In the year 1783, Thomas Hughs, from Kentucky, came to the Territory to select a place with a view of bringing out his family. He marked a place for settlement in the eastern side of the Kaskasia river, in the Montgomery neighborhood, and then returned for his family in Kentucky. On his return to that State, he persuaded some friends to accompany him, and a small party started for Illinois. While crossing the Ohio river, they were attacked by Indians, and Hughs and three others of the party were killed. Mrs. Hughs was sitting in the boat with her child at the breast, and a ball from one of the savages' guns spattered its brains in her face.

The balance of the party escaped and returned to Kentucky. Some years afterward, Mrs. Hughs married James Pillars, and with his two sons, John and Richard, and the surving son of Hughs, James, they resolved to resume the journey to the wilds of illinois, which had been so suddenly interrupted by the death of Hughs.