"One of the slaves of Holly Springs, James Hill became Secretary of State of Mississippi from 1874-1878. He had served the family of James W. Hill, one of the town's leading citizens. After his emancipation, Hill continued to maintain a cordial relationship with the family of his former owner with whom he shared both first and last names. He was admired for his competence as a public official and for his generosity to his former masters during their times of need. It is remarkable that his public service extended beyond the time of domination by the Radical Republicans and that he was reelected even after the mass disenfranchisement of Mississippi's black community. During the Civil War he served as the personal servant to two of the Hill boys, John H. and W. B. Hill."