Montgomery County Churches
Taken from the Hillsboro History by Dorothy Bliss © 1989
Submitted by Debbie Quinn
Unitarian and Congregational
The Presbyterians, Lutherans and Methodists were fairly well established when members of four more denominations, Unitarians, Congregationalists, Catholics and Baptists, began holding worship services in Hillsboro.
All four religious groups were thought to have been formed between 1838 and 1842, and each played an important part in the religious development of the county seat. Two of the denominations, Catholic and Baptist, are still playing an active part in the community while the Unitarians and Congregationalists have become a part of the past.
In 1838 a small number of Baptists formed the Missionary Baptist Church, with meetings held at the homes of members. The church remained weak, with a small membership, until it was re-organized in 1876.
By 1844 the Unitarians, Congregationalists and Catholics were holding services on a regular basis. The Unitarians and Congregationalists had both erected frame churches while the Catholics waited until 1867 to build their own house of worship.
The Unitarians erected a frame church on the east side of Main Street across from the present Hillsboro National Bank. It stood on the lots on which the three-story brick building known as the Hamilton Hotel now stands.
Just how long the Unitarian held services there is not known, but it is thought the congregation was active until after the Civil War. The church served as a meeting place for the Catholics and Baptists before they built their own churches and later became commercial property. The Hillsboro News-Letter, established in 1869 by Charles and Emma Bangs, was published there at one time. It housed a feed store, Legg's poultry and egg business, and was occupied by the Hillsboro Planning Mill before being razed about 1915 to make room for the present building.
Several families of Congregationalists organized a church in the early 1840's and erected a frame building in which to hold services on the northwest corner of Hamilton and Wood streets. The building was completed by 1844, for minutes of Oak Grove Cemetery Association reveal that a meeting of cemetery trustees was held in the church on September 23,1844.
The Congregationalists replaced the frame church with a brick structure in 1865. Services were held in the brick edifice, with its tall steeple and stained glass windows, until the church was disbanded in 1904 and the building was sold to the Baptists for $3,000.
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