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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:

Index to All Families | Index to Families by County: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1181-1184 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The American ancestor of the Hiltons of New Scotland, Albany county, New York, was William Hilten, born in England, came from Leeds to America in 1686, and is of record in Albany, New York, in 1693, when he married (second) Anna Berkhoven (otherwise Barko and Beekhoven).

The emigrant, William Hilten, is described in the marriage record as Willem Hilten "Weduwnaer Van Sara Ebb." He was buried February 12, 1749. He had children baptized in Albany, the first the child of his first wife, Sara Ebb. Children:

  1. Sara, April 9, 1693;
  2. Anna, January 23, 1695, died February 25, 1748;
  3. Elizabeth, December 10, 1696, died in infancy;
  4. Mary, November 20, 1698, died in infancy;
  5. Richard, March 2, 1701, died 1805, aged one hundred and four years ([Joel] Munsell says age ninety-seven years, "the oldest man in the city");
  6. Elizabeth, February 10, 1703;
  7. Jacobus (James), see forward;
  8. William, May 16, 1708, died February 12, 1749.

[Editorial note: Researcher Diane Potter ( has William and Sarah's marriage certificate, which shows her surname as Hobb or Hebb.]

(II) Jacobus (James), second son and sixth child of Willem and his second wife, Anna (Barko or Berkhoven) Hilten, was baptized in Albany, New York, August 19, 1705. He was a farmer of Albany county, where he died of old age. He married (first) Judith Marten, November 11, 1733; (second) April 4, 1762, Sarah Barnton. Children and dates of baptisms:

  1. Willem, August 18, 1734, died June 19, 1825;
  2. Maria, November 7, 1736;
  3. Peter, February 20, 1739;
  4. Adam, August 9, 1741;
  5. Anna, February 26, 1743;
  6. Robert, February 15, 1745, died in infancy;
  7. Sarah, June 28, 1747;
  8. Robert, see forward;
  9. James (Jacobus), March 18, 1753, a revolutionary soldier, died December 7, 1836;
  10. Richard (Dirck) November 30, 1755; a private of the First Regiment, and an ensign of the Thirteenth Regiment, Albany county militia, Colonel John McCrea commanding the latter regiment.

This generation of the family were communicants of the English Episcopal church.

(III) Robert, eighth child and fifth son of Jacobus (James) and his first wife, Judith (Marten) Hilten, was baptized November 5, 1749, died on the farm in the then town of Bethlehem, Albany county, New York, June 9, 1829. He was reared on the home farm, in Albany county, and on arriving at manhood leased a farm of two hundred and sixty acres of the Van Rensselaers, lying in what is now the town of New Scotland. The property was one of the best tracts in the town, and during his lifetime Robert Hilten greatly improved it and created a valuable property. He built the homestead dwelling where his children were born, and laid the foundation for the family prosperity. The property he improved brought him prosperity and has continuously remained in possession of direct descendants. He was a member of the Episcopal church, and a man of prominence in his town. He married, in New Scotland, Albany county, New York, Elizabeth Burgess (Bortjes), born 1754, died January 8, 1822. Children, born in New Scotland:

  1. Maria, September 7, 1775;
  2. Sara, November 20, 1777;
  3. James, see forward;
  4. John, married and located in Wellington, Canada;
  5. Julia, 1792, married Silas Crawford;
  6. Robert;
  7. Jeannette, married Robert Arkenburg;
  8. William;
  9. Ann, 1798, died December 29, 1852, married Robert Randall.

(IV) James, eldest son of Robert and Elizabeth (Burgess) Hilton, was born January 5, 1780, died November 11, 1845. He was reared on the New Scotland farm where he was born and later succeeded to the ownership. He added greatly to the value of the property of which he was the owner in fee simple, having paid to the Van Rensselaer estate such sums as were demanded. Until this was done the farm paid a yearly rental to the patroon, his successor or agent. When payment was made and the deed delivered it was accompanied by a letter from the Van Rensselaers stating that among all their vast possessions there was not a farm equalling the Hilton farm for fertility and capable handling. The letter or certificate was delivered with a gift of a set of six solid silver spoons in token of their appreciation of James and his family. These spoons are treasured among the family heirlooms of bygone clays. James Hilton was an active man in the town and aided the church with liberal contributions. He married, in New Scotland, Mary Dennison, born in that town, 1780, died March 9, 1862. She was a descendant of the old English family of New England, early settlers there. Children:

  1. Judge Robert James, born August 19, 1805, died in Albany, July 1, 1871; he was a farmer of the town, an attorney-at-law, and judge of United States circuit court; he married Margaret Van Vorst; he is buried in Prospect Hill cemetery, Guilderland; she in Rural Cemetery, Albany.
  2. Maria, born 1808, died 1864; married Mathew Hendrickson.
  3. Captain Joseph, see forward.
  4. William, born September 11, 1815, died unmarried, November, 1883; he was an attorney-at-law, practicing in Albany.

(V) Captain Joseph, second son and third child of James and Mary (Dennison) Hilton, was born on the Hilton homestead, New Scotland, Albany county, New York, July 16, 1811, died there October 23, 1891. He was reared on the farm and educated in the town schools. He succeeded to the paternal acres and in addition to general farming introduced the specialty that made Devondale (the farm name) famous. He imported, about 1860, the first of the famous Devonshire herd that later had been brought by careful selection and scientific breeding to such a high condition of excellence that they carried away all "blue ribbons" wherever shown. Captain Hilton exhibited at county and state fairs all over the United States, and at national association meetings where he had to compete with the picked herds of the country. He was uniformly successful and won hundreds of premiums. He was well known among stock breeders everywhere and cattle from his herd were eagerly sought for and fancy prices given. He was an official of the New York State Agricultural Association, and aided materially in building up a strong association that has greatly benefited agriculturists of the state. He was active and prominent in town affairs; was captain of militia and in every way prominent, He was a Whig and a Republican, in latter years a Democrat. He took an active part in the organization of the local grange, Patrons of Husbandry, and was prominent in the state grange. He was the prime mover in the building of the Plank Road from Rensselaerville to Albany, charter granted in 1854, and president of the company formed to build it, securing the rights of way through his own effort.

He was married in Albany by Rev. Wyckoff, December 2, 1860, to Maria Van Der Zee. The founding of the Van Der Zee family in Albany county is thus told by O'Callahan. Storm Van Der Zee, son of Albert Andrew Bratt "de Noorman," came to Rensselaerwyck in 1630. The tradition is that one of Bratt's children was born on shipboard while crossing, during a heavy storm, in consequence of which he was called Storm Van Der Zee. That Van Der Zee was an alias for Bratt in early times is certain; in an old deed Storm's son Wouter is called "Wouter Storm Bratt," alias "Wouter Van Der Zee." Storm Van Der Zee was a trader, and in 1661 was complained of for smuggling in New Amsterdam. He married Hilletje, daughter of Gerrit Lansing, and had at least two sons who grew to maturity, Albert and Wouter. Wouter, son of Storm and Hilletje (Lansing) Van Der Zee, married Jannetje Swart, July 2, 1695. Their third child, Storm, born August 3, 1701, married Elizabeth Slingerland, September 5, 1735. Their son, Cornelis, born October 5, 1740, married, November 20, 1766, Annatje Weeder [Veeder?]. Their son, Cornelis, married Maria Bergen, of Coxsackie, New York, and settled in the town of Bethlehem, Albany county. Cornelis died in 1845 and is buried in the old family burying ground in Bethlehem. He was a Democrat and a strict member of the Dutch Reformed church. Henry C., son of Cornelis and Maria (Bergen) Van Der Zee, was born in Albany county, October 1, 1817, died in Bethlehem, March 28, 1898. He was a farmer of the county, a Democrat, and a member of the Reformed church. He married Catherine E., daughter of Garret and Catherine (Weidman) Bratt. She died May 23, 1888. Henry C. and Catherine (Bratt) Van Der Zee had children:

  1. Catherine, died in infancy.
  2. Maria, married Captain Joseph Hilton.
  3. Peter, married Catherine Lansing; resident of South Bethlehem, Albany county.
  4. Garret, now of Virginia; married Phoebe Anna Bailey, a sister of ex-Congressman John Bailey; children: John and Mary.
  5. Cornelius, twin of Garret, died at age of twenty-one years.
  6. Harry, now a farmer of Bethlehem.
  7. Hester, deceased; married John Litchfield and was the mother of five children.

Children of Captain Joseph Hilton, all born at the homestead farm, "Devondale."

  1. James, born January 2, 1862. He was educated in Albany, graduating from the Model school, 1877, and from the Boys Academy in 1879. He won for excellence in military tactics both the Rathbun and Prentiss medals. He succeeded his father in the management of the home farm and herds, later purchasing a part of the family estate where he now resides. He continued the farm specialty, blooded Devonshire, under name of James Hilton and Brother, and became as widely known as his father as an exhibitor. He was a strong supporter of the State Agricultural Society and for several years virtually supported the state fair. For many years he has been a member of the executive committee of the State Agricultural Association. He is an authority on matters agricultural, especially on blooded stock. He was elected to the state assembly in 1892 and served as chairman of the committee on agriculture, holding positions on other important committees. He enlisted and served in the State National Guard, Company A, Tenth Regiment, for sixteen years, and is a member of the "Old Guard" of Albany. He is a member (as is his wife) of the State Historical Society, and is prominent in the Masonic order, belonging to lodge, chapter, council (De Witt Clinton) and Temple No. 14. He is also an interested member of the Patrons of Husbandry. He is an active Democrat. Has served as chairman of the county committee of his party and is often seen as a delegate at county and state conventions. He married, in Washington, D. C., October 31, 1901, Harriet Merle Aspinwall, born in Henderson, Jefferson county, New York, in 1857. She was a teacher in the schools for ive years, then for fourteen years was connected with the dead letter division, department of the government, postal service at Washington. In 1895 she resigned to become confidential clerk and secretary to Superintendent Skinner, state superintendent of public instruction, continuing until her marriage. She is a daughter of David Montague Aspinwall, a direct descendant of Peter Aspinwall of Boston and Brookline, Massachusetts. The early record says: "Peter Aspinwall came from Toxteth Park near Liverpool, Old England, to Brookline near Boston in New England, in company with the four thousand who came in the year 1630." The records of the First Church at Boston show that "also of Sister Alice Sharp now ye wife of Peter Aspinwall of Dorchester had lines of Recomend granted unto her to ye church at Dorchester. The 8th day of ye 4th month (June) 1645." He held many offices and wasa farmer and tanner. He married (second) February 12, 1662, Governor John Endicott performing the ceremony, Remember, daughter of Peter and Edith Palfrey, of Reading, Massachusetts. By second wife he had twelve children. Eleazer, the seventh child, was born October 9, 1673, at Muddy River, (Brookline) Massachusetts. He was a brick manufacturer. In 1720 he removed to Wallingford, Connecticut. Dr. William Aspinwall wrote of him in 1767: "He was a passionate man, a hard labored, religious, but willful and too much governed by a bad wife; a strong man at argument. He died in the fields with his hoe in his hands." His wife was Mary. They had four children. Aaron, the eldest child of Eleazer and Mary Aspinwall was born at Roxbury, Massachusetts, June 6, 1711. He lived at Farmington, Connecticut, until 1758, then removed to Norfolk, Litchfield county. He was one of the forty-four legal voters who organized the first town meeting in Norfolk, December 12, 1758. He married, October 20, 1732, Sarah Collins, one of the original members of the Congregational church at Norfolk. They had six children. Eleazer, the sixth child, was born in Farmington, Connecticut, June 22, 1751. He later settled in Pawlet, Vermont, where he died November 23, 1804. He married Elizabeth, daughter of James Steele, son of Joseph, son of James, son of Samuel, son of John Steele, the emigrant, born in England, 1630, and his wife, Rachel Talcot. Eleazer and Elizabeth Aspinwall had eight children. Salmon, the fourth child and eldest son, was born in Norfolk, Connecticut, June 10, 1783, died May 4, 1856. He removed with his parents to Pawlet, Vermont, where he married Mary Montague, September 29, 1805. She was born January 9, 1784, died April 30, 1850. They removed about 1811 to Rupert, Bennington county, Vermont, and about 1820 to Henderson, Jefferson county, New York. He was a farmer and also carried on a blacksmithing business. They had six children. David Montague, fifth child and third son of Salmon and Mary (Montague) Aspinwall, was born in Rupert, Vermont, July 27, 1817. He was of the sixth generation of Aspinwalls in America. He always lived on the old homestead in Henderson after the removal there. He married, June 6, 1843, Harriet Minerva Alden, born in Medina, Orleans county, New York. She is a direct descendant of John Alden, born about 1599, came to Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1620, in the "Mayflower," married Priscilla Mullins; died September 12, 1687. The descent is Jonathan, son of John and Priscilla Alden, married Abigail Hallet; Andrew, son of Jonathan and Abigail Alden, married Lydia Stanford; William, son of Andrew and Lydia Alden, married Rebecca Metcalf; William Mullins, son of William and Rebecca Alden, married Sarah Lisk; Briggs, son of William Mullins and Sarah Alden, married Maria King; Harriet Minerva, daughter of Briggs and Maria (King) Alden, married David Montague Aspinwall; Harriet Merle, daughter of David Montague and Harriet Minerva Aspinwall, married James Hilton. She is a member of the various orders basing membership on colonial ancestry or patriotic service.
  2. Catherine, born September 27, 1863, died January 29, 1898. She married Frederick Hugo Dewey, now of Byron, New York; children:
    1. Josephine,
    2. Florence L.,
    3. Frederick Hugo, Jr., who makes his home with his Grandmother Hilton at the farm.
  3. Maria H., born December 16, 1865; educated at the State Normal College; unmarried.
  4. Joseph, born October 17, 1868; operates the home acres yet undivided, and is in partnership with his brother James under the firm name of James Hilton & Brother. He married Harriet Wood, of New Scotland, born March 6, 1870, daughter of Charles, born in New Scotland, and Catharine H. Flansburg, parents of four other children, namely: Imogene, Mary, Bertha M. and Jane E.; granddaughter of Arnold and Mary B. (Spencer) Wood, and great-granddaughter of Gideon and Jerusha (Atkins) Wood. Mr. and Mrs. Hilton have a daughter, Catharine W., born June 26, 1904.
  5. Henry Van Der Zee, born March 27, 1871; unmarried.
  6. Mary Dennison, born September 8, 1873; married John Bullock Mosher, of South Bethlehem, where they live on a farm.
  7. Robert J., born June 26, 1876; with the New York Central railroad; resides at Union Hill, New Jersey. He married Ella Lawless and has a daughter, Phoebe M., born February 6, 1910.
  8. Frank Richard, born June 18, 1879; with the New York Central railroad; resides in New York City; unmarried.

Mrs. Maria V. Hilton survives her husband and resides upon the beautiful estate so long in the Hilton name. She is a devoted mother and a most warmly cherished neighbor. She is a member of Presbyterian church.

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