Though comparatively a young man, George D. Hiltabrand has already evinced
that he possesses exceptional business and financial ability, and during the
six years of his residence in Tonica, LaSalle county, he has been an
untiring worker in the interests of the place — a fact thoroughly
appreciated by its citizens. The standing of a town or community in the
public opinion is a matter that should be of great concern to every
inhabitant of the place, for true patriotism, like charity, should begin,
though not end, at home.
The grandfathers of our subject were numbered among the early pioneers of Illinois, and his relatives have borne an important part in the development of its resources. George Hiltabrand, his paternal grandfather, was a native of North Carolina, and lived in Tennessee prior to his removal to Magnolia township, Putnam county, Illinois, in 1827. His farm was located at a place known as Ox Bow, and there he resided until his death, which event occurred when he was nearly three-score and ten years of age. During the Black Hawk war he enlisted and served as a sergeant of his company. Jeremiah Hartenbower, the maternal grandfather, was born in Germany, came to America in the '20s, and about 1830 located in Putnam county, Illinois, taking up some government land. Later he settled in Hennepin township, and in 1876 he departed this life at his home in the village of the same name. He had nine or more children and George Hiltabrand had eleven children, and their descendants are numerous and influential, both in this and in other states of the Union.
Benjamin F. Hiltabrand, father of George D., was born in Putnam countv, where he was a successful farmer and stock-raiser for many years after arriving at manhood. In 1882 he came to LaSalle county, and during the next thirteen years he dwelt about a mile and a half west of the village of Lostant. He owns six tracts of eighty acres each in that locality, another farm of one hundred and twenty acres in that district, and about five hundred and seventy acres in Iowa, besides twenty acres in Putnam county. Since 1895 he has lived retired in Bloomington, Illinois. For some time he was the supervisor of Magnolia township, Putnam county; and in Hope township, this county, he served in the same capacity. Politically he is a Democrat, and religiously both he and his estimable wife are members of the Baptist church. In her girlhood she bore the name of Minerva Hartenbower, and, like her husband, she was born in Putnam county. They had six children, four of whom survive, namely: George D., Norman J., Vera L., and Benjamin Franklin.
The birth of George D. Hiltabrand occurred on the parental homestead near Magnolia, Putnam county, September 10, 1872. At ten years of age he came to this county, and, after finishing his district and village school education, he took a commercial course at the Dixon (Illinois) Business College and for about a year pursued his studies in the Northern Illinois Normal School in the same town. Then, returning to his father's old homestead, he continued the agricultural labors which have engrossed his time and attention, to a great extent, from his childhood. He is now engaged in the stock business, in partnership with his brother, Norman J., and they cultivate a farm of three hundred and twenty acres. In 1893 our subject became assistant cashier of the Tonica Exchange Bank, and two years later he entered into partnership with John E. Hartenbower and Austin Hiltabrand, and for a year they were the proprietors of this now well known and successful banking institution. In 1896 Mr. Hiltabrand retired and the firm has since consisted of J. E. Hartenbower and George D. Hiltabrand. The latter owns considerable real estate and is interested in its sale and in the insurance business and other enterprises.
In the multiplicity of his private business affairs, Mr. Hiltabrand does not neglect his duties as a citizen, and at present he is serving as president of the board of trustees of Tonica. He is independent in politics, using his franchise for the nominees and principles which he deems worthy of support regardless of party lines. Socially he belongs to Tonica Lodge, No. 364, F. & A. M., of which he is the present master; of Peru Chapter, No. 60, R. A. M.; Tonica Lodge, No. 298, I. O. O. F.; and of Kaiser Camp, Modern Woodmen of America.
On the 12th of December, 1894, Mr Hiltabrand married Miss Lizzie, a daughter of Abraham and Sarah (Dixon) Phillips, and they have one child, Wendall K. Abraham Phillips is a native of Manchester, England, while his wife was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He came to this state about 1840 and was preceded here by his wife, who came west with her parents in 1838. Her mother dying when the little Sarah was but four years old, the latter was reared by a Mrs. Miriam Graves, who lived to the remarkable age of one hundred years. The paternal grandparents of Mrs. Phillips were James and Nancy Dixon, and her maternal grandparents were John and Mary Woolsoncroft. James Dixon, a native of England, located in the neighborhood of Magnolia, Illinois, about 1845, and he lived to be well along in years, while his wife was almost a century old at the time of her death. John Woolsoncroft, also a native of England, did not come to America until he was past the prime of life, and his last years were spent in Putnam county, Illinois, where he died at an advanced age.
Extracted 13 May 2019 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois, published in 1900, volume 2, pages 618-620.