"To be ignorant of what occurred
before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is
the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our
ancestors by the records of history?"Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 - 43
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Welcome to the Madison County,
Dedicated to the History and Genealogy of Madison
This website was created and is maintained by ILGenWeb Madison
County Coordinator, Bev Bauser.
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..... Historical Highlight .....
The Cole-Clarke Mansion, Upper Alton,
The original house, located on the
northeast corner of College Avenue and Seminary Street (and faced
College Avenue), was built in 1869 by a man named Stelle for
Professor Orlando Castle. Prof. Castle came from Ohio to Alton in
1853 to take a position on the faculty at Shurtleff College.
Shurtleff once owned a great tract of land on the north side of
College avenue, extending to the city corporate line to the north.
Lots in this tract were given to members of the faculty as part of
their salaries. Professor Castle erected other residences on the
tract, one of which later became the Marsh home. In those days,
there were no planing mills, and carpenters made everything by hand,
including the window frames, door frames, and all the cornice and
ornamental work with which the home was so generously supplied.
Professor Orlando Castle later sold the building to Herman C. Cole,
member of the Merchants Exchange at St. Louis, and proprietor of a
mill at Chester. Cole enlarged the home with huge bay windows and a
cupola. This was during an era when wealthy St. Louisans established
summer homes in Upper Alton, and others boarded here during the hot
About this time, members of the Upper Alton Baptist Church had
launched into their own building project - a new house of worship on
the northwest corner of College and Seminary. After the new edifice
had been occupied, the old stone structure was torn down and the
rock was used by Cole for the construction of a stable to the rear
of his residence. The stable was later remodeled into a garage.
After the death of Hermon Cole, his widow married Prof. John C.
Clarke, a member of the Shurtleff faculty. She was known then as
Mrs. Cole-Clarke, and the large brick residence was known as "the
About 1915, the Cole-Clark place was sold to Shurtleff College and
used first as a dormitory for girls. It was named Cole-Clarke
Cottage. Upon completion of a new Woman's Hall, Cole-Clarke Cottage
housed the Shurtleff Conservatory of Music. About 1934 Cole-Clarke
was made into a boys' dormitory and renamed Castle Hall. Dr. Lucius
M. Castle, a son of Orlando Castle, was honored by the college he
had served so well, when it conferred a degree upon him and his
family name was given to the building.
On January 6, 1940, the Cole-Clark mansion was wrecked by fire and
later torn down.
Including the Legend of the
Piasa Bird, as told by Piasata's father
Don't miss this one! Found in
a 1900 newspaper, a first-hand story of 3 lads who lived near Delhi
in 1828, and how they met an Indian family at the mouth of the Piasa
Creek. The boys fell in love with Piasata, the daughter of the
chief, and visited often during the summer to be with her. Also
included, the chief tells the boys the true story of the Piasa Bird.
History of Madison County
(1751-1836), fourth President of the
United States, and Father of the U.
S. Constitution, Madison County was
established in 1812 out of Randolph
and St. Clair Counties, before
Illinois became a state on December 3, 1818.
At the time it was established,
Madison encompassed the majority of
the Illinois Territory. All of
Illinois north of the current
southern boundary of Madison County
between the Mississippi and Wabash
Rivers was part of the county. In
1814, the formation of Edwards
County removed almost half of the
eastern part, and the final boundary
change came in 1843, when a small
portion on the northeast corner of
Madison County became part of Bond
County is the home of the
Historic Site -- the most sophisticated
prehistoric native civilization
north of Mexico that had its peak of
power in circa 1100-1200 A.D. The
site is named for the Cahokia, a sub
tribe of the Illini Nation.
Also prominent in the history of
Madison County is the Legend of
Piasa Bird, whose painting
was found by Marquette and
Joliet on their expedition
through the area in 1675. A
painting of the bird can be
found on the bluffs, just west
The county seat
is Edwardsville. In
the late 1800s, Madison County
became an industrial powerhouse, and
in the 20th century, was known for
first, Graniteware, and later, its
steel mills, oil refineries, and
other heavy industry. In the year
1900, the population of Madison was
64,694. In 2006, the population was
265,303 [Source: Wikipedia.org].
For more county history
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purposes only; they do not constitute endorsement or
approval of any products, services, or opinions
given on external site.)
The future and success of America
is not in this Constitution, but in
the laws of God upon which this
Constitution is founded. We've
staked the whole future of American
civilization not on the power of
government - far from it. We have
staked the future of all our
political institutions upon the
capacity of each and all of us to
govern ourselves according to the
commandments of God. ~Madison