Madison County ILGenWeb            Illinois County Map                      Piasa Bird, Alton, Illinois                 

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 B.C.)




African/American History

Alton Civil War Prison

       Magoffin Escape

       Official Letters

       Official Report - 1855





County History


Executions in Mad. County

       William Bell

       Patrick Boyle

       Sharpe & Johnson

Lincoln/Douglas Debate


Lookups by Volunteers

Lovejoy, Elijah Parish (Rev.)




       World War One 


Newspaper Clips:

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       By Surname

       Alton News Clips

       Civil War Clips

       Prison News Clips

       Spanish/Amer. War

       Theater News Clips

Newspapers of the County


Paranormal Activities

Photo Album

Piasa Bird Legend


Pioneers of Madison County

Pioneer Stories

       Jane Wilson Story

Prominent Citizens

Research Help



       Monticello Seminary


Theaters in Madison County


Town Histories

Township Histories

Wann Disaster

Wood River Massacre



 Site Map


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.....Historical Highlight .....


Diphtheria Claims Children of Two Alton Prominent Men, Days Apart:


The Death of Lucy J. Haskell

Nine Year old Daughter of Dr. William A. Haskell


HASKELL, LUCY J./Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, March 27, 1890      

The blow, long dreaded, has fallen at last, and little Lucy, only daughter of Dr. and Mrs. W. A. Haskell, has passed away. After a long struggle with that terrible foe of childhood, diphtheria, the little sufferer yielded up her sweet young life this afternoon and passed beyond the reach of loving arms and longing hearts. The whole community has for days watched with anxious solicitude for favorable news from the home, which the dread destroyer had invaded, and now that all the resources of skill and care and tenderest devotion have proved of no avail, they join in sympathy with the stricken parents, whose grief none can measure. The funeral services will be held at the cemetery tomorrow morning at 11 o'clock.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, March 28, 1890         

The funeral of little Lucy, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. W. A. Haskell, took place this morning. Owing to the nature of the disease which proved fatal in this case, no services were held at the house, but the gathering at the cemetery was a notably large one in spite of the inclement weather. The services at the grave were conducted by Rev. Dr. Wolff, and were of a simple and touching character, opening with the words of the great Teacher, "Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven" - and followed by other selections fitting the sorrowful occasion. At the close of the service, the mound was covered with beautiful flowers, rich in perfume and fruitful in suggestions of the lovely human flower which in its brief life on earth had exhaled only fragrance and sweetness. Little Lucy was a child of unusual promise, gifted with rare intelligence and childish charms added to a winning and loving disposition. She was the idol of the now desolate home and a favorite with her young associates. Her bright and happy childhood promised to blossom into a womanhood of wide usefulness, a blessing to her parents and friends. But the fond hopes which were centered in her young life are withered and fled, and there remains to the afflicted parents only the consolation that in her earthly home she tasted none but the sweetness and joy of existence, and is now forever sheltered from the storms and sorrows which those who reach mature years never escape. Yet none of these things can still the longing of the parental heart for the living presence of the loved ones who have passed beyond the shadows - and, doubtless, to many who gathered around that open grave this morning, with hearts full of sympathy and sorrow, there came thoughts of how often "the beloved physician" had brought comfort and help into stricken households, and of how many were the homes whose family circles were unbroken today because of his skill and watch care. To such it seemed a cruel mockery that when the clouds gathered over his own home, those who were so greatly debtors to him in time of trouble were powerless to return availing aid.


Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, July 13, 1891           

Dr. and Mrs. William A. Haskell have given to the Directors of the Library Association in this city [Alton] $500, to be known as the "Lucy J. Haskell Memorial Fund," the interest of which is to be used for the purchase of books for the use of children, in connection with the Library Association. This fund is a memorial to the sweet little daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Haskell, who died about fifteen months ago, and is one that is not only very appropriate, but will be of permanent value to the children.




The Death of Ruth Hapgood

Daughter of Charles H. Hapgood (Founder of Hapgood Plow Co.)

Pallbearers Include Dr. W. A. Haskell


HAPGOOD, RUTH/Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, March 31, 1890         

The very many friends and acquaintances of Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Hapgood were shocked yesterday morning to hear of the death of their little daughter, Ruth, which occurred the night before, about 10 o'clock. Ruth was taken ill with diphtheria about two weeks ago, and at one time her condition was considered quite serious, but for the last week she was able to take considerable nourishment, and was thought to be convalescing. But the disease had left the child in so exhausted a condition that death ensued from heart failure. This result was not anticipated by anyone of the family until a short time before it actually took place. Ruth was a beautiful child with a sweet and lovely disposition, the joy and light of the household, and the dearest of companions to her circle of little friends. The sympathies of the community will be freely extended to the stricken parents and family in this sad affliction. The funeral took place this morning at 11 o'clock. The services, at the cemetery, were conducted by Rev. Dr. Snyder of St. Louis, who read a selection from the Scripture and made brief remarks, closing with prayer. The pallbearers were Dr. W. A. Haskell, William Eliot Smith, F. H. Ferguson, and E. W. Pattison of St. Louis. The death of little Ruth, following so closely two similar afflictions in other families, has caused a profound feeling of depression throughout the city. The event is inexpressibly sad, and words of sympathy seem at best but "a well-meant alms of breath."



Save the Playhouse Campaign


A campaign is being held by the Haskell Playhouse Association to raise funds to refurbish the 129 year old historic Lucy Haskell Playhouse . The goal of the Association is $50,000.  The drive began March 20 and will end May 8. Donations are tax deductible. 


To give to the fund raiser, please see their website:







The True Story Of Piasata, Indian Maiden


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.







Brief History of Madison County



Named after JAMES MADISON (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.

Madison County is the home of the Cahokia Mounds 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 the 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 of Alton.

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:].  For more county history click here.




Links to Town Histories




Alton Newspaper Clippings

Alton's History - A Bustling, Prosperous River Town

Alton Penitentiary/Civil War Prison

Why Alton Gave Away Her Chance to be the Capital of Illinois

The Lincoln - Douglas Debate

The Elijah P. Lovejoy Story

The Legend of the Piasa Bird

The Story of Piasata and the Legend of the Piasa Bird

The State Fair, Held in Alton, 1856

The Early History of the Alton State Hospital  

East Alton

Disaster at Wann Junction - January 21, 1893 - A train wreck of unspeakable horror.


Madison County Fair, Held in Edwardsville, Illinois in 1857

Historic Leclaire District   [offsite]    New!

Upper Alton

Colonel Andrew Fuller Rodgers - His Story

1847 Anti-Slavery Convention      





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This page last updated:  04/08/2014


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Col. James Madison

The Father of Our Constitution

Colonel James Madison


“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



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