A vanishing cemetery?

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Gravemarkers found smashed in one of county’s oldest cemeteries

By Tom Watson

Cemeteries don’t vanish, but when the headstones and footstones are thrown into a hollow or otherwise crushed by man or beast, evidence of their existence becomes rare.


The Hill-Wood Cemetery is one of the oldest in Spencer County and it would take quite an effort to locate some of the headstones or footstones. Restoration of the cemetery would be a monumental project.
It can be located on “An Atlas of Nelson & Spencer Counties Kentucky, 1882” on the page marked “Taylorsville Precinct No. 1.” It is located between two small tributaries of the Boston Branch that flows into Salt River.
An old friend of mine, racing steward Larry Hill of Florida, tried for many years to draw attention to the long forgotten cemetery where his ancestors are buried.
On the back of a photo of the grave marker of Ellen Wood, he wrote:
“Old Hill-Wood Cemetery (is) located on (the) E.T. Holloway place about two miles west of Taylorsville on the north side of Highway #44. Evidence of many stones, the majority broken up. Oldest was dated (died) Aug. 25, 1815. That could be dug up from the ground. Hardy Hill buried here Dec. 1798, grave was marked, can’t locate stone.”
I suppose if Hardy Hill’s stone could be found, either partially or completely intact with dates showing, it would be the oldest. This could also be the area where a pioneer station (also called a fort) was located. There are stories that a pioneer station existed on the same farm, but any evidence of its location, except for the atlas pin-pointing the cemetery, cannot be found.
Who was Hardy Hill? He was an accomplished soldier for our side in the American Revolution. He also fought in the War of 1812, was in the Battle of New Orleans under Gen. Andrew Jackson and was a militia captain under George Rogers Clark.
His service to his country earned him a land grant of 447 acres on Brashears Creek and Pond Run about one-and-a-half miles north of Taylorsville. It’s the area I’ve been discussing.
Hill was just eight-years-old when he was captured by Native Americans near Pittsburgh and raised by them for a time until white traders helped him escape.
He was a 2nd Lieutenant in the Pennsylvania militia 1777 to 1779, became a justice of the peace in Shelby County in 1796. Hardy Hill married Margaret Walker of Scotland. They had Isaac; Martha; who married a Cunningham; James; Sarah, who married a Carrithers; Hardy Junior; Margaret; Nancy; Kester; Archibald and John. John Hill married Sally Shields (born 1799, died 1826) and they lived on Simpson Creek. They had Joseph Robert Hill, who lived near Waterford. His son was Dr. Walter Wallace Hill of Louisville, who was the grandfather of Larry Hill, the racing steward from Florida.
Mary Frances Brown’s “The History of Spencer County, Kentucky” was a resource for part of this article.