Heritage, 2011, Volume 2 Page: 4
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41 6~// 1
In 1835, Asa and Elizabeth Barksdale Hill, along with their
children, made the journey from Columbus, Georgia, to
Texas by way of river transportation to New Orleans, where
they then boarded a sailing ship for the 18-day trip across the
Gulf of Mexico. They were representative of the thousands of
pioneering families taking advantage of the opportunity for
land ownership afforded by Mexico's immigration policy.
Landing on Matagorda Island in May of that year, the Hills
traveled by oxcart to acreage in Washington County allotted
to them as members of Stephen E Austin's colony. Even as
the newcomers established their farm near Gay Hill, Texas'
fight for independence from Mexico was already moving
Less than a year after their arrival, Asa and son, William
Carroll Andrew Jackson Hill, were among the volunteer sol-
diers responding to the plea for reinforcements from embat-
tled Texan forces at the Alamo. The garrison fell before the
volunteers reached Bexar, and the father and son witnessed
72 l/ 1)
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the burning of Gonzales as they made their way back home.
Almost immediately after his return, Asa, along with another
son, James Monroe, once again left the farm to enlist in
General Sam Houston's army. While his father was respon-
sible for warning settlers of the approaching Mexican army,
James marched as one of Colonel Edward Burleson's First
Regiment of volunteer soldiers and fought in the Battle of
San Jacinto. James earned the distinction of being one of the
few men to witness Santa Anna's surrender to Houston.
During the conflict, James captured a young Mexican fifer,
Jose Mendez; later, Asa offered the boy a home on his family's
farm, a proposal that Jose accepted. Educated along with
Asa's children, Mendez became a silversmith and died in the
1840s of yellow fever in Harris County.
For the Hill family men, defending the interests of Texas
did not stop with the achievement of independence. Mexican
soldiers conducted raids into bordering Lone Star settle-
ments, and in response, Texas leaders ordered retaliatory
4 TEXASHERITAGE I Volume 2 2011
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2011, Volume 2, periodical, 2011; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254221/m1/6/: accessed April 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.