William Hilton


William Hilton was born circa 1800-1810 and died post 1884.

William Hilton enlisted on the 27th September 1825 and landed in India on the 16th May, 1826. No details are known, as yet, about his parents, birthdate or birthplace or where he enlisted.

Nor is it known when or where he married his wife Jane but a son William Hilton Jr. was born in
Bengal on the 12th July, 1837. Another son Edward Henry was born approximately 1839-40 and a daughter Sarah Madeline arrived on the 5th February, 1847. It appears they only had the 3 children:

1. William Hilton b:
21 July 1837 m: Rebecca ? d:
2. Edward Henry Hilton b: c 1839-40 m: Ellen Saunders d: 19 Dec 1922
3.Sarah Madeline Hilton b: 5 Feb 1847 m: Frederick Henry Sutton d: post 1899

An extract from the Character Book of the 1st Troop, 1st Brigade, Horse Artillery - Lahore 23rd October 1849 reads:

                Sergeant William Hilton:- Enlisted 27th September 1825,
                Landed in India 16th May, 1826
                Regimental No: 6210
                Rank & Names: Sergeant William Hilton
                Occurances & Wounds No entries in the Defaulter's Book against this man since he entered the Service.
                                                Signed: W.K. Warner, Captain, BT. Major, Commanding 1st Troop, 3rd Bat. H.A.

Three other references for William read:

'I have known Sergeant Hilton many years, four of which he served with the Expense Magazine in Dum Dum and I have no hesitation in saying I never knew a more honest man'.
12th Dec 1846 Signed: Thos Spencer - Dy. Asst. Commy. Ordinance

'Mr Hilton, the Superintending Sergeant, is a very steady man and bears the highest character. He had given me great satisfaction and I have no hesitation in saying, after a rather large experience, that he fills his difficult office far better than any of his predecessors. His situation is one of great trust and I think him deserving of the confidence that is placed in him.”
                                                La Martiniere, Lucknow 12th November 1855 Signed: L. Clint - Principal

'I bear willing testimony to the great efficiency with which Mr. Hilton has discharged the duty of Sergeant Superintendant of the Martiniere for the last four years.

During this period, duties of extraordinary responsibilities have devolved upon him, which, as well as those properly belonging to his office, he has always discharged to my entire satisfaction.

His thorough trust-worthiness and his great anxiety at all time to do his duty, made him a very valuable servant to the College, which his and Mrs. Hilton's care and attention to the boys have deservedly earned for both a large share of affection and esteem of the boys and their friend..'

                                                January, 20th 1859 Signed: G. Schilling, Late Principal, La Martiniere, Lucknow
                                                [G. Schilling was Principal of La Martiniere during the 1857 Siege]

William is listed amongst the “Complete nominal list of the European members, including women & children of the Lucknow Garrison in 1857 as Mr. William Hilton, Martiniere Garrison; wife and daughter. There is no mention of son William and Edward is listed separately.

His son, Edward H. Hilton's book, “The Indian Mutiny - Oudh & Lucknow 1856-57” does supply us a glimmer of information about William's life. Edward begins his book with “In January 1852, at the age of 12, I joined La Martiniere College as a student, and at the time of the outbreak in 1857, I was one of the senior boys of the college, to the staff of which institution my father belonged.” Page 19

Edward goes onto describe the preparations made, [under the instructions of Mr. George Schilling, the Principal of La Martiniere], for the anticipated trouble and possible siege. He writes, “Considerable stores of wheat, etc., were collected by my father and placed in small rooms situated above the second floor of the central building, which was then, and is now used as the principal dormitory.” Page 31

Edward also writes: “My father also had several narrow escapes, one of which was from a bullet which passed through the back of his chair from which he had only risen the moment before.” Page 87 He then goes on, “While discharging this last duty [superintendent of the boys in attendance on the sick and wounded in the
General Hospital] my father, who was at La Martiniere Post, fell ill, and the Principal recalled me to our garrison to enable me to attend on him.” Page 93 and notes “I have in my possession an Enfield Rifle cartridge which, among other Mutiny relics, was preserved by my father.” Page 214

the 2nd July 1864 William and son Edward were listed amongst the Members of the “Illustrious Garrison” of Lucknow who took place in a procession during the erection of the Memorial, in the Residency grounds, to Sir Henry Lawrence. Reported amongst the ladies in the front row of the spectators were Mrs J. Hilton, William's wife Jane and Miss S. Hilton, their daughter Sarah Madeline Hilton.

William Hilton is listed amongst the five witnesses to his daughter Sarah Madeline Hilton's 1868 marriage to Frederick H. Sutton at
Christchurch, Lucknow. Notably his wife Jane does not appear amongst the list of witnesses possibly indicating that William had been widowed sometime between July 1864 and April 1868.

William was award the Mutiny Medal being described as Instructor La Martiniere College - Bengal Artillery. He was also no doubt presented to the Prince of Wales [Edward VII] on 7th January 1876 following the laying of the Foundation Stone for a monument to the loyal native soldiers who fell in the defence.

In the recollections of an unknown schoolboy 6 who attended La Martiniere between 1871-1878 he writes, “Old Hilton and his son were still going strong and were there to corroborate the facts [re the siege] and then goes on, “There were 2 classrooms in the right wing extension with quarters for a master in the angle and for Mr. Hilton the Senior Sergeant, at the extremity”. [Again this suggests that William was widowed as there is no mention of his wife Jane]. A little further down in the article he writes, “a few daring spirits would climb into the baths through the skylights at the back for a swim, always taking the opportunity when Mr. Hilton had gone out”.

Edward’s book includes a portrait of William dated 1884 which indicates he died post 1884 but before 1899 as he does not appear amongst those amongst those invited to attend the Memorial to the 32nd Regiment on the 5th April, that year. Most likely both he and Jane are buried at the
Residency Cemetery in Lucknow.

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I would welcome contact from anyone with a connection to these families.

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