Innkeeper William Hilton was the patriarch of the Albany Hilton family. He often was called William Hilton "the elder!" Family resources state that he was born in England and that he emigrated from Leeds in Yorkshire in 1686. At that time, he was about twenty-one-years-old.
He probably came to America to serve in one of the garrison companies. In 1697 and again in 1700, he was listed as a private in Colonel Richard Ingoldsby's company of Grenadiers.
William Hilton's first wife was Sara Ebb. In April 1693, he was a widower when he married Anna Van Berkhoven at the Albany Dutch church. By 1708, the marriage produced at least seven children who were christened at the church and who further established the Hilton name in Albany.
By 1699, these Hiltons had settled permanently in Albany where he was brought to court for not being qualified to trade. Two years later, he was ordered to stop trading until he was "qualified as a freeman."
In July 1699, he obtained a lot on Albany's Southside - in an area populated by a number of soldier families. For the next half century, William (alias Willem K.) Hilton was a first ward mainstay. His name appeared on community rolls as a taxpayer and freeholder. As late as 1742, his name still appeared on a list of first ward freeholders.
William Hilton died in 1749 and was buried from the Dutch church where he had been an occasional baptism sponsor.
first posted: 6/10/03; last revised 1/21/09