Ancestral Family Topic 832

 832   John Hilsman (c.1650-1704)
Pedigree Chart 07

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

I am the earliest confirmed Hillsman found in the Colony, born about 1650 according to a deposition I made in York County where I lived.  My father may have been William Hilsman whose name appeared in a York County court record in 1646. 
I married first a daughter of Nicholas Clarke, but neither of our children, John nor Elizabeth, left any heirs. My second wife was a widow Diana Bennett and we had William, Nicholas, and Mary, whom we reared on my 75-acre plantation in York County. 
Only in my 50s and twice widowed, I made a will in 1704 leaving to my three surviving children all my earthly possessions: 8 head of cattle, 3 mares, a horse, and a feather bed. I gave a ring to my stepdaughter, Elizabeth, the wife of James Blackstone.
William and Mary stayed in York County, while Nicholas had family over in Amelia County. Among my descendants was Lyndon Johnson.

The wives of John Hilsman
The identity of the wives of John Hilsman is not easily discerned. The first edition of The Hilsman Family concluded that John married a daughter of Nicholas Clarke because he left 150 acres to two of John’s children—John and Elizabeth—and appointed him executor. The second edition identified John’s wife as Diana Bennett and placed Nicholas a generation earlier—the father-in-law of William Hilsman.
Two Nicholas Clarkes, father and son, were in York County. The elder Clarke paid the cost of passage to Virginia for himself, Robert Todd, and Jeffrey Powers. In return for these 3 headrights, the governor granted Clarke 150 acres in Charles River (later York) County 11 May 1638.  Clarke may have made a return voyage for his name was on a miscellaneous list of seventy headrights that Capt. Ralph Wormeley, Christopher’s son, assigned to Richard Kemp for a 1649 patent. 
Nicholas Clarke, the elder, died in York County leaving all his estate to his son of the same name and appointing him sole executor (will dated 12 April 1658  and proved 24 May 1660). The younger man of this name was married to Mary by 1666. 
It appears more likely that John Hilsman married 1st a daughter of Nicholas Clarke Jr. and by her was the father of John and Elizabeth. John married 2nd Diana Bennett, who was then the widow of an unidentified individual, and they were the parents of William, Nicholas, and Mary. Here is why.
First, a deposition in 1673 places the birth of Nicholas Clarke in 1638 so he could not have been the great-grandfather of the Hilsman children, as posited in the second edition of The Hilsman Family.  Chronology places him as only two generations removed.
When Nicholas Clarke made his will in 1686, all 5 of John Hilsman’s children were living. Yet Nicholas left his land to only two. He even omitted Nicholas Hilsman, who has been thought to be his namesake. Nicholas Clarke is clearly providing for his grandchildren, John and Elizabeth, children of his deceased daughter. The elder John Hilsman was executor and John’s 2nd wife, Diana Hilsman, who made her mark as DB, witnessed the will. 
The governor escheated the 150 acres in the hands of John Hilsman for lack of heirs in 1705.  Because the land came to the second John Hilsman through his mother, the escheat court, following the laws of inheritance, would have looked for her other children. Since the court concluded there were none, then Elizabeth was dead and William, Mary, and Nicholas Hilsman were children of another woman.
The will of John Hilsman divided his property between William, Nicholas, and Mary, they then being his remaining children. He gave Elizabeth Blackstone a ring, without identifying her as his daughter. The Hillsman Family incorrectly concluded that Elizabeth was John’s daughter named in the will of Nicholas Clarke. Since Elizabeth Blackstone named a daughter Diana, she is likely a daughter of Diana Bennett by a 1st marriage. She is not the daughter of John Hilsman.

Was Diana the daughter of John Bennett?
As indicated above, Diana Hilsman who witnessed the will of Nicholas Clarke made her mark as DB. Her son William named a son Bennett, strongly suggesting that she was Diana Bennett whom we are tentatively placing her as a daughter of John Bennett.

The will of John Hilsman
John wrote his will 16 Nov. 1704 and the York County court ordered it recorded 7 March 1704/5. 

Will of John Hilsman
16 November 1704
In the name of God, Amen the 16th day of November in the year of our Lord God, and the third year of the raign of our Governing Lady the Queen Ann…
I John Hilsman being of perfect sense and memory, make this my last will and testament, in manner and form following; in which I give and bequeath unto Nichloss Hilsman one feather bed and furniture, three mares and one horse;… to be equally divided to William Hilsman, Mary Garro, and Nichloss Hilsman.
Eight head of cattel also to be equally divided William Hilsman, Mary Garro, and Nichloss Hilsman… if it pleases God that either of the three should decease then to be returned to the survivor;… and also I Desire that Mary Garro be the Executrix to this estate and that she get ten shillings.
I give unto Elizabeth Blackstone to buy her a ring.
John [X] Hilsman
William Garro
Sarah [X] Foreman

Descendants of John Hilsman
Information about the children of John Hilsman, 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.
 John Hilsman (-c.1703),  
 Elizabeth Hilsman,  
 William Hilsman (c.1672-1726),  
Elizabeth (—) Henderson,  Mathias Henderson,  
Bennett Hilsman,  Frances (—) Hilsman,  
William Hilsman,  
Isaac Read,   
Mary Hilsman,  Samuel Eley,  Robert Eley,  
Anne Eley,  John Johnson,  Lyndon Baines Johnson,  
William Baker,  
Hinde Hilsman,  Martha (—) Hilsman,  
James Hilsman,  Mary Rogers,  
Charity Rich,  
Hannah Hilsman,  
Diana Hilsman,  Francis Howard,  Field Jefferson,   John Hyde,  
George Farrar,   
Elizabeth Howard,  
Eleanor Howard,  
William Howard,  
Francis Howard,  
Diana Howard,  
Hannah Howard,  James Clarke,  
Sally Clarke,  
Elizabeth Clarke,  
Jordan Clarke,  
Diana Howard Clarke,  George W. Brame,  
Elizabeth Hilsman,  
 Mary (Hilsman) Garrow Thomas (-c.1759),  
William Garrow,  Thomas,  
Hilsman Thomas,  Jane —,  
Jessie Thomas,  
Jack Thomas,  
Joane Thomas,  
Dianne Thomas,  
 Nicholas Hilsman (c.1680-1761),  

This family topic includes the following notable individuals.
Soldiers of colonial and American wars
William Hilsman - Revolutionary War  

U.S. presidents and vice presidents
Lyndon Baines Johnson  

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 29 citations and the names of 60 individuals.
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