What’s New

Membership Meeting, April 28th 2019

Our next membership meeting will be held at 2:00 P.M. Sunday, April 28th, 2019 at the museum. We will be discussing society business as well as past, completed and upcoming projects. As always, we will have a “Show and Tell” in which members are encouraged to bring in and talk about historical items or artifacts that they may have in their possession. Our guest speakers will be Ms. Mary Stoner, current Director of the Ann West Lindsay Library at Carterville and Ms. Jane Robertson, past Director of the library. Topics will include a biography of Ann West Lindsay and a current update on the library and its genealogical library room.

Members are encouraged to attend and rediscover our new updated museum exhibits. We could use some periodic help at the museum for any members who live in the area and have some free time. Dues are still $20 and we want to thank everyone for their recent 2019 dues renewals.

The new Spring 2019 quarterly will go out in the next two weeks.

January 2019 Membership Meeting Held

The Williamson County Historical Society held its first quarterly membership meeting on January 27th at the museum in Marion. Completed and ongoing projects were discussed. Among them were the completion of indexing and reorganizing the 5 x 8 index cards related to the 1917-18 Woman’s Committee of National Defense and the addition of Williamson County Coal Mine Deaths and the 1850 through 1880 Mortality schedules to our online indexes.

Six new horizontal files were added to the museum in December enabling us to properly store large aerial photos, prints, maps and drawings. The file cabinets were much needed and long awaited and were donated to the museum via General Dynamics and was arranged by Michael Spinks.

Two new displays were created on the second floor of the museum by Curator Sharon Vansaghi. The displays house artifacts donated to the museum in November by the Warder Street Baptist Church which ceased operation in October 2018. In addition to numerous artifacts from the church we were also gifted the church records, photos and a $5,000 donation.

A rural school bell used at Chamness School was donated by Robert E. Chamness and was used by this grandfather when he taught at the school.

The first historical marker for the county sanctioned by the Illinois Historical Society is scheduled to be installed at Creal Springs sometime this coming spring and will mark the location and history of the Creal Springs College and Seminary.

Renovation of our display jail cell at the museum continues and will likely take some time to complete.

Our guest speaker was Circuit Judge John W. Sanders who spoke to the group about the structure of our county circuit court system and also discussed his genealogical connections to Williamson County. One of Judge Sander’s grandfathers was Willis T. Harris, past sheriff of Williamson County and his great grandfather served under John A. Logan in the Illinois 31st Regiment during the Civil War.

Index to Williamson County Coal Mine Fatalities Added to Site

Our society is in possession of almost all of the Illinois Coal Report books that were published between 1894 into the 1970’s. Each book details the names of all fatal and non-fatal mine accident victims. All of the books detail in which coal mine the accident occurred and how the accident occurred, while some also give more detailed accounts and some biographical information. The names of all 738 victims of fatal accidents have been indexed and added to our Misc. County Record Index, while the names only can be found at a separate link below.

Names of Coal Mine Fatalities Only

New Asset Available at the Museum

In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson, directed the organization of the Council of National Defense as a way of more or less inventorying the nation’s assets in preparation for our entry into World War I. An extension of the program was the Woman’s Committee which was administered on the state level.

The Woman’s Committee had several areas of emphasis: Americanization, Child Welfare, Educational Propaganda, Food Administration, Food Production, Foreign and Allied Relief, Health and Recreation, Registration, Women in Industry and Maintenance of Existing Social Agencies. Their work included registration of women in the state, assisting with Liberty Loan Bonds and with the November, 1917 food pledge. The Woman’s Committee struggled with establishing its authority over this work because of lack of clear direction from the federal government.

Regardless of its success, women from our county and the surrounding area were registered out of Marion and the Williamson County Historical Society is in possession of over 1,800 of these 5 X 8 registration cards that were filled out over the time period of November 1917 through May 1918. Continue reading