John Fletcher Hill
John Fletcher Hill 1902
John Fletcher Hill was born Aug. 23, 1893, and died Oct. 29, 1932.
John's children

With Bertha Sasser

John Frederick Hill

May 20, 1922-

John Fletcher Hill was born Aug. 23, 1893. He was Tempy Ann and Fred Hill's fourth child following an unnamed baby, Delia and Ronia.

John Fletcher Hill Fletcher was oldest son of Tempy Ann Stancil and Fred Hill. Fletcher went to school at the Boyette slave house. Some say he was the best looking of all the brothers according to niece Mavis, Millard’s daughter.

He had lots of black wavy hair. Alice, daughter of Ronia, still recalls the day she looked across the field and saw Fletcher coming to visit Ronia and the attractive figure he cut. He was known as a graceful dancer.

Fletcher was drafted in World War I. He joined the Army and was sent overseas to France.

When Fletcher returned, he sold and delivered gasoline and oil for the Texaco Station in Kenly.

He had a reputation as an honest man.

Fletcher was a member of Stancil's Chapel Free Will Baptist Church. Fletcher was a 32nd Degree Mason and a member of the American Legion.

He met Bertha, a nurse, who was part of high society in Kenly. Her parents were Martha Lou Howell and William Arthur Sasser. In 1910 her pa was a successful farmer in Wayne County. She was number 9 of 11 children. When Fletcher married Bertha, on July 3, 1918, Fletcher moved up in society.

Fletcher drove a truck for Neusom Narron at one time. Then he worked in Kenly delivering gasoline. Fletcher's wife was called 'Bert' and according to some, a mean woman with an ugly disposition. She and Fletcher often ate with Zilphia and Millard but never had them to dinner. Bertha also never offered to help clean up. She arrived dressed too pretty to do any work!

Fletcher and Bert had one son John Frederick Hill, born May 20, 1922, in Beulah Township, Johnston County, North Carolina. Bert loved buttermilk and visited Zilphia and Millard in anticipation of some good buttermilk. She would brush off the porch steps, sit down, enjoying her pint of buttermilk.

Bert ignored her son, John Frederick, who ran wild, often grabbing the only tube of toothpaste from the house and feeding it to the mule!

One day at Millard's dinner table, Bert announced that if Millard and Zilphia came to her house, they should not expect a good dinner. Zilphia never had her for dinner again. Bertha felt like she was higher class and in high society of Kenly.

When Nancy, Arnettie and Fred’s daughter, had vacation time away from the orphanage, she would be taken to Fletcher’s house in Kenly. He lived on Alford Avenue. Fletcher would pick up Nancy from the porch of his house. Bert never invited her inside the house. Fletcher would take her to Millard's lane and let her out with her little suitcase for the long walk down the lane. It seemed odd that Nancy was never allowed to stay with Fletcher and Bert even one night. Bert just would not allow it!

While working in Kenly, Fletcher met Lucille Lawerence Ellis and was completely captivated by her. Lucille was 12 years younger than Fletcher. She was pretty, smart and kind, unlike his wife, Bert. But Lucille was also married. Lucille and Waylon Scott Ellis lived on Rail Road Street in Kenly. Waylon was a retail grocer in Kenly. He was the son of John William Ellis and Anna L. Scott and was born in Wilson, North Carolina.

After a time, Fletcher was overcome with the pressure of a secret mistress and a wife. Bert wanted him to account for every minute away from her. The gravity of the situation required a solution. Finally he talked to Millard in confidence. Fletcher confessed to Millard that he was involved with Lucille Ellis, the love of his life. He contrasted Lucille and Bert. Lucille was loving and down to earth while Bert was controlling, demanding and selfish. He went on to say that as soon as Bertha found out she would kill him.

Fletcher was stoic when he quietly told Millard that he had decided the only solution was suicide. Fletcher would not listen to reason. Fletcher just told Millard to come up to his office at exactly 8 a.m. on Saturday. When Millard arrived promptly at 8 a.m., the police stopped him and refused to allow him to go upstairs because Fletcher’s body was still there. Fletcher had killed himself with a single shot.

Police found that before Fletcher killed himself, he wrote three letters; one to Bert, one to the Undertaker that included a list of songs he wanted sung at his funeral and one to the company. Bertha was a "bitch," according to family members. Millard had bought Fletcher's shares of the land and was paying him off as he could. After Fletcher died, Bertha demanded the $200 from Millard right now.

-- By Renn Stancil Hinton, George Ira Branch


North Carolina Death Certificate

J. Fletcher Hill- b. 23 Aug 1893 d. 29 Oct 1932 Age 39 10 a.m.

Gas Truck Driver for 15 years

Suicide, pistol shot head

Doctor: Coleman, Kenly, NC

Informant: P. Hales, Kenly, NC

Undertaker: Grizzard, Kenly, NC

Burial: Kenly Cemetery, Kenly, NC, October 30, 1932

Parents: Fred Hill & Tempie Stancil Husband of Bert Hill


Fletcher Hill's suicide

Appeared in the Smithfield Herald, Smithfield, N.C., Nov. 1, 1932








Kenly, Oct. 31 -- The citizen of Kenly received a shock on Saturday morning when they learned that J. Fletcher Hill age 39 years, popular citizen of the town had committed suicide. The tragedy occurred in his office around 10:30 o'clock.

He had arisen early in the morning, bade his family the usual goodby, had gone on part of his rounds as distributor of Texaco products for Holt Oil Company of Smithfield, had gone in to several places of business and chatted with the proprietors apparently in the best of spirits and then went into his office where some time later a shot was heard. Upon entering the office a citizen found him seated on a chair with his head thrown back, lifeless. The act was committed with a pistol that he had borrowed from a local filling station early that morning.

Three notes were found on a table, one addressed to his wife, one to the Holt Oil Company and one to the local undertaker, the last of which contained detailed instructions for the funeral and disposition of his body. The letter to the Holt Oil Company explained business affairs of the company and stated that the books were balanced for the week.

Corner J. H. Kirkman of Smithfield was summoned but upon investigation no jury was impaneled, as it was a clear case of suicide.

Funeral services were held from the home at three o'clock on Sunday afternoon conducted by Rev. W. A. Ferrell, pastor of the Free Will Baptist church, of which the deceased was a member and Rev. F. A. Lupton, pastor of the Methodist church. The local Masonic lodge had charge of the funeral, and the Junior Order of the Little River Council near Glendale attended the body.

At the request of the deceased a quartet composed of Mrs. H. M. Grizzard, Mrs. C. F. Darden, Jack Stallings and Elton Neighbors sang 'Sometime We'll Understand" and "Asleep in Jesus." Also at his request Misses Annabelle and Blanche Barbour of Clayton sang "My Buddy." The deceased had been much impressed with their interpretation of this song at the memorial service of the American Legion in Smithfield in May.

Interment was in the local cemetery beneath a mass of beautiful floral offerings. The services were attended by many hundreds of people.

The pallbearers were: R. T. Fulghum and J. Dobbin Bailey of Kenly; W. N. and R. R. Holt and Alex Yarborough of Smithfield; and A. T. Hawkins of Goldsboro.

He leaves his wife, a small son, Frederick, three sisters and nine brothers, of near Moore's school house; besides a host of friends who are grieved over his passing.

Mr. Hill was born and reared near the Glendale section but for the past fourteen years had made his home in Kenly. On July 3, 1918 he was married to Miss Bertha Sasser of Wayne County. He was a devoted husband and father and was possessed of a genital disposition and a capacity for helping others that won for him friends easily. He was 32nd degree Mason belonging to the branch at Wilmington, was a member of the American Legion having seen service in the World War overseas where he formed lasting friendships.

Among those attending the funeral from a distance were: Mr. and Mrs. B. S. Scott, of Dabney; Mr. and Mrs. A. F. Rowe of Ayden; Mr. and Mrs. O. H. Kramer, of Sims; Mr and Mrs. Lloyd E. Gurley, Mr. and Mrs. R. B. Spencer, Mr. and Mrs. Kirby Gurley, of Goldsboro; Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Sasser, Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Holt, R. R. Holt and Alex Yarborough, of Smithfield; Mr. and Mrs. Bracy of Pembroke, Mr. and Mrs. Cartwright of Wilson; Miss Ruth Sasser, Mr. and Mrs. W. N. Holt, dingfield and Misses Annabelle and Blanch Barbour of Clayton; Mr. and Mrs. W. O. Sasser, of Wilson; C, Sasser of Mount Olive; M. S. Revell, Dr. and Mrs. G. B. Woodard and Dr. and Mrs. L. V. Grady of Wilson.

In 1934, Ralph Stancil was in a store, the people there thought he was Fletcher Hill's brother. Ralph and Fletcher were first cousins. Fletcher was oldest son of Tempy Ann and Fred. Fletcher was 13 years older than Ralph.

Renn Stancil Hinton © 2010
About Us |
Contact Us | Modified Nov. 3, 2010