Henry Hilker, of the firm of Ruby and Hilker, general merchants and grain dealers, was born in the city of Blumberger, Prussia, December 24, 1824, his parents being William and Henrietta (Beckman) Hilker, both natives of Prussia. In 1834 the family went to the Island of Jamaica, and in June, 1837, came to Canada, and settled in the county of Waterloo, where his father bought land, near Guelph, and settled.
In 1853 our subject came to the site of Port Elgin, then an unbroken forest, the nearest family being two miles off. He took up 200 acres, on much of which land the village of Port Elgin now stands; cut the first tree here, and commenced preparing to farm. . Some years ago he added a hundred acres more to his landed property, all now in the corporation of the village, and he is still engaged in cultivating portions of it.
In 1866 Mr. Hilker commenced the mercantile and grain trade in company with William H. Ruby, noticed on another page, with the particulars of their business. Mr. Hilker was in the township council three or four years, and has been reeve, first of the township, then of the village, for ten or twelve terms, still holding that office, and making a judicious member of the county council. He was a school trustee for seven terms, and then declined to serve longer. His education, though picked up in Prussia, the West Indies, and on the frontier of Canada, is fair, considering the circumstances; and he has done noble service in helping to elevate the grade of the local schools.
Mr. Hilker has been and still is a very industrious man, and his well spent time and prudent habits placed him years ago in very comfortable circumstances.