William Henry Miller Home Explosion

Updated: Dec 13, 2021


Former Hillsboro Methodist Church with massive damage to the building.
Former Hillsboro Methodist Church with massive damage to the building.

On September 3, 1939 William Henry Miller committed suicide by blowing up his home up with more than 320 sticks of dynamite. At Old Settlers just weeks before he was telling everyone about his plan to "Blow the whole North side of Hillsboro off the map. All his neighbors were aware of the situation and purchased extra insurance. There were other people (renters) in his home at the time of the explosion. They all survived with just minor injuries. All the windows at the Red Rooster and Courthouse were blown out as well as hundreds more windows in the surrounding area. In this photo the pile of lumber was his home which sat next door to where Hillsboro Electric is today.


Photo from Historical Society Archive
Photo from Historical Society Archive

Hillsboro Electric building can be seen behind the rubble pile.

Photo provided by: Beulah Whitten
Photo provided by: Beulah Whitten

This never before seen photo was provided by Dale Whitten. The photo belonged to his mother Beulah Whitten. The former Methodist Church can be seen in the background with windows boarded up (Church Street Pub). The blast ruined the interior of the church and destroyed all the stained glass windows.

Photo provided by: Beulah Whitten
Photo provided by: Beulah Whitten

This never before seen photo was provided by Dale Whitten. The photo belonged to his mother Beulah Whitten.

William Henry Miller Death Certificate
William Henry Miller Death Certificate

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Jeff Dunn

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Historical Society of

Montgomery County

Advisory Board

Illinois State

Historical Society