Monday, September 15, 2014

September 22--Program on Wabash Pearls

The Pittsburgh Press December 30, 1904 
Pearls from the Wabash – Sold in Numbers in Foreign Cities and Bring High Prices.

The fame of the Wabash River pearls is spreading far and wide, and even in Paris dealers are having a big demand for them, their customers being the members of the nobility and the aristocracy. The gems are advertised as the ‘Wabash’ pearls, and by this name they are sold in a number of the larger foreign cities. In New York the representatives of the foreign firms are besieged with hurry- up orders, and they are unable to come anywhere near supplying the demand.

They are paying fancy prices for the gems as fast as they appear on the market. One of these pearls which will sell by a small dealer along the Wabash for $350, will bring three times that sum before it reaches the hands of the Paris dealer, and it is hard to comprehend the price he would put on the gym when he places it on the market. The ‘Wabash’ pearl is regarded as par excellence by the foreign nobility. It is known that the Wabash River has produced thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth of pearls during the past 12 months, and it is the unanimous belief of those who are in position to know that thousands are sold which have not come to the knowledge of the general public.

Many people are hunting pearls in the Wabash River. At Longtown one day last week hundreds of people were at work on the big sandbar there. The bar was full of mussel shells, in which the pearls were found. The pearls grow on the inside of the shells which are broken open and the pearl carefully removed by the hunter.

It is said that the production of pearls from the Wabash River is unequaled by any other stream in the world, and it is no wonder, therefore, that the eyes of the foreign dealers and nobility are turned toward Indiana. The quality of the Wabash pearl stands far ahead of all others, and from the very moment it is found it is marketable. Several small fortunes have been made by the pearl hunters, and the end  is not yet.             (Republished from the Indianapolis Sentinel)

While this article is written about the Indiana side of the Wabash, the Illinois side did not escape this pearl fever.  Come to the Historical Society Sept 22 at 7:00 pm at the Museum on the Square and hear Anne Marie Marx, owner of Jewel Craft Jewelers in Vincennes speak about the Wabash pearls, and also about the button industry.  She will bring exhibits to enhance her lecture.  

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lawrence County Black History Tour


Make your reservations now for the second annual, always popular
"Lawrence County Black History Tour."

On Saturday October 4th, join us on a unique tour of Lawrence County as you travel into the area that was once called "Little Africa". Sit back and relax on an climate- controlled handicapped- accessible bus while you learn about a forgotten chapter in our county's rich history.

This tour will take you to the areas where early African American pioneers once settled over 200 years ago. They migrated into this region as free blacks, mulattoes, servants, and former slaves. These early pioneers owned land, raised families, and built their own schools and churches. Farming and living off the land was a way of life. Some of these early settlers became residents of nearby growing towns. The tour will also take you into the town of Lawrenceville where you will discover more interesting historical highlights about black history in the county. 

There will be a 9:00AM – 11:00AM Morning Tour
and an 11:30AM - 1:30PM Afternoon Tour.

The tours will begin and end at the museum on the corner of 12th and State Street in Lawrenceville. Each tour will last two hours and will accommodate 26 people on a first come -first serve basis.

Reservations are suggested to ensure a seat!  Reservations and purchase of tickets ($10.00) can be made in person at the Museum.

Any questions concerning the tour, please call 618-928-0831 or 618-945-5700.

If you took this tour last year you know how much fun it was, and Larry and Carl Curry promise a few surprises this sign up now before all the seats are taken. If  you were unable to go with us last year...You won't want to miss it this year!  

Friday, September 12, 2014

Obituary with Photo 1909 --Maria Price Jones

Very seldom do the early obituaries have a photo to accompany the text.  The researchers were intrigued to find one in the daily newspaper of 1909, especially since it was of a woman. 

Lawrenceville Republican Thursday, April 15, 1909 Obituary
Maria Catherine Price was born November 30, 1845 in Bond Township in the house where Squire Amasa  Roberts now resides. She was united in marriage to Lewis Jones, October 22, 1865. Thus their happy married life lasted about 44 years. To them were born, six children – three sons and three daughters. Two daughters, Mrs. C.A. Maxwell and Mrs. Frank Miles, and one son Gilbert Jones, are still living, two sons and one daughter dying in infancy.

Maria Price Jones 1909
She became a Christian and united with the old McNeece (now Pleasant Ridge) Christian church in June or July of 1862 being baptized the same day as was her betrothed future husband Lewis Jones, just below the old Jones bridge in Brushy Fork Creek. She leaves a husband, two daughters, one son, 10 grandchildren, one brother James Price of Lawrenceville and four sisters Mrs. H A. Clubb, Mrs. A. L. Erwin and Mrs. William Musgrave of Lawrenceville, and Mrs. Milton Wampler of Bicknell, Indiana. The funeral services were held at the Pleasant Ridge Christian church conducted by Rev. Moyer of Russellville, assisted by Rev. Holmes of Lawrenceville, and Rev. Day of St. Francisville. Interment was made at the Pollard cemetery.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Jesse James in Bridgeport?

According to an article published in the Bridgeport Leader in the early part of 1939, Jessie James interviewed a local girl during his crime career on his way through Bridgeport.

“Jessie James, famed outlaw of the middle West from 1866 to 1882, spend at least one day in Bridgeport during the 16 years of his career, according to the statement of a lifelong resident of the city Miss Anna Kappas.

Miss Kappas was a young girl of some 15 years and assisted in the Kappas general store which was located on Main Street about where the Lytle and Weger barbershop now stands. (1939) A young man of medium height, smooth shaven, and very polite entered the store and conversed with Miss Kappas concerning the business conditions of the community. Various stores were discussed. After his departure from the store, 

Miss Kappas was informed of the identity of her visitor which proved to be Jessie James.
Mr. James spent  at least one evening in the old Cottage Hotel on Main Street which was located about where Rory Watts’  Cleaning Shop now stands.( 1939)  The hotel drew a large number of tourists of that day and Jessie James proved to be one of these.

Checking the records of the episodes of the James Brothers about 1878 to 1879 it is found that they were operating in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois and their home in Missouri. Miss Kappas remembers that Jessie James was killed about three years after his visit to Bridgeport, which was in 1882.

Jimmy Fenoglio, manager of the Capitol Theatre, has asked Miss Kappas to be the guest of the theater at one of the sessions of the four – day showing of the show Jessie James starting Sunday and running through Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of the next week.”

(My researcher says this falls under the heading: “Do you believe everything you read in the paper?”)

1964 Class of LTHS

                    Welcome LTHS Class of 1964

1964 LTHS Football Team

1964 Homecoming 

LTHS Graduates:   You sat on the millstones when you were in high school, but did you know the millstones have been relocated to the south east corner of the courthouse lawn?  Take your picture on them now and we will post it on our Facebook page.....Lawrence County Historical Society of Illinois.  Just send those photos to 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bridgeport Assembly of God Church

This Assembly of God Church is in Bridgeport,Il,  located at 3rd and Jefferson. It is of the Pentecostal denomination. The Historical Society would love for someone in the congregation to provide a history of this church.

Don't forget to check out our Collection of church photos on the website 

Earlier this blog published two old pictures of people enjoying a picnic by the river.  These people were not identified but because they were published on the page about the Loeb family returning from a trip, some readers mistook them for Loeb family photos.  We are sorry for the confusion..the photos were only meant to publicize our August picnic.

Want ad in Lawrence Daily Record Sept 18,1934  Wanted woman or older girl for work in the country. One who will take charge.  Must be able to do family canning.  
 How many "women or older girls" could qualify for this job today?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lawrenceville Telephone Exchange in 1962

January 4, 1962 Bridgeport Leader 41 Operators Rotate Turns Answering Calls
The Lawrenceville Telephone exchange is the focal point for telephone service within the County. Bridgeport dial system is self-sufficient except when calls outside the system are desired. Five operators handle the seven circuits making connections with persons within other local or distant as well as foreign countries.

Sumner and St. Francisville systems are contract exchanges with one person being on the General Telephone Company payroll and the other help being responsible to the contract operator. All long- distance calls are handled by the Lawrenceville Exchange.

Seldom do the long-distance operators cross wires into another's panel as each have ample facility within their own bank of circuits. There are nine circuits direct to Chicago from Lawrenceville. When one of the circuits is busy a light burns on each of the five banks. In this manner any operator may switch a call to use the remaining circuit where the light is not burning.

Three panels are needed in a bank of circuits to handle the calls of the Lawrenceville system. Three operators may work the set- up with the cross- over of wires to make contact as needed or one operator may be assigned all three panels depending upon the demand load.

Banks of switchboards are operated 24 hours each day of each week to give worldwide telephone coverage to citizens of Lawrence County by 41 girls.

Shown above are the five long-distance operators that handle calls to all points reading right to left: Joyce Cook, Sumner; Lela  Graf, Bridgeport; and Mary Jane McKeighn, Lawrenceville, others are not identified.