Son of one of the early settlers of St. Francois County, Hildebrand had his baptism in 1861, when federal sympathizers captured and lynched his brother Frank. Later, federal troops shot and killed a 13 year old brother, Henry, and burned the family home. Hildebrand traveled south and was allegedly commissioned a “major” by Jeff Thompson, and periodically returned to his haunts in St. Francois County.
Hildebrand became a notorious killer during and after the War, and the story of his life is legendary in southeast Missouri. Throughout the War, he carried old “Kill-Devil,” his musket, and when it was recovered after his death it had 80 notches carved in its stock, it is said.
In 1872, Hildebrand was involved in a gunfight in the town of Pinckneyville, Illinois, and was shot dead. His body was returned to St. Francois County, and he was buried in Hampton Cemetery, in Elvins, just southwest of Park Hills.Email this Article