Hillsboro Illinois Old Settlers


Old Settlers Day 1939 - Hillsboro Illinois
Old Settlers Day 1939 - Hillsboro Illinois

Old Settlers day at Hillsboro is an annual attraction for thousands of visitors from all parts of Montgomery County, and the surrounding countryside. It is a day for parades and carnival entertainment, for soda pop and dancing. It offers a home-coming and reunion for the older people, and a parade of floats for both young and old. Indeed, a St. Louis newspaper reporter once wrote: “Old Settlers Day at Hillsboro has come to be that gala day of the year when Old Age is literally swamped in waves of Youth.” The local holiday grew out of the old county fair, which started in 1854. Year after year, men and women came to the fair at Hillsboro to see and to be seen; to renew old acquaintances and to make new ones. The women brought jellies, jams, cakes and cookies, quilts and fancy work, and other products of their domestic skill. The men took part in contests, entered their line horses for exhibition, or hitched them to heavily-loaded wagons to test their pulling powers. The track where horses raced at the county fairs is still to be seen on the campus of the Junior High School.


On September 25, 1883, during the county fair, a little band of pioneers got together and formed the first official Old Settlers Association. The Montgomery News of that date reported:


The Hillsboro band at the log cabin discoursed some music and at the south side of the cabin the meeting was called to order with a prayer by Rev. A. J. Williford. The old settlers were called upon to sign the constitution and pay twenty-five cents to become members. Seventy four signed. Officers elected were: Solomon Harkey, president, William Bowles and Samuel Paisley, vice president; J. T. Maddux, secretary; .M. S. Gowin, assistant secretary; T. J. Rutledge, treasurer. The meeting will be held hereafter at the log cabin, on the first Tuesday of the county fair.


Taken from: Hillsboro Guide 1940

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Jeff Dunn

Vice President

Historical Society of

Montgomery County

Advisory Board

Illinois State

Historical Society