Village History

Rochester can trace its roots back to 1819 when James McCoy built the first cabin. Joseph and James McCoy traded a wagon load of coonskins to Elijah Iles in Springfield for four sacks of salt.  This was considered the first economic transaction in Sangamon County.  For the next fifty years (1819-1869), Rochester grew and prospered with the addition of more families, established businesses; such as saw mills and flour mills, plus a corn and carding mill with a distillery, and a post office. In 1823, the first school was established and classes were held in a log house.  Abraham Lincoln was known to visit Rochester on various occasions.  As the town of Rochester continued to develop, it was officially incorporated as a village on February 1, 1869.

To view Rochester’s history from 1818 to 1936 click Rochester Timeline!