Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HILSON, Thomas, actor, born in England in 1784; died in Louisville, Kentucky, 23 July, 1834. All we know of his early life is that he had been a student of painting in water colors, and that his true name was Hill. Hilson first appeared in this country at, the Park theatre in New York city, in 1809, as Walter in "The Children of the Wood." He continued a member of the company, with brief interruptions, until August, 1833, performing a wide range of characters in comedy, tragedy, and opera-bouffe. Paul Pry, Touchstone, and Tony Lumpkin were among his most successful renderings. Dunlap says " his forte was low comedy," but he sometimes lowered it to vulgarity.--His wife, Ellen Augusta, actress, born in England in 1801; died in New York city, 2 April, 1837, was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Johnson, who for many years performed in the New York theatres. At five years of age she first appeared on the stage, reciting in costume the ballad of " Little Red Riding-Hood," and in 1817 she became a member of the company of the Park theatre. In August, 1825, she was married. Mrs. Hilson remained , at the Park theatre until the death of her mother in 1830, when she suffered from melancholy, and for a time entirely withdrew from public notice. During the four years succeeding she made occasional appearances in company with her husband. A year alter the death of the latter, Mrs. Hilson renewed her connection with the Park theatre; but she was so greatly shattered in health and broken in spirits as to have lost all attraction. In her best days she was an accomplished singer and harpist. Her dramatic ability was moderate.
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