Sometimes it’s a bit hard finding a great house, even when it is standing there right in front of you. I knew, via old maps, the approximate location of Hillside Estate. I drove a short distance out of Hayes, left the paved road and headed through the cane fields toward a small hamlet that existed on the side of well…the hill side. I drove past a large hulk of a house adjacent to the ancient stone irrigation ditch and quizzed the villagers. They indicated that this village was indeed called Hillside but knew nothing of a great house. I then reversed my direction and drove up into the yard of the largest hose in the neighborhood. I asked the inhabitants, who worked for the sugar estate, when the house had been built. They indicated that they thought it had been built in the 1960s. The old house had burned down and this house was built on the foundations. Ah ha…sure enough, underneath the overhanging second floor were the obvious walls of the original house. The square-cut stone walls belied its older construction.
A little historical data can be gleaned from the old Jamaica Almanacs. In 1878 the attorneys for the estate were Latreille J. R. and Thomas Ellis. Gordon T. R. was the overseer. In 1900 the estate was owned by Miss Harvey and Mrs. F.G. Pearce and the attorney was F.M. Ellis. In 1904 they had 591 acres of sugar cane and 5,482 acres in other uses. The mill was steam powered using the centrifugal method. They produced 187 hogheads of sugar and 197 puncheons of rum. Another little detail gleaned by the historical record was that the local newspaper ran an ad on 15 October 1814 stating: Runaway Slave-William, an Eboe, to Hillside Estate, Vere, and no mark.
That’s about all I have on the Hillside Estate in the old Vere Parish (now part of Clarendon Parish). If anyone else has additional information, I would appreciate receiving it.