On Dec. 3, 1818, Illinois became the 21st state in the union. At that time, the state population was roughly the same as the population of Montgomery County is today–around 30,000 people. The original capital was in Kaskaskia about two hours south, but moved just down the road to Vandalia in 1819 for 20 years before moving to Springfield.
The people living in this area at the time of statehood lived in primitive log cabins, made their clothing from the hides of animals, and farmed the fertile land to feed their families. Churches and schools were few and simple, but within a 35-year period the county became a bustling new commerce center partly due to its proximity to the second and third Illinois state capitals. The affluent traveled through Montgomery County on the way to the capitals and patronized the local merchants.
Hillsboro was selected as the county seat for Montgomery County in this foundling new state because it was situated on a high beautiful bluff and was considered the ideal location for visitors. It also was situated on the trail traveled between Vandalia and Springfield. The original city was comprised of a 20-acre plot deeded by Mr. Newton Coffey. Within a matter of a couple of decades, the population grew from five to 2,500. In the early days, the courthouse was a dirt floored wooden structure but was replaced by one of the area's first brick buildings in 1854.
Two hundred years have passed since its meager roots were planted, and the many communities and generations of families that have lived and loved this area continue to thrive here today. The Christiana Tillson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution would like to honor the history of our state, county, and local families on this occasion of our great state's 200th birthday.