His parents removed to Zweibrücken in 1839, and in 1856 his father, Gustav Leonhard Hilgard (d.i867), became a justice of the Supreme Court of Bavaria, at Munich. Henry was educated at the gymnasium of Zweibrücken, at the French semi-military academy in Phalsbourg in 1849-50, at the gymnasium of Speyer in 1850-52, and at the universities of Munich and Würzburg in 1852-53; and in 1853, having had a disagreement with his father, emigrated--without his parents' knowledge--to the United States.
It was at this time that he adopted the name Villard. Making his way westward in 1854, he lived in turn at Cincinnati, Belleville, Illinois, Peoria, Illinois and Chicago, engaged in various employments, and in 1856 formed a project, which came to nothing, for establishing a colony of "free soil" Germans in Kansas. In 1856-57 he was editor, and for part of the time was proprietor, of the Racine (Wis.) Volksblatt, in which he advocated the election of John C. Fremont (Republican). Thereafter he was associated (in 1857) with the Staats-Zeitung, Frank Leslie's and the Tribune, of New York, and with the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette.
This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.