* Genealogy of the Hilton Family *
(version May 1, 2017)
Please email corrections to Mike Clark


  1. Henry Hilton (1816-1899) was born in England, probably in 1816. Family tradition puts his birthplace in Liverpool, which might tie him to one of several Henry Hiltons who were born a few miles to the northeast of Liverpool in the towns of Upholland and Wigan, Lancashire. He is said to have come to the United States when he was about 15-years old, and that he came from a reasonably well-to-do family who ran woolen mills. He probably arrived in New York in the early 1830s.

    Henry's grandaughter Sally Hilton Hoyle wrote in some notes on the family that ""Grandpa Hilton came from England. He went to take a music lesson and got on a boat and came to America. Some tried to get him to write back home. He wouldn't do it because he was afraid they would make him come back home. When [Henry's grandson] Joe Hilton was born, [Henry] wanted them to name him Joe after his brother Joe - that is all they know about his family."

    Henry married Margaret Maher (1826-1898), probably in the early 1850s in New York. Margaret, who had been born in 1826 in Kilkenny, Ireland, most likely came to the United States to escape the Great Potato Famine that ravished Ireland between 1845 and 1852. Henry and Margaret had two children born in New York, at least one of them on Long Island in New York City. They then moved their family briefly to Wisconsin where in 1858 another child was born.

    Probably looking for opportunites to own land, Henry and Margaret moved to southern Illinois and settled in the farming community of South Pass in Union County, where we find them during the 1860 U.S. Census. South Pass farmers in the early 1850s hauled their produce by wagon to Carbondale, which was not far to the north, but still a fair ride by wagon. However, tracks were laid to South Pass in 1857 by the Illinois Central Railroad, which provided a much needed connection to markets in St. Louis and Chicago. The local economy boomed, and when the time came to chose a name for the town that sprouted up, the residents chose Cobden rather than South Pass.

    Henry tried his hand in Cobden at farming, but it was not to his liking, and he eventually became a stone mason instead. It is said that there are many stone curbs and steps around the town that came from his hand. Even though he cared not for farming, he is credited with originating a process of using hot beds for starting early tomato plants, and for being the first to ship baskets of Cobden tomatoes to St. Louis and Chicago.

    Margaret died Jan. 30, 1898 at her house, which was located about one mile south of Cobden, and Henry died at the age of 84 at the same house on Dec. 29, 1899. Obituaries for both were carried in the local papers. Both are buried on the northeast side of Cobden in the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery. Their son William Henry Hilton is buried nearby in the same plot.

    children - HILTON

    Margaret Matilda Hilton (1855-1932), who went by her middle name of Matilda, was born ______________, 1855 in ________________, New York, and moved as a little girl to Cobden in Union County, Illinois with her parents. She married Irish-born John Troy (b. c.1842) on April 3, 1871 in Union County, and moved with him to Maryville in Nodaway County, Missouri, where they were living during the 1880 U.S. Census, which shows John's occupation as a collar maker. Margaret next appears as Matilda Troy in Carbondale, Illinois during the 1900 census without John, and the 1920 census shows her in Pueblo, Colorado alone with a grandson, and listed as a widow. Lastly, she turns up in the 1930 census with her daughter Nellie in Grand Junction, Colorado. Margaret died __________________, 1932, probably in _______________, Colorado, but she is buried in Illinois in the Cobden Cemetery. The apparent absence of a death certificate for her in the Illinois State Archives would support the supposition that she died out of state.

    • Nellie Troy was born about 1872 in Illinois, became a teacher, and married John C. Hummel.
    • Edward Troy was born about 1874 in Illinois.
    • Harry Troy was born about 1878 in Illinois. He is shown as a soldier in the 1900 U.S. Census. He re-enlisted for a second tour of duty in the cavalry in 1906, and was discharged the following year.
    • Willie Troy was born about 1882 in Missouri. He is shown as a harness master in the 1900 U.S. Census.
    • John Byron Troy (1892-1968) was born Oct. 25, 1892 in Carbondale, Illinois; and married Olga June Greenman (b. c.1890) on June 25, 1918 in Pueblo, Colorado. He died in Pueblo in 1968.

    John Henry Hilton (1856-1903) was born July 25, 1856 in Long Island, New York, probably either in Kings County (which is the modern Brooklyn Borough) or Queens County (of which modern Nassau County is part). Suffolk County on the east half of the island is another possibility. He moved to Cobden, Union County, Illinois as a child with his parents, and married Maria Rich (1856-1926) on March 27, 1883 in Union County. John died June 8, 1903 in Anna, and Maria died Sept. 16, 1926 in Cobden, both towns being in Union County. John and Maria are buried in the Cobden Cemetery with their sons Lafayette and Charlie.

    • Mammie Hilton married Joe William Thomas, who started the Cobden Museum.
    • Lafayette Hilton (1885-1891) was born Sept. 8, 1885 in Cobden, and died there on Feb. 11, 1891. He is buried in Cobden Cemetery.
    • Marie Hilton married Bob Wallace.
    • Charlie Hilton died Aug. 9, 1893 and is buried in Cobden Cemetery.

    Frank Hilton (1857-1898) was born April 4, 1857 in Fondulac County, Wisconsin, which is located northwest of Milwaukee, and moved to Cobden, Illinois with his parents. He married Alice Gunter (1867-1944) of Cobden (South Pass) on Feb. 20, 1884, on the day before her before her 17th birthday. Frank died Jan. 26, 1898 at the age of 40 years, 9 months and 22 days, and Alice died on Oct. 5, 1944 in East St. Louis, St. Clair County, Illinois. Both are buried in the Casper Church Cemetery in Anna. There is confusion of Frank with his brother James in some of the online genealogies. Also, Alice gets confused with a different woman in Cobden named Adeline Gunter. Frank and Alice's children follow.

    • Gertrude Hilton (b. c.1884) married James Adkins on Jan. 4, 1900 in Union County, Illinois.
    • Henry Hilton (b. c.1886)
    • Maggie Hilton (b. c.1888)
    • Cora Bell Hilton (1892-1939) was born Dec. 6, 1892 in Cobden, married Samuel Henry Fisher on Mar 6, 1910 in Hayti, Missouri, and died June 10, 1939 in Anna, Illinois.
    • Hallie Hilton (b. c.1892)

    James Hilton (1860-1943) was born Oct. 25, 1860 in Cobden, Illinois, and married Lucinda Livinia Walker (1866-1937) on Jan. 1, 1885 in Union County, Illinois. Lucinda died Dec. 16, 1937 in Union County and James died there July 20, 1943 in Union County. Both are buried in the Cobden Cemetery. Their children follow.

    • Minnie May Hilton (1885-1961) was born Dec. 15, 1885 in Union County Illinois, married Olley Herbert Clutts (1883-1923) on Feb. 24, 1907, and died Dec. 30, 1961 in Anna, Illinois, Olley having died before her. Both are buried in the Anna Cemetery.
    • Joseph Walter Hilton (1888-1938) was born April 27, 1888 in Union Coiunty, Illinois, and married Etta Smith (1891-1981) on Jan. 3, 1910. He died Dec. 11, 1838 in Cobden, when he stepped in front of a car while crossing the street. He is buried in the Cobden Cemetery. Genealogy notes on the family written on Sept. 20, 2003 by Joseph's daughter Norma "Sally" Joetta Hilton (b. March 5, 1931, wife of Jack Hoyle) provided much of the information in this family history.
    • Lawrence Morton Hilton (1892-1971) was born March 10, 1892 in Cobden and married Mina Myrthine Allen (1890-1983) on July 18, 1918, serving at some point in WWI. He retired as a school teacher and died Apil 3, 1971 at his home, south of Cobden. He is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Makanda, Jackson County, Illinois.
    • Alice M. Hilton (1895-1988) was born Jan. 22, 1895 in Union County, Illinois and married Olof Madsen. She lived for awhile in Cashmere, Washington, but died Nov. 20, 1988 in Murphysboro, Jackson County, Illinois and is buried in the Cobden Cemetery.

    Mary E. Hilton (1866?-1867) died on Dec. 7, 1867. She is known only from her tombstone in the St. Joseph Cemetery that is located in the Hilton family plot next to her parents. the stone is quite worn and difficult to read, but it appears to indicate that she was 11 months old when she died.

    William Henry Hilton (1867-1919), who follows:


  2. William Henry Hilton (1867-1919), the son of Henry Hilton and Margaret Maher, was born July 4, 1867, most likely in Cobden, Illinois. He married Lillie "Lilly" Melvina Lockhard (1870-1948) on April 15, 1888 in Union County, most likely in Cobden town. Lillie was the daughter of early Cobden (South Pass) residents John Lockard (1823-1906) and his wife Sarah Hagler (1823-1897), having been born in South Pass on Sept. 26, 1870. William died Sept. 25, 1919 in Cobden, and is buried there in the St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, in a family plot with his parents. Lillie stayed on in Union County after William died and eventually married her second husband there, Benjamin Charles Basler (1868-1942). Ben was the brother of Margaret Basler, whose daughter Susie married Lillie's son. After Ben died in Union County on Sept. 24, 1942, Lillie moved to Los Angeles, where her son and his family were living. Lillie died in Los Angeles County on July 3, 1948, but she is buried beside her first husband William at Saint Joseph Cemetery in Illinois. Her second husband Ben Basler is probably buried in Saint Josephs Cemetery as well, as that is where both his parents and most of his siblings rest.

    children - HILTON

    Walter Hilton (1889-1889) was born Jan. 22, 1889 in Cobden, Illinois, and died there Nov. 8, 1889. He is buried in the Lockard-Swafford family cemetery northeast of Cobden.
    John Rea Hilton (1891-1952), who follows:
    Rollie Hilton (1892-1895) was born July 2, 1892 in Cobden, Illinois, and died there Jan. 17, 1895. He is buried with his brother in the Lockard-Swafford family cemetery northeast of Cobden.


  3. John Rea Hilton (1891-1952), the son of William Hilton and Lillie Lockhard, was born April 3, 1891 in Union County, Illinois. He married Susanna "Susie" I. Cerny, who had been born on Sept. 22, 1889 in Illinois to Jacob A. Cerny (1861-1944) and his first wife Margaret C. Basler (1863-1912), both of whom are buried in Cobden in St. Joseph Cemetery. John and Susie moved their family in the early 1930s to the Los Angeles, California area where John died on April 20, 1952, and Susie died there on Feb. 27, 1985. Both are buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City.

    children - HILTON

    John Raymond "High Dollar Ray" Hilton (1917-1998) was born Aug. 11, 1917 in Cobden, Illinois. He lived in Los Angeles, California for awhile, but returned to Illinois, where he died as Ray Hilton in Makanda on Aug. 26, 1998. Ray appears to have been close to his mother's sister Winifred Cerny (1899-1980), who married Mark Dillow (1889-1963), as the Murphysboro Daily Independant writes at least three times between Feb. and July of 1940 about visits Ray made to the Dillow household.

    Margaret "Marge" Velma Hilton (1916-1998) was born on February 25, 1916 in Cobden, Illinois, and married Champ Clark Rice (1915-1980) of Idaho. Champ died on July 14, 1980 in Monrovia, California; and Marge died on May 24, 1998 in San Diego. Both are buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.

    • Lawrence "Gene" Rice was born on April 29, 1941 in Los Angeles County.
    • Carol Ann Rice was born on May 24, 1943 in Los Angeles County, and married William P. Mahedy on July 27, 1975 in Los Angeles.
    • Michael Louis Rice was born on Dec. 31, 1951 in Los Angeles County.
    • Timothy Paul Rice was born on October 16, 1953 in Los Angeles County.

    Paul Hilton (b. 1928), who follows:


  4. Paul Hilton (1928-2017), the son of John Rea Hilton and Susie Cerny, was born 0n December 28, 1928 in Twin Falls, Idaho. Although he was born and raised in southern California, he spent most of his life in northern California, where he worked as a cameraman for a television station in Sacramento. His first wife Eleonora Coma, the mother of his children, was born on March 3, 1932 in Romania and died on Oct. 31, 1994 in Los Angeles County, California. Paul and Eleonora divorced, afterwhich he married his second wife Gretchen Rice on Nov. 4, 1970 in Reno, Nevada. He married his third wife Brigette Goscinski on Jan 27, 1980, also in in Reno. Eleanora, Gretchen and Brigette have since passed away. He retired with his fourth wife Virginia to Georgetown, in the Sierra foothills of California, where he enjoyed many hobbies, including making wine under the "Hilton's Hideaway" label, and making animated windmills to share with family and friends. Paul and Virginia in 2016 relocated to Roseburg, Oregon, where Paul died a few months later at home on April 29, 2017 in Virginia's arms.

    children - HILTON (with Eleonora Coma)

    Cathy Sue Hilton (b. 1954) was born on Oct. 23, 1954 in Los Angeles County, California.
    Paul John Hilton (b. 1955) was born on Dec. 23, 1955 in Los Angeles County, California.
    Robert James Hilton (1959-2007) was born on Aug. 25, 1959 in Los Angeles County, California, and committed suicide on Oct. 19, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
    Michael Phillip Hilton (1960-1980) was born on Nov. 28, 1960 in Crescenta, Los Angeles County, California, and died at the age of 19 years on May 17, 1980 near Auburn in Placer County, California, in an accident where he was electrocuted by downed power line while trying to render aid to the victim of a car accident.







by Janet & Michael Clark

This history is an evolving document.
Despite our best intentions it probably contains mistakes.
Please let us know if you spot any by sending an email to Mike Clark



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