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




       1850 Mortality Sched.


County History


Executions in Mad. County

       William Bell

       Patrick Boyle

       Sharpe & Johnson

Lewis & Clark Expedition

Lincoln, Pres. Abraham

   Lincoln/Douglas Debate

   Lincoln/Shields Duel  New


Lookups by Volunteers

Lovejoy, Elijah Parish (Rev.)




       World War One 


Native Americans

Newspaper Clips:

       By Subject Matter

       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

       Western Military Acad.


Theaters in Madison County


Town Histories

Township Histories

Wann Disaster

Wood River Massacre



 Site Map


Use the Site Map to view all web pages in this site!



Search This Website!

powered by FreeFind

(Use variations of the spelling of your family's surnames. Many times the name was written how it sounded!)

Welcome to the Madison County, ILGenWeb Project


Dedicated to the History and Genealogy of Madison County, Illinois


This website was created and is maintained by ILGenWeb Madison County Coordinator, Bev Bauser.  Please submit information to:  




Join us on ©Facebook and stay informed of the latest historical information on Madison County, IL!



Just added!  1850 Mortality Schedule




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


How Did Hop Hollow (in Alton) Get Its Name?

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 25, 1916


There have been many stories regarding Hop Hollow, such as the claim that it is haunted by Confederate soldiers who never made it to their grave but were dumped there by drunken Union soldiers, or that "Old Hop" was a hermit or river pilot who buried his treasure there. Hop Hollow ran from the old blue pool area along the bluffs to North Alton. At one time there was a small dirt road, and it is true the bodies of Confederate soldiers were carried in wagons up to the Confederate cemetery. I found this story below, that explains the name "Hop Hollow." I also did a search in the old census records for a man with the name of Hopkisson, as listed below, but I was unable to find such a name. However I did find the name Henry Hopkinson in the 1820 and 1830 Madison County census. It is not unusual for names to be misspelled in the newspaper, and I surmise that this is indeed the man whom Hop Hollow is named after. It may be that Hop Hollow is haunted by Old Hop, regretting his early demise through his own foolishness.   ~Bev Bauser

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 25, 1916
Mrs. Julia Kennedy, a ninety year old resident of Bethalto, and a native of Alton, was out yesterday to revisit her childhood playgrounds at Hop Hollow. She had not been there in eighty years. Her impression was that the road leading to Hop Hollow was a mighty rough road to travel, and it seemed much more difficult than the last time she went over it, a child of about ten years, eighty years ago. Mrs. Kennedy, on revisiting Hop Hollow, recalled how the place got its name. She said that there was a family named Hopkisson living in the valley, consisting of his wife and two children. It was during the year of the cholera epidemic that wiped out the village of Milton, east of Alton. Hopkisson, who was given to strong drink, sometimes came down to the taverns at Alton and got very drunk. While in Alton one morning he heard a man died from cholera. In his intoxicated state, nothing seemed so important in the world to him as his desire to ascertain whether it was true that when a person died from cholera he turned black. He went to the house where the cholera victim lay and satisfied himself, but he did not live long enough to make any record of it. That night he was dead himself and the next morning his wife was dead. Both were buried in the cemetery. Later relatives of the couple came to Alton, took the two orphaned children and conveyed them back east. Mrs. Kennedy visited Riverview Park. Though near ninety-one, the aged woman could see with her one good eye for a long distance. From the bluff top she could see the Missouri Valley Construction Co. derrick at Hop Hollow, and could discern objects a long distance away on the river. She was entranced with the beautiful view from the bluff top at Riverview Park, and said it was the first time she had looked from that place since she was a child. In the days when she was living in Alton, between seventy and eighty years ago, she says Alton was sparsely settled, and there was nothing at all on the bluffs but trees and holes. She was born in the east end of the city, near City Cemetery site, and when her parents died, at the age of 12, she was compelled to look after herself. She enjoys excellent health and is very active for one of her years. Mrs. Kennedy was here with her son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. George A. Klein of Bethalto, and their two children. She is the mother of Mrs. U. S. Nixon of Alton.





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 Lincoln - Shields Duel

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 

History of Western Military Academy     





(Note: Links provided to external websites are provided as convenience and informational purposes only; they do not constitute endorsement or approval of any products, services, or opinions given on external site.)



This website hosted by:


Back to the top


Copyright 2008 - 2014 Bev Bauser. All rights reserved.


This page last updated:  09/27/2014


hit counter


Visit Our Neighboring Counties:


Jersey County

Macoupin County

Montgomery County

Bond County

Clinton County

St. Clair County

 All Illinois counties









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



IL and Surrounding States



Support Our Troops