Home of Mr. & Mrs. Earl Seltzer

Updated: Sep 12, 2021

904 Smith Lane - Hillsboro Illinois
904 Smith Lane - Hillsboro Illinois

904 Smith Lane Hillsboro

Hillsboro, Illinois

The original part of the Earl and Mary (Denton) Seltzer residence is 114 years old. It was built in 1861 by the late Charles Wesley Seymour after he returned home from spending six years in California during the Gold Rush.

Mr. Seymour was one of nine sons in the family of Wesley and Francis (Vaughn) Seymour who came to Hillsboro in 1825 from North Carolina in a covered wagon, drawn by a team of oxen, to settle on government land south of town.

Charles W, Seymour was born there on July 28, 1829. He began his education in a little school house that stood on the site of the present Jesse Bremer residence on South Main Street and was a student at the old Hillsboro Academy. His father was a brick maker as well as a farmer, and his son worked in the brick yard and on the farm until leaving home at the age of twenty to learn the trade of wagon maker.

He became an apprentice under James H. Blackman and spent two years learning the trade. For his first year of work he received $45 and for the second year, $55 was his wages. Then he and his brothers, James and Warren, headed for California by ox-team in 1854 to strike it rich during the Gold Rush.

He didn’t find gold, but found he could earn $4 a day as a wagon maker, 2 5 times as much a week as he had made as an apprentice. He saved much of his earnings and added to his assets by lending money for as much as 21% interest. After six years in California, he returned home by way of the Isthmus of Panama.

Mr. Seymour used $250 of his money to buy ten acres of land west of the old county fairgrounds, now Beckemeyer School campus, from the heirs of Aaron Knapp. The land was near 80 acres which his father had purchased from the government and which was entered on the tax books of Montgomery County on January 23, 1832.

He purchased the ten acres in November 1860 and within a few months had established a brickyard near what is now the northeast corner of Seymour Avenue and Smith Lane. Bricks from his own yard were used to build a residence for his bride-to-be and an impressive two-story brick barn and wagon shop.

His brickyard soon became a prosperous industry and was greatly enlarged to meet the demand for bricks following the Civil War. Many of the Hillsboro business houses, including the one in which Mr. Seltzer’s store is located, and numerous residences were built with Seymour brick.

On September 26, 1861, Charles W. Seymour was united in marriage with Sarah J. Killpatrick, 21-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Killpatrick, pioneer Hillsboro residents. They lived in what is now a part of the Seltzer home for many years. Mr. Seymour died on February 28, 1905 at the age of 75 and his wife on February 22, 1925 at the age of 85.

During his lifetime, Mr. Seymour had acquired nearly 700 acres of land, some of which was sold to Oak Grove Cemetery and to St. Agnes Cemetery. Much of his land remained in the family until it was sold in 1947 by his daughters, Mrs. Camilla Lantz and Mrs. Ethel Davenport, and the heirs of a third daughter, Mrs. Mary Ellen Hook. Ike Smith purchased 370 acres of the old Seymour farm at public sale for $22,100 on November 15. 1947 and, the following year, subdivided five acres into Smith Addition. In September 1949 Mr. Smith sold the property to Sam Nobbe, who in turn sold a tract to Al Imle for a subdivision.

Mr. Seltzer purchased 48 acres from Mr. Nobbe for development of West- wood Subdivision in 1965. The old “Seymour place” which had been used as a tenant house for a number of years , was remodeled and enlarged by Mr. and Mrs. Seltzer. In creating one of the finest homes in Hillsboro, they saved a part of the past for the present. They were unable to do the same for the large brick barn and old wagon shop, which had been a landmark for years.

An artist’s drawing of the Charles W. Seymour residence, the massive barn and brickyard appeared in the Illustrated Atlas Map of Montgomery County which was published in 1874 and was reprinted recently by the Montgomery County Historical Society.

In the 1970's the Historical Society had home tour each year. This article is from a hand out visitors received when they toured this home.

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Jeff Dunn

Vice President

Historical Society of

Montgomery County

Advisory Board

Illinois State

Historical Society