Monday, January 31, 2005

Miller Grove Program
Just got this news release from Shawnee Community College...
ULLIN — Shawnee Community College, the United States Forest Service, and Shawnee National Forest are joining together to sponsor a local history presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 8, in the Shawnee Community College Main Campus Educational Center. The presenters include Marlene Rivero, Mary McCorvey, and Vicki Marlen.

The trio will focus on Miller’s Grove located in Southern Illinois. The program will begin at 9 a.m., with repeat programs at 10:30 am and 12:30 pm. All three performances will be held and are open to local school districts, grades 4 through 8 and teachers. The 12:30 p.m. performance is open to the public.

For more information or to make reservations, please call Gae Morris at 1-800-481-2242, extension 3323 or 618-624-3323.
What the release didn't mention is that Miller Grove is the site of an early multi-racial community in northern Pope County. It was the scene of the Sides Robbery, an early kidnapping attempt that better remembered for the money the robbers stole.

It's also the site of the last resident slave emancipated in Illinois (as far as anybody can tell). That took place as late as 1854. The site of the settlement is owned by the U.S. Forest Service and has been the focus of several years' worth of archealogical excavations.
Organized Crime and Cook County Courts
The former judge who wore a wire for the feds in "Operation Greylord" will speak about his experiences tomorrow night (Feb. 1) in Harrisburg.

Brocton Lockwood, then a judge from Williamson County and now in his second stint as a circuit judge this time from Saline County, will be speaking to the Saline County Historical Society at 7 p.m. at the Saline Creek Pioneer Village and Museum.

In the 1980s he served as a Williamson County Circuit Judge who was transferred to Cook County to help deal with the overload of cases up there. Finding widespread corruption in the court system itself he wore a wire for the FBI in what they called Operation Greylord. The investigation eventually sent more than seventy people to prison.

Afterwards he wrote a book about his experiences, "Operation Greylord: The Brocton Lockwood Story".

I've got to teach tomorrow night or I would be there. Lockwood has also written about Delos Duty, Williamson County's prosecutor after the Herrin Massacre back in the 1920s.