent course of conduct. Such men are a blessing to the world in life, glorify their Creator in death, and leave the world the better for having lived in it, and their friends "not without hope". Mr Hill has long been a faithful attendant, a sincere worshipper and consistent member of the Methodist Church. Long may he live to adorn her communion, and spread abroad in society the sweet influences of virtue, honor, and religion, and when he dies, may his exit be calm, triumphant and peaceful, for "Death is the crown of life; Were death denied poor man would live in vain; Death wounds to cure; we fall, we rise, we reign, spring from our fetters, fasten to the skies, where blooming Eden withers from our sight. The King of Terrors is the Prince of Peace."