Peter W. Hilton


Mostly known as Peter W. Hilton, this individual probably was born early in 1745 and christened at the Albany Dutch church on February 17. He was the son of William and Margaret Jones Hilton. He grew up in the first ward home of a prominent, English-speaking carpenter.

In September 1772, he married Elizabeth Echts, an Albany-born spinster. By 1790, the marriage had produced a number of children who were christened at St. Peter's Anglican church where he was a member. However, by 1815, he was being identified as a deacon at the Albany Dutch church.

By the mid-1760s, Peter W. had reached adulthood and was mentioned along with his father on first ward tax rolls. At that time, he was a member of an Albany militia company as well. In 1769, he was named constable for the first ward. During the 1790s, he served in fire companies in the first ward.

In his early thirties at the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, Peter W. Hilton might have been expected to have played an active part in the crusade for American liberties. However, so far, the record has shown only that he contributed toward supplies for the relief of Ticonderoga in 1775. In November 1780, he was identified as a cooper when he posted one hundred pounds bail for a disaffected neighbor. His name seems to have been absent from the obvious military rosters or bounty lists from that era.

In 1779, his personal property was valued under the real property of his father in the first ward. William Hilton probably died within a few years of that assessment leaving several sons as residents of the first ward.

After the war, he continued to live in a modest home at 40 Beaver Street where he plied the cooper's trade. In 1790, his first ward home included seven people. In 1797, a list of freeholders in the first ward identified him as a cooper. In 1800, two householders identified simply as "Peter Hilton" were listed on the census in the first ward. One of them counted only one young man while the other housed (next to the home of Thomas Barret a fellow cooper and long time neighbor) four people and the adult male resident would have fit the age parameters of this subject. However, in 1810, Peter W. Hilton's Albany household was composed of seven people. Beginning in 1813, city directories listed his Beaver Street address for many years.

In March 1813, he witnessed the will of Albert Van Der Zee of Bethlehem. We seek information on the final three decades of his life.

Later in life, he probably moved into a family residence west of Albany. Peter W. Hilton died in Guilderland on January 26, 1835. His will passed probate in Albany County in October. According to the newspaper notice, this Albany native had lived ninety-two years - the first eighty-four of them in the city.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Peter W. Hilton is CAP biography number 8564. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

"Elizabeth Echts" has not been connected to the Albany Eights or Yates families.

first posted 8/10/08' updated 8/20/15