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 William Hayes Hilton  (1829 - 1909)

About: William Hayes Hilton


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Lived/Active: California/Texas      Known for: Gold Rush era and southwest scene sketches

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in New York City, William Hayes Hilton became an amateur painter and sketch artist of frontier life, and at various times in his life was also a rancher, stockbroker, cattle drover, miner and soldier.  His depictions of frontier genre including stage coaches, Indians, resort scenes in the Lake Country are important historical accounts of early California as well as Arizona, where the Maricopa Indians were among his subjects.

He lived in Texas and then, having served in the Mexican War in Texas, he joined the Gold Rush to California in 1849.  He mined on the Feather River and made sketches of mining camp activity of the Mother Lode area.   He also did some oil paintings, and at least one of them was destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake fire of 1906.

Between 1858 and 1877, and perhaps longer, he sketched in Arizona, Texas, and Mexico.  By 1873, he was listed in the San Francisco City Directory, and by 1881 was living in Glen Ellen, California, where he stayed for the next 15 years, purchasing a ranch.

William Hilton died in Oakland on November 23, 1909.  His work is in the collections of the Huntington Library in San Marino, California Historical Society and the Denver Public Library.

Doris Dawdy, Artists of the American West, Vol. II
Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940

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