Our History

The Hillsboro Presbyterian Church came into being in 1828, the first established church in the town of Hillsboro.  (Hillsboro itself was founded in 1823, being named after Hillsboro, N.C., former home to many of the town’s early settlers.)  John and Christiana Tillson, who were members of the Shoal Creek Presbyterian Church, were integral in establishing this church.  On March 10, 1828 the church was established in the Tillson’s home by the Rev. John Ellis.  Mr. Tillson was the first member by certificate and also the first elder.  Other elders at the beginning of the church included Aaron Knapp, Robert McCord, George Harkey and Benjamin Spilman.  In 1830, the Rev. Thomas  A. Spilman became the first pastor.  In 1831 the 53 members voted to build the first House of Worship on a one-half acre lot at the corner of Tillson and Main Streets. This land was donated to the church by Mr. Tillson.    He later donated 5 acres of land on the western edge of town for the Presbyterian burial ground.  Members of the church later helped to organize three other Presbyterian churches – Waveland in 1847, Litchfield in 1856 and Bulter Presbyterian in 1858.


The First House of Worship

Under the direction of Mr. Tillson and Rev. Spilman, a one story brick building 34 feet by 45 feet in size was erected.  In addition to donating the land, Mr. Tillson furnished the bricks and most of the lumber.  Hard times prevented the interior from being finished for six years.   In 1837, twenty-six of the thirty-two new pews were sold on a reserved seat basis so that each family could sit in the same place at every service.  A total of $1,664 was raised at the pew sale providing enough funds to install the pews and a pulpit, two new stoves and add a belfry and bronze bell to the building.  The bell was cast by the Hollbrook Bell Foundry of Medway, MA. (The founder of the company, G.H. Hollbrook was believed to have apprenticed with Paul Revere at the Revere Bell Foundry.)  In 1859, a church squabble began over the building of a new church.  On August 7th by a small majority, the congregation voted to tear down the first church and replace it with a larger two-story structure.  As a result Rev. R.M. Roberts resigned in October and 21 additional members withdrew and formed the Hillsboro Congregational Church. 


The Second House of Worship

In 1860, the first church was torn down and construction of the new church was started.  During the construction the congregation held services in Clotfelter’s Hall and in the old Unitarian Church.  It took more than 15 years to complete the church, the Civil War accounting for part of the delay.  The church building was arranged with the first floor designated for Sunday School classes and as a meeting place.  Stairways on either side of the entrance vestibule led to the second floor Sanctuary which was the last to be finished.  The finished church cost $13,785.31 plus an additional $400 for the dark red cushions for the pews. 


The Current House of Worship


                        (coming soon)



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