Early Hillsboro Omnibus Service

William Vawter and his son John operated an omnibus service in Hillsboro Illinois.
William Vawter and his son John operated an omnibus service in Hillsboro Illinois.

Back before the turn of the century, when the Hillsboro railroad depot was located at the foot of Taylorville Road, William Vawter and his son John operated an omnibus service, hauling mail and passengers to and from the depot and the business district.

The horse-drawn omnibus, which the father and son operated, is pictured on the northeast corner of Courthouse Square, south of the present St. Paul's Lutheran church corner. In the background is the old brick Lutheran Church, erected in 1857 just north of the present church built in 1897. At the left of the picture is a small one-story building in which a Chinese laundry was located for several years.

William Vawter was born in Kentucky in 1842 and moved to the Hillsboro area with his parents when he was nine years old. After reaching manhood Mr. Vawter went to work at the old Watson mill where he was employed for seven years. In 1869 he purchased a team of horses and a dray wagon and became the agent for the American Express Company.

Three years later he purchased the omnibus service operated by T. S. Whitehead which he operated for the next 35 years. He held a contract to hand mail to and from the depot all of those years and never missed a train.

At the time he and his son sold their business and two rigs to F. H. Dierher, agent for Wells-Fargo express company and a bus and transfer operator, there were seven mail trains serving Hillsboro daily with the depot then being located at the end of School Street on the new "short line" railroad to St. Louis. Mr. Dierher was awarded the mail-hauling contract, which had been held by the Vawters, at a fee of $450 a year to meet the seven trains seven days a week.

Part of the Past …

By: Tom Bliss

Published: The Montgomery News


There is a street in Hillsboro named after Vawter.

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Jeff Dunn

Vice President

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Montgomery County

Advisory Board

Illinois State

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