Explore By:

 Please turn your device to landscape view for wide tables like those below.

Edward Hill Sr.

Member From: 1640 - 1659

Member image
  • Birth Date: unknown Birth Place:
  • Death Date: ca. 1663
  • Gender: Male Race: Caucasian
  • Spouse:
  • Children:
  • Religion:
  • Education:
  • Military Service: Colonel
  • Occupation/Profession: Tobacco inspector
  • Additional Info: Edward Hill signed the Apr. 1, 1642 Declaration against the Company; Charles City County was assigned to him from a list of tobacco viewers
  • Bio: EDWARD HILL, SR., presided over the House of Burgesses at the assemblies of 1644, 1645, 1654-1655, and 1659. He owned land in Charles City County as early as 1638 and had first been elected as a burgess for the county in 640, when he also was appointed as a tobacco inspector for the area between Jamestown and Bisker's Creek.
    During the 1640s and 1650s Colonel Hill was primarily involved in military and commercial activities. Early in 1646 the General Assembly sent Hill and Captain Thomas Willoughby to Kent Island and Maryland to secure the return of Virginians who has secretly left the colony and "to follow such further instructions as shall be given to them by the Governor and Council." A rebellion led by Richard Ingle was raging in Maryland, and it seems likely that Governor Sir William Berkeley and the Council, perhaps to assist Maryland's governor, Leonard Calvert, gave Hill secret instructions to help restore order. Hill arrived in Maryland and, claiming the title of governor summoned an assembly to meet in 1646. About the same time Governor Calvert returned from England and, with Berkley's assistance, Mounted an expedition to subdue the rebels. Hill's assembly either adjourned or was captured (the details are not known). Governor Calvert reconvened the members of Hill's assembly in January 1647, which suggests that Calvert, Berkley, Hill, and the Virginia Council might have cooperated in the affair.
    Hill's interest in the northern Chesapeake Bay grew as he became aware of its commercial potential. In Novermber 1647 the assembly granted him an eleven year license for "the sole trade of the Bay of the Chesapeake (Vidzt) within the lymitts of Virginia." An outpost on the south bank of the Potomac River provided his base for trading operations, and he also acquired 4,000 acres on the Rappahannock River.
    When Hill returned to Virginia he again was chosen to represent Charles City County in the House of Burgesses, this time at the assembly of 1649. He was named to the Council and sat at its sessions in September and November 1651. In March 1652 Virginia surrendered to commissioners sent by Parliament, and in April Charles City County returned Hill to the House of Burgesses
    At the assembly of 1654-1655 the House of Burgesses, over which Speaker hill presided, showed that it intended to be respected by all Virginians, and that it would countenance no aspersion of the House or its officers. Sometime prior to the assembly's meeting in November 1654, an allegation had been made that Edward Hill was "an atheist and blasphemer." Religious controversy and libelous dispute always caused concern among seventeenth-century civil authorities, for even if the disputants here obscure indentured servants their conflicts unsettled the public peace. The governor and Council, at their last meeting before the assembly session (probably in October 1654), had considered the allegations made against him and "cleered the said Coll. Edward Hill." Convening on 20 November, the House of Burgesses unanimously chose Hill as its Speaker, whereupon sharp-tongued William Hatcher, a former burgess from Henrico County, "maliciously reported" and circulated the old charge that Hill was an Atheist and blasphemer, and "notwithstanding he had notice given him of the Governour and Councils pleasure therein and of the said Coll. Hill's being cleered as afforesaid,… also reported, That the mouth of this house was a Devil." The matter was now was serious, for Hatcher has committed contempt and breach of privilege. As was the standard parliamentary practice, he was summoned to the House and required "upon his knees, [to] make an humble acknowledgement of his offence unto the said Coll. Edward Hill and Burgesses of this Assembly," and was then dismissed after paying a fine.
    As early as 1647, when the assembly allowed Indians to carry messages to Edward hill's home near Westover, the colonists regarded Colonel Hill as well suited to deal with their Indian neighbors. In March 1656, acting on news of a gathering of western Indians near the falls of the James River, the assembly put Hill in command of an armed party sent to disperse the Indians, peacefully if possible. The assembly adjourned to await the outcome. The colonists solicited support from the Pamuney, Chickahominy, and other neighboring tribes, and Tottopottomoy, King of the Pamunkeys, joined forces with Hill. Although the western Indians had brought beaver pelts to trade with the English, hill ignored the assembly's instruction to avoid violence and had five Indian leaders put to death. The friendly Pamunkey chief Tottopottomoy was killed in the fight that ensued, and a contemporary wrote that Hill's "unparalleled hellish treachery and anti-Christian perfidy more to be detested than any heathenish inhumanity cannot but stink most abominably in the nosetrils of as many Indians, as shall be infested with the least scent of it." Hill's force was defeated in the battle that his rash course had begun, and the governor and Council issued an order against him on 4 June 1656. When the assembly reconvened in December, both houses concurred in a unanimous condemnation of his "crimes and weaknesses." The assembly suspended him from all military and civil offices and held him liable for the expense of settling the peace
    By 1659 Hill had been readmitted to public office, for in March he represented Charles City County in the House of Burgesses and was elected Speaker, and in August he was a member of the Charles City County Court. In March 1660 Hill was named to the Council of State, an appointment that was confirmed that year in Charles II's new commission to Governor Berkley. In August 662, after the General Assembly had established a short-lived system of circuit courts, Hill presided over the York County Court as "his Majesties Honorable Itinerary Judge." Edward Hill, of Shirley died about 1663.
  • Other Notable Service and/or Elected Offices: Speaker of the House of Burgesses: 1644, 1645, 1654-55, 1659
    Member of the Council of State: 1651, 1660 - 1663
Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1640 Charles City
1642 Charles City
1644 Charles City Speaker of the House
1645 Charles City Speaker of the House
1645-1646 Charles City
1647-1648 Charles City
1649 Charles City
1652 Apr Charles City
1654-1655 Charles City Speaker of the House
1659 Charles City Speaker of the House

*The information within this interactive and searchable application has been researched extensively by the House Clerk’s Office. As with any historical records of this age and breadth, there may be discrepancies and/or inconsistencies within records obtained from a variety of credible sources. Any feedback is encouraged at history@house.virginia.gov.

Search What's This?

Advanced Search