Markham Hill Moment of History                                                       2019-10-14

Horses, Pot, and Hiding Out

Hogeye Bill's story, written by Lisa Orton

Community Radio show
aired on KPSQ 97.3 FM:

I grew up in the foothills of Markham Hill on Halsell Rd. There was an old cow barn on my parent’s property where we kept our 2-3 horses. Mrs. Markham let us use the 8-acre wooded pasture adjacent to us to pasture our horses free-of-charge in exchange for caring for its maintenance and the fencing. It was a great arrangement. In the 1960s, I had a pony named Penny. We were best buds. My mother would ride Poco, I would ride Penny, and neighbor kids would often join us on their horses.

Orton children (Billy, Lori, Lisa, and Ben) and their horses. They roamed the Markham Hill trails.

Before being sent to military school.

We rode all over Markham Hill – on the dirt roads up, in the large meadow and on the “fire break” in the woods on top (where we would gallop our horses) , and on the riding trails in the woods on the south, west, north, and east sides of Markham Hill. My mother would have us stop and say ‘Hi’ to Mrs. Markham and Evangeline Archer on our way. They loved to see horses on their trails. Unfortunately, we had to sell Penny and her filly Perky before leaving to live abroad for a year in 1968.

After we returned, I was more interested in chess, pot, and my girlfriend, Ruth Haring. My friends and I would sometimes hike to Mossy Rock Cave (the registered Native American bluff shelter) on Markham Hill and lie on the huge flat rock up there to smoke our pot.

Bill in Wentworth uniform.

In May of 1970, I was 16 years old and the youngest to join the "Fayetteville 57" to protest the Kent State Massacre and the Vietnam war. The juvenile court had several charges against me. The judge agreed with my parents' plea for a lighter sentence - to send me to Wentworth Military Academy for my junior year of high school. At Christmas break when I was home for the holiday, I decided I would run away rather than go back to Wentworth for the second semester. I hid on Markham Hill – at Mossy Rock Cave and in the small barn in the pasture on the corner of Sang Ave and Markham Rd. Ruth brought me food and a sleeping bag. This lasted only a few days because that winter it was snowy and icy cold. I gave up, went back home, and finished the academic year at Wentworth.

Markham Hill is part of my life story – of horses, pot, and hiding out.