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Captain Baylor Hill (1760-1804)
Baylor Hill was born in 1760 at his family’s home Hillsborough (Walkerton, Virginia) in King and Queen County, Virginia. He was the son of Col. Humphrey Hill and Frances Baylor.
Most of what is known about Baylor Hill’s service during the American Revolution is recorded in a daily diary he kept. A three-volume book about the diary titled “A Gentleman of Fortune – The Diary of Baylor Hill - 1st Continental Light Dragoons 1777-1781” was published in October 2002 by the late John T. Hayes who was editor of The Saddlebag Press. “A Gentleman of Fortune” contains a transcript of the surviving entries in the diary as well as extensive notes and additional commentary including correspondence and expense records kept by Hill. The actual diary is part of the R. A Brock Collection at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Baylor Hill commissioned cornet in his home state of Virginia on December 4th, 1776. Under the command of Theodorick Bland (congressman) Hill was immediately sent north to join Washington’s army. The first surviving entry in the diary is dated Wednesday, January 29th , 1777 where Hill reports he was in Morristown, NJ. The final diary entry is dated Thursday, January 18th, 1781. Hill had been a British POW at Haddrell’s Point in Mount Pleasant, SC since being captured on Saturday, May 6th, 1780. If Hill kept a diary for 1778, it is now lost.
Baylor Hill’s diary entries during this four-year period offer a look into the daily life of a young cavalry officer. While much of it could be seen as somewhat routine, Hill writes about being at times in the immediate company of some prominent people such as George Washington, Benjamin Lincoln, Nathanael Greene and William Alexander, Lord Stirling.
For example, two of Hill’s diary entries:
Wednesday, February 26th 1777 – “This day I with 9 of our Troop had the pleasure of ascorting His Excellency Gen Washington down to Chatham, dined with him and retd to Morris Town with him that night. “[
Tuesday, March 11th 1777 - “At Bearskin Ridge all day this day I had the honour of dining wth Lord Stirling, Gen Green, Gen Lincon and Sundry other Gen Officers.”
Baylor Hill served in both the Northern and Southern Theater of operations. He was involved in several engagements including Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monck's Corner and Battle of Lenud's Ferry where he was captured.
After the American Revolution, Baylor Hill settled in Norfolk, Va. where he served as mayor in 1798 Baylor Hill is thought to have died in 1804.
Baylor Hill is represented in The Society of the Cincinnati by his great, great, great, great, great, grandnephew, William Joseph Longan, Jr. (VA).
- 1. Ryland 1948, p 7.
- 2. Hayes 2002, Vol. 1, p 1.
- 3. Hayes 2002, Vol. 1, p 4.
- 4. Hayes 2002, Vol. 1, p 5.
- 5. Hayes 2002, Vol. 1, p. 15
- 6. Hayes 2002, Vol. 3, p. 169
- 7. Hayes 2002, Vol. 3, p. 89.
- 8. Hayes 2002, Vol. 3, p. 81.
- 9. Hayes 2002, Vol. 1, p. 20.
- 10. Hayes 2002, Vol. 1, p. 21.
- 11. Hayes 2002, Vol. 1, p. 79.
- 12. Hayes 2002, Vol. 3, p. 64.
- 13. Hayes 2002, Vol. 3, p. 80.
- 14. Norfolk Library, p. 3.
- 15. Ryland 1948, p 7.
Ryland, Elizabeth Hawes (1948) “Some Descendants of Colonel Humphrey Hill of “Hillsborough”, King & Queen County, Virginia.
Hayes, John T. (2002) “A Gentleman of Fortune: The Diary of Baylor Hill. First Continental Light Dragoons 1777-1781.” Volumes 1-3. The Saddlebag Press. Fort Lauderdale, Fl.
Norfolk Virginia Public Library. “The Mayors of Norfolk”.