|Albert Ross Hill, Sr.|
Biographical Sketch On The Life Of A.R. Hill, Sr.
In the March 1983 issue of The World Evangelist I promised to have a story about A. R. Hill in the
next issue. A very busy schedule
kept me from keeping that
Norman Hargett and I spoke at
the funeral of A. R. Hill, Sr.,
February 24. 1983. Brother Hargett
is the preacher for the Macedonia
Church of Christ near Florence,
Alabama. Brother and sister Hill
worshiped with that church for
several years. Both were Bible
teachers there. Brother Hargett
spoke well at the funeral about
brother Hill. Brother Hargett and I
had spoken at sister Hill's funeral
about nine month's earlier.
What follows is essentially what I said at brother Hill's funeral.
During the Administration of President Benjamin Harrison, A.R. Hill was born December 4, 1890 in Overton County, Tennessee, to George Washington Hill and Amanda Thomas Hill. Amanda died when A.R. was eight years of age. His father died when he was ten.
Overton County consists mainly of rugged hill country. From those hills also came E.G. Sewell, Jesse P. Sewell and Cordell Hull. Of that
country David Lipscomb wrote: "A full proportion of the banker
merchants, lawyers, preacher
and business men generally,
Nashville, came from Overton, Jackson and surrounding counties."
Overton County was named for John Overton, and Jackson County was named for Andrew Jackson. These two men were law partners in Nashville, and Overton started the movement for Jackson to be President.
POEM FOR BROTHER HILL
I wrote the following poem for brother Hill's 90th birthday and read it at a dinner in his honor on that day.
There were cowbells, and cowhorns
There are no floods and wild 4 winds there
Now they are together again!
He was born in Tennessee
He worked and played in those hills
How many times has he preached?
When I reach the land of the living
SCHOOLING LIMITED IN THOSE DAYS
Formal schooling in Overton County when A. R. Hill was young
was very limited. At age 24 he
entered the eighth grade at
Nashville Bible School, the
forerunner of David Lipscomb
College. He was a faithful and good
student there and was graduated
from the college.
BECAME A CHRISTIAN
Brother Hill became a Christian
early in life by following the New
Testament order for becoming a
Christian. He put his trust in Jesus Christ, which means he believed in
Jesus Christ as the Son of God
(John 8:21-24; 20:30, 31); he
repented of his sins (Luke 24:46,47; Acts 2:38; 1730); he confessed
his faith in Jesus as God's Son
(Matthew 10:32, 33; Acts 8:36-38);
and he was baptized into Christ so
he could reach the saving benefits
of the blood of Jesus Christ. (Acts
2:36-38; Romans 6:3,4; Galatians
3:27; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14.)
This is how brother Hill became
a Christian which means I
became a member of the church
the Lord Jesus Christ in which to
served his Master until he left the
world to be with that Master.
In the New Testament we learn
that being a Christian was the
same as being in the Lord
church. Read the New Testament
and you will see what I mean.
Brother Hill was married to
Ferrill Kirby, and they live
together about 60 years. To them
was born Billy (who preceded
them in death), Jolley (Mrs. Henry
Pryor) and Albert.
Brother and Sister Hill were
great co-workers in the church.
She was a great Bible teacher.
PREACHED 65 YEARS
Brother Hill preached the gospel 65 years. He was studious until the end. Often he came to me in the last ten years of his life and discussed Bible passages with me. He was an inquiring soul.
A. R. Hill helped to start
congregations of the Lord's church
in Sardis, Mississippi, Dyer and
Dardanelle in Arkansas, Sebring,
Florida and Griffin, Georgia. He
and Bedford Beck preached in a
month's series of meetings in
Griffin. The first convert in this
series was on the third Monday
night. Several more were baptized
before the series was closed.
For the Dardanelle series he
traveled a thousand miles. During
the series he knocked on doors and
did personal work and preached.
He got $26.00 for his labors. He
labored long in a similar effort in
another place and got $1.98. He felt
they needed that, so he gave it
back to them.
One of brother Hill's best tenure of work of preaching regularly for
a congregation was in Glasgow,
Kentucky 1945-1950. He did a lot of
very effective preaching on the radio there. Many were converted
to the Lord. He did regular work
for several other congregations, and he and sister Hill were loved
and encouraged in these places.
The labors of brother Hill in
gospel meetings were very fruitful. He preached in many such efforts.
In 1931 he preached in two series
within six months at Green Street
Church of Christ in Nashville,Tennessee. One hundred souls were added in both these efforts.
Brother Hill preached in a Sunday through Sunday series at
forks of the Creek in Jackson
County, Tennessee in 1930. Two
services were conducted daily. Forty-four were baptized into Christ, and sixteen backsliders were saved.
PREACHERS HE KNEW
Two or three years ago, brother Hill gave me statements he made about preachers he knew. Some of these comments follow.
"T. B. Larimore was a natural
orator. I remember him as standing
with no pulpit stand in front of him. He would cross his hands and
never moved as he preached
Christ. He wore a white suit and no necktie.
"E.G. Sewell was immaculate in appearance. He wore long tailcoats. After he had a light stroke he still spoke well. He was marvellous.
"E. A. Elam used more scriptures than any man I heard. He
wrote Elam's notes for many
years. He was indeed a great preacher.
"H. Leo Boles was my 'father' in
the gospel. He and E. A. Elam
encouraged me very much! Brother Boles specialized on
resenting a series of lessons on
Christ and His Church. I never heard anything like it.
"I heard A. G. Freed preach a
sermon on The Blood of Christ in a
series of meetings at David Lipscomb
College. It was a masterpiece.
"Hall L. Calhoun was a great
encouragement. I led prayer many
times on his famous radio program
on WLAC in Nashville which was
"F. B. Srygley was very witty; his wit was natural. He was a good preacher. He used his wit effectively.
"Horace Busby preached in two meetings at Sparta, Tennessee while I was the regular minister there. We ran a bus out into the county (White County) to get people to attend the meetings. Busby was extra good in meetings.
"I heard L. L. Brigance in a series of meetings at Avon Park,
Florida. He was a good preacher;
deeper than the average. He was
studious; well informed on
"F. W. Smith served long at
Franklin, Tn. I heard him at David
Lipscomb College at Chapel
"N.B. Hardeman preached in
five great evangelistic meetings in
Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
These are in books and called Hardeman's Tabernacle Sermons. I do not believe there was any
public address or sound system in
that auditorium, but Hardeman
kept the large audiences spellbound! I think I attended all five of the meetings. I loved and
appreciated brother Hardeman
very much. He preached in
meetings where I labored. Brother Hardeman and brother Boles grew
as long as they lived."
Brother and sister Hill were teachers at International Bible
College a number of years. Many
years ago they labored at Mars
Hill Bible School in Florence. They
loved young people and enjoyed
helping to train them in the way of the Lord more perfectly.
MAN OF THE BIBLE
A. R. Hill was a man of the Bible.
He studied it; he lived by it; he
reached it! I am reminded of Paul's statement about Archippus
when I think of brother Hill. Paul
said, "Take heed to the ministry
which thou hast received in the
Lord, that thou fulfill it. (Colossians 4:17.)
I am also reminded of Paul's statement to the Thessalonians
when he wrote, "As we were
allowed of God to be put in trust
with the gospel, even so we speak,
not as pleasing men, but God which trieth our hearts. (1
Thessalonians 2: 4. )
I am reminded of Paul's farewell when I think of A. R. Hill's leaving us. Paul wrote to Timothy, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished by course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day, and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:6-8.)
Sister Hill passed away only about nine months before brother
Hill did. I wrote the following poem about them and read it at brother
The separation was very brief
There are no floods and wild
They share the splendors of a
Their bliss in that gorgeous land
—World Evangelist, May, 1983, Vol. 11, No.10, pages 1,17
Sister Hill Is Gone
Some of the most challenging, dramatic,
and interesting stories
in the Bible are about women of
God. A few of them are Eve, Sarah,
Jochebed, Hannah, Mary, Dorcas,
Priscilla and Phebe. Were the Bible being written now, stories of
some of the women of God I have
known and some that I know would
likely be included in its sacred
pages. One of them is Mrs. A. R.
(Ferrell K.) Hill.
From the beginning of The World
Evangelist in 1972 sister Hill wrote
the column Unto You Young
Women. She died May 20, 1982, at
her home in Florence, Alabama. She is survived by her husband, A.R. Hill, a gospel preacher; a son
Albert, a gospel preacher; a
daughter, Jolley (Mrs. Henry)
Pryor; a grandson, Timothy Hill;
a granddaughter, Dee (Mrs.
Timothy) Beck; and a foster
granddaughter, Viki Johnston who
has two children, Jace and Rusty.
Albert and his wife, Reba live in
Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Timothy
and Dee are their children. Jolley
and her husband, Henry, live in McMinnville, Tennessee.
A. R. and Ferrell had a son, Billy,
who died four years ago.
Brother Norman (Sonny)
Hargett and I spoke at sister Hill's funeral in the meeting house of Darby Drive Church of Christ in
Florence, at 2:00 p.m. Sunday,
May 23. Brother Hargett is the
preacher for the Macedonia
Church of Christ near Florence
where brother and sister Hill have
been teachers for a number of
It was my pleasure to give sister
Hill some "flowers" while she
could smell them by writing a
story about her and brother Hill
which appeared in the January
1980 edition of The World
MARRIAGE AND EARLY LIFE
Brother and sister Hill were
married in 1922. She was Ferrell
Kirby. She was born October 18,1901 in Montgomery County,
Alabama to H. R. and Georgia Tobias Kirby.
Sister Hill's mother, the former
Georgia Tobias attended Highland
Home College that was located a
short distance south of Montgomery,
Alabama. That college
was founded by J.M. Barnes. He
was President of the college. He
was graduated from Bethany College
founded by Alexander Campbell and of which he was President
many years. Brother Barnes
entered Bethany College in 1854. While he was in school there, Alexander
Campbell was President of
the college and its principal
J. M. Barnes did for the South
Alabama area what T. B. Larimore did for the North
Alabama area. Larimore founded
Mars Hill College in Florence in
1811 and operated it seventeen
years. Barnes served in the South
Alabama area as did David Lipscomb in Middle Tennessee, and as did the inimitable Benjamin Franklin north of the Ohio River.
Samuel Jordan was a teacher at Highland Home College. He baptized sister Ferrell Kirby who became Mrs. A. R. Hill. She had childhood memories of both brother Barnes and brother Jordan as guests in the Kirby home. On one occasion when sister Ferrell was quite small, five or six years of age, she knew brother Barnes was coming to her house, so she was wearing a brand new dress for the occasion! She was prancing in front of the fireplace and got that new dress on fire! Her daddy came in just in time to extinguish the flame, she was not burned.
Sister Hill's parents, brother and
sister H. R. Kirby helped get the
church started in Opp, Ala. They
mortgaged their home to buy a
building in which the church met at
Bay Minette, Ala.
Sister Hill's manuscripts for he column Unto You Young Women were more nearly perfect than any I received. She wrote a popular book entitled: Stories From Dogwood Hill.
Two of her books can be ordered
from: International Bible College
Women, P.O. Box IBC, Florence,
Alabama 35630. These two are:
Girls. Girls, Girls, and Unto You
Young Women: Keepers Of
Homes. Theproceeds from these
two books go to International Bible
College and are used in the work of
training workers for the Lord and
Sister Hill wrote some books
which have not been published.
Work is being done to get them
published. For more than twenty
years she wrote Bible lessons for
young people that were published
in quarterly form by Gospel Advocate
TESTIMONY OF "ADOPTED" GIRLS
Brother and sister Hill did not
legally adopt them, but they aided
and encouraged two young ladies
so that they called them their "adopted" girls. They are Martha
and Helen. Martha is now Mr &.
Paul Dossett, and Helen is the wife
of Wendell Needham a gospel
While sister Hill was very ill,
Martha on May 3, 1982 wrote the
Hills as follows:
"Dear Mama and Papa: My
heart is heavy with sorrow for your
pain and suffering. All of my
friends and yours are praying for
you. You may receive some cards
from people that you have never
known from the Tara congregation
or others where we are passing the
word through our bulletins and friends. Paul and I attend at Tara
now because it is our closest family
of God. I continue my work on the
V.B.S. series "Go" for them instead
of the Old National congregation. They have encouraged me to
try to have it published.We hope to
be able to do that next year. As I
work on it, I think of you every step
of the way. Thank you so much for
your help on this. You
remembered many things that I
had completely forgot about. I
wish we could have worked
together again, but God does not
make mistakes and it was not according to His will.
"Mother Hill, since I talked with Papa, my memory has gone back to the beginning of our relationship. I remember the days that we used to meet half way between my home and yours and walk together back to yours. I remember your beautiful dolls and the fun we had working on them. I also remember working on the V.B.S. series Go. I remember the ladies class on Tuesday nights. I remember your Bible school on wheels. That was the one of which you said, 'Have Bible, will travel.'
"I never had a question that you
could not answer. I never asked for
help that I did not receive it. I have
a scrapbook full of things you sent
me from various places where you
and Papa worked. I have kept
them all and I use your ideas all
the time in my work. There are
many people that have known you
in those days and tell my new
friends that you were my teacher
when they admire my work.
And now, I will do the things you have
suggested for my V.B.S. series.
"I am working on a flip chart of the life of Peter at present. I will use your outline study for the 5th
lesson on Eternal Life. I will make
posters to teach the pre-school
children just as you suggested.
When I have finished, I will tell
everyone it has been dedicated to
you because a great deal of it
would not have been done except
for you. I haven't said it very
much, probably because words
cannot express it very well, but I
am so thankful to have known and
loved you. You changed the entire
structure of my life.
"Now, I want to talk a moment
about visiting you for a short
period of time. You know I love you
and want to do what is best for you. If you want to see me, I will take a
short vacation and stop by there to
see you–but if you feel that it
would be better for us to hold on to
our beautiful memories and not
mar it with the pain and suffering,
I can understand that, too. We will
meet again. It is God's plan.
Please ask Dee to write and let me
know or get someone to call me if
you need to. I am anxious for any
word from you.
"May God bless you–now and
"I love you, too, Papa and pray
Gob's blessings on both of you. Love always, Martha."
Following the funeral, brother
Hill received a mesrrage from
Helen Needham. She said of sister
Hill: "I remember her trusting
smiles and good will, her enthusiasm,
her love for life. She will
always live with us in this manner.
We love you. I can still see you in
the pulpit at Main Street and
remember your good lessons. Take
care, and we will be praying for
you. Love, Helen."
I include in this story these items from these two "adopted" daughters of the Hills because what they say shows that not only do her children praise her and call her blessed, but others whose lives she touched loved and admired her.
GOOD BIBLE TEACHER
Only the good Lord knows the tremendous and eternal good sister Hill did as a good Bible teacher. She and Brother Hill attended David Lipscomb College more than sixty years ago, and were taught by H. Leo Boles, E.A. Elam, Dr. J.S. Ward, and other prominent teachers. (J.S. Ward was educated at the College of the Bible in Lexington, Kentucky, and one of his teachers was J.W. McGarvey.)
Sister Hill was very artistic. She did many paintings to depict Bible stories, thus implementing her own visual aids. She taught others how to paint such scenes.
Sister Hill did many good works. She was a good speech teacher. Brother Hill told me since the funeral that she helped John Harris, a black brother, develop his speech ability. He is an outstanding evangelist. She helped many preachers in various ways. She and Brother Hill taught at International Bible College in its early years and refused to take pay for their services.
As we think of Sister Hill, we are joyfully reminded of, "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them," Revelation 14:13.
Brother A.R. Hill at age 91 is doing mighty well. He is planning
to continue his Bible classes and to
preach some. He will be glad to
receive messages from the readers of
The World Evangelist. Hiss address
is: A.R. Hill, Sr., 315 Wright
Drive, Florence 7 Alabama 35830.
On the day of sister Hill's funeral, I wrote the following about her and read it at the funeral:
With no fanfare or demanding,
Living meekly and with ease
In her mind there was work undone
—The World Evangelist, Basil Overton, Volume 10, No.12, July, 1982, pages 1,19.
|Directions To The Grave Of A.R. & Ferrell K. Hill|
The A.R. Hills are buried in the Tri Cities Memorial Gardens in Florence, Alabama. It is located at 2601 Florence Blvd., Florence, Alabama. The office number is 256.764.7542. They are buried in the Garden Of The Apostles, at the front-center of the cemetery. See GPS below for specific location.
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