M, b. circa 1591, d. between June 1655 and 30 June 1656
Hilton Royal Descent Problems
Noel Nugent has provided a royal pedigree for Leone’s ancestor William Hilton. He apparently came to the royal ancestry conclusion based on the information that appears on several web sites. Some of these sites provide sources for their conclusions making those conclusions seem very plausible. The conclusions, however, are based on assumptions that skate on very thin ice. A royal ancestry for the brothers William and Edward Hilton rests on the identities of their parents. Who was their father? Who was their mother?
Robert Charles Anderson, a very careful researcher and the author or co-author of the well-respected "Great Migration Begins" (GMB 2:947-957) series, says that the father of William and Edward was William of Northwich, County Cheshire, England. Anderson apparently bases some of his claim on two articles that appeared in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register
, written by John T. Hassam: “Some of the Descendants of William Hilton”, NEHGR 31:179-194, published in April 1877; and “The Dover Settlement and the Hiltons, NEHGR 36:40-46, published January 1882. No name is given for their mother.
Kerry S. Davis, in her Davis-Bean Trees
web site, cites equally compelling sources, claiming that their father was Captain Roger Hilton, who was of royal descent, with their mother being Ellen Mainwaring, daughter of John Mainwaring. Several web sites seem to suggest that an Ellen Mainwaring was the wife of one William Hilton, ancestry unknown. Unfortunately, none of these sites offer any sources for their information.
Gary Boyd Roberts, the author of The Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants . . .
, published in 2008, stops at William Hilton who married Margaret Metcalfe. This William married Margaret Metcalfe and, according to Davis and others, they were the parents of said Captain Roger Hilton. Indeed, it does appear true that Roger was a son of William and Margaret. Margaret’s will, written 4 Jun 1566, calls her, “Margaret Hilton, of Northe Biddick, Wedow.” In this will she states “Item I giv and bequithe unto Elizabethe, Dorite, and Helin my thre dowghters to every of them silver spone . . .” She also names her sons: William, Robert, Roger, and Rauf [Ralph]. The entire text of Margaret’s will appears in pages 265-266 of Wills and Inventories Illustrative of the History, Manners, Language, Statistics, &c. of the Northern Counties of England, from the Eleventh Century Downwards. Part I.
Published in 1835 by the Surtees Society, London, England.
There was also a Hilton Pedigree published in The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: volume 2:Chester Ward
, by Robert Surtees, published in 1820. This pedigree lists the same children. So, it seems that there is solid evidence of Roger being the son of Sir William Hilton, Lord of Biddick and his wife Margaret Metcalfe.
However, the disconnect between this Roger and our William Hilton seems to lie with the identity of Roger's wife and any evidence of a marriage and birth of our William. Roger’s wife’s name has not been recorded, nor is there a record of his marriage. Such a connection does appear on numerous databases but, without solid source information. The unsourced information identifies Roger’s wife as Ellen Mainwaring, daughter of John. Our William had a son by his second wife Frances who was named Mainwaring Hilton Plus the given name of one son of Roger's son William and his wife Frances was Mainwaring. This son’s ca 1646 birth at Dover, NH, is listed in GMB 2:954. The use of Mainwaring as a given name does suggests that there was a Mainwaring in either William’s or Frances’s family. In addition, Noel Nugent, in 2008, found a grave in York County, Maine, for a Mainwaring Hilton bearing the birth year of 1682. He was probably the grandson of our first William Hilton.
In that same cemetery Noel found the grave of one William Hilton, born 1653. He was no doubt brother of the first Mainwaring Hilton, son of the first William and Frances, and who married Anne Parsons (whose grave is also in the same cemetery.)
Despite the use of Mainwaring as a given name for William Hilton’s son, we still have no proof that William was the son of Roger Hilton and Ellen Mainwaring. Indeed, we seem to have plausible evidence to the contrary as proposed by Robert Charles Anderson as mentioned above. The 1877 Register
articles by John T. Hassam, seem to be the earliest to have proposed a father for William and Edward Hilton of Dover, NH. Hassam, and Mary Lovering Holman, in her 1938 Ancestry of Charles Stinson Pillsbury and John Sargent Pillsbury
page 333-335, claims that our William was the brother of Edward, who was baptized in Wilton Chapel, Northwich, Cheshire, England, 5 Jun 1596. Holman does not identify Edward’s father, nor does she offer any source for her information. It seems as though all of the Northwich origin information stems from the 1877 and 1882 Register
Douglas Richardson, writing in his Magna Charta Ancestry
, lists a manorial Mainwaring family descended from Scottish royalty (Volume 3:278-279) living in the Cheshire County town of Over Peover. Although neither Ellen nor her father John and his wife Jane Wright are named as connected to this Mainwaring family, it is quite possible that there was a connection. Over Peover was just a few miles to the northeast of Northwich.
Another clue, albeit a very weak one, given the weakness of sources cited and the apparent errors in dates, suggests that Ellen Mainwaring married first Roger (or Mark as he is listed), son of William and Margaret (Metcalfe) Hilton. This site goes on to claim that they had one son William, born 1585. It then claims that Ellen then married a William Hilton (parents unknown) of Northwich, Cheshire, England. This union produced son Edward, born 5 Jun 1596 at Northwich, Cheshire, England. There follows several other children from this union with impossible birth dates, which, of course, destroys all credibility for the data. It does, despite the lack of credibility, suggest a possible solution to the puzzle.
Suppose that Roger Hilton, son of Sir William Hilton and his wife Margaret Metcalfe did indeed marry an Ellen Mainwaring, daughter of John and Jane (Wright) Mainwaring, and perhaps a descendant of the Lords of Over Peover, Cheshire County, England. Suppose that Roger, often named Captain, being a very younger son of the royally descended Hiltons of Biddick, Durham, England, accepted an army commission and was posted to Cheshire County. Suppose he met and married there, Ellen Mainwaring, perhaps descended from royalty herself in some manner. Suppose further that Roger died after she had given birth to our William sometime between 1585 and 1591. She then marries a William Hilton of Northwich, ancestry unknown (He couldn’t have been Roger’s elder brother, who married Anne Yorke and inherited the title Lord of Biddick.) All of this conjecture would have made the two immigrants to Plymouth only half-brothers, not brothers. William would then have a royal pedigree back to Edward IV of England, and Edward would have to have gotten his royal pedigree by way of the Scottish Kings who might have been the ancestors of his mother Ellen Mainwaring.
All of this is, of course, pure speculation, and we do not have a shred of evidence to support it. So, to sum up what we do know: we have two conflicting ancestries for our William Hilton. One that claims he was the son of Roger and Ellen (Mainwaring) Hilton, of Northwich, Cheshire, England, and one that claims he was the son of William Hilton of Northwich, Cheshire, England. Trying to resolve this conflict is impossible without further information.
I have wondered how a scion of English royalty could wind up as a member of the fishmongers guild of London, but it does now seem plausible that William and Edward Hilton, even though they might have been grandsons of an English Lord Hilton, because they were sons of a very junior younger son, might well have had to seek their fortune in other ways. In short, I do not have a problem with William and Edward being fishmongers despite their royal ancestry. Such were the times.
The following disputation of the royal ancestry claim by John L. Cholette was posted on line and read by John R. Wood 11 Jan 2014. It is copied here verbatim.
"As a young girl, our daughter, Susan used to say that she was really a Princess and that she would eventually find her true ancestry. As I have worked on this genealogy of our family, I have now discovered what many amateur genealogists hope for---a linkage to a famous person, or better yet, to Royalty. Is it possible that Susan was correct after all and she is a Princess?
If one looks at various genealogical sources examining the CHOLETTE ancestry, it is relatively easy to find our connection to Sebastien Cholet dit Laviolette, who emigrated to Montreal from Aubigne, France sometime around 1700. On Oct 19, 1705, he married Anne Heard, also known as Marie-Anne Herd dit Prevost. (ref 1).
Anne Heard would be our Susan’s 7th great-grandmother. Her Cholette ancestors starting from that couple down to her (ref 2) are:
Sebastien Cholet & Anne Heard (m. 1705) > Jean Baptiste Cholet & Anne Faucher (m. 1728) > Thomas Cholet & Marguerite Lalonde (m. 1773) > Francois Cholet & Judith Melise (m. 1799) > Hyacinthe Cholet & Rose Marie Liboiron (m. 1824) > Mathias Cholet & Philomene Paquet (m. 1856) > Adelord Cholette & Melina Richer (m. 1898) > William Cholette & Dorothy Palmer (m. 1936) > John Cholette & Barbara Castelli (m. 1966) > Susan Cholette & Dan Theobald (m. 1995).
While one might look to the King of France as a potential Royal ancestor of this line, it turns out that the more successful route is through Anne Heard back to the British Royal Family. From very good documentation (ref 1, 3, 4,5), it can be shown that Anne was born in 1681 in Cochecho (now Dover, New Hampshire), the daughter of Benjamin Heard and Elizabeth Roberts. When Anne was about 10 or 11 years old, she was captured by the Loups Indians and held in captivity in Quebec for about a year until she was ransomed by the Prud’homme family in about 1693. She lived with them until her marriage to Sebastien.
Anne’s mother, Elizabeth Roberts, was the daughter of Thomas Roberts who along with Edward and William Hilton were the first settlers in Dover in 1623, just three years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. Dover is on the Cochecho River, just above the Piscataqua River which leads into the Atlantic Ocean about 12 miles south of the city. This part of New Hampshire borders the ocean for about 20 miles between Newburyport, Massachusetts and Kittery, Maine. Thomas Roberts’ wife was named Rebecca and it has often been suggested that she was a sister of Edward and William Hilton. (ref. 6, 7). For examples Scales says, “…it is a tradition that Mr. Roberts’ wife was a Hilton, sister to Edward and William. There is no record in regard to this matter of matrimony but various corroborating data indicate that such was probably the fact in the relationship of these three men.” (ref. 6). However, others say that this is only a hypothesis and cannot be firmly established. (ref. 3, 8). Nonetheless, many descendants of this line, seem to readily accept this possibility as fact. (ref. 9).
The next step in determining the possible ancestry of this family, then, rests with tracing the Hiltons back to their homeland in England. It is known that the two brothers, and possibly their sister, if there was one (i.e. the “Rebecca” in question) were born in or near London, sometime around 1590. As you can imagine, records from this time period are not numerous, and it is almost impossible to trace family ancestries, except for more notable families. One such family is the Hilton or DeHilton family from the castle of Hulton, or Hilton, in Durham County. (ref 4, p 331). From British records, this family can trace their genealogy from about 1200 to William DeHilton, born in 1516 in Yorkshire, England and died in 1562 in Durhamshire. His wife was Margaret Metcalfe and they had several children, one of whom may have been Mark Hilton. The key here is that Mark Hilton’s grandfather was Sir William De Hilton, husband of Sybil Lumley, and Sybil was the granddaughter of King Edward IV (ref 10). Edward was the Plantagenet member of the House of York, who reigned from 1461-1483 and was succeeded by his son, Edward V, who within the year disappeared into the Tower of London, presumably banished by his uncle who subsequently was crowned King Richard III, made even more famous by the Shakespearean play. (ref 11, 12)
As was typical of that day, British kings often had mistresses, and these women bore them children. However, in that more promiscuous time (or perhaps just a time more tolerant of what the Royalty did), these illegitimate children, while not in line for the throne, were known to be descended from the King and were often given titles. It was in this way that Sybil Lumley’s mother, Elizabeth Plantagenet, born about 1464, came to be accepted as the daughter of King Edward IV and his mistress Elizabeth Wayte. While there is some confusion about her mother’s name, it appears well established that Elizabeth Plantagenet was the King’s daughter, and that she married Sir Thomas Lumley. (ref. 10, 12). In this way, subsequent Hilton’s are known to be descendants of King Edward.
A missing link still remained, however. Were William DeHilton and his son, Mark, ancestors of the Hiltons who settled in New England in the 1620’s? To find an answer to this question, in 1885 Nathan Hilton, a magistrate of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, hired a woman in London to search for his roots and determine if the American Hiltons were related to Mark Hilton and the DeHiltons, and of course through them, to King Edward IV (ref. 4).
According to the “Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and NH” (ref 4, p 331), 'This woman, identity unknown, in order to connect the Durham County family with the two brothers in London and America, must have invented probate records of two estates, ‘Ralph Hilton, 1602’ and ‘Roger Hilton 1619’ [since later] exhaustive searches failed to find any trace of ‘Ralph’ and ‘Roger’. They did, however, find over thirty contemporary records supporting the origin of the American emigrant brothers in Northwich, Chester County. [Nonetheless], the baronial pedigree was published in the Yarmouth Herald, Mar. 22-29, Apr 5-12, 1898, and will doubtless charm the credulous for years to come.'
Apparently based on this 19th Century research, many amateur genealogists have connected the two brothers, Edward and William Hilton, who settled in Dover, NH, and were known to be the sons of William Hilton from Chester County, England, to the Durham County Hilton family and made them sons of Mark, or sometimes Mark Roger, Hilton. In this way the royal connection was made.
So what is the answer to our daughter’s question, “Is she a Princess?” Of course, she is our princess, but it appears quite unlikely that King Edward IV was her 14th great-grandfather since there are so many questions that arise in studying the genealogy of the Hiltons. However, one never knows for sure, and it could be true.
Laforest, Thomas J., “Our French-Canadian Ancestors”, Vol X (1990, LISI Press, Palm Harbor, FL), pp. 75-84
Cholette, J.L, “Jack and Bonnie Cholette’s Family Home Page”, www.familtytreemaker.com/users/c/h/o/John-L-Cholette
Tanguay, Cyprien, “Dictionnaire Genealogique des Familles Canadiennes”, (Montreal, 1887) Vol 1, p 9; Vol 3, p. 67
Noyes, S., Libby, C.T., Davis, W.G., “Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire”, (Baltimore, 1879) p321
Coleman, Emma Lewis, “New England Captives Carried to Canada, (Portland, Maine, 1925), Vol 1, pp. 92, 123, 126, 143, 227, 233-234, 254.
Scales, John, “History of Dover, N.H.”, (now available on-line at www.heritagebooks.com), p1, 302
Smith, Daniel J., “Rambles about the Dover Area, 1623-1973”, Ch VIII, p25-26
Clark, Harman, P.O. Box 311, Sheffield, VT 05866, email@example.com, personal communication with numerous references (e.g. “Thomas Roberts of Dover, N.H. and Some of His Descendants”, by Henry Winthrop Hardon; 4 vol. typescript, written in 1920, located at N.H. Historical Society; also on microfilm at FHL, Salt Lake City [Microfilm #015533 and #015534]. “Randolph Genealogy”, page 57, "Is Daniel Roberts of Lebanon, Maine the son of Benjamin 4 Roberts", by Barbara Roberts Baylis, NHGR 38:20 (1994)).
Various web sites at http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com (e.g. Susan Gagnon Wilson firstname.lastname@example.org ; Jean-Louis Ranger Jlranger@videotron.ca ; D. B. Robinson email@example.com ; Sue Collins, Collins30038@aol.com
Burke, Sir Bernard, LL. D., “A Genealogical History of the Dormant, Abeyant and Forfeited and extinct Peerages of the British Empire”, (London, 1866) pp. 277-278, 337-339
Pinches, J.H. & R.V. “The Royal Heraldry of England, (Charles Tuttle Co, Rutland, VT. 1974) p.115
www.britannia.com and www.dcs.hull,ac.uk/public/genealogy/royal/gedx51.html"
Although, current royal descent research does not seem to include our Hiltons, there is enough ambiguity in the published research to suggest that a royal connection is plausible. and even possible. Therefore, I am including the Kerry Davis descent until I can find definitive proof that it is, or is not, not royal. So, please view this line as being subject to being disproved as of 8 May 2021.3,4,5,6,2,7,8,9,10,11
William was born at Northwich, Cheshire, England, circa 1591.1
He married (?) unknown
circa 1615 at England.1
William Hilton Sr. immigrated in 1621 to Plymouth, Plymouth, Massachusetts, aboard the "Fortune."12
He lived in 1628 at Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire.12
He married Frances unknown
circa 1642 at Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire.1
William Hilton Sr. lived in 1651 at Kittery, York, Maine.12
He died between June 1655 and 30 June 1656 at Kittery, York, Maine.1