William Hilton Sr.

William HILTON Sr. (1591- 1656) was Alex’s 12th Great Grandfather, one of 8,192  in this generation of the Shaw line and one of 8,192 in the Miller line.  (See his great great grandson Thomas BROWNE for details of the double ancestors)

William Hilton - Coat of Arms

William Hilton was born about 1591 in Northwich, Cheshire, England. His parents were Captain Mark Roger HILTON and Ellen MAINWARRING. He married Mary [__?__] by 1616 and had four children. William arrived in Plymouth Colony with his brother Edward in 1621 on the Fortune. His wife and two children joined him in the summer of 1623 arriving on the Anne.  His first residence was Plymouth then moved to Piscataqua, Dover in 1628, then to Kittery in 1648 and York in 1651.  Mary died by 1636 and he married about that time Frances Hayward in Dover, Strafford County, NHand had four more children. William died between June 28, 1655, and June 30, 1656.

Frances Hayward was born 7 Jun 1600 in Ixworth, Suffolk, England Her parents were Francis Hayward and [__?__]. Alternatively, her father was Bartholomew Hayward. After William’s death Frances married Richard White by June 30, 1656.  Administration of the estate of William Hilton was granted 30 June 1656 to Richard White, “the said Whitte having married his widow,” Frances. White posted a £100 bond as administrator. Frances died 1688 in Kittery, York, Maine.

Children of William and his first wife:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Elizabeth Hilton 27 Jun 1616
1 Aug 1616
2. William HILTON 22 Jun 1617
by 1641
Mehitable Nowell
16 Sep 1659 Charlestown.
3. Alice Hilton 1618
Northwick, Cheshire, England
George Walton
Exeter, NH
New Castle, New Hampshire
4. Mary Hilton Baptized at Northwich on May 11, 1619 She apparently came to Plymouth Colony in 1623, but nothing further is known.
5. John Hilton 1624
26 Nov 1640
Dover, NH


Children of William and Frances Hilton:

Name Born Married Departed
6. Magdalene Hilton 1636 James Wiggin
by 1656
Henry Kenning
14 May 1698 – Newbury, Essex, Mass
7. Mainwaring Hilton c. 1646 Mary Moulton
4 Jul 1671
8. Agnes Hilton c. 1647 Arthur Beale
9. William Hilton c. 1653 Ann Parsons
by 1678
York, Maine

Around what was probably the turn of the 16th/17th century, decades before the Mayflower sailed for Plymouth, the Hylton family appears to have had quite a large and successful fishing fleet, fishing in the north sea and off New Foundland. Eric Lamberton says that “both William and Edward Hilton were north sea fishermen operating out of both Monkwearmouth (where the fishing grounds are) and London.  William and Edward are believed to have been amongst the first English fishermen fishing off Newfoundland in the early part of the 17th century. The Hyltons had a monopoly on salt production in Elizabethan England; salt was needed to preserve the catch on its voyage back to England where it was sold at the Billingsgate fish market. Edward was a member of the Fisherman’s Guild of London.”

William Hilton arrived in Plymouth right after the first Thanksgiving in 1621

William and Edward Hilton came to Plymouth aboard the “Fortune” in 1621, the year after the “Mayflower” arrived in America. The “Fortune,” a small ship carrying only 35 passengers, left England in July 1621 and didn’t arrive at Plymouth until November 10th of that year. On arrival they found that half the “Mayflower” passengers had not made it through their first winter in Plymouth and had died. The “Fortune” sailed back to England carrying a “cargo of good clapboard as full as she could stow, and two hogsheads of beaver and other skins” which showed the great potential for settling in America, and the hopes of selling this cargo and ensuring future settlement at Plymouth. Unfortunately, before reaching port in England, the ship was stopped by the French who seized the cargo and that intended profit for the small colony back in Plymouth was lost.

Shortly after arriving in Plymouth, Hilton wrote a letter, later included in Captain John Smith’s account of New England, to a cousin in Old England. In this letter, Hilton spoke enthusiastically of life in the new colony, saying in part,“I know not anything a contented mind can here want.”

Loving Cousin,

At our arrival at New Plymouth, in New England, we found all our friends and planters in good health, though they were left sick and weak, with very small means; the Indians round about us peaceable and friendly; the country very pleasant and temperate, yielding naturally, of itself, great store of fruits, as vines of divers sorts, in great abundance. There is likewise walnuts, chestnuts, small nuts and plums, with much variety of flowers, roots and herbs, no less pleasant than wholesome and profitable. No place hath more gooseberries and strawberries nor better. Timer of all sorts you have in England doth cover the land, that affords beasts of divers sorts, and great flocks of turkeys, quails, pigeons and partridges; many great lakes abounding with fish, fowl, beavers, and otters. The sea affords us great plenty of all excellent sorts of sea-fish, as the rivers and isles doth variety of wild fowl of most useful sorts. Mines we find, to our thinking; but neither the goodness nor quality we know. Better grain cannot be than the Indian corn, if we will plant it upon as good ground as a man need desire. We are all freeholders; the rent-day doth not trouble us; and all those good blessings we have, of which and what we list in their seasons for taking. Our company are, for the most part, very religious, honest people; the word of God sincerely taught us ever Sabbath; so that I know not any thing a contented mind can here want. I desire your friendly care to send my wife and children to me, where I wish all the friends I have in England; and so I rest

Your loving kinsman,

William Hilton

In the 1623 Plymouth division of land, William Hilton received one acre as a passenger on the “Fortune” and William Hilton’s wife and two children received three acres as passengers on the “Anne”.

In 1624, he had a child baptized by Reverend John Lyford  (Sarah Oakley Lyford HOBART’s first husband, see her page for the story of Lyman’s nefarious life) although he was not a member of the church.  This action was one of the first in the controversy between Lyford and the Plymouth government. Hilton and his family left Plymouth Colony soon thereafter.
He may have joined his brother Edward on the Piscataqua directly.

The controversy over the baptism of this child by the Rev. John Lyford supposedly started the problems whereby John Lyford and John Oldham were expelled from the Colony after setting up a separate (Anglican) church from that of the Pilgrims. There is an account of Plymouth Colony’s trails and tribulations with Rev. John Lyford to be found in William Bradford’s book “Of Plymouth Plantation.”

When another child was born to the ‘young’ William Hiltons, it could not be baptized at Plymouth, unless the parents joined the Pilgrim Church, which they were not disposed to do, being staunch Anglicans. They appealed to Rev. John Lyford, and arranged a private baptism according to the rites of the Church of England. This precipitated the Lyford-Oldham crisis, and Rev. Lyford was forced to take his family and leave the Plymouth settlement.” Jill goes on to say “It was this issue, along with problems with the church’s ‘Separatists’ that was behind the family’s migration first to the Piscataqua River, and later to join his brother Edward to help found Dover, New Hampshire.”

William was in Dover by 1628, later moving to Kittery (1648) and York (1651). He served in various official capacities,including juror and committeeman, in Dover, and York. While in Kittery he was a tavern keeper and ferry operator.

Sometime before March 1639, William Hilton had participated in an exploratory expedition up the Merrimack.

Merrimack River at Sunset

Edward Hilton settled on the Piscataqua sometime between 1625 and 1628, and it is possible that William settled there at the same time. One posssibility, then, is that William Hilton left Plymouth in later 1624 or early 1625, after the baptism incident, and joined his brother Edward about that time in settling what would become Dover.” This scenario would not require any additional place of residence between William’s moving from Plymouth and Dover.

On the other hand, Noyes, Libby and Davis state that Hilton “left Plymouth and joined [David] Thomson at Little Harbor with the purpose of starting salt works,” and apparently did this in partnership with Gilbert Winslow.  This would provide William Hilton and his family with a home prior to the arrival of Edward Hilton, assuming the latter did not come so early as 1625.”

John T. Hassam “demonstrated that the immigrant William Hilton had two sons by that same name. The deposition of 1660 was made by the elder of these two sons, who lived in Newbury and Charlestown. A deposition of 1683 proves the younger son William of the immigrant William, for on 30 May 1683 two men testified that ‘William Hilton now resident in York…was commonly known, & reputed, to be the son of William Hilton Senior deceased, & formerly lived in York’ ”

Noyes, Libby and Davis note “that ‘(b)esides the wife who followed him to Plymouth, and Frances, possibly a widow with children when he married her about 1651, there may have been others, suggesting that if one of his wives should prove to have been a Winslow it would explain his letter writing with Edward Winslow, his association with John Winslow, his removal to Piscataqua with Gilbert Winslow and the marriage of two of John Winslow’s sons to his relations”

“There is no date of death for the first wife of William Hilton, and we do not know when he married Frances, so the distribution of his children among his wives is difficult. We assume here that the first wife did not survive long in this country, and that the last four children were all with Frances. Magdalene, who calls Frances her mother, need not have been a Hilton, but since this name also suggests a Winslow connection, and since Libby makes such a point of the low social status of Frances, one might question the exact nature of this relation as well.

As of 1628, William Hilton had removed from Plymouth to Piscataqua, Dover, New Hampshire and in 1648 to Kittery, Maine, and then in 1651 to York, Maine.

On 31 May 1660 Massachusetts Bay General Court, in “answer to a petition of William Hilton, humbly craving the Court’s allowance & confirmation of a deed of gift of six miles square of land lying on the River Pennieconaquigg, being a rivulet running into the River Penacooke, with two miles of the best meadow lying on the northeast side of Pennacook, given to his father & him in the year 1636 by Tahanto, the sagamore there; & the Court, having considered the contents of this petition, judge meet not to grant the same, but considering the petitioner’s grounds for the approbation of the Indian’s grant, do judge meet to grant that three hundred acres of the said land be set out to the petitioner by a committee chosen by this Court, so as that it may not prejudice any plantation; and this as a final end of all future claims by virtue of such grant from the Indians.”

On 19 May 1642, “Mr. W[illia]m Hilton was among the residents of York who on 22 November 1652 subjected themselves to Massachusetts Bay government and took the freeman’s oath”

It is thought that William Hilton was somewhat educated as he wrote several competent, if poorly spelled, letters

William’s listed occupations while living in Kittery are as a tavern keeper and ferry operator. He seemed to appear quite often in court for one thing or the other; a few cases while in Kittery: On 27 June 1648 “Mr. William Hilton being licensed for to keep the ordinary at the mouth of the river of Pascataquack and that none other shall keep any private ordinary there, nor to sell wine, beer nor liquor upon any pretence.” On 16 October 1649 “Mr. William Hilton presented [in court] for not keeping victual and drink at all times for strangers and inhabitants, admonished.” On 15 October 1650 “for as much as the house at the river’s mouth where Mr. Shapleigh’s father first built and Mr. William Hilton now dwelleth; in regard it was first house there built and Mr. Shapleigh intendeth to build and enlarge it, and for further considerations, it is thought fit it should from time to time be for a house of entertainment or ordinary with this proviso, that the tenant be such a one as the inhabitants shall approve of”

While living in Dover and York William held numerous offices:
“Deputy for Dover to Massachusetts Bay General Court, 7 March 1643/4, 29 May 1644,
and 14 May 1645 (disguised as “William Heath”)
Grand jury, 11 Mar 1651, 28 Jun 1655
Jury, 25 Nov  1650
Committee to divide land, 19 Mar 1651/2, 28 Jun 1655
York Alderman, 1652
York selectman, 1653, 1654

William Hilton and Frances were brought to court on 16 Oct 1649 in Kittery, York County, Maine. Mrs. Hilton was presented and admonished for fighting and abusing her neighbors with her tongue. At the same court, Mr. William Hilton was presented for breach of the Sabbath in carrying of wood from the woods and for failing to keep food and drink on hand for strangers and inhabitants.

William Hilton and Frances were brought to court on 15 Mar 1649/50 in York, York County, Maine. Mr. William Hilton brought cases against Hatevell Nutter, Thomas Hanscom and Robert Mendam. He was still suing Hanscom and Mendam on 11 March 1651/2. On 15 Oct 1650, Mr. William Hilton and Frances his wife were sued by Mr. Georg Moncke for slander. On 11 Mar 1651/52, Jeremy Sheires reviled Mr. William Hilton when Hilton was foreman of the jury, and Sheires was fined £2. On 14 Oct 1651 Mr. William Hilton posted bail for Clement Campion, sued Thomas Way for debt, and sued Michaell Powell for debt.

On 30 Jun 1653 in York, York County, Maine, “William Hilton Senior” sued Samuell Allcocke for cutting and carrying away his timber. On 25 Oct 1653, Mr. William Hilton Senior sued Ann Mason of London and, in a separate action, sued Sir Ferdinando Gorges, for damge done against him.

On 28 Jun 1655 in York, York County, Maine, the court found Frances Hilton, the wife of William Hilton, guilty of “railing at her husband and saying he went with Joane [sic, John in the blotter] his bastard to his three halfe penny whores and that he carried a cloak of profession for his knavery.” For this offense she was sentenced to have “twenty lashes upon the bare skin, only the execution thereof upon her husband’s request to be respited upon her good behavior until the next county court, except any just complaints come in against her. In the meantime, which if they do unto authority then the punishment to be inflicted upon her by order of the commissioners of York at what time they shall see cause to order it.” Who knows what the outcome of this offense was — did Frances get her twenty lashes or did William die before that next county court came up to check whether she had been on her good behavior. Maybe Frances drove William to an early grave!


2. William HILTON (See his page)

3. Alice Hilton

Alice’s husband George Walton was born 1615 – England. George died 20 Feb 1686 -New Castle, Rockingham New Hampshire,

6. Magdalene Hilton

Magdalene’s first husband James Wiggin was born 1619 – Cheshire, England. James died 1698 – Scarborough, Cumberland, Maine

Magdalene’s second husband Henry Kenning was born xx. Henry died 2 Nov 1731) – Salem, Essex, Mass.

7. Mainwaring Hilton

Mainwaring’s wife Mary Moulton was born 25 Jan 1652 – Rockingham, Maine. Her parents ere Thomas Moulton and Martha Page. Mary died 19 Sep 1694 – York, York, Maine or Nov 1725 – York, York, Maine.

8. Agnes Hilton

Agnes’ husband Arthur Beale was born 5 Oct 1638 in Devonshire, England. His parents were Arthur 1 Beale and Elizabeth Watt. Arthur died 1711 – York, Maine.

9. William Hilton

William’s wife Ann Parsons was born 1657 in York, York, Maine. Her parents were Mark Parsons and
Elizabeth [__?__]. Anne died 1737 in Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts.







This entry was posted in 14th Generation, First Comer, Immigrant - England, Line - Miller, Line - Shaw, Pioneer, Public Office, Sea Captain, Tavern Keeper and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to William Hilton Sr.

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  7. focusoninfinity says:

    I’m confused: Where does Exeter, New Hampshire, lawyer Edward Hilton, Sr., fit in here? I make many mistakes and welcome corrections?

    His wife was Mrs. Catherine Shapleigh Treworgye; their son Edward Hilton, Jr., of Eliot, Maine, wed Ann Dudley. Ann’s son, Dudley Hilton of Exeter, wed Mercy Hall who had Elizabeth Hilton, wife of Christopher Robinson of Exeter. Daughter Elizabeth Hilton wed Rochester, N.H., legislator, inn keeper, one-armed Maj. Barnabas Palmer, Sr., DAR Patriot. Daughter Margaret ‘Molly’ Palmer wed Dover, New Hampshire legislator, LtCol. David Copp, Sr., DAR Patriot(buried Lovel Lake Cemetery, Wakefield, N.H.), who fought as a captain at Bunker Hill. A Protestant, as a legislator, Copp fought against the legal disenfranchisement of Catholics, based on their being allegedly, of the wrong faith.

    David Copp, Jr., Esq., a graduate of Phillip’s Exeter Academy, wed Portsmounth, New Hampshire, fifteen years old, Mary ‘Polly” Watson. David Jr. and “Polly”, allegedly fled Portsmouth in the night because of his gambling debts; to New Orleans, where he was murdered in a gambling house, 1805; his human remains never found. Widowed, Mary may have married Mr. Robert Porter, Collector of Customs? Son John Manning Copp (Sr.?), born April 12, 1795, may have remained in New Orleans, or returned to the Wakefield-Dover, N.H., area?

    Daughter Adeline Cecelia Copp, born New Hampshire 1799, died Biloxi 1879, married New Orleans 1815; Battle of New Orleans Adj. Lt. John (W?) Nixon, De Jean’s 1st Louisiana Militia, who fought on the far West Bank, until over-run by the British, when Lt. Nixon spike his two light cannon, and retreated. The light cannon and captured regimental flag, may have gone to the War Trophy Room, Whitehall, England?. Nixon was the senior attorney for the City New Orleans, and in 1815, there helped found a Masonic Lodge. He owned 115,000 acres of swamp timberland around New Orleans. After the Civil War, his children put in claims for timber cut be the Union whilst it occupied New Orleans. War of 1812, Lt. Copp was entombed Biloxi 1849, where he owned the Nixon House Hotel, and was a member of the Biloxi Masonic Lodge. The waterfront tomb survived Hurricane Katrina, but not his tombstone.

    Daughter Martha Bell Nixon, 1818-1904, wed Asst.City of New Orleans Attorney, Peregrine ‘Perry’ Snowden Warfield of Georgetown, D.C., close kin of Bessie Warfield who wed King Edward VIII. Her sister, Jane Ann Nixon, 1820-1898, was the second wife of my LtCol Robert Wm. James, 1811 Wilmington-Biloxi 1882; civilian master of the Army transport ‘Gen. Hamer‘ out of New Orleans in the Mexican War. Their son was Capt. Harry Copp James, harbormaster Biloxi, who I think New Year’s Day, 1914, brought the light cruiser USS Chester, with President Wilson aboard, to Ship Island? Harry’s wife, Leila Ogden Malone of Mobile, had my Wilmington, N.C., grandmother, Mrs. Ruth Irma James Wootten.

    Mrs. Catherine Shapleigh Treworgye/Hilton’s brother or father, was ships master, Capt. Nicholas Shapleigh, who allegedly, drafted early chart’s of the 1600’s Cape Fear River. Did Shapleigh (Shapely) record the now genericly named Brunswick River, by it’s earlier historic name: the now un-named, historic Hilton River? Perhaps the first to do so?

  8. focusoninfinity says:

    Correction: Only 15,000 acres of swamp (cypress) timberland near New Orleans. John Nixon was born Mcguiresbridge, Co. Fermanagh, N. Ireland, April 23, 1787; parents now un-known? He was entombed Biloxi, June 4th or 7th, 1849. He and Adeline had nine children. The last, Rowina Louisa Medora “Miss Pinky” Nixon, died Biloxi, August 9, 1917, born September 23, 1839, Biloxi. The other eight were born New Orleans.

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  16. Edward Hilton says:

    Very interesting. I grew up in Maine and the other Hiltons of my branch are still there for the most part. There is info out there (Wikipedia?) saying Edward and William (my ancestor) were the second and third sons of Barron (first name?) Hilton and the first son inherited the title, lands, etc., and Hilton Castle, which still exists, I believe in Hilton, England. Hilton was the locality of Howard’s End in the movie of that name and the train station name, Hilton, is seen as they travel in the movie. I also have a book by a Dr. Hilton (of Massachusetts, I think) about my/our lineage, from the arrival of the Fortune to my grandfather John Hilton (deceased) of Jefferson Maine. My mother has also done some research. There are some discrepancies between this article and my info, but they mostly agree. I live in Alameda, California.

    • markeminer says:

      Thanks Edward,

      There may be a little romance in this story of the Hiltons. Hilton Head South Carolina is ours too – lol.

      I live in El Cerrito, California


  17. Liane Smith Goodrich says:

    Edward Hilton! I’m the great granddaughter of Sarah Walker whose sister Grace married George Evans Hilton. They lived in Alameda for quite a while. I am nearly old as dirt so I remember them. Are you the son of Ed who married Georgia and Elizabeth? I have a picture of my mom and June Hilton Walker at Elizabeth Hilton MCCombs 100th birthday. Wes Hilton was my granddad’s best friend. I never found any children for him but I’m more focused on the dead.

    Mark – can you please see that this gets sent to Edward? I think I told you in a comment that I live in East Contra Costa County. Small world. I ended up back here today after a grueling dissection of Hobart Beals Gilman. Not a person, three families. Sounds like a law firm.

    • markeminer says:

      I hope by posting your comment here, it gets to Edward

      • Edward Benjamin Hilton says:

        William and Edward Hilton were the second and third sons of Baron Hilton, of, I think, Hilton, England. The first son inherited, so William and Edward came to the Plymouth community on the ship that came one year after the Mayflower. I am descended from William who was one of the founding persons of New Hampshire. Edward went on to found Hilton Head Island off of South Carolina (I think). They were described as fish mongers. All of my family is in Maine as were my grandparents, so no, no relatives in Alameda. There is, as far as I know, a gathering in England of this family at Hilton Castle

      • Liane Goodrich says:

        I actually found him on Facebook. Crazy. I also have connected the dots from the progenitor of this line down to living breathing people I actually know living here in California. My great grandmother’s sister married George Evans Hilton. He left Nova Scotia later than some of the others in our little tribe. His was the last Hilton – Walker marriage. The first of course was years and years ago. I think our Edward above is from a Maine only line. No detour through Nova Scotia. ⛵️

  18. Merrylyn Sawyer says:

    My husband was a Hilton, descended from Ebenezer Hilton, b. 1703, to Elizabeth Thompson, whom Mainwaring Hilton (b. 1683, son of William the Younger) had impregnated. Mainwaring lived in York, Maine and Elizabeth Thompson in Berwick. Mainwaring just got out of town as quickly as possible, and no one knows where he went. I’m guess he may have gone to Dover to get lost amongst Edward’s Hiltons. He was certainly not around claiming any responsibility for young Ebenezer Hilton, who lived with his mother till about 1722 or so. Then he married Mary Lord Hilton and they eventually moved to Pownalboro, Maine, which broke into nine towns, including Wiscasset, Dresden, Etna and six others. He was killed by native Americans in July, 1747. My husband was the son of Seaverns Hilton and Helen Mumaw. And Seaverns was the son of Howard King Hilton, an architect in Providence, R.I. Seaverns lived in Maine and brought that line back home to Maine.

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