Hillman, John

Birth Name Hillman, John
Gender male
Age at Death unknown


There is a tradition common to all the scattered descendants of this pioneer that he was "shanghaied" and brought to this country when 16 years of age, being taken from a fishing boat in the river Thames. As he was born in 1651 this would make it about the year 1667 when he landed here. The intervening time (1667-1675) is a blank, for being only a youth on arrival he was probably employed as a servant or apprentice until he reached his majority. It may be surmised that he lived in the vicinity of Salisbury or Hampton, whence came so many of the earliest settlers of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Where this place was is not known, and the first definite knowledge we have of him is at Tisbury some time between 1675 and 1678, when he came into possission of the half lot and share of Samuel Tilton, on the east side of Old Mill brook. This he sold in January 1679, to Elizabeth Norton, and the next record we have about him is at Nantucket. At that place his oldest child was born in 1682, and there he had found his wife, daughter of Edward Cottle. One account states that he was a Welchman and a gardener, but the others call hem a worsted comber, and the records describe him as a weaver. In a legal document he is called "an Englishman," which may be taken in the restricted sense, or as an English subject. He returned from Nantucket about 1685 and again settled in Tisbury where "he hired a farme of Simon Athearn...for the Terme of 7 years at a place called Wampache, the which he quietly dwelt on 3 years of the time." This tract of land was called the "Red Ground" and became the source of prolonged litigation between Athearn and the Praying Indians, who claimed it belonged to Christiantown. There is likewise no record to show when he removed to Chilmark unless we accept the purchase of Oct. 3, 1711, consisting of twenty acres and a quarter share of common rights, as the date of his settlement in the town. This leaves thirteen years unaccounted for since the expiration of his lease from Athearn, and so far the gap cannot be bridged. In fact, his whole residence here, covering a period of perhaps forty years, till his death, has given us but few indications of his presence during the entire time.


Event Date Place Description Sources
Birth 1651 England? possibly Somerset, Saint David, Somersetshire, England  
Residence about 1667 Hampton, Rockingham Co., NH?    
Death WFT 1698-1743      


Family of Hillman, John and Cottle, Hannah

Married Wife Cottle, Hannah ( * 1661 + WFT 1699-1756 )
Event Date Place Description Sources
Marriage 1681 Martha’s Vineyard, Dukes Co., MA Marriage of Hillman, John and Cottle, Hannah  
Name Birth Date Death Date
Hillman, Richard1682-10-07WFT 1683-1772
Hillman, Mehitable1684WFT 1715-1778
Hillman, John16871728-04-16
Hillman, Benjamin1690WFT 1691-1780
Hillman, Samuel1693WFT 1694-1783
Hillman, Jonathan1696WFT 1697-1786