Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Veterans of World War 1

I have found records for two Hillmans who served in the First World War. Their attestation papers can be found at
The first is Daniel Hillman(Nov.6, 1877-1975). He was the son of William James Hillman and Margaret(Patterson) Hillman. He joined the Canadian Corps March 1915 in Montreal with the rank of Lieutenant. He was a civil engineer who specialized in railroad construction. On the Western Front he worked with the railroad engineers constructing narrow gauge track to the front lines. He came out of the war with the rank of Lt. Colonel.
The second is John Alexander William Hillman(21 Nov.1893-?). He was the son of Neil Hillman and Elizabeth(Chisholm) Hillman. He joined the Canadian Corps Jan. 5, 1918 in Brantford, Ontario. He joined with the rank of Corporal. I am still researching to find his unit and thus where he served in the last year of the war.
One thing that strikes home as you read their attestation papers is the size of both men. They are both 5’4” tall. Interesting as most of the male Hillmans I know now are 6 footers.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The McKay-Shoemaker Connection

When you look at your family tree the first thing that you notice is that there are a lot more names in the tree than your own. Sometimes these families are very interesting. Such is the case with the McKay/Shoemaker connection in the Hillman tree.
John David Hillman(1850-1936) married Hannah McKay(1860-1947) 2 Sept. 1879(her picture is in a previous blog post). Her father was Henry McKay(1833-1908), and Martha Shoemaker(1831-1914). According to the Latter Day Saints data base Henry McKay was born near Berlin(today Kitchener): however, in the 1901 Canada Census he says that he was born in Scotland. Something I need to work out.
The Shoemakers; however:, are a very interesting family for me. They are a German Mennonite family who immigrated from Pennsylvania sometime between 1834 and 1836(one child was born in Pennsylvania in 1834 and the next in Berlin in 1836).
Martha's father was Jacob D. Shoemaker(1799-1902), and her mother Jane Dunbar(1798?-1880). Jacob was one of those in the family tree that made it past 100. Jacob’s father was George Tyson Shoemaker(1778-1864), and Jacob’s grandfather was Jacob Shoemaker(1708-?). Jacob senior was born in Pennsylvania and in all probability his father was the one who immigrated to the U.S. before 1708.
The Shoemaker’s are interesting for me for several reasons. It’s a break from the English/Scottish Baptists. Secondly, it puts one branch of the Hillman family tree in North America over 300 years. It also highlights an immigration phenomena in particularly the Kitchener/Waterloo area of a large Mennonite movement from the U.S. to Ontario. In the Shoemaker’s case it looks as if most of the clan came to Waterloo County. In all the visits I have made to Kitchener/Waterloo in the past I never realized that I probably have distant kin in the area. What a small world.

Friday, October 10, 2008

John(Jack) Hillman

John(Jack) Arnold Hillman was born January 10, 1920 to William Wallace Hillman and Corlena Peckham. He joined the R.C.A.F. on the 5th December, 1941. He trained as a wireless air gunner with bomber command. He arrived in England towards the end of 1943 and joined the 426th (Thunderbird) Squadron based in Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire.
On the night of 15/16th March, 1914, Lancaster DS829/OW”U” developed engine trouble and went down on a raid over Stuttgart. John Hillman found himself a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft 6 after his second mission over Europe.
The interesting part of the war started for John Hillman after his was a prisoner as he remembered for the “London Free Press, June 4, 1984”. As the Russians advanced the Germans moved the prisoners west towards the Ally lines. For a man who says that he joined the air force so that he would not have to walk so much he must have logged more miles on foot than any army veteran. He was liberated at the British lines 0n the Rhine on 3 May, 1945.
John Hillman, needless to say is my father, and still hale and hearty at 88.

Photos are from my personal collection. Photo one was taken in 1943 before Jack went overseas. The second is of his Lancaster crew. Jack Hillman is third from the left.