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HILL, WILLIAM PINCKNEY (?–1870). William Pinckney Hill, Confederate judge, was born in Georgia, the son of John and Sarah (Parham) Hill; his birthdate is not known, but he was somewhat older than his brother, United States senator Benjamin H. Hill of Georgia, who was born in 1823. Before moving to Bastrop, Texas, in the late 1830s, William Pinckney Hill received some college education and was active as a preacher. While in Bastrop, he was part owner of a steam mill and served for several months as mayor in 1839. He subsequently practiced law in Marshall. In 1861 Confederate president Jefferson Davis appointed him district judge of the Eastern District of Texas, which held court on a circuit schedule in Galveston, Tyler, Austin, and Brownsville. Because Galveston was considered unsafe during the Civil War, Hill moved the court to Houston in January 1862. His court disposed of numerous cases under the Sequestration Act. As required by that act, he appointed at least five receivers to seize the property of alien enemies (United States citizens) and to garnish debts due them. He presided over eighteen admiralty cases by means of which the Confederacy confiscated enemy ships seized on the Texas coast.

In 1863 and again in 1865 Hill was widely mentioned as a candidate for governor but declined to run. He was considered a principal contender for chief justice of the Supreme Court of the Confederacy, a court debated but never established by the Confederate Congress. In 1866 he was nominated for the Supreme Court of Texas but refused to run. He practiced law in Galveston after the war and in 1869 went to Washington, D.C., to represent the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railway Company in a case pending before the United States Supreme Court. He became ill and went first to Tennessee and then to Georgia to recover. He died on April 30, 1870, while visiting his brother in Athens, Georgia.


Charles Adams Gulick, Jr., Harriet Smither, et al., eds., The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar (6 vols., Austin: Texas State Library, 1920–27; rpt., Austin: Pemberton Press, 1968). Nowlin Randolph, "Judge William Pinckney Hill Aids the Confederate War Effort," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 68 (July 1964). William M. Robinson, Jr., Justice in Grey: A History of the Judicial System of the Confederate States of America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1941).

Nowlin Randolph


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Nowlin Randolph, "HILL, WILLIAM PINCKNEY," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 30, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.