Hill, Asa (ca. 1788–1844)

By: Rachel Jenkins

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: June 9, 2020

Asa Hill, early Texas soldier and participant in the Mier expedition, was born around 1788 in Martin County, North Carolina, one of ten children of Isaac Hill and Lucy (Wallace) Hill. He has often been confused with Abram Wiley Hill of Bastrop, who was born in 1815 and died in 1884. Around 1800 the family moved to Georgia, and along with his brother John J. Hill, Asa Hill for a time settled there near Hillsborough. On October 6, 1808, he married Elizabeth Barksdale; they had thirteen children. After Hill's death Elizabeth married Alexander Thomson, Jr.

Hill traveled to Texas about 1834 with his son William Carroll Andrew and his nephew Isaac Lafayette Hill, and in 1835 he moved his wife and family to Texas. By 1836 he had joined the Texas army. Soon after the burning of Gonzales, Sam Houston ordered him to travel east to warn those in the path of the approaching Mexican army, and consequently Asa Hill did not serve at the battle of San Jacinto. In 1839 he settled at Rutersville, Fayette County, and by 1840 had enrolled eight children in the first term at the newly opened Rutersville College. In 1842 Hill and two of his sons, Jeffrey Barksdale and John Christopher Columbus Hill, joined the Somervell expedition and later the Mier expedition. All three men were captured. In the Black Bean Episode, which followed the Texan prisoners' brief escape en route to Mexico City, Asa Hill drew a white bean and thus was spared execution. He and his son Jeffrey were held with the other Texan prisoners at Perote prison until late in 1843, when the Hills were released after John Christopher Columbus's successful appeals on their behalf to generals Pedro Ampudia and Antonio López de Santa Anna. Weakened from his long prison stay, Asa Hill died on July 15, 1844, soon after his return to Rutersville. He was buried on Cedar Creek, off State Highway 159 midway between Rutersville and Fayetteville. A state historical marker placed in 1973 at Rutersville indicates the site. In 1975 his remains were removed from the Cedar Creek site and reinterred in the old cemetery at La Grange.

Claude W. Dooley, comp., Why Stop? (Odessa: Lone Star Legends, 1978; 2d ed., with Betty Dooley and the Texas Historical Commission, Houston: Lone Star, 1985). Fort Worth Star-Telegram, February 24, 1974. George Alfred Hill, The Hill Family of Fayetteville, Typical Texians: An address delivered at Fayetteville, Texas, December 9, 1939 (Houston?, 1936?). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Rachel Jenkins, “Hill, Asa,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 20, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/hill-asa.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 9, 2020