It was homesteaded by the Jason Carr family in the early 1800’s and passed down to his daughter who married J.R. Hiller. Then it was passed to his son, B.J. Hiller, whom we knew and rented the farm from in the 1960’s. Mr. Ben Hiller passed away in 1971 and Mrs. DeLight Hiller sold the farm in 1973 for the Meramec Basin Project. In October of 1984, Mrs. Hiller bought back the farm from the Meramec Basin Project and sold it to Bob and Karen Cottrell, owners of Huzzah Valley Resort.
Mrs. Hiller compiled the following historical background gathered from her research of the farm:
Marion W. Trask received this land by U.S. Patent Land Grant in April 1843 and sold it to Jason Carr on May 19, 1855. The deed to Jason Carr contained the following recital: “Except one acre donated to the Trustees or Elders of the Cumberland Presbyterian Union Congregation of Crawford County. To belong to said Trustees so long as said Union congregation exhists to be a Cumberland Presbyterian congregation church house and campground, then to revert to the owners of the original tract.”
The battle of Pilot Knob was fought September 27, 1864 between General Thomas Ewing and the Confederates under General Price. General Ewing’s troops were defeated and retreated by night, covering more than sixty miles in thirty-six hours. It was during this retreat, which ended at Leasburg, that a battle was fought at Huzzah Valley between General Ewing’s exhausted men and the pursuing Confederates, and it was at this time that the church became a hospital for the wounded of both sides.
It is known that at least three soldiers were buried at our Huzzah Valley Farm. Two of the grave sites have been lost but one is still marked and there is another along Highway 8, two miles west which is maintained by Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Banks.
The church was eventually enclosed and used as a barn with a large hay loft above, but the original hewn logs of the church are still here. This Big Red Barn is now Huzzah Valley Stables.
Jason Carr was the owner of this farm at the time of the battle in 1855 and he was the grandfather of Mrs. Lolo Carr Good and Mr. Ben J. Hiller. The Hiller family has a number of artifacts that were found soon after the battle, including two cavalry swords and a cannonball. Mr. Ben J. Hiller, now deceased, said during his boyhood here at Huzzah Valley he never had to buy fishing sinkers because he could just go out on the hill behind his house and dig lead bullets out of the trees which had lodged there from the battle.
The original farm house had a patch in the wall by the fireplace where a cannonball had gone through. The house was torn down about 1913 but the original stone fireplace chimney is still standing, with the present house built around it. The Jason Carr family had much hardship during Price’s raid, their stock was slaughtered to feed the troops, with Mrs. Carr cooking for them. Mr. Carr, a Union sympathizer, took their three year old daughter Vinnie Carr and hid in a cave below the house and when the troops left, they took with them the remaining stock and the horses, leaving behind their broken down and winded animals.
But today you will find that “The Hiller House” is one of the finest group lodging facilities in the Midwest.