Isaac Hill

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

1784 - 1853



Rev. J. W. Woods says:

"Rev. Isaac Hill was born the 22d day of December, 1784, and professed religion when he was thirty-six years of age in the State of Indiana, under the ministration of the first Cumberland Presbyterian ministers who crossed the Ohio river, and immediately joined the Church. He had a great desire to live thirty-six years more, that he might spend as much time in the service of God as he had spent in wandering away from him. He very soon began to be impressed with a sense of public duties, and accordingly began to exhort the people to seek salvation in Christ. He had to travel a long distance to meet the Kentucky Presbytery to become a candidate for the ministry. It was indeed with great difficulty and through some dangers that he made his way from Vigo county, Indiana, across the Ohio river when the waters were very high, to where the Presbytery convened. He was licensed to preach by Indiana Presbytery.

"He made a visit to the State of Illinois in September, 1826, and attended the first camp-meeting held in the eastern part of the State. He and Rev. John Knight, who also was a licentiate, were the only ministers present. It was then and there that a revival of religion commenced which diffused its blessings far and wide. Bro. Hill from that time visited that congregation statedly until he removed within its bounds in the Spring of 1828. None of our pioneer ministers were more earnest or zealous in the Master's work. He had a very strong and powerful voice, both in preaching and singing, and was eminently suited to camp-meeting work.

"He met Vandalia Presbytery at Mount Zion, Illinois, in June, 1833, at which time (June 15) he was ordained to the whole work of the ministry. Rev. Joel Knight preached the ordination sermon, Rev. John Barber, Jr., presided, and Rev. John Barber, Sen., gave the charge.

"Bro Hill repeatedly traversed almost all the ground which now comprises the Presbyteries of Foster and Hill, and parts of Vandalia and Decatur Presbyteries. He laid many foundations on which others have built, as his field of labor was so large. There was no resident minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church nearer than sixty miles in this State for at least eight years after he began to preach here; and the first within that bound was Rev. James Ashmore, who was converted and brought into the ministry in old Big Creek, congregation where Bro. Hill resided and labored so faithfully until the weight of years and constant labor prostrated his manly form. It is not at all likely that so many ministers of the gospel have come out of any other congregation in the State as from the aforesaid congregation; and for his work's sake we think his memory is entitled to more consideration than any other minister whose field of labor has been within that of his. Emphatically he labored 'not for that meat which perisheth,' for the whole amount which he received during the time of his ministry would make but little if any more than a comfortable salary for one year at the present time. Large numbers of souls have been brought to the Savior by the work he has wrought for the gracious Master in his vineyard. Although his labors are ended, and nearly three decades have passed over the little mound which now marks the place where the toil-worn soldier's manly form now rests, he 'yet speaketh.' One of his eight sons, Rev. R. C. Hill, is now becoming old in the work of the ministry. Hill Presbytery was named in honor to his memory, and we trust it will become his most bright and enduring monument."

We regret that the above short letter from Bro Woods is all we have been able to gather concerning this very useful pioneer minister, except that he was married to Margaret Cunningham April 16, 1807, and that he died February 11, 1853. We have been able to learn nothing of his family, save that Rev. R. C. Hill, of Loxa, Ill., is a worthy son of the deceased.
[Source: Logan, J. B. History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Illinois, Containing Sketches of the First Ministers, Churches, Presbyteries and Synods; also a History of Missions, Publication and Education. Alton, Ill.: Perrin & Smith, 1878, pages 205-206]

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Updated February 23, 2016