Montgomery County Illinois History

123 North Broad Street
Hillsboro, Illinois

The home you are now touring is situated on property that was purchased originally by ancestors of the Dave and Mary Jane Wisdom family on August 18, 1821. The home itself was built in the late 1830’s, consisting of four rooms which are now the front portion of the house. The home has always been occupied by descendants of the Brown family, pioneer settlers of Montgomery County. Dave Wisdom’s grandfather, James P. Brown, was the last by that name to occupy this house. He was born August 5, 1866, the son of George W. Brown, Jr., and died August 22, 1922. James P. Brown married Kitty Clotfelter on November 20, 1895. She was born November 20, 1871, on her parents ' farm three miles south- east of Hillsboro on what was the last of the prairie in this area. Both the Clotfelter and Brown families migrated to Illinois from North Carolina.

In the late 1800’s, the remainder of the house was completed in substance, having been remodeled through the years. The present home consists of seven rooms and two baths and is located on approximately seven acres of the original ground. The abstract for this ground commences from “a point south of the south west corner of the old Lutheran graveyard located on a line of the eastern side of Hillsboro". This cemetery was later moved. Some of the original property was deeded to the City of Hillsboro for the purpose of a municipal heat plant.

Dave and Mary Jane Wisdom inherited this house from Patricia Brown Wisdom who had, in turn, inherited the house from her mother, Kitty Clotfelter Brown. The antiques found in this home have been handed down from generation to generation. These include such items as the walnut framed mirror, round walnut table and deer head plant stand in the living room; marble tables in the living room and dining room , dining room table and buffet and chairs; dresser and mirror in east bedroom , bedroom furniture in northwest bedroom and old Victrola; book cases in upstairs hallway . The small desk in the living room accompanied James P. Brown when he attended the military academy at West Point and was given to Patricia Wisdom by Ida Brown. The love seat in the northwest bedroom and five chairs were originally owned by Kitty Clotfelter’s family.

The quilts displayed in the back hallway were made by Kitty C. Brown. Most of these bear the year they were made.

Several pieces of china and cut glass in the dining room were handed down, plus numerous other pieces which were given to linear descendants of the family.The silver tea service dates from 1890.

The kitchen was remodeled in 1959 by Patricia Wisdom. Originally, the back stairway and the basement stairway were reversed. The northeast corner of the room was a pantry.

In the dining room, the south wall originally had one window and a doorway which opened onto a screened-in porch before the sliding glass doors (1966) and patio (1967) were added.

The living room originally was two rooms, with the stairway in the center. Each room had a chimney (on the north and south wails) which was used to heat the home. The south room was the library and the north the sitting room. In 1966, the rooms were made into one larger room, the stairway moved to the south end, the doorway interchanged with a window, and the library moved upstairs. The stair rail is from the old Kortkamp house which was torn down to build the Laundromat on the corner of School and Rountree streets.

The upstairs bathroom was remodeled in 1954 and again repaired in 1976. The half bath downstairs, under the stairs, was made from a closet in 1955. The bedrooms and back hall were remodeled in the 1960’s.

The small brown house in the south yard was built after the death of James P. Brown and occupied for a short time by Kitty Brown.

The martin house in the south yard was built in the early 1900’s. It could be lowered or raised for cleaning purposes.

Posted in: Hillsboro
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