Vicksburg Herald clipping

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To The Herald:,

You will gratify many friends of the Hon. Jas. Hill, deceased, by publishing the following simple and true account of his life:

James Hill, the negro leader, was born near the town of Holly Springs, Marshall county, Miss., in August, 1845. With his brother, Frank P. Hill, and mother, he was the property, in slavery times, of Maj. James Hill, of Marshall county. At Maj. Hill's death Jim Hill, the negro boy, became the property of the major's daughter, Mrs. Caldonia Athey, who is an aunt of Mrs. Geo. M. Govan, and sister of the widow of Gen. Wiley Jones. Jim Hill was employed for a short while in a barber shop at Holly Springs and subsequently hired himself to the railroad company at Holly Springs, where, in the machine shop at that place he rendered good service and in time became proficient in the art of operating a railroad engine.

Hill entered into politics when the Republican party was organized. Beginning as seargent-at-arms of the Mississippi legislature, he was afterwards elected member of the house of representatives, and at the regular election succeeding the death of James Lynch, who at the time of his death was secretary of state, Hill was elected to that important office.

When the Democratic party took control of the affairs of the state in 1875, and removed a number of Republicans from office, Hill was still occupying the office of secretary of state and courted the fullest and freest investigation of his stewardship. The office was searchingly investigated, and to Hill's credit, the affairs were in proper condition and he was allowed to serve to the end of his term - an honor bestowed upon no other Republican state official.

Early in the administration of President Hayes the office of minister to Liberia was tendered Hill, but he declined it. President Hayes afterwards, in 1878, appointed him postmaster at Vicksburg, and again he declined. Tendered the position of collector of internal revenue for the district of Mississippi during the Hayes administration, Hill accepted the position and held it until he was displaced in 1885 by President Cleveland. Hill was appointed by President Harrison to the office of postmaster of Vicksburg in 1890, and though never confirmed, held the office until relieved by Mr. Cleveland in 1893.

In November, 1897, Hill was appointed by President McKinley to the office of register of the land office at Jackson, Miss., and held the office until March 1, 1902.

He died at 8 o'clock a.m. June 12, 1903, at his residence in Jackson, after being ill for the fourteen months preceding.

Among the most beautiful floral offerings which decorated Hill's bier were those sent by express from Holly Springs by Mrs. Caldonia Athey and Mrs. Wiley Jones.





Vicksburg Herald, “Vicksburg Herald clipping,” Mississippi State University Libraries, accessed October 3, 2023,

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