A Memorial Page Dedicated to Our Beautiful City

Warren County Home

WARREN COUNTY HOME “You’ll send me to the poorhouse!” is a complaint that parents have voiced to their children for ages, but it wasn’t so long ago that a future in the poorhouse was literally a possibility for unfortunate Warren County residents. Caring for the indigent has been a concern in Illinois since 1819, when…
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Businessman in Mexico

EARLY MONMOUTH BUSINESSMAN ADVOCATED TRADE WITH MEXICO With Mexican trade and immigration dominating the headlines these days, it’s interesting to look back at how earlier generations viewed relations between the United States and our neighbor to the south. Ulysses Grant, who served as a quartermaster during the Mexican War, remained in Mexico following that conflict,…
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Cutting Oats by Moonlight

1917 HEAT WAVE CAUSED FARMERS TO CUT OATS BY MOONLIGHT In western Illinois, August is a time when most farmers can take a breather from field work, but that was not the case for many of their grandfathers, who in 1917 were busy harvesting oats in August. With corn and soybeans dominating today’s field crops,…
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Picnic Scandal – 1886

MONMOUTH’S PICNIC SCANDAL OF 1886 Legends are created through vocal tradition. A story is handed down from generation to generation, and by its nature is gradually altered or embellished, whether intentionally or unintentionally. One especially memorable legend, involving Monmouth history, was told to me more than 40 years ago by the late newspaperman Ralph B.…
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Willits School

MONMOUTH SCHOOL’S NAMESAKE GOT LITTLE RESPECT When Elias Willits died in 1881 at the age of 55, he was a respected Monmouth attorney, who had served as county judge since 1870. A former secretary of the school board, he was honored nine years later when the old West Ward School (which stood on the current…
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1953 Building Boom

MONMOUTH’S INDUSTRIAL BUILDING BOOM OF 1953 Our future economic prosperity may lie in the tech and service industries, but 65 years ago manufacturing was still king, and Monmouth was on the forefront of a factory and warehouse building boom. Led by energetic Chamber of Commerce executive secretary Bob Albert, the effort to bring new industry…
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Ogle Furniture

MONMOUTH ENTREPRENEUR BUILT EARLY FURNITURE EMPIRE Anyone within driving distance of Kewanee, Illinois, is familiar with Good’s Furniture, which through clever marketing has established itself as one of the premier furniture stores in the Midwest, despite its small-town location. A century ago, a Monmouth man had a dream of establishing a similar furniture empire, and…
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Kirkwood

HOW YOUNG AMERICA BECAME KIRKWOOD Changing one’s name, either through marriage or by personal preference, is a rather straightforward process, but for a municipality to change its name is rare—both because of the legal complexities involved and opposition to change by some local residents. Nevertheless, the village of Kirkwood, Illinois, managed to change its name…
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Daniel McNeil

BORN ADVENTURER LEFT HIS STAMP ON MONMOUTH From the time he settled in Warren County as a young man in 1830 until he headed west two decades later, Daniel McNeil Jr. left an indelible mark on Monmouth, the city he helped found. The legendary frontiersman held virtually every important local office except sheriff. A born…
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Woman Photographer

PIONEER WOMAN PHOTOGRAPHER BEGAN IN ROSEVILLE I recently had the pleasure of speaking to the Roseville Women’s Club, an organization still going strong after more than a century in the Warren County village of just under 1,000 residents. In considering an appropriate topic, I remembered hearing about a book based on the life of a…
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Queenola Talking Machine

THE QUEENOLA TALKING MACHINE I recently received an inquiry from Monmouth College professor and antiques buff Mike Connell about an item he found on Craigslist. At first glance of photos of the object, it appeared to be an ordinary gramophone in an oak cabinet—a once-popular household appliance that was produced in the hundreds of thousands…
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Idaho Chief Justice

MONMOUTH ATTORNEY BUILT BRILLIANT LEGAL CAREER IN IDAHO Prior to the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, New York stood at the edge of America’s western frontier. Completion of the canal project suddenly opened up the Northwest Territory for settlement, and a stream of New Yorkers began to flow into Illinois, which represented the…
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