He moved east to Arkansas and later to Oklahoma. Starting over and determined to succeed in business he went on to build many of the Midwest’s brick-and-mortar monuments of commerce, including the first twenty-five Walmart stores for Sam Walton. Working night and day he was a millionaire by the time he was thirty.
Hilton got a job with Taylor Masonry as an apprentice, but not long after was told they wanted him as the foreman for a new newspaper building. This surprised him since he was just a ninety percent apprentice and would be telling all the old-timers how to build it. Taylor tossed Hilton a big roll of plans and said, “You’re going to need these so study them.” Hilton took the plans home to try and understand them, page by page. He taught himself how to read the drawings then built the building.
Work slowed down and a new Contractor came into the area from Oklahoma to work on the local hospital where Dickie’s daughter was born. Hilton went to work for the contractor who asked if he wanted to go to De Queen, Arkansas to work on a new hospital building there. He went and when the job in De Queen was finished the owner asked if he wanted to go to Tulsa, Oklahoma to run work for him there. He said you bet then went back to Hot Springs packed up their belongings and headed to Tulsa for a new life with the wife and new baby. The job was big; it was a five hundred unit apartment project with block firewalls running through the big buildings. He was told there were more jobs in waiting, but that was not the case. So with little cash, an old blue ‘57 Chevy truck, wheel borrow and a shovel he started his own masonry construction company. After working night and day for years he built the company into the biggest masonry company in a five-state region. He laid millions of bricks and blocks making millions of dollars as an Oklahoma contractor. He teamed with Sam Walton to build twenty-five of the country’s first Walmart stores. He built some three thousand other commercial buildings in five states over a period of fifteen years. The work ranged from large shopping centers, K-Marts, schools, churches, hospitals, large apartment complexes, high-rise buildings, power plants to hundreds of fast food restaurants for Arby’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and McDonalds. He met Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame when he built twelve of them in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His first fortune was one of several to be made and lost.