Todd County Kentucky Pioneers, Andersons, and Watsons

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  • ID: I5563
  • Name: Daniel Hillman
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 1807
  • Death: 1885
  • Burial: UNKNOWN Marable Cemetery, Montgomery County, TN
  • Note:
    History of Trigg County, Historical and Biographical, ed. W.H. Perrin, F.A. Battey Pub. Co., Chicago, 1884. pp. 258-59. [Rock Castle Precinct]

    DANIEL HILLMAN, proprietor of a smelting furnace and rolling-mill, was born in New Jersey, February 26, 1807, and is a son of Daniel and Grace (Huston) Hillman. They were natives of New Jersey and are supposed to be of English descent. Daniel Hillman, Sr., was largely engaged in the iron business in New Jersey, and also engaged in the same business for eight or nine years in Greenupsburg, Ky., after his removed to that place; there also Mrs. Hillman died. Some years after, Mr. Hillman, in company with another party, built the first smelting furnace in the neighborhood of Birmingham, Ala. Daniel Hillman, Jr., received a good common school education in Kentucky, to which State he came with his parents, when he was quite young. He went into business with Van Lear at Cumberland Furnace in Trigg County, Ky., and entered into partnership with Dr. Watson. While at the Cumberland Furnace he was married to a daughter of Dr. J. Hart Marible member of the Congress. To their union were born four children--two sons and two daughters--all of whom are living. While engaged at the Empire Furnace, he built the Fulton Furnace in Trigg County, moved the rolling mill from Nashville to Lyon County, and put it up across the river from the Empire Furnace. On the death of his partner, he bought the latter's interest and controlled the business. He afterward took his two brothers as partners, and the firm was known as D. Hillman & Bros. He had large commission houses all over the country, and before the war, built what is known as Center Furnace, which is now operated by one of his sons; he also owned a furnace in Hickman County, Tenn. At the breaking out of the war these furnaces were closed, the Center Furnace being now the only one in operation. Before the war Mr. Hillman was also owner of 72,000 acres of land. In 1870 or 1871 he purchased property in Alabama, both coal and iron--the Alice Furnace Company which is now consolidated with the Pratt Coal Company. The Trigg Furnace was built in 1871 and was operated for some three and a half years, when Mr. Hillman's health began to fail, and it is now idle. Mrs. Hillman died in 1861. His second marriage, took place in the fall of 1865, to Mary A. Gentry, a daughter of Meredith P. Gentry, Member of Congress from Tennessee. To this union have been born four sons, three of whom are living. Mr. Hillman is a member of the Nashville, Tenn., Lodge, A. F. & A. M., also a Knight Templar. Since the failing of his health, he has sold some of his property. He is one of the leading, influential citizens and business men in Trigg County.


    Source: [Richard & Bristol Gannaway, OBITUARIES COMPILED FROM CLARKSVILLE NEWSPAPERS, MONTGOMERY COUNTY, TENNESSE (Clarksville: priv. pub., 1990,) page 198.
    Hillman, Mr. Daniel S. A native of Pennsylvania. Born in 1819. Died several days ago, in Hopkinsville, KY. Brother to G. W. Hillman, of Clarksville. Worked as overseer at Watson & Co.ís furnace, in Lyon County, KY. Semi-Weekly Tobacco Leaf (23 Jan 1885, p. 1.)

    Source: Information taken from cemetery transcriptions: Marable Cemetery, Montgomery County, TN

    The following article appeared in the Evansville Courier and Press on 1 April 2002
    Volunteers to delve into LBL history

    Region's iron-making legacy will be explored

    By JOHN LUCAS Courier & Press Western KY bureau (270) 333-4899 or jlucas@evansville.net
    April 1, 2002
    GOLDEN POND, Ky. - Volunteers will spend a couple of weeks this summer digging into the history of the iron industry that flourished in the Land Between the Lakes during most of the 19th century.

    U.S. Forest Service archaeologists will coordinate a dig June 10-21 at the Center Furnace ruins, near the LBL's Nature Station.

    They hope the effort will yield a better understanding of the lives of people, including slaves and Chinese immigrants, who worked there from 1852 to 1912.

    LBL Archaeologist Bob Wise is looking for 10 volunteers, 18 or older, to participate in the Forest Service's Passport in Time project. The volunteers will not be paid, but LBL will provide them free camping at nearby Energy Lake Campground.

    People who want to assist must apply by April 15. Applications are available at the national recreation area's Golden Pond visitors center or the LBL administration building. Preference will be given to those who can work both weeks.

    Volunteers will be supervised by staff archaeologists and do not need any specialized training or past experience.

    "Basically, they just have to bring an enthusiasm for the project and a willingness to work hard," Wise said. "We'll provide training and supervision."

    He plans on opening a number of 1-by-1-meter test pits around the remains of the furnace in the area where the company store and other ancillary buildings were located, as well at the site of a furnace worker's dwelling.

    "We're focusing on the people who lived and worked there," he said. Wise expects the dig to yield glass items, pottery, buttons from clothing, discarded kitchenware and other "normal everyday types of things."

    Artifacts collected may be incorporated into displays interpreting the region's iron history at the welcome center or the Nature Station, he said.

    Visitors to the LBL will be able to observe the work and staff members will serve as guides and explain how the large furnaces were used to extract molten iron from ore.


    It was the presence of iron ore, limestone and timber for making charcoal to fire the blast furnaces, along with the Cumberland and TN Rivers for transportation, that made Western KY and TN a major iron-producing region during the mid-1800s.

    Center Furnace, owned by the Hillman Land Co. which had extensive land holdings here, was one of about a half dozen furnaces in the LBL, Wise said. Center Furnace was made of brick, while others such as the Great Western Furnace that stands beside The Trace in the TN portion of the LBL was constructed from quarried limestone.

    Trees were cut and burned to make charcoal for firing the tall, funnel-shaped furnaces. Ore, limestone and charcoal were dumped into the top of the cone, and molten ore was extracted from the bottom.

    Center Furnace and others used a blast technique developed at nearby Eddyville and Suwanee by Irish immigrant William Kelly to reduce the amount of fuel required by using heat from the molten metal to help refine it.

    The Civil War interrupted the region's industry, and it never regained its prominence as new smelters and mills were built in regions of the country with better ore deposits. Center Furnace was the last in the region to be in operation.

    Closed for a while, an effort was made to refire it in 1907, and it operated until 1912 when it closed permanently.

    The region's iron industry was labor intensive with hundreds of men involved in cutting timber and burning charcoal, digging the ore and quarrying limestone as well as operating the furnaces. In operation 24 hours a day, Center Furnace employed 250 to 300 men, Wise said.

    In the years before the Civil War, slaves were used for some of the labor, and the Hillman Co. brought Chinese laborers into the area. A cemetery near the Nature Station is known as the Chinese Cemetery, he noted.


    What follows is the from the work of Larie Undis: (laurieundis@hotmail.com)
    Daniel C. HILLMAN
    Sex: M
    Birth: 3 Feb 1807 in Gloucester Co., New Jersey
    Death: 3 Jan 1885 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky
    Burial: Marable Cem., Montgomery Co., Tennessee
    Father: Daniel Hannold HILLMAN b: 25 Oct 1782 in Gloucester Co., New Jersey
    Mother: Grace HAINES b: 2 Mar 1773 in New Jersey

    Marriage 1 Ann Jones MARABLE b: 17 Feb 1818 in TennesseeMarried: 16 Apr 1840 in Montgomery Co, Tennessee
    Children John Hartwell HILLMAN b: 1840 in Kentucky
    Thomas Tenessee HILLMAN b: 4 Feb 1844 in Tennessee (rsw note: Thomas Tennessee Watson was the business partner of Daniel C. Hillman.)
    Grace Cora HILLMAN b: 16 Jul 1858 in Trigg Co., Kentucky
    Ann Fredonia HILLMAN b: 19 Oct 1847

    Marriage 2 Mary A. GENTRY b: 5 Aug 1840Married: 16 Oct 1865 in Nashville, Davidson Co., Tennessee
    Children Daniel C. HILLMAN b: 1866 in Tennessee
    Meredith Poindexter Gentry HILLMAN b: 1868 in Tennessee
    James Hoggatt HILLMAN b: 1870 in Tennessee (rsw note: James Hoggatt lived near Nashville and was a brother-in-law of Thomas Tennessee Watson, business partner of Daniel C. Hillman.)
    Bellfield HILLMAN b: 1870




    Marriage 1 Ann J. Marable b: 17 FEB 1816
    • Married: 16 APR 1840
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