At Last We Are a State: Illinois Territory’s Quest to Enter the Union in 1818

Come! Be present at the creation! Listen to how Nathaniel Pope, Territorial Delegate to Congress, Ninian Edwards, Territorial Governor, and others created our great state of Illinois in 1818.

Historian Jon Parkin will lead Historic Elsah Foundation in a Bicentennial celebration of Illinois statehood with his presentation, “At Last We Are a State: Illinois Territory’s Quest to Enter the Union in 1818,” Thursday, November 15, 2018, at 7:30 PM, at Farley Music Hall in Elsah.

Parkin will reveal the key events leading up to Illinois becoming a territory and subsequently, a state. He will also describe the major issues that were debated in the convention that wrote and ratified the Illinois Constitution in 1818.

Perhaps the most interesting and important event Parkin will discuss is one that occurred in Washington, D.C., on April 18, 1818. On that day, President James Monroe signed legislation that made what would have been Chicago, Wisconsin, into what became Chicago, Illinois. Who knew?

Parkin has been Director of the Madison County History Museum since 2017 when he retired from a career of 25-years in teaching high school history. He and his wife Vera, who is a professional pianist with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, live in Edwardsville.

This event will mark Historic Elsah Foundation’s commemoration of the birthday of Illinois, which occurred 200 years ago on December 3, 1818. It will be the fourth and final program in the 2018 edition of the Hosmer-Williams Lectures sponsored by HEF and underwritten by Liberty Bank.

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

Attention media, print, and otherwise, for additional information, contact George Provenzano.

From History to Hollywood, The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum: Making the Movie Lincoln

See and hear how historians at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum assisted Hollywood in making the 2012 blockbuster film, Lincoln, on Thursday, September 20, at 7:30 pm, at Farley’s Music Hall, Elsah, Illinois.

Ian Patrick Hunt, Chief of Acquisitions, ALPLM, will present clips from the acclaimed movie together with explanations of how he and others at the Springfield Museum helped Academy Award winning actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, Pulitzer Prize author, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Lincoln producer of Kathleen Kennedy achieve historic accuracy and authenticity in the Steven Spielberg film about the 16th President of the United States.

Daniel Day-Lewis, who played Abraham Lincoln, Goodwin and Kennedy visited Springfield and the ALPLM in 2010 in preparing to make the film. In addition to the Museum, they visited the Lincoln Home and Lincoln’s law office in order to absorb the whole environment in which Lincoln lived and walked.

Lewis, in particular, immersed himself into the physical world of Lincoln. At the museum, he examined special artifacts and read everything he could to make himself become the character of Lincoln on the screen.

The movie, which depicts the intense political fight to pass the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, ending slavery in the U.S., is based on Goodwin’s 2005 book, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.

Ian Hunt has advised on numerous publications, television programs and movies about the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln. He is also a consultant too the U.S. State Department Public Diplomacy Program.

Hunt’s presentation, “From History to Hollywood: The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and Making the Movie, Lincoln,” is the third of this year’s Hosmer-Williams Lectures sponsored by Historic Elsah Foundation and underwritten by Liberty Bank.

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

Dr. Silas Hamilton, George Washington, His Freed Slave, and the First Free School in Illinois

Come join us and listen to Beth McGlasson tell the remarkable story of, “Dr. Silas Hamilton, His Freed Slave, George Washington, and the First Free School in Illinois,” Thursday, May 3, at 7:30 p.m., at Farley’s Music Hall, Elsah, Illinois.

Dr. Hamilton and his slave, George Washington, whom he freed, founded the Hamilton Primary School, in Otterville in 1835. This school was Illinois’ first free school and the country’s first integrated school. The two men created a trust to fund a school “…that it shall be open to all classes of people and denominations of Christians.”

Beth McGlasson will tell us how this extraordinary event occurred in rural Jersey County, thirty years before the end of the Civil War and slavery and 120 years before Brown v. Board of Education, the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that ended segregation in public schools.

Beth is a local historian and Vice President of the Jersey County Historical Society. She and her husband, Dennis, have spent nearly a decade researching and documenting local cemeteries. She also co-wrote Lunch Pails & Pigtails: Jersey County’s One-room Schools and the Students Who Attended Them.

Beth’s presentation will be the second of this year’s Hosmer-Williams Lectures sponsored by Historic Elsah Foundation and underwritten by Liberty Bank.

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

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.

The Road to Grafton, Completing the Great River Road, a talk by Scott Adams, Reenactor and Historian

River RoadLocal businessman, reenactor, and lecturer Scott Adams will describe the history, natural beauty, and history of the completion locally of the Great River Road, at Farley’s Music Hall, Elsah, Illinois, on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 7:30 PM. The lecture is the last of the Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series for 2017, described often as the area’s preeminent free lecture program. The Series is presented by Historic Elsah Foundation and sponsored by Liberty Bank, Godfrey, Illinois.

Certain sections of the Great River Road, over 2000 miles long, have national scenic byway status, including a 33-mile segment from Hartford to Grafton, Illinois. Plans for a national road along the Mississippi River go back to the late 1930s, interrupted and postponed by World War II, and revived in 1949 when Congress approved a feasibility study. Because it was deemed too expensive to build an entirely new parkway, it was recommended instead that the project be designated a scenic route.

The scenic route would consist of existing riverside roads, and new construction would be limited to connecting the existing roads so that a continuous route could be developed. The existing roads would be upgraded to parkway quality. The modified approach would save a great deal of land acquisition and new construction costs. Another consideration was that some of the most scenic locations along the river had already been preempted by existing highways, railroads, and towns and cities.

On completion, the Great River Road changed travel dramatically in the region. Once travel between Alton and Grafton was a choice between rail or steamboat. No longer. Scott Adams’ lecture will provide dramatic and graphic insights into the closing days of this project, and its dedication in September 1965.

The Hosmer-Williams lectures are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. Parking is plentiful and nearby. Refreshments will be served following the lecture.

For additional information, contact Tim Tomlinson, Historic Elsah Foundation, 618-374-1518.