History of the Jones / Hilts / Heller Farm and Home Submitted by Patricia Kelley, 2007 In 1852 the United States Government granted land to the State of Illinois to aid in the construction of a railroad from Chicago to Mobile. (It is interesting that Robert T. Lincoln of Cook County was a trustee for the Illinois Central Railroad Company in 1880). March 10, 1874 Nelson Jones acquired some of this land for $3000 from Jesse Walden and his wife Eliza, and also other land for $800.00. Upon the death of Nelson Jones, on February 16, 1896, the land was divided among his five children. His daughter, Julia Ann Jones, who cared for him and for his wife, received a tract of land. She and her husband Samuel Hilts were married December 3, 1895, and probably built their home, after her father's death, on the farm she received. Julia Ann and Samuel Hilts had one son, Noel. Noel married and divorced his wife Alma. Noel and Alma Hilts had one son, Robert, born in 1924. Noel Hilts died June 12, 1941, leaving 16 year old Robert under the guardianship of his mother, Alma Hilts, until age 21. Robert Hilts and his wife Lucy inherited the farm and house, but probably did not live in it. The farm was purchased in 1955 from Robert and Lucy Hilts by Coke and Madeline Heller. The house, at 21766 East 1750 North Road, Towanda, Illinois, was restored in 1963 by Mr. and Mrs. Heller, who lived there until 1971, when they moved to Bloomington. John Heller, son of Coke and Madeline, and Barbara Matusek Heller and their children, Michael, Susan, David and Mary moved into the home in 1971. (see John Heller military service).
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Illinois State University, Milner Library, Normal, IL, 61790 - for the Towanda Area Historical Society/Towanda District Library
Towanda Area Historical Society/Towanda District Library
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