Old Settlers Cabin Photo


The Old Settlers log cabin
The Old Settlers log cabin

Remember way back when the old log cabin used to stand in the center of the fairground which is now the Hillsboro Junior High School campus? It was shortly after it was moved back to where it now stands at the rear of the new building, that this picture was taken. None of the men in the picture are living, and the women in it were dressed in the old costumes of their elders to pose for this picture.


On the extreme left is the late William Frame, and Mrs. Frame is the woman standing in the farthest to the right.


Mr. Frame came to Montgomery County when he was one year old, spent the remainder of his days here and was, at one time, one of the leading stock raisers of the county. Mrs. Frame was Miss Zilpha Clotfelter. Next to Mr. Frame stands "Uncle John" Maddux, who lived on the hill where the new Hillsboro Community High School now stands. Mr. Maddux was one of the best known of the old residents of Hillsboro. The man with the gun is "Uncle Billy" Bowles, father of Miss Laura Bowles who lives in East Hillsboro. Stories, which "Uncle Billy" told, are a part of the tradition of the county.


John T. Whitledge, an uncle of Mrs. J.E. Colvin, of Hillsboro, stands to the right of Mr. Bowles. "Uncle John" was one of the old horsemen of the county, and was known by many persons over the county for the race horses he owned. Next to him, with the violin, is "Uncle Ben" Wilton, who died just last year at the age of 91. "Uncle Ben" was the father of "Dick" Wilton and was one of the most interesting characters in the history of this county. His father, Harry Wilton, was one of the leading politicians of this section when Lincoln was president. On the extreme right is "Uncle Billy" Miller father of Miss Nellie Miller of Hillsboro and one of the most prominent men in this community during his lifetime.


There are three young women in the picture. The one to the left was Miss May Harkey, now Mrs. James McMurtry, of Des Moines, Iowa, and a daughter of Jacob Harkey, of Hillsboro. Next to her is Miss Nellie Miller, of Hillsboro, and on the right, next to Miss Miller is Mrs. James Challacombe, also of Hillsboro, We hasten to explain that the three young women were asked to pose as old settlers, that they really are just the relatives of old settlers. The picture was put out on large pins one year, and given to the relatives of the old settlers. For a time the three younger persons tried to conceal their identity, but their friends soon gave their secret away.


The horse in the background belonged to Uncle Ben Wilton and Ralph Clotfelter Jr. who is almost hidden by the color of the tree back of him, is in the saddle. For several years the Old Settlers committee kept the names of the old settlers, on the logs of the cabin, re-painted, but later abandoned the custom. It might be well for the committee, this year, to re-establish the custom of keeping the names painted on the logs of the old cabin, which is the most fitting monument to their memory, which could be had.

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Jeff Dunn

Vice President

Historical Society of

Montgomery County

Advisory Board

Illinois State

Historical Society