Illinois Stories @ Harkey House

Updated: Nov 1, 2021


Host Mark McDonald & Mike Rappe - Illinois Stories
Host Mark McDonald & Mike Rappe - Illinois Stories

Host Mark McDonald was back in Hillsboro and shot a couple more episodes of “Illinois Stories”.


Mike Rappe took Mark on a tour of the Solomon Harkey House. Built in 1834 it's one of the oldest homes in Montgomery County.


The Harkey House was built in 1834 by one of Hillsboro's early settlers, Solomon Harkey. This home is the earliest building still standing in the town.


The pioneer village of Hillsboro was less than a dozen years old when Solomon Harkey built his two-story Federal style home in 1834. The Harkey family came to Hillsboro in 1830 from Iredell County, North Carolina, and Solomon established a tannery in the area of present-day Central Park. In 1831, he was married to Sophia Cress, the daughter of Jacob and Catharine Bost Cress, pioneer settlers in the Hillsboro area. Mr. Harkey, or Uncle Sol, as old accounts often refer to him, became a prominent citizen and landowner in Montgomery County. He was a noted horseman and stockman and the first president of the Old Settlers Association.


Mr. Harkey died in 1892. In later years, the property was known as the home of Mrs. Emma Gilmore, a teacher of music in the Hillsboro schools, who lived in the house from 1906 until 1955. After Mrs. Gilmore's death, the property was sold to the Lingle Motor Company and was used for a warehouse for a number of years. After destruction of the Hiram Rountree house and several other old homes in the 1950's and 60's the Harkey House became the oldest house in Hillsboro.


In 1968 the Historical Society moved the Harkey House to a vacant lot one block South of its original location.



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Jeff Dunn

Vice President

Historical Society of

Montgomery County

Advisory Board

Illinois State

Historical Society