Samuel Hess was born about 1790, possibly at Cairo, Illinois. We believe he was the son of John Hess and Mary (maiden name unknown), who were in Blount County, Tennessee, about 1796. Samuel was a brother to our great-great-great grandfather, Solomon Hess.
Samuel married Sarah (maiden name unknown), about 1810, in Tennessee or Kentucky. Sarah was born about 1790-1792 in Tennessee, according to census.
Samuel and Sarah's first child was born about 1810, in either Tennessee or Kentucky. About 1811, Samuel Hess moved his family to an area called Lawrence County of the Missouri Territory. In 1812 Lawrence County became part of the Arkansas Territory, and in 1819 that part of Lawrence County became Independence County in the Arkansas Territory. Samuel settled in the area know as Poke Bayou. The area where they lived was referred to as "Hess Town" because of the large number of Hess families in the area. Today that area is known as Marcella, located in present day Stone County. Osage Indians were living in the area at the time of Samuel's arrival. Samuel farmed the rich land, raising cotton and corn. About 1814, his brother Solomon settled in that area. (Solomon Hess was our great, great, great grandfather.)
Early Arkansas Residents: Tax Lists of the Counties of Arkansas and Lawrence in the Territory of Missouri 1814 - 1816 compiled by Marion Stark Craig, M.D., transcribed by Regina Weaver, lists both Samuel and Solomon Hess on the 1816 Tax List of Lawrence County, Arkansas Territory.
Samuel and Solomon Hess became very wealthy and prominent farmers and ginners in the area. They were said to make the best moonshine liquor in that part of the country.
Samuel's family is listed on the 1830 Independence County, Ruddell Township census as one male age 30-40 years (Samuel); 2 males age 15-20 (John and James); 2 males age 5-10 (Riley and Solomon); 2 males under 5 years (Brook and Joseph); one female age 30-40 (Sarah); one female age 5-10 (Polly); and 2 females under 5 years (Tabitha and Nancy).
Samuel built grist mills on his land about 1836. The mills were completed about 1837, when Samuel suddenly became very sick. Samuel made a will after he became ill, but he died so suddenly that he never signed the will. The will was witnessed by William C. Tate, Martin Penter and Samuel's brother, Solomon Hess. Samuel died about November or December 1837.
Letters of Administration were issued to Sarah Hess and Josephus A. Cornwall in December 1837. Samuel died leaving debts on the construction of his grist mills, as well as medical bills for his sudden illness. A document dated January 13, 1838, shows an auction was held to raise money to pay the bills of the estate.
On April 2, 1838, Samuel's brother, Solomon Hess, posted bond, with George Gill as security, for guardianship of Samuel's minor children.
The 1840 Independence County, Arkansas, Green River Township census lists Sally Hess as the head of the household. The census shows one male age 20-30 (Solomon); one male age 15-20 (Brook); one male age 10-15 (Joseph); one female age 40-50 (Sarah); one female age 15-20 (Polly); one female age 10-15 (Tabitha); and one female age 5-10 years (Nancy). Listed next to Sally's family was her son Riley.
Information received from Twylla Teer, a descendant of Samuel's daughter Tabitha, says that in later years the Hess family established a ferry business, enabling people to get back and forth across the White River into Batesville. The ferry was known as the "Hess Ferry". Years later during the Civil War, this was used as a recruiting station, with many troops deployed out of Hess Ferry.
Children of Samuel Hess and Sarah
1. Elizabeth "Betsy" Hess was born 1810, in KY or TN.
2. John M. Hess was born 1812, in Lawrence Co, AR.
3. James W. Samuel Hess was born 1814, in Lawrence Co, AR.
4. Riley W. Hess was born 1819, in Independence Co, AR.
5. Solomon Hess was born 1822, in Independence Co, AR.
6. Mary Ann "Polly" Hess was born 1823, in Independence Co, AR.
7. Isaac Brookfield Hess was born 1824, in Independence Co, AR.
8. Joseph Hess was born Feb 1825, in Independence Co, AR. Joseph never married. The 1860 Van Buren Co, AR census shows Joseph, age 34, living with his sister Tabitha Allen and her family. Joseph, age 45, appears on the 1880 Stone Co, AR census living with his nephew John W. Hess and his family. The 1900 Stone Co, AR census shows Joseph, age 65, living with his nephew James Hess and his family. Joseph died abt 1904, in Stone Co, and is buried in Case (aka East Richwoods Cem), in Stone Co.
9. Tabitha Hess was born Feb 1828, in Independence Co, AR.
10. Nancy Hess was born 1831, in Independence Co, AR.