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Richard Hilburn (born ca. 1792-1802, died Sept. 2, 1866) Richard was born in Newberry County, South Carolina, the son of William B. and Jane Hilburn. He married Nancy Elizabeth Campbell December 26, 1818 in Williamson County, Tennessee. Richard and Elizabeth had eight children. They were born in Hickman and Perry Counties. Their names: Malinda Rebecca (1820-1910) married Joseph Erwin Halbrook; Jane (1823-1899) married James Barber; Syrena (1823-1856) married Alvin Warren; Wylie H. Hilburn (abt. 1827- ); Richardson (1827-1877) married Maria Luisa Leal; Mary Elizabeth (abt 1828- ) married Ziba Barber; Smitha (1829-abt 1919) married Riley Qualls; William M. (abt 1832-1864) married Rachel Vickory.
Richard was a constable in Perry County in 1933. Elizabeth died before 1840. Sometime in the mid to late 1830’s, Hilburn, his son Richardson and others moved to Southwest Texas. Richard Hilburn was granted a Headright Certificate, number 64, 3d Class, dated October 4, 1844 when he established that he and his family had arrived in the Republic of Texas in 1839. Census records, birth and death certificates shows that several of the Baucoms, Barbers, and Qualls of the Brush and Coon Creek areas follow Hilburn to the Bexar, Atascosa, and Lavaca Counties of Texas.
Richard’s descendants often refer to him as the “Peace Keeper” for he chose to follow John Coffee “Jack” Hays into the Texas Rangers in 1845 rather than follow the plow. After Texas joined the Union, Captain Hays’s (later Colonel) men served alongside the U.S. forces in the Mexican War. Hilburn was appointed Third Sergeant of Captain Gillespie’s Company of the First Texas Mounted Rifles. The First Sergeant was William A.A. “Bigfoot” Wallace. After the war, Hilburn and Richardson both joined Captain Wallace’s Texas Ranging Company. The Texas Rangers was organized to maintain peace on the Texas Frontier. Several books and magazine articles have been written about “Bigfoot” Wallace.
In the early 1850’s, Richard and Richardson shared property in San Antonio. Richardson married Maria Luisa Leal while stationed at Fort Inge on May 10, 1851. Maria Luisa Leal was a descendant of the Canary Islanders who helped founded San Antonio in 1731. Richard remarried on July 31, 1854 to Nancy Dickens. The two men took up land together and maintained their home place near the El Camino Real where it crosses Atascosa County. Richard was laid to rest in 1866 and Richardson passed away on August 17, 1877 after a long cattle drive to Kansas.
Richard was a prominent citizen of Atascosa County and served on its first grand jury. Hilburn, Texas a community named for Richard Hilburn was just west of State Highway 16 and six miles south of Poteet in central Atascosa County. In 1904 the Hilburn school had sixty-nine students and two teachers. It was consolidated with the Jourdanton schools in the mid-1920’s. In 1936 Hilburn had a number of scattered dwellings. By the late 1980’s only a cemetery remained at the site.
Among Richardson and Luisa Hilburn’s children who remained in Atascosa County was Richard’s namesake Richard Hilburn, born February 21, 1855. He married Sarah Jane Kaufman February 26, 1874.Jerome Hilburn, the second child of Richardson married Margaret Qualls, the youngest daughter of Moses and Mary Qualls. It was his ranch that the Hilburn Cemetery is now located.
Richard Hilburn’s descendants are many, both in Perry and surrounding counties of Tennessee and in and around Southwest Texas. Many of the Halbrooks, Barbers, Baucoms, Warrens, and Qualls can trace their ancestry to Richard Hilburn - Mexican War Veteran, Frontierman, Indian Fighter, Lawman, and Texas Ranger.