Skip to Main Content
Minnesota State Law Library Logo

Minnesota State Law Library

Clifford L. Hilton, Associate Justice 1928-1943

Clifford L. Hilton

Portrait of Clifford Hilton


Justice Hilton served as Minnesota's Attorney General for five terms


Clifford Lloyd Hilton was born in Kenyon, Minnesota on December 8, 1866. He moved to Fergus Falls in 1879 and graduated from Fergus Falls High School in 1884. He married Frances C. Moll of Wisconsin in 1891. They had two children, Jean Marie Hilton, who died in childhood, and Bernard Moll Hilton.

Hilton graduated from the University of Wisconsin College of Law in 1888. He was admitted to practice in Minnesota and Wisconsin in 1888. He was admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States in 1911. Hilton served as City Attorney of Fergus Falls, 1896-1898; County Attorney of Otter Tail County, 1899-1909; Assistant Attorney General, 1909-1917; and Deputy Attorney General, April 1917 to March 8,1918, when he was appointed Attorney General, succeeding Lyndon A. Smith, who had died in office. Hilton was elected Attorney General in the 1918 election and reelected for four more two-year terms.

Upon the retirement of Justice James H. Quinn, Hilton was appointed Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court January 1, 1928. He was elected for a six-year term on November 6, 1928. He was reelected to two succeeding terms in subsequent years, and retired from the Court in 1943. Hilton died April 5, 1946 at the age of 79.

You may read more about the life and work of Justice Hilton in the book, Testimony: Remembering Minnesota's Supreme Court Justices, which is the source of this biography.

Portrait of Clifford L. Hilton from Men in Minnesota: A Collection of the Portraits of Men Prominent in Business and Professional Life in Minnesota, 2nd. ed. (St. Paul: R.L. Polk & Co, 1915),

Featured Resources