Important Events and Times
- Anti-War Protests at SIU-Carbondale
- Katie Laux, an undergraduate history student at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale compares the
anti-war protests of the 1960s with the Free Speech Movement at University of California at Berkeley. Her
research was previously publised in the on-campus publication, Legacy.
- California Gold Rush
- Many Illinoisans joined the rush to California to search for gold. Some died on the way, and others
managed to strike it rich. Some of those men and women stayed in California, but others returned
to their homes in Illinois. This site on the Jersey County ILGenWeb page tells the story of a
group of Jersey and Greene county residents who made the trip in 1849.
Cherokee Trail of Tears
- The northern overland route of the Trail of Tears entered Southern Illinois at Golconda and traveled
westerly through Vienna and Jonesboro - generally parallel to what's now Illinois Route 146.
In addition to the above link check out what Rev. Butrick wrote in his
diary while traveling with the Cherokees across Egypt. For an
overview of the trail story check out
This Cape Girardeau-based site
also has more on local trail stories in Southern Illinois and southeast Missouri.
- Civil War
- The Civil War came fast to Southern Illinois with the invasion by Chicago troops into the
region in the days following the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter. Although local secessionists
attempted to rally the local residents, they missed their chance by just hours to demolish the
Illinois Central bridge over the Big Muddy in an effort to delay the Union deployment. This site
contains the final report of the deployment written a month after Fort Sumter during a time when
Southern Illinois residents didn't know which side to join.
- This website is a scholarly paper published in the Bulletin of the
Seismological Society of America about the South-Central Illinois Earthquake
of Nov. 9, 1968. For those who think this might be too boring the site
- Flood of 1937
- This flood in the midst of the Great Depression is remembered as one of the worst ever to
his the Ohio Valley. This is the hero's story of one man, Bob Anderson, and his role in helping
Shawneetown reconnect with dry land through his short wave radio.
- Herrin Massacre
- Professor James Ballowe's site recalls the infamous Herrin Massacre. He has also produced
a radio documentary on the event that aired on National Public Radio.
- Mine Wars
- Actually this isn't the labor-management struggles of the early 10th Century but the violent conflict between the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and the Progressive Mine Workers of America (PMWA) during the 1930s. The link in question is to a transcript of 1972 interview with Henson Purcell of West Frankfort. A retired newspaperman, Purcell covered the troubles including the Battle of Mulkeytown. The transcript also covers items about Charlie Birger and the Shelton Gang.
- Reverse Underground Railroad
- The Underground Railroad ran both ways in Southern Illinois, but in the southeastern
portion is mostly ran to the south as gangs of kidnappers captured free
blacks and runaway slaves to sell back into slavery.
- Sinking of the Sultanna
- The sinking of the USS Sultana in 1865 represented one of the greatest maritime disasters in
the country's history. Over 1,700 died in this disaster, including a number of soldiers from
Southern Illinois and a niece of John Hart Crenshaw who had been serving as a nurse.
- Sinking of the U.S.S. Cairo
- The U.S.S. Cairo served as part of the Union's gunboat flotilla on the Mississippi. The
Confederates managed to sink her during the siege of Vicksburg. Today, the boat has been raised
from the river and is on display at the Vicksburg Battlefield National Military Park.
- Tri-State Tornado of 1925
- The Great Tri-State Tornado of 1925 still ranks as the worst tornado
disaster in the history of the country. The Little Egypt web pages host this
review of the event. Carmi Online also hosts an
account of the tornado's path which ran north of Carmi. Also, don't miss the new National
Weather Service's web site organized just in time for the 75th Anniversary.
- Vigilantism and the Klan
- The "ancient colony of horse thieves and counterfeitors" that first
centered around Cave-in-Rock then spread throughout southeastern Illinois
spurred the development of the first vigilante groups, known in the antebellum
period as the "Regulators." These groups organized as legitimate
forces for law and order, but often became as lawless and the men they
sought to destroy. After the Civil War, these groups took on the guise of
the Ku Klux Klan. During the 1870s in Hardin County a klan was organized
for the public purpose of finding a murderer. In reality, the klan sought
to quiet witnesses and to make sure its leader, Logan Belt, was not
convicted of the original murder. This is the group of stories printed in
a rare issue of the Hardin Gazette about the KKK during that
time period. Also check out the
The Life of Logan Belt.
- Winter of the Deep Snow
- The winter of 1830-31 is the worst on record for Illinois. The conditions then and after helped
solidify the nickname of Egypt onto Southern Illinois.
This story leads out comparing the winter to the Chicago Blizzard of 1967.
So what do you think?
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Updated June 7, 1998 by