First Herrin Massacre Tour Successful, July 16, 2014

The Herrin Massacre Tour was conducted successfully on July 16, 2014. The tour was the first of its kind and hopefully will foreshadow many other types of historic tours to come. The tour kicked off at the Williamson County Historical Society Museum at 9:30 and headed for the old historic train station in Carbondale where the incoming laborers headed for the Lester mine were picked up in 1922. The next stop was along old route 13 at the Jackson and Williamson County line where the first ambush occurred on route to the mine. Interestingly, the old road had just been concreted and turned into a hard road when this event occurred.

After a stop at an old coal mine in Herrin, the Coal Miners Memorial and the Herrin Cemetery, the next stop was at Crenshaw Crossing northwest of Marion and then on to the Vault Restaurant, site of the old Hotel State and Marion State and Savings Bank where the 27 tour members were  served lunch. After lunch, the group toured the Williamson County museum where the defendants of the Herrin Massacre were jailed and held for trial.

Guides who discussed the events at each leg of the journey were available and one of the tour organizers and local history author, Jon Musgrave, provided ongoing historical commentary throughout the tour. Other organizers Amy Erickson and Twila Cooper helped served as aides and guides throughout the tour as well.

The tour was responded to with overwhelming popularity resulting in a backlog of potential tourists wanting to take the tour. As a result, another tour is being planned for August 16th in addition to the already planned tour next Saturday on July 25th.

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Herrin Massacre Interpretive Bus Tour Planned

An interpretive bus tour starting at the Williamson County Jail Museum and making stops at relevant points related to the Herrin Massacre of July 1922 in which over 20 people lost their lives and for a considerable period of time changed the coal industry in the county and the county itself is planned. The tours are currently planned for the Saturdays of July 19 and 25, 2014.

The tours will commence at the Williamson County Museum parking lot at 9:30 A.M. and will conclude with a tour of the museum by 3 P.M. Stops will include the mine itself,  a miners museum, the train depot in Carbondale and numerous stops related to the incident. Jon Musgrave, Southern Illinois historian and author will serve as the guest tour guide and actors will re-enact various aspects of the Herrin Massacre. A lunch meal is included at the Vault restaurant on the square in Marion, home to the old Hotel State and the Marion State and Savings Bank which went under during the 1930 depression.

The tour will be co-sponsored by CAPS (Connecting all parents with school), the Williamson County Historical Society and others. For more information, see the link provided below:

Harrisburg Church of God VBS Students Tour Musuem

6 24 2014

Ten students from the Harrisburg Church of God’s Vacation Bible School visited the Williamson County Museum on June 24th 2014.  The children ranged in age from several years old to 10 or 12.  The groups chaperone emailed us back and stated, “Thank you so much for having us and for the tour.  When asking the kids what their favorite parts were, the answers ranged from the prison and Native American artifacts (mostly the boys) to the one room school house, but everyone agreed they would not want to have to drink after everyone else with the dipper! “  The dipper she was referring to was the common bucket of water and dipper that was often used in the days before water coolers in school rooms and public buildings that everyone used to share in common. Yeh, I think we can all agree on that one.

Summer Quarterlies Mailed Out

All WCHS members should have received their Summer Quarterly #2 “Footprints” by now. The contents of the latest quarterly have been indexed in the Records menu tab of this website under Quarterly “Footprints” Index .

The highlights of this quarterly are biographies on Brice Holland, Confederate Soldier and Union Sailor, and Manheim Cantor, Marion merchant. Also included are extracted articles from 1914 and grave listings of the Samuel Cannedy Cemetery, and more.

If you haven’t received your quarterly, be sure to contact us and always make sure we have a current mailing address.

Williamson County Illinois Chain of Title and Act of Creation Added

The chain of title claiming ownership to the land now occupied by the County of Williamson in the State of Illinois is followed from the early French trappers and explorers of the 1600’s to the Act of creation by the Illinois legislature in 1839 has been added to the History page under the Williamson County heading.

The data was extracted from Barbara Barr Hubbs book “Pioneer Folks and Places” written in 1939 with a great deal of help from our own Nannie Gray Parks, local historian and librarian.

The article can be found on the history page or you can jump from the following link:

Williamson County, Illinois Chain of Title and Act of Creation