Fitzhugh Lee Hill


Fitzhugh Lee Hill was born on October 20, circa 1866, likely in Chesterfield County, Virginia, where his mother, Emma Agnes Graham, and father, Nathaniel Hill, had settled by 1870. We have been unable to determine where in Virginia Emma was born, but according to an 1871 Freedman’s Bank record, Nathaniel came from Hanover County, possibly Henry District, where one of his brothers, Samuel Lewis, later owned a farm. (Another brother, William Henry, opened a Freedman’s Bank account in 1868, and his record lists Edward Pollard beside “Name of Master” — a line usually left blank. We’ve found photos of a Pollard House in Henry District; whether it’s the Pollard House, we can’t say.) By 1880, the Hills — Nathaniel and Emma; their three children, Julia, Fitzhugh, and William Henry (apparently named for his uncle); and Nathaniel’s sister Maria — were living in Varina District, Henrico County, where Nathaniel farmed.

Fitzhugh would follow in his father’s footsteps, settling on a farm in neighboring Fairfield District, Henrico County, with his wife, Mary Frances Fagins (spelled variously Faggins, Faggans, Fagin, Fagan), whom he married on February 2, 1888. Mary was the daughter of Robert Fagins and Georgianna James or Jenkins, both free before the Civil War. Fitzhugh’s level of schooling is unknown, but some census records indicate he could read and write, as could Mary. By 1900, Mary had given birth to eight children, seven of whom survived: Louise, Fred Douglass, John Langston, Nathaniel, Louis Carter, Fitzhugh Lee Jr., and William Henry. Ten years later, four more children had been born: Julia, Mary Agnes, Queen, and Daniel Webster. All were still living at home on the truck farm the family owned at 2105 Davis Lane. That address no longer exists today, but a 1923 map places it near what is now Glenwood Golf Club, right off Creighton Road. The Hills appear to be the lone African American family in the immediate vicinity in 1910, although newly developed Woodville—the “Colored Man’s Paradise,” according to an ad in the Richmond Planet—was nearby.

The Hills would have had relatively easy access to the Seven Pines streetcar line that ran along the Nine Mile Road corridor from 29th and P Streets in Church Hill to Seven Pines National Cemetery in what later became Sandston. Fitzhugh helped found a church, Fair Oaks Baptist, near the end of the line, at Fair Oaks Station (the site of a Civil War battle, also called the Battle of Seven Pines, in 1862). It still exists today, as does the Star of East Baptist Association, which he and ten others (including the Reverends James Robert Vaughan and John Henry Fauntleroy, both buried at East End) founded in 1910 in Charles City County. In addition to these activities, Fitzhugh was also a member of the Seven Pines Lodge No. 10183 of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, a still-active fraternal society founded in the U.K. in 1798 and established in the U.S. by African Americans in 1843 when they were denied admission to the whites-only Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Fitzhugh died of stomach cancer at about age 66 on August 29, 1932, and was buried at East End a few days later in the same plot as his father, Nathaniel, and possibly his mother, Emma. (As of this writing, we have not yet found headstones for her or for Fitzhugh’s brother, William Henry, who is buried at East End as well.) His wife, Mary, was laid to rest alongside him seven years later. Two of their children, Louise and Mary Agnes, are also buried at East End; several others are interred at neighboring Evergreen and Oakwood; and still others are buried at Mount Lawn Cemetery in Philadelphia, where they had migrated in the 1910s and ’20s, joining the flow of African Americans out of the South. Fitzhugh’s sister, Julia, is also buried there, as are at least two of her children.

Research by Erin Hollaway Palmer, April 2018, and UR student Taylor Githens, fall 2017

Fitzhugh Lee Hill
  • Born: 20 October 1866 (approximate)
  • Died: 29 August 1932
  • Birth Place: Chesterfield County, Virginia
  • Death Place: Richmond, Virginia
  • Spouse: Mary Frances (Fagins) Hill (m. 2 Feb 1888)
  • Parents: Nathaniel Hill, Emma Agnes (Graham) Hill
  • Children: Louise A. (Hill) Fells, Fred Douglass Hill, John Langston Hill, Nathaniel Hill (d. ?, possibly in Philadelphia), Louis Carter Hill (d. 1947, buried in Richmond, location unknown), Fitzhugh Lee Hill Jr., William Henry Hill, Julia M. (Hill) Thompson, Mary Agnes (Hill) Ball, Queen E. Hill, and Daniel Webster Hill
  • Other Family: William H. Hill, Julia (Hill) Allen (siblings)
  • Occupation:
  • Church: Fair Oaks Baptist Church (founder)
  • Affiliations: Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, Seven Pines Lodge No. 10183; Star of East Baptist Association (founder)
  • Address: 2105 Davis Lane, Fairfield District, Henrico County
  • Documents: Census (1870, 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930); children's marriage and death records; death certificate; marriage record
  • Military Service:

Contributors to this Record:
Erin Hollaway Palmer