Biography - William Hileman

WILLIAM R. HILEMAN is a well-known farmer of Elvira Township, who is practical and progressive in his methods of carrying on agriculture, and has one of the best kept farms in this section. He was born in Union County, July 15, 1836, a son of Peter Hileman, who was a native of North Carolina. He came to Illinois in the early years of its settlement when a young man with his parents, and secured a tract of Government land in Union County, four and a-half miles from Jonesboro. He thus became one of its pioneers, and in the typical log cabin that he built to shelter his family, his son, of whom we write, was born. The father continued his residence on the farm that he reclaimed from the wilderness until his death at a ripe age, in 1880. His widow died there in 1888. She was Susanna Miller before marriage, a daughter of John and Barbara Miller, and she was a native of South Carolina.
The subject of this sketch was one of twelve children, and be was reared amid the primitive surroundings of pioneer days. The first school that he attended was held in a log house, which was rudely furnished by splitting logs for seats, one side being hewn smooth. After he was twenty-one he attended school two terms at Jonesboro, where he had the advantage of a good course of study, and was well fitted for a teacher, which profession he pursued in Union and Alexander Counties. After marriage he took up farming, buying a tract of land in Union County and living thereon until 1879, when he sold it and purchased the place where he now resides. This comprises two hundred and thirty acres of fertile land, of which forty acres lie in Union County and the remainder in Johnson County, his home being situated on section 6, Elvira Township. When it came into his hands but seventy-five acres were under cultivation, and with a small frame house and log stable, constituted all the improvements. By his untiring energy and skillful labor he has wrought a great change, and now has a substantially improved, valuable farm, that is kept in good order, and by excellent methods of tillage is made to yield bountiful harvests. Mr. Hileman devotes it to general farming and keeps a good class of stock. He raises a number of hogs every season, the Essex being his favorite breed, although he has some choice Poland-China and Berkshires, and he has often taken premiums at the county fairs when he has exhibited. He has also taken premiums for his fowls at different county fairs, as he pays considerable attention to poultry-raising and has four distinct varieties of the finest breeds. Mr. Hileman is likewise greatly interested in horticulture, of which he has made a careful study and is very successful in this branch, having about eight acres of orchard and small fruits of the choicest kinds, which command a ready market and are a good source of profit.
Mr. Hileman was married in 1860 to Miss Mary A. Masters, a native of Union County, and a daughter of David and Susan (Fink) Masters, and in her he has found a devoted wife. Three children have been born to them: Sarah A., Susanna and Mary E. Sarah Alice married Adam Hoover, and they have two children, William J. and Adolphus. Susan is the wife of D. B. Peninger, and they have two children, Charles and Andrew C. Mary is the wife of Hosea Elkins, and they have one child, Samuel F. Mrs. Hileman's father and mother were born in North Carolina. They settled in Union County in pioneer days, making their home two miles west of Cobden, and their children went to school in a log house which was furnished with benches made of poplar logs. The mother used to card and spin and weave, making all the cloth used by the family, which was the custom in those days, and she also taught her children to make home-spun cloth.
Mr. Hileman is a truthful, conscientious, sober-minded man, whose life is guided by Christian principles, and he and his wife and children are devout members of the Lutheran Church. He has borne an honorable part in the public life of the township, serving as School Trustee and Constable at different times.

Extracted 21 Sep 2016 by Norma Hass from 1893 Biographical Review of Johnson, Massac, Pope, and Hardin Counties, Illinois, pages 279-280

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