Capt. John Hill

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John Hill, Sr.

Birthdate: (47)
Birthplace: Saco, York , Maine
Death: June 02, 1713 (47)
Berwick, York , Maine
Immediate Family:

Son of Roger Hill of Wells and Mary Hill, of Wells
Husband of Mary Hill
Father of Sarah Leighton; Mary Leighton; Hon. John Hill; Capt. Elisha Hill; Abigail Hill and 1 other
Brother of Sarah Priest; Hannah Storer; Samuel Hill, I; Joseph Hill; Mary (Mercy) Littlefield and 2 others

Managed by: Eddy Jones
Last Updated:

About Capt. John Hill

John Hill, the son of Roger and Sarah Cross Hill, was born in Saco, Maine in 1666. Roger Hill had settled with his father, Peter Hill, in Biddeford near the mouth of the Saco River sometime before 1648. In 1686 John Hill entered into partnership with Francis Backhouse (modernized to Backus) to build a sawmill. He served in the military during King William’s War, spending most of his time at a fort in Saco. While at Saco he also acted as an agent in building vessels for Col. William Pepperell of Kittery. He married Mary Frost in 1694. After resigning his military commission in 1699, he moved to Berwick and became a farmer and owner of sawmills, some of which he owned jointly with John Plaisted. He died in 1713.

Commander of Fort Mary at Saco, 1689-1699, during the Indian War, called King William's War.


Maine Forts Fort Mary (1708 - unknown), Biddeford Pool

Located on a bluff (Fort Hill) overlooking Winter Harbor / Biddeford Pool. Possibly built as early as 1688, it was rebuilt in 1710. Also known as Fort (John) Hill after its commanding officer. A stone monument was erected here in 1903.

The early history of the Hill family is taken from a pamphlet published in Boston, 1858, by Usher Parsons, in which he says:

"The foregoing account of the Hills was gathered chiefly from manuscripts found in an old chest in the garret of Capt. Cerrish in South Berwick, where they had been nailed up for seventy years. All the commissions held by the Hills, both civil and military, were among them, and forty letters from Sir William Pepperell, some of which were used in writing his life."

We return now to John3, eldest son of Roger and his descendants. John Hill3 was born in Saco, and there received a good common school education. In 1686 he engaged in lumbering and milling operations. In 1689, the Indian war, called "King William's War" broke out, which lasted nearly ten years. A military company was called into service, under the command of Edward Seargent, and John Hill was commissioned its ensign. He was employed much in scouting, but served mostly at the forts at Saco, Wells and South Berwick. In 1690 the settlement at Salmon Falls was destroyed and many killed or carried into captivity, also the fort at Falmouth near Portland.

The neighboring garrisons drew off to Saco, and from thence he inhabitants mostly fled for protection to Wells, among them the Hill family, where Joseph and Samuel, Hannah and Mary, with their parents, remained permanently. John, however, remained in the fort at Saco. The following year he was stationed at Wells.

On the 25th of January, 1692, the Indians surprised the town of York, killed seventy-five of the inhabitants, carried about the same number into captivity, and nearly destroyed the town. On the 10th of June following, a large force of more than two hundred French and Indians made a furious attack on the garrison at Wells, commanded by Capt. Convers, who, with fifteen regular soldiers, aided by a few families, collected there for protection, repulsed the enemy with a heavy loss. This was considered the most brilliant achievement of the war.

Cotton Mather in his " Magnalia," describes Ensign Hill's good conduct in the fight, and of his meeting a flag of truce of the enemy to hold a parley, and of his escape from an ambush the Indians had prepared to take him. The people in the garrison, women as well as men, assisted bravely in passing cartridges and firing muskets at the enemy.

After this victory, Hill was promoted to a lieutenantcy and was stationed at Quampegan and Newichewannock in South Berwick, under Major Charles Frost, who was stationed at Frost's garrison at Kittery, and commanded all the forts on the east side of the Piscataqua. Hill's station was about five miles from Major Frost's garrison and dwelling where official duties required his frequent visits. A daughter of the major, named Mary, attracted his attention and soon after became his w ife. Toward the close of April, 1693, Hill received a communication from the Council in Boston, commencing: as follows, and containing instructions as to his duties. "capt. John Hill—Sir: His Excellency hath been pleased to commissionate and appoint you to take the charge of a company for their Majesty's service, and pursuant thereunto, hath sent you a commission of C aptain. * * #" He was directed to march " unto Saco" and there "to keep the post." Capt. Hill was married to Mary Frost, December 12, 1694. He remained in command of Fort Mary for many years, until 1700. His commission, of the same tenor as the former one by Gov. Phipps, was renewed in September, 1696, by Lieut.-Gov. Stoughton. In this year the whole province of Maine was devastated by the combined force of French and Indians, with the exception of Saco, Wells, York and Piscataqua, and it was feared that these soon must fall. The fort at Saco was not surrendered by Hill, although all the inhabitants of the town were driven away or killed, and many of Hill's soldiers were waylaid and murdered while venturing out of the fort. Earjy this year, 1696, died Roger Hill, the father of Capt. John Hill. A division of the movable estate took place soon after, as appears by certain receipts. The real estate was divided among the children in October, 1702, by mutual agreement, John, the eldest son, taking a double portion, the others sharing equally. Previous to this, Pendleton FMetcher had died in captivity in Canada, and his widow had married William Priest, whose name appears among the signers of the agreement.

The widow of Roger Hill made her home with her son John and conveyed to him or his widow all her property in Berwick, in 1720, where she died shortly after.

Capt. Hill, while at Saco, acted as agent for Col. William Pepperell, father of Sir William, in directing the building of vessels.

Maj. Frost, Capt. Hill's father-in-law, was waylaid and killed by the Indians on the Sabbath, as he was returning from meeting at night in July, 1697. "John Heard's wife and Denes Downing" were killed at the same time, and John Heard was wounded The next day several others were murdered, and others " escaped wonderfully."



  1. Folger Library - Special Collections: Guide to the Hill Family Papers
  2. Descendants of David Evans of Charleston, Massachusetts: to which is appended partial records of certain families connected with them by marriage (Google eBook) Simeon Adams Evans. s.n., 1893 - 107 pages. Page 87
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Capt. John Hill's Timeline

May 28, 1666
Saco, York , Maine
December 6, 1695
Age 29
January 15, 1701
Age 34
ME, United States
March 2, 1703
Age 36
December 15, 1706
Age 40
February 3, 1709
Age 42
Saco, York, Maine
November 1, 1712
Age 46
June 2, 1713
Age 47
Berwick, York , Maine