History of the Restoration Movement

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 promise.

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.


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
But no stereos and carhorns
There were buggies
And prancing steeds
And sunny slopes and grass and weeds
And bobwhites and crows and fence rails
And fancy coats
With long tails
When A. R. Hill was born!

There are no floods and wild 4 winds there
No disappointments or loneliness,
Nor anxious, aching hearts of despair.
Now they are together again!
They share the splendors of a place
Unmatched by any earthly scene
And gaze upon their Master's face.

Now they are together again!
There were no motor cars
Nor paved parking lots and paved roads
But beasts of burden who faithfully
Carried heavy loads,
Over rugged trails through
Heat and cold !
When A. R. Hill was born!

He was born in Tennessee
In the part called Overton County
In the shade of the Cumberland mountains
Midst the beauties of nature's bounty.
He worked and played in those hills
Along the rumbling, tumbling, rolling brooks
Midst maples and paw paws
And the sound of whippoorwills
But enjoyed very few books!

How many times has he preached?
How many souls has he taught?
How many people has he reached?
How many battles has he fought?
Only the Lord knows!

When I reach the land of the living
And I do believe I will
I'll join those who spent their
lives giving
And among them will be A. R. Hill!


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.


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.


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.


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
sponsored by Central Church of Christ. I heard him on that program daily.

"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 Restoration History.

"F. W. Smith served long at Franklin, Tn. I heard him at David Lipscomb College at Chapel Services.

"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.


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 Hill's funeral.

The separation was very brief
Doubtless she often looked back
For him, by nature, laden with grief.
Now, they are together again!

There are no floods and wild winds there
No disappointments or loneliness,
Nor anxious, aching hearts of despair.
Now they are together again!

They share the splendors of a place
Unmatched by any earthly scene
And gaze upon their Master's face.
Now they are together again!

Their bliss in that gorgeous land
Far excells all they knew here
And on that opulent, eternal strand
They are, indeed, together again!

The 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 years.

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 Evangelist.


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 teacher.

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 his church.

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 Company.


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 preacher.

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 forever.

"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.


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
Quietly she worked and had her say.
With no out-of-sorts commanding,
She led others to the Way.

Living meekly and with ease
Her life was majestic, a mighty force.
Always seeking her Lord to please,
She let her Pilot chart her course.

In her mind there was work undone
But God's boatman said, "It's time to go."
And into the presence of God's Son
She escaped all earthly woe!

-The World Evangelist, Basil Overton, Volume 10, No.12, July, 1982, pages 1,19.

A.R. Hill In A Tent Meeting In Griffin, Georgia In 1920

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.

GPS Coordinates
N34º 49.767’ x WO87º 38.082’
or D.d. 34.829415,-87.634681
Acc. 13’; Facing S.

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Ferrell K. Hill

Albert R. Hill, Sr.

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