A Conversation between Benjamin Godfrey and James Semple: How Two Prairie Entrepreneurs Shaped the River Bend Region

History will come alive as Historic Elsah Foundation presents, “A Conversation between Benjamin Godfrey and James Semple: How Two Prairie Entrepreneurs Shaped the River Bend Region,” at Farley’s Music Hall, Elsah, Illinois, on March 15, 2018, at 7:30 PM.

Accomplished re-enactors John Meehan (playing Captain Godfrey) and Kerry Miller (playing General Semple) will portray these prominent leaders of economic development in western Madison and eastern Jersey Counties in a lively and thought-provoking exchange that covers the major issues of their day: the abolition of slavery, women’s education, railroad and highway construction, and state banking.

The conversation takes place in the late 1840s’s when the Semple and Godfrey families lived barely three miles apart north of Alton. The oldest Semple daughter, Ada, attended nearby Monticello Female Seminary, a women’s college Godfrey had founded a decade earlier.

Through business and politics, Semple and Godfrey undoubtedly knew each other. They were self-made men who took risks. Each suffered severe financial setbacks, which they regarded as temporary obstacles to be overcome. Both succeeded in doing so.

The program also features a documentary video of Benjamin Godfrey’s life. Zeke Jabusch, President of the North Alton Business Council, will narrate the video, which was produced by the Benjamin Godfrey Legacy Trail Committee for the Council. The video highlights nine area sites where historic markers of Godfrey’s accomplishments will be placed.

The program is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. Parking is available. Refreshments will be served following the lecture.

The presentation is the first of four scheduled for the 2018 edition of the Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series. The theme for this year’s series is local history in the Riverbend in the years immediately after Illinois became a state in 1818. Liberty Bank has underwritten the Hosmer- Williams Lectures since 2012.

Attention media, print and otherwise, for additional information, contact George Provenzano, at gprovenzano@lc.edu.

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