|Hilton Family Notes|
| Our journey to resolve the parentage of Martha A. Martin-Palmer took a positive turn through the David Hilton (1782-1837) lineage. Martha's parents were a mystery until some subtle pieces began to fall into place.
It all starts with the 1850 Illinois Census. Martha Martin is ten years old at the time the 1850 census is taken. Unfortunately, she does not show up in the census for Illinois or any other state in the union. We knew she was born in Illinois so an exhaustive search began. Our search kept bringing us back to the Elizabeth (Gray) Hilton (1793-1885) household in Fulton County - Putman Twp. The ten-year old Martha was not listed as a Martin, but a McCall. We now believe this to be a mistake by the census taker. Even though David and Elizabeth's daughter, Hannah, was married to Montgomery McCall, there is no evidence Montgomery was previously married. This is where we think whoever gave the census information or the census taker himself makes the error on Martha's last name.
As our Martha Martin matures, she married Lewis E. Palmer in Fulton County on July 8, 1858. In the 1860 Fulton County Census, Lewis and Martha are living in Ellisville, Illinois. In 1861, Lewis musters into the Civil War in Cuba, Illinois. After the war, Lewis and Martha, along with their children, reside and become business owners in St. Augustine, Illinois.
Around 1880, St. Augustine receives a new town doctor by the name of George F. Hilton. George is the son of David (1827-1896) and Sarah (Bishop) Hilton. David was the son of David and Elizabeth Hilton. This became important to our search when we learned Martha and Lewis Palmer named their youngest son, George Hilton Palmer. We believe this is a significant clue to our puzzle.
Our scenario expands to include Martha Martin-Palmer's mother. We believe her mother is Martha Hilton who was born 1815 in Maine to David and Elizabeth Hilton. Around 1817, the Hilton family, which now includes children: Jesse(1811), Elijah(1812), Martha(1815), Catherine and Mahala(1817), leaves Anson, Maine and migrates to Miami County, Ohio. During their time in Ohio, David and Elizabeth add to their family the following children: Nathan, Hannah(1824), David(1827) and Betsy(1830).
In 1837, David and Elizabeth take up roots and move westward to Cuba, Illinois. The patriarch, David, dies in 1838. In the 1840 Fulton Co., Putman Twp., IL Census, Elijah is listed as head-of-household, which included wife - Mary, Elizabeth, Hannah, Betsy and David. In 1840, Nathan, Jesse, Martha and Catherine are unaccounted for. One-year later, Elijah files a lawsuit against the estate of his father, which included his mother and siblings. Elijah is awarded 150 acres of land which he had been maintaining and paying expenses for out of his own private funds. Mahala marries Henry Herman and resides in Indiana for the remainder of her life.
In January of 1841, Martha Martin is born somewhere in the Cuba vicinity. In 1844, Hannah married Montgomery McCall; 1847 Catherine marries George Whitlock and 1848 Betsy married Stephen Call. Sometime in 1849, Hannah Hilton-McCall dies in Polk Co., Iowa.
The 1850 Fulton Co., Putman Twp Census, has Elizabeth as head-of-household with Martha(Hilton), David and Martha McCall (Martin) listed. Martha Hilton marries Spencer Cooper in May of 1851. A few months later, Martha leaves Spencer and moves back with her mother. Spencer Cooper files for divorce in 1855. Martha Hilton-Cooper marries George W. Sheaff on November 1, 1858. By the 1860 census, Martha Hilton-Cooper-Sheaff is living with her mother in Putman Twp. We are unsure of George's fate.
In 1870 Elizabeth is living with her daughter Besty Call in Putman Twp. Martha Hilton-Cooper-Sheaff cannot be located after the 1860 census. We assume she died some time during this ten-year interval. Elizabeth dies January 3, 1885 in Cuba, Illinois.
On the death certificate (2-8-1948) of Lena Pauline Palmer-Wingate (Martha Martin-Palmer's daughter), her mother is listed (mistakenly) as Martha Hilton.
To date, we have been unable to tie in a Martin family connection to Martha Hilton or Martha Martin-Palmer. It appears to us that Martha Hilton was not married at the time of Martha Martin's conception. Even though we lack actual documentation of the Martha Martin-Palmer connection to the Hilton family, we are confident in the facts that led us to this conclusion.