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Hills to Oregon

Hills to Oregon

This Personal Web Site is centered on the saga of one family, the Isaac Hill Family that came across the plains in 1852 to help "Tame the West," in particular the Rogue River Valley of Southwestern Oregon.

Among the basic documents reproduced here is Undaunted Pioneers
in which Isaac's middle daughter, Mary, tells of the crossing and the settling in and around Ashland, Oregon. In the Sept. 14, 1950 issue of the Southern Oregon News Review there was an article taken from her writings. More detail if not more accuracy is found in The History of the Sweetwater Valley by William B. Lenoir. This pdf [0.9 M Bytes] copy of pages 147-151 is provided courtesy of Glen Fine.

Thanks To the Southern Oregon Historical Society and the author Nan Hannon, I now have permission to scan and post pdf files of a two part article of which the first half appeared in the Table Rock Sentinel in August 1985. CAUTION: These files are quite large to keep the photo quality high.  The Hill Family of Ashland [10.6 M Bytes] is based largely on Undaunted Pioneers, but enhanced from other sources.  Part 2 appeared in the September/October, 1985 issue.  It is presented in Hill Family Part 2 [14.1 M Bytes]To keep focus the first page of this pdf file is from the August cover instead of the photograph of Phantom Ship in Crater Lake which is on the later cover.

But the site also tells the story of others whose lives intersect the Hill Family's.  For example James Howard Russell married Mary's younger sister Ann Haseltine Hill.  The record begins with the retelling of the story of The Young James H.Russell    as told by his son James Buchanan Russell .  Another perspective is provided by the Resolution on the Death of James H.Russell published by the Southern Oregon Pioneer Association.  The widow subscribed to "Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon."  This entitled her to contribute to "Original Sketches of many well known Citizens of the Past and Present," and to receive a copy of the weighty tome which was published by the Chapman Publishing Co. in Chicago in 1904.  The   Biography of James H. Russell is her contribution but it is more about her than him.  Ann's sister Mary Dunn put in an article about herself. An obituary on James H. Russell appeared in "Valley Record" at Ashland, Or. Thursday Oct 3, 1895.

Ann H. Hill Russell also wrote some memories in several sittings.  In 1922 she wrote an essay about The Hill Cemetery which was published at Southern Oregon College in 1960 by Arthur S. Taylor.  About 1924 she wrote The Hill Family in 1852 and 1853 . In 1926 Ann wrote to her youngest daughter about How I Felt on Leaving my Tennessee Home. Another effort about 1930 was untitled but started out Into the Rouge River Valley I came . An interview with her was published in a local paper.  I have a copy of it that notes the date 9 July 1922, but does not state the name of the paper.  The headline refers to"The Journal."

Ann H. Hill spent quite a bit of time writing descriptions of the Rogue River Indian Wars.  Her husband, James H. Russell was a Major in the 9th Oregon Militia, her father Isaac Hill donated land for the cemetery which is now under Immigrant Lake after the remains of many casualties of that war were moved to the new location.  Ann's mother Elizabeth Fine Hill prepared many of those remains for burial.  In her own words, in her own hand here are the stories:  written Nov. 1, 1921, [ 50.5 MB]  written April 24, 1924.[53.9 MB] A Muster Roll [ 9 K B]for the officers of the 9th Oregon Militia shows that Major James H. Russell served in what is now known as the Rogue River Indian War.  This Muster Roll is also being made available as a Portable Document Format file.

Martha Hill was the third daughter who came west with Isaac and Elizabeth.  She married Almon V. Gillette in 1855 and wrote her "Overland to Oregon," with the by line: Martha Hill Gillette.  The book is being scanned in batches of 10 pages to keep the file size manageable.  The first three are Page 17-25 [3.5 MB],  Page 26-35[4 MB] and Page 36-45.

If you download one or both of these, you may need to download  the FREE Adobe Reader which can be downloaded from:

Many of the documents reproduced here assume a knowledge of the geography of the area.  To improve the understanding of this material I have appealed to real expert.  Kay Atwood is not only a meticulous historian, but a talented artist who has included excellent maps in the Mill Creek Journal which deserves to be referenced by anyone who has an interest in the history of southern Oregon.  She has very kindly given me permission to scan the map she drew showing the Upper Bear Creek Valley in 1855.

An important document in family history is a letter from Peter Lee Fine to his sister Elizabeth and her husband Isaac Hill.

There also is a mimeographed letter from Ann H. dated April 7,1929.  My copy is hand addressed to "Bobby Russell ," That would be Ashley Robert Russell, who was killed by a German sniper in Normandy a few days after D-Day.  A much more recent, but undated letter from Ann's grandson [and my step-father] Ashley Howard Russell [the older  brother of my birth mother, Mildred Russell Phelps] to the curator of the Southern Oregon Historical Society Museum in Jacksonville fills in some background.

The Isaac Hill Cemetery was also called the Hill-Dunn Cemetery, it was proposed for the National Register of Historic Places under the heading "Historic Cemeteries of Ashland Oregon -and Environs 1851-1925."

  Links:  Some other places on the WWW that speak to my heritage deserve notice here:   Klamath Junction is the name of a place developed where the Hill and Russell Donation Land Claims were the first European settlements. Is another rendering of the Resolution on the Death of James H. Russell


You are our  visitor since 2002-- thanks for stopping by!

Last updated by William P. Russell on 9 Nov 2011Saturday, 08-Sep-2018 09:40:23 MDT