This month we update our profiles of well-known early Mohawk Valley
families with additional research done by Mike Pugia on Connecting the
Line of the Hilts Family on the Burnetsfield Patent lot #7 of Herkimer
County. Mike was able to fill in family history through the help of many
Hilts researchers who responded after seeing the web page. Of course,
we're please to see such collaboration on the Herkimer/Montgomery
Counties NYGenWeb site. Mike is grateful to the many researchers who
responded so well and welcomes additional information. However, at this time he's unable
to respond to mail so has requested to have his email delinked until further notice.
A Line of the Hilts Family
of Herkimer County
Connecting the Line of the Hilts Family on the Burnetsfield Patent Lot #7.
Burnetsfield Patent Lot #7
The Mohawk Valley was
settled by Palatines from the lower Rhine in
Germany. The Hilts were among those to first settle in Schoharie and later
to settle into the towns of German Flatts or later day Herkimer (1).
In 1722, Governor William Burnet purchased from the Mohawk Indians the
lands westward along the river from Little Falls to Utica, which
constituted the Burnetsfield Patent of April 30, 1725. Grants of one hundred
acres were made to ninety-four persons, representing thirty-eight
Click for larger view (84k)
A large parchment reported to be an original of the Burnetsfield Patent
was given to the Herkimer County Historical Society in 1899 by Harry
Folts (2). When unrolled it proved to be eighteen feet long and four feet
wide. A modern rendering of the details of the patent and positions of
the grants of one hundred acres are provided in the Legacy Publication
of the Herkimer County Historical Society (3). While many of the names
are barely legible today, an Internet listing has been made and Hilts
do not appear (4).
In 1710, the likely year of emigration, Germany was not a nation, but a
geographic region of over 400 sovereign states.
The Hilts story starts with Christopher Hilts of Marth, Ostertal,
Pfalz, Germany (b1670 d1757) who settled in the Schoharie with his wife Eva
Engel and six known children (5,6) (See attached Generations 1-2). His
son Johann George Hilts, known as George, (b 1712 d 1790) settled in
Herkimer after marriage to Maria Elisabeth Feller (d 1790) (1). Maria
Elisabeth Feller was the daughter of Nicholas Feller of Gunterblum,
Hochgraff Lennigrisch, Hatenburg, Germany (atb1672 d1763) and Magdelena
Elisabetha Braun (1,6) (See attached Generations 1-2).
On Jan 17, 1723, Nicholas Feller drew lot #7 of the Burnetsfield Patent
which including thirty acres of low land and seventy acres of woodland
on the north side of the Mohawk River (German Flatts) (6). His wife
Mary was granted lot 16. Based on Nicholas Feller's will of May 28, 1734,
the German Flatts property descended through his daughter Maria
Elisabeth Feller to the family of Johann George Hilts (1,7).
Nicholas Feller bequeath his right and title to his seat or place in
their church to his son Hannes Crisman Feller (7). The baptism of the
Feller children were recorded in the early Reformed and Lutheran Churches
(6). Nicholas Feller is believed to have held a pastoral role in early
Reformed Church in Burnetsfield Patent. The Fort Herkimer Church
survived the French and Indian War while the town Reformed Church located on
the site of present Dutch Reformed Church in Herkimer was destroyed.
The English Colony
Nicholas Feller was among the Palatines in Livingston Manor in the
winter of 1710-11 and in the 1711 expedition against the French in Canada
(6). The great French and Indian War (1754-1760) vitally affected the
Mohawk Valley and the settlement in German Flatts. The settlement
suffered burning and massacre. How this affected the Fellers and Hilts is
not known. A period of reconstruction followed which was still in
process at the outbreak of the Revolution in 1775. (The novel, Pathfinder by
James Fenimore Cooper allows a feel for that time)
Johann George Hilts (b1712 d1790) is listed in a list of names, along
with many original Herkimer residents, on a petition sent to the New
York Provincial Legislature in 1771 (8). This petition supported
splitting Albany County into two, thus creating a new county called Tryon
County after Gov. William Tryon. Tryon County was on the north side of the
Mohawk River, New York. They resided on land known as the Kingsland or
Royal Grant, a patent granted to Sir William Johnson.
The Revolution in 1775 again threw the region into turmoil. The Battle
of Oriskany has been described as the most severe and, for the numbers
involved, one of the bloodiest battles of the American Revolution.
Fought in the summer of 1777, it was a significant factor in the momentous
events of that year - a turning point in the war. Brigadier General
Nicholas Herkimer, commander of the Colonial militia in the Mohawk Valley,
rallied 800 men and boys and set off to relieve the besieged fort.
Johann George Hilts (b 1712 d 1790) and Maria Elisabeth Feller ( b
1712d 1790) had eight known children(1) (See Attached Generations 2-3).
George was in the 1769 militia and had four adults on the 1778 German
Flatts relief. No Hilts appear on the Tryon County Loyalists Taken Prisoner
in April 1780 (9). It is unlikely that George Hilts (b. 1712, d. 1790)
could be involved in the Battle of Oriskany but there is reference to
continental money, known as script being received for payment for his
services as a solder in the revolution (10). But it is possible that
children of George or his brothers fought at Oriskany. (The novel, Drums
Along the Mohawk by Walter D Edmonds allows a feel for that time)
However, no Hilts are recorded as survivors of the Battle of Oriskany,
although the list is not complete. The closest names to Hilts are
Conrad and Peter Kilts and Nicholaus Hills who are recorded as survivors of
the Battle of Oriskany(11). It is possible that Nicholaus Hills is
Johann George's son Nicholaus Hilts. Name variations were common to this
period due to varying language translations as can be seen with Hilts
taking on surnames such as Kelts, Hielts, Hielz, Hiltz, Hiels, and
Johann George's brother Christofel Hilts (b1717) moved to Markham
Canada where his children were born as Hiltz (12). Many of his children and
grandchildren stayed in Herkimer for brief periods, only to settle in
Onieda, Onondaga, and Canada (13). For example, his son Lawrence Hiltz,
or Hilts was born in Markem, Canada but served in the Revolutionary War
as a private under Captain Mc Kean for 9 months, in 1776 or 1777, in
the German Flatts area (12).
Other Hilts were part of the British Militia and Butler's Rangers(14).
Reportedly there was a Tory son of Christofel Hilts (b 1717) that in a
raid, killed (shot or scalped) his sister Elizabeth Hilts Dornberger
and injured many other Dornberger and Folts family members who where out
picking raspberries. As one would imagine, this family story is not well
documented and here is a bit of confusion on this person. We do know he
married Elizabeth Petri(e) and had a son, Joseph (b 1760-70), who was
taken by the maternal grandparents, Jost Petrie and his wife, back to
Canada with them, to be raised after the death of Joseph's parents in
Hilts continued to live on Burnetsfield Patent lot #7 for two hundred
and fifty years. The next owner after Johann George (b 1712) was his
son George Hilts (b 1743 d 1830), who married Elisabeth Catharina Rasbach
(maiden name Folts) in 1769 (See Generations 3-4).
The property was than passed on to one their six children, John George
Hilts (b 1772) who married Margaret Dornberger in 1791 raising a family
of sixteen whose descendants can be traced through out the United
States (See Generations 4-5). John George Hilts (b 1772) and lived in the
town of Herkimer beside his brother, another George Hilts, who was
listed a solider of the war of 1812 (10).
The line of John George Hilts was followed by his son, George L. Hilts
(b1792 d1863) who stay behind on the original homestead. George L.
Hilts ( b 1792 d. 1863) married Elizabeth Small in 1817 and had ten known
children one being Theordore Charles Hilts (b 1838) (See Generations
Click for larger view (124k)
The geographic position of the Burnetsfield Patent lots can be compared
to present village of Herkimer in an 1838-detailed map (15). This map
is "The WaterPower & Property of the Herkimer Manufacturing & Hydraulic
Co." and includes many of the streets of today's village of Herkimer.
The positions of many lots were unchanged from the original Patent.
On this 1838 map, George L. Hilts ( b 1792 d. 1863) is listed as
owner of two parcels of lands that correspond to the original patent lot 7.
One portion is on the West Bank of the West Canada Creek while the
other portion extends north from East German Street up Stubend Hill.
The living memory of a resident of the Hilts homestead on East German
Street was recorded. Emily Margaret Kirley resided on East German
Street as a great great grand child of George L. Hilts (b 1792 d1863) and
Elizabeth Small. She was raised in the East German Street home and was a
life long resident of Herkimer. To her memory most Hilts were members
of the Dutch Reformed Church including herself.
Emily recalled being told her family was buried at the Herkimer Dutch
Reformed Church. A check of the Herkimer Dutch Reformed Church Cemetery
(16) did not directly confirm the Hilts sire name, but list Hills,
mainly listed as children George and Elizabeth. These are likely the
children of Johann George Hilts and Elizabeth Feller (See Generation 2 & 3).
In particular brothers, John George Hilts (b 1743 d Nov 3 1820) and
George "John" Hilts (b 1743 d 1820 age 77) both listed as John Hill.
George L Hilts and Elizabeth Small were found in the record for "The
Old Herkimer City Cemetery" (17). Their son Charles Alonzo Hilts and his
son Washing and other potential descendants were also listed (17).
This hidden cemetery was unknown to many later residents, including Emily,
as it modern day location is a town park.
Emily confirmed Theodore Charles Hilts (b. 1838), son of George L
Hilts, was the owner of the property (See Generations 5-6). She remembered
that he did not fight in the Civil War because he was married with
children at the time, being a carpenter by trade in 1860. In fact, there
are no records of these Hilts in war logs (19,20). He was a member of the
Herkimer Dutch Reformed Church.
The siblings of Theodore Charles Hilts are accounted for in
information about the Hilts Family in a small notebook written by Leon Hilts
(10). The John, George and Theodore Hilts are listed among the many
children of George L Hilts and Elizabeth Small (See Generations 5-6). William
Hilts was recorded as a blacksmith in Herkimer in 1869-1870 in the
Gazetter and Business Directory of Herkimer County (18).
Emily remembered Theodore's brothers, John and George, were farmers,
owning a portion of Stubend Hill and that Theodore Charles Hilts mother,
Elizabeth, lived with her son George who would bring her to visit
Theodore. Since she would not leave her rocking chair, it had to be tied
down on a wagon to transport her, chair and all.
Emily provided a picture of Emily Hall, the wife of Theodore Charles
Hilts and seven of her nine grand children. The seven in the picture
Maida L Hilts, Theodore C Hilts, Lorretta E. Hilts, Vernon Crogan, Anna
Crogan, Marion Crogan and Ross Sullivan. The two grandchildren not in the
picture Donald Crogan and Raymond Hilts (born afterwards).
Theodore Charles Hilts (b 1838) and Emily Hall had two daughters and
one son, Charles Theodore Hilts (abt 1870). Emily remembered that
Charles Theodore Hilts worked in the hydraulic canal mill behind their house
on East German Street. This factory originally made wood skirt hoops,
later writing paper and still later eggs cartons. The house Emily lived
in was build when Charles Theodore Hilts was age 5. This house likely
sustained damage in the flood of 1910 as the canal routed flood waters
down German Street (21).
Click for larger view (22k)
Charles Theodore Hilts first wife was Laura Clark. Laura Clark had six
brothers and all were from Ilion. She was raised in Herkimer. Five of
the brothers are pictured in derby hats in the Hilts photo album. They
were known to each play a different
musical instrument. Her sister Mae died of typhoid at age 16 while
Laura was about to be born. Their father William was an inventor who
married his second wife, "Aunt Min" (Astel?), when she was age 18. She came
from a well-to-do family. Her wealth allowed "Will" to start a garment
factory in Richfield Springs. Charles had a second wife and an adopted
son who was lost in World War II.
Last Hilts on the Burnetsfield Patent
Charles Theodore Hilts and Laura Clark had four children who grew up at
315 East German St. Herkimer (See Generation 6 & 7). Maida Hilts who
did not have children; Raymond Hilts who adopted William Farrell as a
son, who died in WWII. William is pictured in front of his bomber in the
Hilts family photo. Lorrita Emily Hilts who married Howard Kirley from
the Bonneville, NY area and had two daughters Emily and Elizabeth.
Lorrita was a Methodist. Theodore Clark Hilts (b1894 d1971) who was the
last Hilts to reside on patent lot #7.
The home was sold with his passing as he did not have any children. He
worked in the same mill of Theodore Charles Hilts' and later in a
polishing mill across from the paper mill with a man named Peterson.
Click for larger view (48k)
Most Wanted Hilts
John Hilts (b 1821) and Mary J. Warner had five sons and one daughter
and was born in Shellbush at Herkimer Co. Can you help identify his
GENERATIONS 1 & 2
Christopher Hilts (Huls) 1670/1680 of Marth, Ostertal, Pfalz, Germany,
death bef Feb 1757 Schoharie, Schoharie NY. Wife Eva Catharina abt. 1670 of Marth, Ostertal, Pfalz,
death Schoharie, Schoharie NY, marriage bef. 1698: first child born in Germany.
- 1. Johann (Hans) Theobald (Thebal, Leonardt) Hilts (HUELS): bef. 1773 Marth, Osteral, Pfalz, Germany, m Anna Eva Merkelse 1724 Schoharie, Schoharie NY
- 2. Simon Jacob Hilts: b Dec 12, 1700 Marth Germany, d aft 1757, m Margaret
- 3. Adam Hilts: birth abt. 1722 New York and d bef.1760 New York
- 4. Christofel (Christopher) Hilts: b 1717 Marth, German, m Maria Engel Hilts abt. 1714, New York
- 5. Maria (Eva) Catherine Hilts: b 1725, Husband Conrad Folts, m 1767 in New York, b abt. 1725
- 6. Johann George Hilts: b1712, abt. 1711, d bef. 1790, m Maria Elisabeth Feller, b Jul 26, 1712, d 1790
Niclaus Feller 1672 of Guntersblum, Leinig, Hartenburg Germany, death
Herkimer 1763. Wife Magdalena Elisabeth Braun abt. 1673 of Guntersblum, Leinig, Hartenburg Germany,
d Aug 20 1752.
- 1. Johan Philip b 1764 m Sept 8, 1716 Catharina Elizabeth Rau
- 2. Anna Catherine Feller b 1700 d Schoharie Aug 11, 1777 m 1720 Lambert Sterberg
- 3. Johannes Feller, b 1705 d May 1708
- 4. Maria Elisabeth Feller, b Jul 26, 1712, d 1790, m Johann George Hilts: b1712, abt. 1711, d bef. 1790.
- 5. Catharina Feller abt 1714 m Micolaus Wohlleben.
- Margaret Feller, b 1716 m Johannes Crisman (Christman), Jr b abt. 1734 of Herkimer County.
GENERATIONS 2 & 3
Johann George Hilts: b 1712, abt. 1711, death bef. 1790, Wife Maria
Elisabeth Feller, b Jul 26, 1712, Saugerties, Uster Co. NY, d bef. 1790
- 1. Johann Nicolaus Hilts b 1733, d Dec 15, 1809 Herkimer NY, m Elisabeth Fox m Apr 15, 1790.
- 2. Eva Hilts abt 1736, m Frederick Miller.
- 3. Catherine Hilts abt 1738, m Thomas Fulmer.
- 4. Sabina Hilts abt 1740, m Johan Frederick Helmer Jr.
- 5. Magdalena Hilts abt 1742, m Henry Witherstine
- 6. John George Hilts b 1743 d Nov 3, 1820 Herkimer NY, m Maria Meyer May 10, 1785.
- 7. George Hilts, b 1743 d 1830, m Elisabeth Catharina Folts Mar 1, 1769.
- 8. Elisabeth Hilts b 1745 d 1828, m Melchior Thumb.
GENERATIONS 3 & 4
George Hilts, b 1743 d 1830, m Elisabeth Catharina Folts Mar 1, 1769,
Palatine, Montgomery Co, NY, abt 1748.
- 1. Catharina G. Hilts, abt 1770 d1822. m Peter John Schell m1790
- 2. John George Hilts, b Jan 1, 1772. m Margaret Dornberger m 1791
- 3. Marcus Hilts, abt 1774. m Margareth
- 4. Elisabeth Hilts, b Mar 7, 1777, German Flatts NY.
- 5. Wiena "Suffenth" Hilts, b May 2, 1779, German Flatts NY.
- 6. George Hilts b Jul 10, 1781.
GENERATIONS 4 & 5
John George Hilts, b Jan 1, 1772. m Margaret Dornberger Dec 25, 1791, b
July 20, 1774.
- 1. George L. Hilts, b May 6, 1792 German Flatts, NY, d 1864, Wife Elizabeth Small m 1817.
- 2. Nancy Hilts, b Jan 1, 1794, m Jacob Schell.
- 3. Betsy Hilts, b Jul 1795, m William Spink.
- 4. John J. Hilts, b Jun 1797, d 1873, m Margaretha Frank, m Jul 2, 1817 Herkimer NY. Children Elizabeth b June 15,1823, Peter b May 27, 1825, Lucinda b June 27, 1829.
- 5. Catherine Hilts, b Mar 1799, m Henry Folts m 1819.
- 6. Solomon Hilts, b Apr 19, 1802 German Flatts NY.
- 7. Jacob I. Hilts, b May 1803 Herkimer Co., d Nov 3, 1865 m Sally Hayes
- 8. b 1815 dau. of Joseph Hayes.
- 9. Peggy Hilts, b Sept 1804, m Alex Hall.
- 10. Fredrick Hilts, b Mar 24, 1806, d Apr 1806.
- 11. Adam Hilts, b Jan 5, 1807. m Eva Folts. m Eva Helmer dau of John Helmer
- 12. Eva Hilts, b Sept 6, 1808
- 13. Thomas M. Hilts, b May 22, 1811, d Apr 10, 1886 at Residence of his nephew William J Hilts, Goveneur
- 14. Polly Hilts, b Feb 1812.
- 15. Caroline Hilts, b Aug 1815, m William B. Hale, c Thomas Hale
- 16. Joseph Hilts, b Oct 9, 1818, m Mary Ladd. b Jan 2, 1818, d May 10, 1828.
GENERATIONS 5 & 6
George L. Hilts, b May 6, 1792 German Flatts, NY, d June 13 1863
Herkimer NY (11), Wife Elizabeth Small m 1817, b 1796 d June 3, 1863 Herkimer
- 1. Phoebe Hilts b April 3, 1819, m Hiram Hayes, m George Kingsbury b 1802 d 1886, c Rosalta Elizabeth
- 2. Francis Hilts b July 15, 1820 d 1896, m Mary Homer b 1826 d 1907, c Mary Louise b Nov 24, 1847, Charles b Nov 7, 1849, Frank b 1854 m Alice McComb, J. Beckenridge b Nov 12, 1856 d 1861, Frederick b Mar 27, 1859, m Louella Rhodes, Evalena b Oct 10, 1865 m Cap Carpender.
- 3. Malcolm Hilts b Feb Wife Kelsey, c Frances, Frank
- 4. John Hilts b Mar 1, 1823 m Ann Shepard c Mary b Sept 22, 1849, Clinton b Feb 11, 1851, Harriet b Aug 21, 1857.
- 5. Matilda Hilts b Mar 23, 1824 m Ward Claflin no children
- 6. Dorothy Ann Hilts b May 6, 1826 m Jabob Small, c Sarah, Charles
- 7. George Hilts b April 12, 1826 not married
- 8. William J. Hilts b Dec 28, 1828. m Susan Ann Hildreth, c Sumner b May 11, 1856 m Rosella Thompson, c Alice b Oct 28, 1857, m C. T Gardener, c Harriet b May 2 1860, m Thompson c Libbe b Feb 1, 1860 d 1871, c Anetta b Aug 12, 1865 m Fitzgerald, c Nelen b May 31, 1868, c Grace Mar 14, 1873.
- 9. Sarah Angeline Hilts b Dec 24, 1830 m Hiran Doane m Harry Folts c George, Charles, Judson, Hiram, Harriet, Carrie.
- 10. Charles Alonzo Hilts, b Jan 31, 1933 d 1907, m Maria Tibbits, m Susan Adams Mar 11, 1875, c Nancy Elizabeth b July 12, 1856 m Frank Farmer, c Stella Mea m George Olda, c George Herbert m Minnie Peterson, c John Stanley m Minnie Dygert, Washing b Oct 1856 d April 2 1859.
- 11. Harriet Hilts b Mar 7, 1834 m Hartley c Henry b Apr 24,1860, Charles b. May 31,1862, George.
- 12. Walter Hilts b Oct 18, 1837 m Irene Bresee Feb 21, 1864 Hotel of H. O Mason Depeyster. Five girls. c Amanda b.May 20.1867, Laverna b.Oct 9,1869, Elizabeth b.July 14,1871, Matilda b. Dec 1,1873, Nettie
- 13. Theodore Charles Hilts b 1838 m Bertha Tibbits c Eugene Feb 12, 1866, Nellie, m Emily Hall c Mini Hall, Jennie Mable Charles Theodore,
- 14. James Hilts d child Dec 2, 1861 age 6 yr 11 mo 2 day
- 15. Owen Hilts d child buried Hayes Cemetery
GENERATIONS 6 & 7
Theodore Charles Hilts b 1838 m Emily Hall
- 1. Charles Theodore Hilts, abt 1870, 315 German Street, Herkimer NY, m Laura Clark, c Lorretta Emily Hilts ATB 1890 m Howard Kirley, Raymond Milford Hilts m Helen Farrell, Theodore Clark b Oct 18, 1894 d Jun 1971, Maida Laura Hilts b Mar 28, 1897 d Nov 1983 m Edward Bone.
- 2. Mini Hall Hilts, m Matthew Sullivan, c Ross Sullivan
- 3. Jennie Mable Hilts, m Crogan, c Vernon Crogan, Anna Crogan, Marion Crogan, Donald Crogran
V. H. Barker. Early Families of Herkimer County, New York. Descendants of the
Burnetsfield Palatines. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. Baltimore, 1986.
2. Herkimer County commemorative brochure published by Department of Archives
and History Charles E. Crandall, County Historian on the occasion of the
dedication of the New County Offices Building, Herkimer, New York 1954
3. "Legacy: Annals of Herkimer County, Herkimer County Historical Society," New
York, Issue No. 2, 1989.
6. Boyer 1981, pp. 192-193 in Ancestral Lines.
7. "Enterprise & News" St. Johnsville, N.Y., printed 4 March 1931; Reaney
Public Library, 19 Kingsbury Ave S., Johnsville. Original copy in the
Oneida Historical Society at Utica NY.
10. Hilts Family Information, Leon Hilts.
13. Steele, Charlotte Hilts. "Godfrey Hilts and His Canadian Descendants" 1903-
(Main). Publisher Doner, Harry: Albany, OR.
14. In Simms' "Frontiersman of New York", Volume 2, page 281.
15. Legacy Annals of Herkimer County, Herkimer Historical Society, New York,
Volume II, Number II, 1987.
18. 1869-1870 Gazetter and Business Directory of Herkimer County
21. Legacy Annals of Herkimer County, Herkimer Historical Society, New York, Issue No. 3, 1988.
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2nd Update: 9/21/02
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