Montgomery County Illinois History

940 South Main Street
Hillsboro, Illinois

The attractive home at 940 South Main Street was built by Judge John L. Dryer, for many years a prominent lawyer and jurist in Montgomery County. The house was purchased in 1949 by Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Peel, and the interior reflects the varied interests of their family.

Entrance to the house is through the large square hall typical of homes built in the second decade of this century. The focal point of the living room is the fireplace wall where two windows were removed, the entire wall paneled and a new fireplace installed shortly after the Peels purchased the residence. An unusual mirrored fire screen stands in front of the fireplace. Many of the drawings and paintings in this room and throughout the house were collected by the Peels in their travels. An interesting piece in the curio cabinet in the living: room is a fife carried by Mr. Peel's great grandfather during the Civil War.

The glass table in the dining room was purchased in 1948 and has outlasted many changes in furniture styles. The cut glass bowls and other antiques in the living and dining rooms are from the families of Mrs. Peel's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse 0. Brown, and grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Boepple. The large mirror in the dining room was made in Italy.

One corner of the dining room is devoted to a collection of Japanese prints and other art objects. These items were gifts to the Peels from the Japanese American Field Service student who spent a year in their home in 1962-63.

The sun porch on the southwest corner of the house provides a cheerful spot for relaxation in pleasant weather.

An unusual convenience in the kitchen is the charcoal cooker with built in exhaust fan. Also unusual is the center counter designed by Mrs. Peel and built by George Johnsey, Hillsboro contractor.

The den if the most used room in the house and contains many family mementos. One doorway to this room was closed up to achieve greater comfort. There is a full bath off this room.

At the top of the stairs, Terry Peel's room contains many pictures and souvenirs of his year (1962-63) as a page in the U.S. Senate for Senator Everett Dirksen. Also on display in this room are the family bibles of the Brown and Boepple families.

On a table in the hall is the register of the Brown Hotel in Hillsboro, dating from the early 1800’s.

One upstairs room was equipped as an office for Mr. Peel, who was Chairman of the State Parole and Pardon Board at the time of his death in 1977.

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