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Edward Hill Jr.

Member From: 1676 - 1688

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  • Birth Date: 1637 Birth Place:
  • Death Date: November 17, 1700
  • Gender: Male Race: Caucasian
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  • Military Service: Colonel, Charles City County Militia
    Edward Hill, Jr. sat on the Bacon's Rebellion courts martial in 1673 & 1677
  • Occupation/Profession:
  • Additional Info:
    1676, 1679, 1684, 1688 (In the assembly of 1688, Robert Bolling successfully contested the election of Edward Hill, Jr. and was seated in his place)
  • Bio: EDWARD HILL, JR., of Shirley, was Speaker of the House of Burgesses at the assembly of 1684. He had served as a burgess for Jamestown in 1679, but was not returned to the assembly of 1680-1682. Charles City County elected him to the House in 1684, but not in 1685-1686. He sat in the House for a few days in April 1688 until a contested election was decided in favor of his opponent, Robert Bolling. In April 1691 he began a term of service on the Council that continued to his death on 30 November 1700.
    From his father Edward Hill, Sr., who had presided at four assemblies, the younger Speaker Hill inherited a large estate, a prominent place in Charles City County affairs, and a pugnacious spirit. Wealth and family brought him the local responsibilities that were expected of the Virginia gentry. He sat on the county court and the vestry of Westover Parish, and served as sheriff for several years. In the militia he rose from major in 1673 to colonel at the time of Bacon's Rebellion, and he sat on courts-martial in 1673 and 1677. He also maintained the family's commercial interests in fur trading, a tannery, and a flourishing ordinary. Early in the 1670s while Hill was building a courthouse and jail, of which he was appointed
    warden, the members of the county court slept, dined, and drank at his ordinary.

    Bacon's Rebellion brought Edward Hill, Jr., a decade of complications. At the outset he had scorned an invitation to join the rebels led by Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., and he was "cordially hated" by many people. He "lost considerable by the Rebell party,'' royal commissioner John Berry reported, for he ''always adhered to Sir William Berkeley, though in some things too much." The assembly of 1676 ordered that Edward Hill, Jr., and John Stith be disqualified from holding any "office either civill or military whatsoever." The rebels plundered his plantation, destroyed his papers, "and to finish theire barbarism," he wrote, took his "wife bigg with child prisoner, beat her with my cane, ... and with her ledd away my children where they must live on come and water and lye on the ground, had it not been for the charity of good people." Hill's continued loyalty to Governor Berkeley eventually provoked a harsh judgment from the postrebellion commissioners.
    In May 1677 subscribers to a list of Charles City County grievances accused Hill of misappropriating tax money for his own use, and a contentious neighbor, Thomas Grindon, charged that he had unjustly confiscated his estate. Although both charges later were disproved, the royal commissioners reported Hill to be "the most hated man of all the county where he lived,'' and English authorities labeled Hill and Robert Beverley, Sr., ''unfit to serve his Majesty.''
    As the popularity of the royal commissioners and governors fell, however, Hill's rose. The people of Jamestown, a Green Spring-faction stronghold, elected him to the House of Burgesses in 1679. In 1680 after he had written his defense and obtained statements from the Henrico and Charles City county courts certifying his loyalty, the House of Burgesses petitioned Charles II in Hill's behalf, asking that the ''integrity, honesty, inocencie and Loyalty, of the said Colonel Edward Hill may be made knowne, to the end he may Noe longer lye under his [Majesty's] Royall displeasure." Speaker Thomas Ballard, another Berkeley loyalist, signed the order. Deputy Governor Sir Henry Chicheley, meanwhile, had commissioned Hill as attorney general in September 1679, but after Culpeper had arrived in 1680 Hill was replaced by Edmund Jenings. Not until 1684 did the people of Charles City County return Hill to the House. Then the burgesses elected him Speaker over four other candidates.
    Building on the tensions of the previous several years, the April 1684 meeting of the General Assembly marked the beginning of four years of bitter political strife between Governor Francis Howard, baron Howard of Effingham, and the House of Burgesses. The House fought in defense of its privileges and lost the right to participate in the determination of appeals from the General Court, as it had since 1643. Speaker Hill evidently stood firm against Governor Effingham. A month before Effingham left the colony in 1689 Hill was summoned before the Council "to answer for his high Contempt'' in searching for gold without license from the governor; not until after the Glorious Revolution was Hill reappointed to high office.
    In April 1691 the assembly appointed Hill treasurer of the revenue raised by new duties on furs, liquor, and other commodities, and on 17 April 1691 he was appointed to the Council, where he served until his death. By July 1692 he had resigned as treasurer in order to accept the office of collector for the upper district of James River, a post his son later held. Finally, in June 1697 Speaker Hill was named to the new court of admiralty in Virginia. He died at Shirley on 17 November 1700.
  • Other Notable Service and/or Elected Offices: Speaker of the House of Burgesses: 1684; Member of the Council of State: 1691 - 1700; Virginia Attorney General, appointed by Deputy Governor Sir Henry Chicheley on September 27, 1679. Member of the Charles City County Court; Sheriff of Charles City County
Session District District Number Party Leadership Committees
1661-1676 Charles City
1676 Charles City
1679 Charles City
1684 Charles City Speaker of the House
1688 Charles City

*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.

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