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"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.)


 

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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:  madison.cnty@yahoo.com.  

 

 

 

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

Summerfield School, Grafton Road, Godfrey, IL


When Major George W. Long (son of Moses Long, one of General Washington's soldiers in the Revolution) located on Section 33 (along what was called the Grafton Road in future Godfrey) in 1839, he named his farm Summerfield. At this time there were a few settlers in the extreme western part maintaining a school (when it was convenient) in a log cabin without a floor, and with blocks sawed from trees for desks and seats. Anyone deemed capable of teaching reading and arithmetic could put in his spare time as teacher, and a collection would be taken up in the neighborhood to pay for his service. Major Long gave a square acre for the building of a school, and it retained the name of his farm, Summerfield.


The original school building constructed was 18x22 feet, and was completed in 1844 or 1845. Timbers were used from the site. The building was erected by Mr. John Pattison of Godfrey, aided by a carpenter named Jackson, said to be a first cousin of General Andrew Jackson. The first teacher was Mr. Foster, who was well educated but deemed to be "out of place." The next teacher, Miss Virginia Corbett of Jerseyville and Monticello Seminary, taught two years. Miss Lucy Larcom, the poet of Beverly, Massachusetts, came next, and she was very popular. Her last term was in 1849. The population was expanding, and an addition was made extending the room about twenty-two feet. The belfry and flag staff were adopted years later.


The grand old school district sent fifty young men to the Civil and Spanish wars, and was used as a temporary church in the community. It served as a community center, where Lyman Trumbull, William R. Morrison, Hon. Joseph Gillespie, and Judge Hal Baker were speakers.


The Summerfield school house was in constant service from September 1, 1845 (or 1844) until May 12, 1912, when its door was closed. The first patrons were early settlers and squatters. In September 1913 (contrary to what former pupils wanted), the school was sold, and it was torn to pieces by Jerome Copley and removed that way. Its component parts would go on to serve a useful purpose stopping up holes in corn cribs or in helping to erect farm structures of some kind. The school directors wanted it out of the way because it "didn't look purty," alongside of the new school house, and because it took up yard room. An attempt was made by C. F. Long and others to have the building preserved and honored, but the attempt failed.

 

Source: Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Vol. VII, April 1914 to January 1915
 

 

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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.

 

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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: Wikipedia.org].  For more county history click here.

 

 

 

Links to Town Histories

 

 

Alton

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.

Edwardsville

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     

 

 

 

 

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This page last updated:  03/30/2015

 

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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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