Ancestral Family Topic 52

 52   Col. John Albert Hillsman (1806-1859)
Pedigree Chart 07

Col. John Albert Hillsman, in his own words
If he could speak to us today, Col. John Albert Hillsman might describe his life as follows.

According to family Bible records, I was born 3 May 1806 in Amelia County and married Martha A. Overton 17 December 1829.  Our mothers were Clements sisters, so we were first cousins. Of our 5 children, Richard died young, Maria married a Civil War veteran and math instructor, John and James practiced medicine, and Mary married a veteran from Dinwiddie County.
I was an Amelia County justice of the peace in 1852-58. 
Dr. Sterling Ford, who treated Mother, was our family doctor, too. In 1831 the 8 house-calls he made and the medicine he prescribed cost us $41.89.
I died 16 June 1859 and Martha, January 1865.

William Lewis Booker was surety on John’s marriage bond.
The Census of 1850 for Amelia County enumerated John and Martha, aged 44 and 45, with children Maria L. 17, John A. 16, James M. 14, and Mary E. 12.  John’s estate inventory was recorded in Amelia County in 1859.  Martha was alone living near Deatonville in 1860, with real property of $12,000 and personal property of $1,100. 

Medical treatment
The Hillsman’s family doctor was Dr. Sterling Ford, who practiced in Amelia County and maintained an office at Haw Branch. He later boarded with the widow of Dr. Theodorick Blair Banister and had an office at Amelia Court House. In his daily account journals of 1829-31 he described some services he did for the Hillsman family. 

Daily Account Journal
1831 Aug.
15: Presn. & vis.: presn., Self; prescribed cupping  $4.43
18: Presn., Self   1.92
19: Presn., Self  2.92
20: Vis. & presn.; prescribed blisters, Self  3.17
21: Presn.  .38
21: Vis. & presn.  3.12
22: Vis. & presn., Self  3.25
23: Vis. & presn. (24th) Vis. & Presn.  5.50
25: Vis. & Presn.  4.00
26: Vis. (By request) & presn.; presn. yesterday  3.75
28: Vis. & presn., Self  4.00
30: Vis. & presn., Self  3.50
30: Pills  .50
5: Presn., Self  1.00
1832 Mar.
30: By merchandise to this day &
30: By Blacksmith’s acct.  $ 7.33
30: By cash in full$ 34.63  $ 41.96

Vis means a “visit,” presn. is “prescription,” and Self means he treated John Hillsman rather than a member of his family.

Chinquapin Church
John may have been a member of the Chinquapin Church in the Paineville area of Amelia County that was built about 1749 on 1½ acre of land. Benjamin Henry Latrobe described his impression of the church in his 1796 journal.

Journal of Benjamin Henry Latrobe
… Chinquapin Church has a small collection of houses about it, the principal which is a tavern kept in an indifferent style by Major Chaffin, who with Major Eggleston, is a representative of the county in the State Legislature. I suppose the quantity of chinquapin bushes about the Church gave it the name it bears, but they are everywhere so thickly spread that I an at a loss to know why the preference should be given to the spot. The church, like the rest, is an indifferent wooden building, scarcely ever used.

Major Chaffin was Maj. Joshua Chaffin and Major Eggleston was Maj. Joseph Eggleston. The chinquapin is a sweet nut that grew on a shrubbery variety of chestnut once abundant in the area.

Old Homes and Buildings of Amelia County, Virginia, devotes a topic to this historic church. 
Parcels of land encompassing the church property were conveyed several times and in each case they excluded 1½ for the church. Richard Jones, his son Uriah Jones, Christopher Ford, Joshua Chaffin, Parham Booker and John Tinsley Jeter each successively owned the property. On 20 March 1843 John Tinsley Jeter and his wife Ann W. sold the 1½ acre property to James Chappell, Joseph Bass Anderson, John A. Hillsman, Francis Albert Willson, and Chastain H. Sadler. The deed also included the spring and the one acre of land attached, known as the Church spring.
The deed specified that the church was “for use of religious worship in the free and liberal manner that the said House has been used for the past 20 or 30 years, as the different denominations of Christians and any other public use the said trustees, or majority of them, may approve, and to allow the free and unmolested use of the spring to all persons and their families, to whom the said John T. Jeter has heretofore sold land, or lots of land, in and around Paineville.”
It was said that Dr. John Thomas and Alexander Campbell held a three-day debate at this church. Afterwards, the Campbellite church split from the Thomasite church.

Descendants of Col. John Albert Hillsman
Information about the children of Col. John Albert Hillsman, their descendants, and allied families previously found at is now available as Southside Virginia Genealogies. Learn more 
Names found in this topic include the following.
 Richard Henry Hillsman (1830-1846),  
 Maria Louise (Hillsman) Blankenship (1832-),  
James Blankenship,   
 Dr. John Albert Hillsman (1834-1911),  
Martha Ann Blanton,   
Col. W.C. Scott,  
Mary Judith Frances Blanton,   Lucy Jane Blanton,   
Lelia A. Hillsman,  William George Porter,  Matthew B. Porter,  
Addie Bernice Hillsman,  Richard Brackett Whitlock,  
John Mitchell Hillsman,  Rose Linder,  
Dr. Blanton Ligon Hillsman,  Lavinia Hobson Burwell,  John Starke Ravenscroft Burwell,  Evelyn Holdcroft,  
Anne Bernice Hillsman,  Urlwin Orgain Michaels,  
Mary Louise Michaels,  Adm. Alvin Duke Chandler,  
Urlwin Orgain Michaels,  Lee Turner,  
Albert Hillsman Michaels,  Elizabeth Colburn,  
 James Moses Overton Hillsman (1835-1918),  
 Mary E. (Hillsman) Hargraves Townes (1837-),  
Col. Charles A. Hargraves,  George Townes,  
Sallie Hargraves,  William Green,  
Mattie Hargraves,  Dr. George E. Stowers,  
Mollie Hargraves,  Dr. William Field,  
William Field,  
Mary Field,  
Jack Field,  
Mal Hargraves,  John E. Powell,  

This family topic includes the following notable individuals.
Soldiers of colonial and American wars
John Albert Hillsman Jr. - Civil War  

Selected sources
Hillsman, Thomas W., Naomi B. Hillsman, and Edward L. Hillsman. The Hillsman Family. Second Edition Revised. Privately published, 1996. • An outstanding presentation of this family, although it errs in the depiction of early generations. Includes my Hil(l)sman ancestors: John Hilsman, Nicholas Hillsman, Matthew Hillsman, James Hillsman, Col. John Albert Hillsman, and James Moses Overton Hillsman.

This topic, which represents .11% of all the family history material at, includes 23 citations and the names of 62 individuals.
Virginians - The Family History of John W. Pritchett
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Civil War Soldiers from Brunswick County, Virginia 
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