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According to Records of Southwest Texas, Chicago, 1894 " There is no more important business in which a man can engage in South than that of cotton ginning. He ( HENRY HILLMANN) had been engaged in the business of cotton ginning in Yoakum, Tx since 1893 and is one of the prominent and well known men of the place. He learned the ginning at Bluff, Fayette Co, Tx and there was in business until 1893 when he sold out and came to Yoakum. He also is the owner of a planing mill."

Johann Albert Heinrich HILLMANN ( Henry) was born 1853, Fayette Co, TX to the parents of CARL HILLMANN, a native of Rastede, Germany and DORETHEA MEYER. Henry's siblings were: Dorethea Caroline, Johann Friedrich, Heinrich Wilhelm, Johanne Dorethea, and Mollie.HILLMANN

Henry and his brothers, Friedrich( also known as Fritz, Fred), and Heinrich Wilhelm ( also known as William) were hard working and prosperous cotton ginning men.

According to the Halletsville Herald, December 6, 1894 " HILLMAN's gin came near being destroyed by fire early yesterday morning- Yoakum Graphie"

HENRY HILLMANN died 1898, Yoakum, Tx and is buried at Freyburg, Fayette Co, Tx

Early records of DeWitt County, TX reveals that in 1899, ANNIE HILLMANN ( second wife of HENRY) was selling lots # 3 & #4 in Block 35 on Nelson St. , Yoakum, TX.

" said lots fronting each 50 ft on Nelson St and each running back between parallel lines 150 ft to middle of said block, all of which is on the John May League."
It is apparent that ANNIE was selling these to pay back taxes on property.

Further investigation of records reveal that on Feb 24th, 1902 the following land was sold to WILLIAM HILLMANN, Fayette Co, Tx and was referred to as THE HILLMANN GIN PROPERTY, Volume 50, p. 264, DeWitt Co land Deeds:

" Lots I, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 in Block 39 and fifty feet off the south end of lots 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 of said Block 39 of the town of Yoakum in DeWitt County, Texas on the John May League according to the established and recorded map of said town of record in the DeWitt County deed records together with the mill gin engines, machinery, fixtures, improvements. Said fifty -feet strip off the south end of said lots being thus described: Beginning at the N.E. corner of Lot 1 of said Block thence in a northerly direction with the line of North Street fifty-feet thence in a westerly direction at right at right angles to said North Street across said lots 12, 11, 10, 9 and 8 in Block 39 to the N.W. line of Lot 8 thence in a S.W. direction to the S.W. corner of said Lot 8 being along the N.W. line of said lot 8 thence in an easterly direction to the place of beginning. The above being the property known as the HILLMANN GIN PROPERTY."
The sellers of the property were: Mrs. Annie Hillmann, Frederick Albert Carl ( Charlie) Hillmann and wife Beulah, Ida Colle ( nee Hillmann) and her husband Fritz Colle.

Further land deeds reveal that on November 17, 1906 this property was again sold to FRANK VACKAR. Quitclaim deeds were then issued on the same date as above to Ferd HILLJE.

Sanborn Fire insurance maps , Yoakum, Tx, 1904, sheet # 4, reveal F. VACKAR Cotton Gin and Corn Mill on North Street between May and Nelson Streets. Earlier maps do not include North Street to view property.

Later land transactions reveal that HENRY HILLMANN's homestead was

" part of the John May League, and more fully described as Lots #5 and #6 in Block # 35 and said lots front 50 feet each on Nelson Street and run back between parallel lines to the middle of said Block 150 ft. and is the same property occupied by HENRY HILLMANN during his lifetime as a homestead."
This homestead was sold to JOHN HUTH of Yoakum , June 17, 1911 by Charles HILLMANN and wife Beulah, Dora Wade (nee HILLMANN) and husband Forest Wade, Ida Colle (nee HILLMANN) and husband Fritz Colle, Ella Frels ( nee HILLMANN) and husband John E. Frels. These were the surviving heirs of HENRY HILLMANN.

Sanborn Fire Insurance maps for the city of Yoakum, Tx, 1904 sheet #4 also reveals: F. HILLMAN Cotton Gin( Fred. HILLMAN, brother to HENRY HILLMANN) on the west side of West Street and facing the street with McCarty Street dead ending into his gin property.LEDGER of Fred HILLMANN. Fred Hillman married Minnie Heinsohn. Fred and Minnie Hillman are buried at Oak Grove Cemetery, Yoakum, Tx.

Another land deed of DeWitt County, Texas reveals that WILLIAM HILLMANN owned Hillmann Gin in the town of Lindenau, Dewitt County, Texas. This property is described as

" being in the County of DeWitt and State of Texas , a part of the ANDREW LOCKHART League and a part of the 164 acre tract conveyed to E.F. Kuester by F. Krause and bounded as follows to wit: Beginning at a point south 14 _ varas from the S.W. corner of the Lindeman Shooting Club 2 acre tract Thence South 80E 106 varas to a stake Thence South 121 varas to a stake on the right of way of the Galveston Harrisburg and San Antonio Railroad Co Thence North 55 W, 126 varas to a stake on said right of way. Thence N69 varas to the place of beginning containing one and 73/100 acres and being the same tract of land purchased from E. F. Kuester and wife by WILLIAM HILLMANN and A Vrana by deed dated March 15, 1907 and duly recorded in Vol 59, page 596 deed records of DeWitt County, Texas and known as the HILLMANN GIN in the town of Lindemau, DeWitt Co, Texas."
This land was sold to J.C. Woodworth and Thornton Hamilton, trustees for the Cuero Cotton Oil and Manufacturing Company, a private Corporation, December 6, 1910. Deed transfer was done at Westhoff, Texas, DeWitt County.

The following articles were found in the Cuero Daily Record

July 31, 1907BELLO's FIRST BALE: July 30 I took the first bale into Bello, weighing 460 pounds. It was ginned free of toll by HILLMAN & Son and bought by Bello Lumber Co. for 12 _ cents.

Jan. 7, 1908GOOD RUN at BELLO:Ed HILLMANN and Geo. C. Rehmet of Bello were down Friday and said that They had ginned 820 bales of cotton this past season.

Aug., 6, 1908:The HILLMAN gin aroused us early Monday morning before Old Sol had appeared and we know by heart that the ginner, Mr. HILLMAN, is doing a good business

Feb 7, 1909:W. HILLMANN is taking steps to rebuild his gin at Lindenau

July 20, 1911:July 18. The first bale of cotton was brought here Saturday morning by Geo. Meyer, who lives five miles south of here. It was ginned by HILLMAN & Son, weighing 560 pounds and was sold to Geo. Langley for 14 5/8 cents per pound.

According to Westhoff History by Serena Birchum, " There were three cotton gins owned by WILLIAM HILLMAN and Son." Map provided ,ca 1909, shows Hillman's Gin on the north side of the G H & SA Railway.

According to History of Dewitt County, compiled by Nellie Murphee: " Bello.. The town continued to grow and new businesses prospered. WILLIAM HILLMAN and Son operated the first gin ."

WILLIAM HILLMAN, b. 3-20-1860, died 8-19-1936. He is buried at Oak Grove Cemetery, Yoakum, Tx.
Carla Hillman Ratcliff

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