Centennial History of Mason County
By Joseph Cochrane
Springfield, Ill., 1876


Page 119

L. M. HILLYER is a native of New York, and removed to this town Sept. 15, 1851, when this region was somewhat primitive, and Havana contained less than three hundred inhabitants. His occupation was that of aplasterer and bricklayer; he was a first-class workman, and a man of unusual energy and perseverance in the prosecution of his avocation, his motto being to do with his might what his hands found to do, provided always that it was done well. For about ten years he followed that avocation with more satisfaction to those for whom he labored than with profit to himself. About the year 1857 or 1858 he was elected a justice of the peace, in which office he served his constituents acceptably for a period of eight years; a position which his sound judgment and impartiality abundantly qualified him to fill. He was also a member of the board of town trustees for eight years, a place filled so much to the satisfaction of his constituents that they continued to re-elect him to the same position. So satisfactory was his services in these humble but useful positions, that the people of the county said very emphatically, “come up higher.” This they compelled him to do by electing him sheriff in 1864, under the old constitution, when two successive terms could not be served by the same man. He was re-elected however in 1872, and again in 1874, making four successive years of service in that important office, with credit to himself and satisfaction to his friends and constituents, and is the incumbent at the present time.

A personal acquaintance and neighborship with the subject of this sketch for over twenty years, has, perhaps, disqualified the writer from passing an impartial estimate and unbiased opinion on the man. We will hazard the remark however, that we have never known him to decline doing a favor or rendering a service for the accommodation of others. This, too, has been done as freely for the poor (and more so) than for the rich; and when there was no possible remuneration or hope of reward.

It has been the privilege of the writer to know of efforts by him to benefit others that have resulted in pecuniary loss, and that quite severe. In a private conversation on the subject, he remarked that “where intentions were all right, there were no one to blame.” But it is to his official career as sheriff that we love to refer.

“He knew his duty, a dead sure thing,
And went for it there and then.”

While kindness to all is a predominant law and element of his nature, that principle of firmness so essential to strict official duty was its balance. Many incidents have occurred in his long official career that nothing but his indomitable firmness and strict adherence to duty have made the sequel to his honor and credit. His official term expires this fall, and he declines a re-election, which has been suggested by his friends. Active and prompt in the discharge of his official duties, satisfied with nothing less than his whole duty, a gentleman in his intercourse with all whom he has to do, doing to others as he would that they should do to him; it is not strange that he has fast friends, and many of them. Enjoying uniform good health, he bids fair for many more years to enjoy the good things of this world.

Contributed by: Jeanie Lowe


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