Robert Hilton was born in October 1749. He was the son of Jacobus and Judith Martin Hilton. He grew up as a middle child in the large family of a first ward artisan and contractor. His father probably died during the early 1760s and his mother held on as owner of record with her sons living in her home into the 1780s.
By the mid-1770s, he had married one Elizabeth Burgess or "Bortjes." By 1798, that marriage had produced at least nine children - with two or more of them christened at St. Peter's Episcopal church. Family-based resources have identified him as a member of St. Peter's.
In 1775, he was among those who contributed small sums for the relief of Ticonderoga.
In October 1779, his name appeared on a list of members of John Price's company who were exempted from military service by General Ten Broeck because they were otherwise employed in the public service. At that time, he may have been identified as a cooper. However, after the war, he was accorded a land bounty right in conjunction with the Albany militia regiment.
In March 1779, his real estate (probably a short distance from his mother's home) in the first ward was accorded a small assessment. In October 1779, the assessment also valued that property modestly.
On June 19, 1786, the city council ordered that a new well be dug between his house and that of John A. Lansing and that the well be made of stone "converted" from the fort. Probably shortly thereafter (but also possibly prior to that reference), Robert Hilton left Albany.
During the 1770s, he had leased a farm of 260 acres from the Van Rensselaers. The property is said to have been located west of Albany in what eventually became the town of New Scotland. In 1790, his household in that vicinity of Watervliet was configured on the first Federal census. In 1800, his "family" had twelve members and was counted in more recently formed Bethlehem.
Robert Hilton was a mainstay living on his farm near the Normanskill probably on what today is called "Hilton Road" for the remainder of his life. He is said to have died on his farm in Bethlehem in June 1829 and to have been buried in a Guilderland cemetery. His will passed probate in Albany County later in the month.
Sources: The life of Robert Hilton has no CAP biography number. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. His life after Albany is well documented in RTB. Census returns for 1800, 1810, and 1820 show the aging of his household and are printed in RTB.
first posted 4/20/15