Historic Taylorville

Taylorville is steeped in historic locations and stories. explore all of the amazing sites below to learn more!

Christian County Genealogical Society

The purpose of the Society is to collect, preserve and disseminate genealogical and historical material, especially that which pertains to Christian County and make it available to the public for research. The society’s research collection has been combined with the collection of the Christian County Historical Society and is housed in the Pence Building on the grounds of the Historical Society in Taylorville, Illinois. The society’s logo depicts the two major founding industries of the county, mining and farming.

Christian County Historical Society & Museum

Come tour Christian County’s first courthouse where Abraham Lincoln walked and where he argued cases with Stephen A. Douglas, walk through the Woodall Building which includes the jail and showcases military memorabilia including uniforms, weapons, a Civil War diary and other artifacts. Tour the Log House built in the 1830’s, the Bee Castle which is thought to be the only one of its kind in the state of Illinois, the Buckeye School which served as a schoolhouse from 1866-1948, the Depot which was originally located in Buckhart Towhship and the Morrison House which is currently under going renovations.

Taylorville Now & Forever Facebook Group

This stunning collection of digital photographs and articles is comprised of 11,000 members of past and presents residents and neighbors of Taylorville, IL. Join the group now if you’d like to learn more about the history of Taylorville and read posts directly from those who know the town best!

History of Taylorville:
The First 150 Years, 1839-1989


Many histories have been written about Taylorville and the surrounding area, but to give a complete account now after 150 years of growth and prosperity would be impossible to do in this article. Subjects such as government, industry, religion, education, culture, transportation, families, wars and others deserve in depth coverage, so let us review some highlights in the history of our town.

On May 24, 1839, when the town was located by a commission appointed by the legislature for that purpose, Illinois was still a new state where the hardy pioneers and hunters were moving westward. They cleared forests, pushed back the red man and blazed the way for the steady tide of immigrants coming into this land.

And so it was with the area we know now as the City of Taylorville. In the more than twenty years since the first white settlers located here in 1818, many families had come, the county of Christian (Dane) was organized and a county seat selected. At the time of the location of the county seat, the towns of Edinburg and Allentown were rivals for that honor, but the location was made through the efforts of Daniel C. Goode, who owned the land on which Taylorville was built.

The town was named for John Taylor of Springfield, one of the commissioners who located it. The first house erected was a small frame building 12 x 12 feet with H. M. Vandeveer being the builder. It served as his residence, clerk’s office, court room, etc. until a new court house could be built in 1840. The new building was 32 feet long, 22 feet wide and the construction cost was $2350. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas argued cases and practiced law in this tiny wooden structure which finally found a permanent home on the Christian County Historical Society grounds.

Buildings were moved in to the county seat from Edinburg, which at that time was located just to the north of the west edge of Taylorville, and from Allentown. The first business was Samuel Reece’s grocery store, followed soon by Mr. Gilbert who opened a second store and doctors office, occupied by Dr. Slater, then Dr. Ralston.

There was much activity in the little town in the 1840s after the new court house was built. The first school was taught by John W. Wheat and the first sermon was preached by the Rev. Michael Shunk, both in 1840. On January 1, 1841, the first marriage took place when John Gilbert and Clara Ann Young were wed, the ceremony being performed by Rev. Aaron Vandeveer. The Great Eastern Stageline passed through the town daily. Several churches were built including the Cumberland Presbyterian, Methodist Episcopal, Roman Catholic and the Baptist Church. The Davis Memorial Church was erected in 1853.