JAMES WHITCOMB HILLIARD has gained distinctive prestige as a farmer and stock raiser of note in Wyandotte county, Kansas, his admirably improved estate of sixty acres being one of the finest farms in Wyandotte township. He is loyal and public spirited in his civic attitude and gives freely of his aid and influence in support of all measures and enterprises projected for the good of the general welfare.
A native of the old Hoosier state of the Union, James W. Hilliard was born at Fairfield, in Franklin county, Indiana, the date of his nativity being the 14th of May, 1844. He is a son of James R. and Nancy A. (Crockett) Hilliard, both of whom were natives of North Carolina, the former having been born in Chatham county, in 1804, and the latter in Gilford county, in 1803. The paternal grandparents of the subject of this review were Silas and Sarah Hilliard, natives of the British Isles. David Crockett, the renowned Indian fighter, was the brother of Mrs. James R. Hilliard. The father of James Whitcomb Hilliard was a blacksmith by trade and he was engaged in that line of work and in farming in Indiana and in the vicinity of Independence, Missouri, for a number of years. In 1870 he removed with his family to Wyandotte county, Kansas, where he purchased a tract of one hundred and five acres of wild timber land. He was then quite an old man, but with the assistance of his sons he managed to clear the place and improve it. He died in the year 1886, and his cherished and devoted wife passed away in 1891. Concerning the children born to Mr. and Mrs. James R. Hilliard the following brief data are here incorporated: Elizabeth, born in 1825, married John Cochran and she died in 1901; Caroline, born in 1828, died in 1904 as the wife of G. W. Adams; Mary A., whose birth occurred in 1831, died in 1872 as Mrs. S. W. Leiper; William F., born in 1834, died in 1886; Sarah Jane, born in 1835, married Samuel B. Jenkins and died in 1866; Silas M., born in 1837, died in 1897; Julia B., born on the 11th of October, 1842, is now residing in the home of the subject of this review; and James W., is the immediate subject of this notice.
James Whitcomb Hilliard resided with his parents until his marriage in the year 1882, when he started farming on his own account on a section of the old homestead given him by his father. He attended the public schools of Indiana as a boy and latter[sic] was a student in Independence Academy, at Independence, Missouri, for a period of years. At the time of the inception of the Civil war his sympathies were with the cause of the Union and in May, 1862, he enlisted, but three weeks later was captured by the enemy. After his parole he became a member of the Missouri State Militia, serving as such for fifteen months and participating in the battle of Lone Jack, Missouri, on the 11th of August, 1862. In 1863 he enlisted in the Fifth Missouri Cavalry and was assigned to service in the Army of Missouri, Sixteenth Army Corps. In April, 1864, he entered the government employ as a driver to haul goods and supplies throughout the southern counties of Missouri, but after a period of four months spent in that manner he re-enlisted in a company of artillery, serving therein until the close of the war. In 1865, when peace had again been established throughout the country, Mr. Hilliard returned to Independence, Missouri, where he worked at blacksmithing until his parents' removal to Wyandotte county, in 1870. In 1882, as previously noted, he launched out into the business world as a farmer, beginning operations on an estate of sixty acres, the same including his brother's share of the old farm, which he had purchased. He has introduced a number of fine improvements on the place and the same is recognized as one of the most beautiful rural estates in Wyandotte township.
Mr. Hilliard has served as road supervisor and as clerk of the school district for a period of sixteen years, and in discharging the duties of those offices has acquitted himself with all of honor and distinction. In the time honored Masonic order he is a valued and appreciative member of Delaware Lodge, No. 96, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, of White Church, Kansas. In his religious faith he is a devout member of the Methodist Episcopal church, of which the various members of his family are likewise members. He is a man of broad mind and liberal views, being ever tolerant of others opinions and sensibilities. His fair and honorable business methods have won him the unqualified confidence and esteem of his fellow men and be is everywhere beloved by reason of his innate kindliness of spirit and noble generosity.
On the 14th of May, 1882, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Hilliard to Miss Laura E. Ford, who was born in Garrett county, Kentucky, on the 24th of April, 1853, and who was a daughter of John and Polly E. (Brown) Ford. Mrs. Hilliard was summoned to the life eternal on the 6th of October, 1896, her loss being deeply mourned by a wide circle of admiring and loving friends. Concerning the three children born to Mr. and Mrs. Hilliard the following brief record is here entered: Cyril M., engaged in farming operations in Wyandotte township, married Miss Margaret Ropp and they have one child, Lottie Irene, born in November, 1908; Paul remains at the parental home; and Anna May is the wife of Floyd Carr, of Kansas City, Missouri. Another member of the Hilliard household is Miss Julia B. Hilliard, sister of the subject of this sketch. She was born at Fairfield, in Franklin county Indiana, on the 11th of October, 1842, and after the death of her parents has made her home with her brother. She inherited a portion of the old parental estate but as she never married she rented her farm. She is a woman of most gracious personality and is deeply beloved by all who have come within the sphere of her gentle influence.
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