You are standing in what once was known as Hickory Grove, a tiny settlement that included three log cabins and the Red House.
The four-room Red House, built in 1827, was the first frame home in this area. In 1830, the Red House was converted to a tavern and used as a stop on the Alton-Jacksonville stagecoach line. It was also a stop on the Underground Railroad. Slaves were hidden in a false cistern accessed from a livery stable across the street via an underground tunnel.
In 1834, 12 men met here and voted to name the city Jerseyville to honor the many New Jersey immigrants who helped settle the area.
In 1839, Dr. Edward D'Arcy converted the Red House back to a private home. He later gave the home to his daughter and her husband, Prentiss Dana Cheney. They were the first of three generations of Cheneys to live here. Over the years, the family expanded and improved the home, which became known as the Cheney Mansion.
The home passed out of the Cheney family in the late 1960s and was auctioned in 1998. Former Jerseyville resident Clayton Brown and his partner, Richard McCauley, purchased the home, donated it to the Jersey County Historical Society, and helped restore it to its former splendor.
Today, the Cheney Mansion serves as the cornerstone of the Jersey County Historical Society