SARATOGA COUNTY, NEW YORK.
by NATHANIEL BARTLETT SYLVESTER
JOSEPH HILLMAN, ESQ.
Although not a citizen of this county, Mr. Hillman has been so identified with its interests during the last ten years at Round Lake, that it seems eminently proper to notice him in this work. He was born in Schoharie Co., N.Y., March 10, 1823. With his father he removed to Troy, in 1826, where he has resided nearly the whole time since, and where he still resides. He entered into mercantile business at the age of eighteen. He was unfortunate at the commencement, but soon rallied, He has since been a very successful financier, both in church and secular affairs.
He has occupied many important offices of trust. In 1867 he organized an association of Christian gentlemen, with whom, on invitation, he visited churches and conducted religious meetings. They visited nearly all the prominent Methodist churches in the Troy conference, and many in the New England and other conferences. At these meetings many thousand persons have professed conversion. The churches they visited were always crowded.
In 1867 he also organized the Round Lake C.M. association, purchased the land, and advanced the money to carry on the Round Lake enterprise. Although many supposed he was receiving pecuniary benefit from it, the facts are, that his connection with Round Lake has cost him, above all he has secured, valuing his time, at least two thousand dollars per year. Mr. Hillman is author of several singing books. The most noted and successful of these is "The Revivalist," a book containing over six hundred hymns and tunes. It is a book of real merit, as appears from the fact that it has had a sale of over one hundred and twenty-five thousand copies, and that it is still in great demand.
Mr. Hillman has also been one of the most efficient and successful Sunday-school workers and superintendents in the State. In 1860 he brought one of the largest and most successful Sunday-school excursions to Saratoga Springs that ever visited the place. This immense excursion consisted of three trains, - two from Troy and one from Albany, - and contained fifty-four cars, crowded to their utmost capacity. Probably no other Sunday-school excursion ever created such general interest and furor as this. It paid to the Sunday-school of which Mr. Hillman was the superintendent - Congress street, Troy - $850 above all expenses. Mr. Hillman was a member of the electoral college of his own church in 1876, and was elected first reserve delegate to the general conference in the same year. He is the junior member of the firm of Peck & Hillman, which was organized in 1848. This firm has long represented, as general agents of the State of New York, the Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance Company, of Hartford, Conn., one of the oldest, largest, and most successful life insurance companies in the world.
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