Brickwall: The parents of George E HILLIS

In the last post, I wrote about trying to track down my grandmother’s maternal line. Her mother, Alice Susan HILLIS’ parents were George E HILLIS and Mary Susan WASHBURN. I was able to track find the parents of Mary through the help of a family history on But I still have a problem with George.

Here’s what I know about George:
  • George was born May 1857 in Indiana (1900 and 1910 census).
  • George was born in Rising Sun, Ohio county, Indiana. (death certificate of still born child Willard)
  • George married Mary WASHBURN on 05 Sep 1886 in Hamilton county, Ohio. They were married by John Rush who was a minister at 6th Presbyterian, 508 & 510 Eastern Ave near Vance. (IGI and Hamilton county marriage index)
  • Mary died 19 Apr 1919 in Cincinnati. Her death certificate states that she is a widow and was buried in Rising Sun, Ohio county, Indiana (no record of her burial has been found).

George and Mary had at least 12 children (11 children to Mary in 1910 census, 7 living, stillborn child Willard born in 1912).
(all data taken from census, SSDI, death certificates, cemetery transcriptions):
  • Joseph M – born Dec 1887 in Ohio
  • Francis Marion – born 13 Dec 1888 in Cincinnati, Ohio; died 12 Oct 1977 (This is also the name of Mary’s father, Francis Marion WASHBURN).
  • Sylvia C – born Aug 1892 (Mary had a sister Sylvia)
  • Alice Susan – born 01 Apr 1896 in Rabbit Hash, Boone County, Kentucky (according to my grandmother’s birth certificate), died 31 Jul 1979
  • Vallie I – born 16 Nov 1898 in Indiana; died 14 Jan 1994 in Rising Sun, Ohio county, Indiana
  • George – born about 1901 in Indiana (my grandmother says that he left for the circus and was never heard from again, I haven’t tracked him down yet.)
  • Barrett Guy – born 30 Dec 1906 in Indiana, died 15 Jul 1995 in Montgomery, Hamilton county, Ohio.
  • Unnamed child – born May 1909,died 07 Jul 1909 in Ohio county, Indiana
  • Willard – stillborn child 29 Feb 1912 in Cincinnati, Hamilton county, Indiana
From the death of Mary and Willard, I can estimate that George died between 1911 and 1919. I believe that he would have died in Rising Sun or at least been buried there because Mary’s death certificate states that she was buried there.

Here is what I have found and am analyzing:
My tree on Ancestry gave me a hint about George’s family. It directed me to an 1880 census record in Carlton, Boone county, Kentucky. This George HILLIS is living with Stephen and Sarah MAUCK and is listed as a farm laborer. Looking at the census page, I found the family of Joseph and Susan HILLIS, with their children Valorous, Mary and Lizzie. Could this be George’s family? (George’s oldest son is named Joseph.)

The age of this George is the same as my George would have been in 1880. I found that Carlton, Kentucky is the township where Rabbit Hash, Kentucky resides. This connects to my great grandmother saying that she was born in Rabbit Hash (where they have elected dogs for mayor). I have found no other evidence of the family in Rabbit Hash. It would make sense that they might have lived there if they had family in the area. The census records put them in Cincinnati and Rising Sun, Indiana. All in the general area.

I have used Google to try to track down this family, but it appears that no one else is researching this family. On Ancestry’s trees, the only other tree with information on my HILLIS family has just taken my research and is most likely not interested in the HILLIS family because it appears that they are not related, one of George’s children married an indirect relation in this other person’s tree.

If this is my HILLIS family, then I have found Susan’s death certificate in Kentucky which gives her maiden names as MORSE and her parents as Valorous MORSE and Mary R WORKS. Was George’s daughter Vallie been named after her great-grandfather?

There are definitely some connection to places and names with these two families. But I still need to figure out if they are related.

Here is what I know I need to do:
Find George’s death certificate (should be in Indiana, no mention in Ohio or Kentucky death indexes)
Find George and Mary’s marriage certificate (research about the court’s marriage holdings says that the records will most likely not contain the names of the parents at that time period. Need to try church records.)
What else am I missing?


S Fitting said...

You can find my info on Valorous Morse, son of Stephen Morse and Susannah Brown, on WorldConnect. You can contact me at

I've been working on his children today and found this:
In the 1880 census for Carrollton, Boone Co., Kentucky 'Vallanas Moose' is 66, fisherman from Kentucky; with wife Mary R. 65 KY [parents not recorded for either]; [son-in-law?] Joseph Hillis is 47, fisherman from England (PA, France); wife Susan 41 IN (IN, IN); children Valorous 21; Mary F. 17; and Lizzie 14 -- all born Indiana.
Based on various sources, I believe some of their daughters are listed below:
Daughter Susan Brown (1839-1911) married Joseph Hillis (1832-aft 1900) and is found in 1880,1900, and in 1910 (with son 'Wallors'), in Boone Co., Kentucky. Her death record in Boone Co. shows father as 'Vallorus Morse'. She also named a son Valorous (shown with various spellings over the years.)I have not found this family in 1860 or 1870 yet.
Daughter Rachel (1843-1916) married David Pingree Simons(1844-1915) and is found in KY in 1870 in Boone Co, 1880 in Marion Co; 1900 in Bullitt Co., and in 1910 in Jefferson Co. Her death record in Nelson Co. shows maiden name 'Morre'.
Daughter Louisa Jane (1856-1945) married Nathaniel Elliot Vanness / Van Ness in KY and is found in 1880, 1900 [as 'Vankers'], 1910 [as 'Vaness' next door to sister Susan], and 1920 [as Vaness] in Boone Co. Her death record in Boone Co. shows father as 'Veloris Morse'.