Updated: Oct 26, 2021
The Historical Society held a cemetery walk on October 10, 2021 at Oak Grove Cemetery. This page features some of the interesting headstones we visited.
We started the tour at the Soldiers and Sailors monument at the entrance to the cemetery. The statue was carved from large blocks of limestone and was made in Litchfield Illinois. The top photo on this page shows the statue dedication parade downtown on November 7, 1902. Main Street was dirt at this point and it looks like a muddy mess and they marched all the way to the cemetery to dedicate the statue.
The first stop was at the headstone of Idabel Evans. She was former president of the Historical Society and left her home, the Blackman Evans home to the historical society.
Dr. Ira Fink was an early Hillsboro Doctor. His office and home were torn down to make way for a Casey's General Store. Check out his home and some billing records.
We stopped by the Harkey family plot. Their former home which was built in 1834 is now the Historical Society museum.
We stopped by the Robison family cemetery marker. They built the "Courthouse Pub" building on the Courthouse square and operated a photo studio at this location. Many photos in the Historical Society collection were taken by Ninian Robison or his wife. A couple photos are shown below.
William Vawter has a street named after him. He operated an Omnibus service and provided rides to and from downtown to the train station. He also picked up mail at the train station daily.
David S. Clotfelter built the "Chances" building downtown which is the three story building across from the Orpheum Theater. The Clotfelter family lot has a chair carved from a large single block of limestone.
Truitt built the beautiful home now owned by Susan Hucker.
John S. Hayward owned a lot of land. He has the largest, tallest monument at Oak Grove Cemetery.
The Hayward home still stands on Main Street. If you live in Hillsboro you drive by his place every day. Click the link to learn more about his historic home which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Wilton family operated a livery stable on the courthouse square. This is how it looked back then. The building now houses the Montgomery County farm bureau. It looks totally different today but it is the same building. When the Farm Bureau bought the building they tore the front off and rebuilt it to look like an office building. Still today, if you go to the North side of the building you can still see another large brick arches.
Former President of Hillsboro National Bank George Fisher was honored for 60 years service at the bank. His home was torn down to make way for McDonald's.
Before the Red Rooster another hotel sat at the same location. Read more about the "Hagee House" by clicking the button.
Judge Rice's "country" home still stands but its no longer considered out in the country it's on Tremont street and is the home of the Dr. Byer's family.
The Football field at Hillsboro High is named after the Sawyer family.
When Lincoln visited Hillsboro he stayed with his good friends Joe and Jane Eccles.
The Mey Wagon Factory building still stands across the street from the Shell gas station.
There is a special section at Oak Grove owned by the Grand Army of the Republic where more than a dozen civil war veterans are buried.
Sarah was my great, great grandmother. We visited both her grave and the family plot of the Welge family who operated the Welge Furniture & Undertaking business. This is the actual itemized bill for Sarah's funeral.
A few headstones at Oak Grove look like tree trucks. We looked at a couple of them. Usually the people with these tree stones were members of a fraternal organization Modern Woodmen of America.
Inside Oak Grove Mausoleum
Former Judge & Congressman - Edward Lane. The Lane home was called the little courthouse since it was built in the same style. His home is now the CVS parking lot but you can view a picture of his beautiful home by clicking the button.
J.K. McDavid - Founder of Montgomery County Loan and Trust. The bank has changed names several times but they are still around. Now they are known as Bank of Hillsboro. The J.K. McDavid home was lost when Kroger's Grocery Store tore it down.
Amos Miller was an attorney and Judge. His son Rice who is also interred in the Miller room was president of Hillsboro Coal Company.
Jacob J. Frey was founder of Southern Illinois Light and Power. He and his wife Minnie moved to St. Louis in 1916. The room was turned over to my grandparents Lewis and Bertha Dunn.
Charles Ramsey was founder of Hillsboro National Bank.
Alexander Schram was founder of Hillsboro Glass and Schram City is named after him.
Cemetery Walk Resumes
Congressman Frank M. Ramey managed to get us a captured Confederate Cannon. That cannon is still on display in front of the historic Montgomery County Courthouse.
Otto Funk played the fiddle. He walked across the United States playing his fiddle. On June 28, 1928, he started his walk on the steps of city Hall in New York City. He reached San Francisco on July 25, 1929, where he was received by Mayor (and future California governor) James Rolph, together with the cameras of Fox Movietone News. His journey had taken him 4,165 miles, and involved playing 142 theatre performances, hundreds of street concerts, and 18 live radio concerts. The Historical Society has the violin he played on his cross country walk.
Sam Little owned the Hillsboro Journal. He wrote the history of the newspaper. Click the button to read his article.
Col, Paul Walter is Esther Challacombe's grandpa. He headed for the California gold rush in the 1850's and returned with more than $50,000.00. Click the button to read about the building he built downtown using the money.
Louis Wagner was a stone carver and created some of the best headstones in Montgomery County. Click the button to read his story.
Latinus M. Cram. "When a mere lad Latinus Cram was bound as a cabin boy on a vessel plying the Atlantic and ever afterwards followed the sea. Gradually rising from his original humble station to become master of a ship, a position he held for many years. He was drowned in the Ohio river, near Cairo, Illinois, April 9, 1842. His widow survived him many years, dying at Hillsboro, December 27, 1893."
J. Hanson Jones was Hillsboro's earliest photographer. Many early photos in the Historical Society collection were taken by him. In the 1860 census his occupation was listed as "daguerreotypist." His photo studio was a wood frame building located where "Gold Pan Records" is today.
In the winter of 1856, Lt. Allen was entrusted with $3,500 in specie, to be carried from Washington Territory to some point in Vancouver’s Island, in command of fifteen men. They were overtaken in a very severe snow storm, and all his men deserted him but two, and it was supposed he was lost, but in a few days, he, with his two remaining men, came riding into camp, with the funds all safe. Whether as citizen or soldier, he was always reliable, and never disappointed the expectation of his friends. It seemed at this time that a life of activity and usefulness was open before him, and he was surely prepared to enter upon it; but the end came before it could reasonably be expected. About 3 o’clock on the morning of the 15th of August, 1858, in the moment of accomplishing a successful surprise on a camp of Indians, he was shot down, and thus, in his early manhood, and while the dew of youth was on his brow, he was called upon to die the death of a soldier. He died as he had lived – in the line of duty. Click the button to read his life story.