Hilyard township derived its name from the Hilyard family who settled here about 1832. The township is located
in the southwestern part of the county and is bounded on the north by Polk township, on the west by Shipman, on
the south by Bunker Hill and on the east by Gillespie township. The surface is beautiful undulating prairie and
is partially drained by small tributaries of Macoupin creek. The Chicago & Alton railroad enters the township
on section 3, and crossing the northwestern portion, passes out on section 19.
David Coop claimed the distinction of being not only the first settler in this township but also the first in the
county. He erected a log cabin on a stream near the central part of the township and the creek, now known as Coop's
creek, was named in his honor.
In 1817 John Powell and Abram Faulk came here with their families, settling in the northeastern part of the township.
In 1818 Thomas Smith located in the southwest part of the township near a small stream, which took his name. In
1832 William Jolley and Richard Skaggs located in the northwest part of the township.
In 1834 fifteen families, or seventy five persons came here, among whom were Gray, Pruitt, Hilyard, Maxwell, Leyarley,
Jolley, Ray, Skaggs, Lemey, Miller and Thomas.
Most of the early settlers were Methodists and old school Baptists and as early as 1820 a church of the latter
denomination was organized by John Powell. Rev. William Jones was the first preacher. Until 1854 services were
held in the homes of the settlers and at that time a church was built.
A Methodist society was organized at the home of William Jolley in 1833 and Rev. Meldrum became the first pastor.
In 1851 the Presbyterians formed a society and Rev. Platt became the pastor. In this same year the Missionary Baptists
also formed a society with Rev. Hopper as the pastor, while in March. 1853, the United Baptists organized, with
Rev. Jacob Rhoads as pastor. In 1854 the latter society built a church at a cost of $1,000. In 1855 the Missionary
Baptists built a church at a cost of $800; in 1856 a Presbyterian church was erected at a cost of $1,500, while
in 1858 the Methodist church was built at a cost of $1,500.
The first schoolhouse was built in 1837, near the place of the first settlement, at a cost of $10. The first teacher
was Aaron Leyarley.
The first postoffice was established in 1846 with Alfred Ellet as the first postmaster.
Dr. C. Murphy, who located here in 1854, was the first practicing physician. The first mill was built by David
Coop. It was run with horse power and it was capable of grinding but eight or ten bushels of corn per day.
The first entries of land were as follows: Pleasant Laurav. eighty acres on section 12. December 15. 1830: Henry
D. Rhea, eighty acres on section 12, August 20. 1831 Benjamin F. Edwards: eighty acres on section 1. October 18,
The village of Plainview is located on the line of the Chicago & Alton railroad and lies on a portion of
sections 4 and 9. Hilvard township. It took its name from the fact that it stands on an eminence, commanding a
good view of the surrounding district. It was laid out in 1853.