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Jersey County’s Black History
Newspaper Articles and Other Sources
Some of the material below uses terms for people of African-American heritage that are no longer in use and may be considered objectionable. However, the historical content has been preserved as written at the time. Articles were typed by Ida Pivoda Dunsing, Marjorie Pivoda Dintelmann, Grace Karr Gettings and Marty Crull. Notes and Newspaper articles found and placed in the files at the Jersey County Historical Society.
Jersey County Democrat, October 24, 1895.
One of the Antiquities of the Probate Court Records of Jersey County
The following quaintly phrased testimony copied from the probate court records of Jersey County and dated Jan. 6, 1840, describes a contract between Thomas L. McGill and Nathaniel Hamilton, justices of the peace, and Aaron Noble for the apprentice-ship of a colored boy in accordance with the laws of those days:
This Indenture made and entered into this sixth day of January A D 1840 between Thomas L. McGill, and Nathaniel Hamilton, two Justices of the peace in and for the County of Jersey and the State of Illinois of the one part and Aaron Noble of the Same County and State of the second part Witnesseth That the said Justices of the peace by virtue of the law of the State of Illinois in such cases made and provide have plan and by these presents do plan and bind out as an apprentice a poor Colored Child named Nathan who has no parents in this State and is unable to maintain himself and is now the age of sixteen years to said Aaron Noble to learn the art of farming of the said Aaron Noble after the manner of an apprentice to dwell with and serve the said Aaron Noble from the day of the day of the date hereof to the twentieth day of April A D 1845 at which time the said apprentice will be twenty-one years of age. During all of which term of time the said apprentice shall be under his said master and well and faithfully keep his secrets and all his lawful commands at all times and every where be ready to obey. He shall do no damage to his said master nor knowingly suffer any to be done by others. He shall not worst the goods of his said master nor lend them unlawfully to any. At cards, dice or any unlawful game he shall not play. Matrimony he shall not contract during his said term of service. Taverns, alehouses or places of gaming he shall not frequent or resort from the services of his master; he shall not absent himself but in all things and at all times he shall demean himself and behave as a good and faithful servant or apprentice ought during the whole term aforesaid.
And the said Aaron Noble binds himself to cause said apprentice to be taught to read and shall give unto said apprentice a new Bible and two new suits of clothes suited to his condition at the expiration of his said term of service in testimony whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals this day and year above written.
Thomas L. McGill (seal)
Nathaniel Hamilton (seal)
Aaron Noble (seal)
Jersey County Commissioners Record, Book 1B page 13, June 1848
June Term 1848. June 8th, 1848. Present Ambrose S. Wyckoff and James McKinney, Commissioners.
This day a colored man who calls his name Pleasant Breeden, presented the following paper as the evidence of his freedom from servitude which is ordered be recorded viz:
Be it remembered that at a court of plea and quarter session began and held for the county of Hawkins in the state of Tennessee at the court house in Rogersville on the fourth Monday, being the twenty-eight day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five. Present Hezekiah Hamblin, John Johnston, Abraham Hawk, Clur Moore, William Smith, William Crumley, Joseph Huffmaster, John A. Rogers, Jacob Hackney, Lewis Cleack, William Bradley, James Johnson, Samuel Wilson, James Williams, Orville Rice, Reuben Barnard, William Armstrong, Jesse Cobb, Thomas Stacy, Jacob Miller and Absolam Ryle, Esqrs.
James Breeden having preferred to the court (a majority of the Justice of the Peace being present) his petition setting forth his desire to emancipate three Negro slaves, to wit, a Negro woman named Charlotte and two Negro children Lelen and Pleasant and his reasons for the same and the court having seen and inspected the said petition and the reasons for the same are of the opinion that the conceding thereto would be consistent with the interest and policy of the state which is accordingly endorsed on the back of said petition by Jacob Hackney, Chairman of the court of pleas and quarter sessions reported accordingly and thereupon a bond was executed to reimburse the county of Hawkins for any damage for and on account of such slaves or slaves becoming chargeable to the county. It is therefore considered by the court that said Negroes Charlotte, Lelen and Pleasant be emancipated freed and set at liberty with all the rights liberties and privileges of persons of color.
State of Tennessee, Hawkins County. I, Robert Johnson, Clerk of the county court of said county do certify that the foregoing contain a true and perfect copy as taken from the records in my office. Witness my hand at office in Rogersville this 17th day of December 1844.
(Signatures of R. Johnson, Clerk, by James A. Hane, d. clerk).
Fidelity Township: John Roedell kept an inn where Negroes were chained. (Fidelity was founded in 1850 with settlers arriving as early as 1829).
Jerseyville Republican, February 15, 1923
OLD UNDER GROUND STATION IS STILL STANDING HERE. HOUSE WAS ONE OF FIRST CONSTRUCTED IN JERSEY COUNTY. ONCE STOOD ON OPEN PRAIRIE. Log Cavern in Which Runaway Slaves Were secreted Erected Before War Under Present Old Structure.
One of the last landmarks of preslavery days in Jersey County stands on South State Street on the farm now owned by Cottingham and son and which formerly belonged for years in the Snedeker family.
The old home is a landmark because of its relationship to the underground railroad of the slave days. In the basement under to old portion of the house until its acquisition by the Cottingham ham family, existed a log cavern, joining the main basement proper in which according to tradition many slaves were secreted during the night while on their journey into Canada and freedom.
The log cavern originally did not join the basement under the house, but was under the older portion of the house, being reached through a trap door in the floor of one of the rooms.
More than forty years ago a large addition was built by Orville Snedeker, father of Atty. I. D., and Dr. Frank Snedeker, to the eastern portion of the old house, and a basement dug under the same.
When the basement under the new portion was dug, the old log cavern was connected with the new basement. There were two underground passageways for entrance and escape purposes on either side of the log cavern under the old portion of the house.
With the acquisition of the farm by Cottingham and son the new portion of the house was torn down and the lumber used to construct a tenant house. The original house, however, remains in tact.
The present house is unquestionably the oldest in this section of Illinois. When the pioneer George Washington Perrings came to this part of Illinois, he stated that the old house in question stood on the prairie. Perrings oftentimes told one of the present representatives of the Republican that he had counted twenty-six deer in a drove not a half quarter from the present structure.
The story of Perrings was corroborated by the late Chas. N. Adams, another pioneer who first lived in a log cabin, neighbor to the place, on what is now the present site of the C. P. & St. L. depot.
The house was first owned by the pioneer Sam Snedeker, who with his brother, Issac Snedeker and Newell N. Adams and George W. Burke were generally supposed to be the underground railway men in Jerseyville. At Otterville, Hiram White and several others were suspected and at Loftons Prairie were found advocates among the McDows and the Whites.
An interesting story is often recalled by Barclay Wedding of Jerseyville, a son of the Pioneer, Benjamin Wedding. He remembers hearing the story told by Thomas Ford and Harley Hayes to Benjamin Wedding.
Thos. Ford was a son-in-law of the anti-slavery pioneer, Newell Adams. Hayes was a Vermonter and very strongly anti-slavery. Information had been received that a run-away negro was hiding on Calhoun Point in the timber.
On the way there they had talked with a man by the name of Bently who was a strong slavery advocate and constantly on the look out for runaway slaves.
About dark Hayes and Ford with the runaway slave rowed to Masons Landing. They were met in the dark by Bently, who immediately seized one of the three and drove away with what he supposed to be the negro. The party seized was Hayes who had been blacked with burnt cork. Bently did not discover his mistake until he had driven to his home some seven miles from the point.
In the meantime Ford had made off with the runaway slave and had landed him with other friends in Jerseyville. From this point he was sent on to Canada.
The old house was built for the centuries. Its framework is of hewn oak joined together with oaken pins and practically indestructible.
Jersey County Democrat, September 29, 1877
Irene King, wife of Jeff King, died 23 Sep., aged 47 years. She leaves husband and seven children. She was a great worker in the cause of religion. Funeral from colored Baptist Church.
Examiner, January 22, 1878
On January 22, Thomas Thorp and John Brown will shoot for the championship Badge and a stake at ten dollars. Brown has heretofore been too much for the shooters and one more contest after this will entitle him to the ownership of said badge as his personal property. The badge is an elegant affair, solid gold and cost $50 each.
Jeff King, our well known blacksmith, has just returned from a visit to his aged mother, who, with four sisters and one brother, reside at Broad River, North Carolina, 12 miles from Rutherford, the county seat. Mr. King was born at Broad River and has not visited the scenes of his boyhood or seen his relatives there for 32 years. He was gone about a month.
April, 1879. The colored school is located on the West Side of town and is under the supervision of Prof. Sykes, a colored gentleman who has been teaching the young of his race how to shoot. There are 30 scholars shown upon the register and 24 in attendance. Here the same appliances fare used and the same means resorted to for the good of the colored children as for the whites in their quarters.
Jerseyville Examiner, September 10, 1879
The attempt made by some of our colored fellow citizens to gain admission into the white schools was repelled by the Board of education last Monday. No effort was made yesterday to effect entrance. All quiet along the lines as we go to pass (sic press?).
Jerseyville Examiner, October 1, 1879
Morris R. Locke, Editor
Repeal of the Black Law Celebrated at Brighton on Monday, September the 21st.
The Brighton Advance says:
The colored picnic in honor of the preliminary emancipation proclamation was held last Monday in Gilsons grove. Early in the morning the teams loaded with people began to arrive. At about half past nine the procession headed by the Alton Brass Band started for the grove. There were about 500 people in the procession. We noticed the following mottoes carried by the Shipman delegation: “Shipman Radicals away with Hayes, We need no more Moses,” “We represent the 15th Amendment,” “Free and Equal rights to all.” Both up and down trains were loaded with pioneers. It is estimated that there were fully 3,000 people on the grounds. The woods were full of “merry-go-rounds,” shooting galleries, stands, etc; a wheel of fortune was started but was promptly squelched. At about 11 oclock the people were called together, and Rev. Mr. Wilkerson, of Upper Alton, addressed them for about an hour. His speech was first rate, and abounded in telling points. After dinner addresses were delivered by Peter Baker, Dr. Dimond, Col. Miles, and others whose names we did not learn. An iron collar was shown by Mr. Brown which was taken from the neck of a runaway slave at this place at the time when Brighton was a station on the famous “underground railroad.” Everything passed off quietly; no drunkenness, quarrelling, or fighting was seen during the day.
Jerseyville Examiner, Jerseyville, Illinois, November 12, 1879
In September the President of the Board on Education, this city, addressed a letter to Supt. of Public Instruction, Hon. James P. Slade, at Springfield, informing him of the status of that institution and asking, in view of the fact the colored parents of this district would not send their children to the teacher then employed, but said they would send to another if a change was not made, whether the Board had the power to dispense with the services of the teacher and employ another, and referred him to the law governing and defining the powers and duties of boards of education as contradistinguished from school directors. The question was submitted by Mr.. Slade to Hon. James K. Edsall, Attorney General, who gives his opinion as follows, and the Examiner thinks very correctly and properly:
Hon. James P. Slade, Superintendent of Public Instruction:
Sir: I have examined the question submitted in your letter of the 14th inst., and herewith state my opinion thereon. The 48th section of the school law contains the following in regard to the power of the school directors to remove teachers: “The state shall appoint, fix the amount of their salaries, and may dismiss them for incompetence, cruelty, negligence, immorality, or other sufficient cause,” – Revised statues of 1874, p. 962, sec. 48.
It is held that when school directors remove a teacher under that clause for incompetence, the burden is upon them to show that the teacher was in fact incompetent, and that their finding upon that question is not conclusive. – Neville vs. School Directors, 36 Ill. 71; School Directors vs. Reddick, 71 Ill. 628. The 80th section of the school law contains the following in respect to the powers of boards of education upon the same subject: “They shall have power — to dismiss and remove any teacher whenever in their opinion he or she is not qualified to teach, or whenever from any cause the interest of the school may in their opinion require such removal or dismiss ion.” – Rev. Stat. of 1874, p 975, sec. 10.
This language, it will be observed, is materially different from that of section 48, quoted above; and I think it confers greater power in this regard upon a board of education than that possessed by a board of school Directors. The school directors are only authorized to remove a teacher when the face of incompetency, etc., exists, and if a controversy arises as to the validity of the removal, they must be able to show that the fact existed, to justify their action.
The board of educations are not bound to show this face, but only in their opinion the fact existed. And so as to the removal upon the ground that the “interests of the school say, in their opinion, requires such removal,” etc. The test as to the removal is not the fact as to what the directors upon that question formed in good faith and from the best means of information at their command? I think the decision of the board of education upon that question is final and conclusive so long as they act in good faith and with the honest intention to discharge the duty imposed upon them by law. While the law confers upon the board of education the power to decide the question, and, as I think, makes their finding conclusive, if they act in good faith, it is a power somewhat arbitary in its character, and should be exercised when all the circumstances of the case are such as, in the opinion of the board, clearly indicate the propriety of the action.
I am, very respectfully yours
(Signed) James K. Edsall, Attorney General
The Examiner gives this opinion to disabuse the minds of some people in regard to the question of the “power of boards of education to remove teachers.” Boards of Education are the instrument through which the accomplishment of the education is to be attained. If, therefore, in their opinion, the good of the school requires the removal of a teacher, under the law, certainly they have the power to do it. Exercising that power, of course, as the Attorney General expresses it, The Examiner claims we can have as good colored school in this city as white, and we have the law back of the School Board to administer the school law in the interest of pupils and patrons, and whatever is necessary to that end boards of education may lawfully do, in good faith.
The colored people want a good school. They should have it. It is theirs. The Board of Education have given it to them, and now they owe it to themselves, their children and the State, as good citizens, not to fail in doing their duty in securing the free gift of an education for their children.
The Examiner reiterates that Miss Linna Bartlett is one of the best teachers of her age in the State. Her experience has demonstrated that fact in the successful administration of every school assigned to her in the district for seven years, and Prof. Joshua Pike, principal of our public school, verifies it.
Jerseyville Republican, February 20, 1880
Married – Thursday evening at Mt. Olive Baptist Church – Miss Miriam King, Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jeff King, to Mr. Andrew Thomas, all of this city.
Charles Smith and old man Webb Jacobs were detected in selling a wagon load of wheat, stolen from the Jerseyville Elevator, to Charles Jacobs on Monday night last and were committed to jail to await the next term of court. Two Republican voters gone, but “Harley” says a continuance and change of venue may save them yet.
Examiner, March 24, 1880
On Thursday the 18th inst. A horrible accident happened at the residence of Mr. Alexander, colored, living three miles north of Godfrey on the Alton and Jerseyville road. Mrs. Alexander went away from home to do washing for some family in the vicinity, leaving her husband and two children, aged three and seven years, at home. The husband wanting to leave the home, done so, locking the door and leaving the children in the house. During his absence the house took fire and burned with the two children and contents. The coroner held an inquest on Friday, and rendered a verdict in accordance with the facts.
Weekly Republican, April 2, 1880
Brighton and Piasa Township. P. T. Ms. Cumbers school will close May 1st. The school numbers 37 white and 20 colored scholars. All seem to be satisfied with the manner the school has been conducted.
Examiner, Jerseyville, IL, Wednesday, April 14, 1880
GEORGE WASHINGTON was born in Maryland, about the year 1817; when but four years old, he was sold to Dr. Silas Hamilton, cousin of Dr. J. O. Hamilton, and Uncle of Clarence M. Hamilton, of this city, for $150. Dr. Silas Hamilton, while journeying between his old home in Vermont and his now home in Mississippi, came across George in a Maryland town, and having compassion on the lad because of his fearfully sore eyes, bought the boy at the price named, and as a part of the consideration, agreed to cure his eyes. He was taken to Mississippi and lived there as a servant in Dr. Hamiltons family until 1830, when, with other slaves, he was brought North. He was taken to Cincinnati by Dr. Hamilton and set free, the Doctor giving bonds that they should never become a charge upon the authorities, and they never did. Eight, including George, were brought to Otterville and remained slaves until Dr. Hamiltons death, except some that returned to Cincinnati. All the colored children were sent to school at Otterville, including George, Dr. Hamilton refusing to support the school unless his black children were admitted, and the district, not being sufficiently able, as the inhabitants thought, to run the school with out his assistance, with reluctance yielded to his demands. In this manner George received a common school education. Among his teachers were William Hamilton, (father of Clarence M. Hamilton, of this city,) Osgood, Gurnsey, and Burnap. In 1834, Dr. Hamilton died on the farm now owned by Wm. McAdams, Sr., and George went to live with Gilbert Douglass, on Otterville Prairie. He lived there until he was 21 years of age, when he commenced work in life for himself, and although deprived of all the rights of citizenship, by his perseverance, frugality and general good behavior, he gained the confidence of all who knew him, so that his word was as good as any mans and his note was regarded as good as cash. In 1864 he was taken sick and died, Dr. J. O. Hamilton, of this city, attending him. He left quite as estate, amounting to several thousand dollars and divided it as follows:
NON CUPATIVE WILL of George Washington, (colored) deceased, admitted to Probate, April 21, 1864. Know all men by these presents that we Joseph O. Hamilton and John A. Campbell, of the County Of Jersey and State of Illinois, do herby certify that George Washington, (colored man) of the County of Jersey and State of Illinois, died on or about the 14th day of April, 1864, and during his last illness published and declared in our presence the following as his last will and testament:
FIRST: That his funeral expenses and all just debts be fully paid.
SECOND: After the payment off such funeral expenses and debts, it was his will that all his goods, chattels, personal and real estate be sold and converted into money to be disposed of as follows: Fifteen hundred dollars to be applied to the construction of a suitable monument for the tomb of Dr. Silas Hamilton, deceased, (his former master) to be erected near the Stone School House, at southwest corner of northeast quarter of section fourteen, township seven, range twelve, west, in Jersey County, Illinois; and the residue, or whatever may be left of his estate not otherwise appropriated, to the education of colored persons, or Americans of African decent. Witness: Henry Johnson, Wm. Keith, Andrew Jackson. Reduced to writing his 21st day of April, A. D. 1864. Joseph O. Hamilton and John A. Campbell.
Examiner, June 30, 1880
Jane parker, elderly, formerly of Rocky Fork, Madison County, died last week at Delhi at 104 years old.
RepublicanExaminer, September 22, 1882
John Anderson (colored) who has for so many years been a resident of Jerseyville, is very ill and can not recover. He is said, by those who know, to be 100 years or over. He was the first colored man that ever voted in this county. For many years past, he has lived in entire seclusion and is dependant upon some benevolent families in this city for his subsistence.
Republican-Examiner, March 16, 1883
Miss Ella King, colored, daughter of Jefferson King of this city, died at age of 17 at fathers home. Funeral from colored Baptist church. Rev. E. A. Coleman. Pallbearers: Isiah Bryant, John Wardell, William Dillion and Mr. Williams.
Unknown Paper, February 1884
The Baptism Brethren has been holding for 6 weeks a series of revival meetings at their church in this city. Much interest is manifested and the building is crowded nightly with white and black. The brothers and sisters in white seem to be as much interested as the brothers and sisters in black. Twelve have been converted, twelve have joined the church and eight have been reclaimed.
Jersey County Democrat, March 1886
Harriet Mills, the well-known colored lady, died Tuesday last and will be buried from Mt. Olive Baptist church. Harriet was well known and liked by all. She was an industrious lady.
Republic Examiner, Friday, May 20, 1887
The first colored person to graduate from the Litchfield public schools will be Miss Mary Wallace. She has labored diligently and no doubt will bear the honor with pride.
Republican-Examiner, September 21, 1888
A large number of colored people from here will attend the annual celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, at Shipman tomorrow, a big time is anticipated.
Republican-Examiner, April 1889(From Piasa) The colored people will baptize 8 of their converts, at a pond in E. B. Clarks pasture, next Sunday morning.
Several person went from here to Waggoners Prairie to witness the baptizing of 27 colored persons. They report over 2,000 persons there.
Jersey County Democrat, August 22, 1889
The annual competitive examination for appointment of beneficiaries of the George Washington this city last week. Owing probably to the rather high standard of scholarship required for only one, Mr. Leonard Lewis, of Champaign, succeeded in reaching the required standard. Mr. … meeting of the board and will be sent either to Wilberforce University, Ohio, or Fisk University,
Several beneficiaries of the fund have already graduated at Wilberforce, and are all doing well in life. The fund is now paying the way of two young men and one young lady, all from Illinois – at Fisk University. The present candidate for the appointment will increase the present number of beneficiaries to four, and we understand two more might have been appointed had suitable now to about $16,000. The annual income from which will pay all the expenses of five or six and ought by all means to call forth the greatest exertion on the part of the colored boys and girls of Jerseyville and Jersey County. To win such a prize would be not only as high honor, but a life benefit to the winner.
No white boy or girl has any such opportunity, and we hope our colored citizens will see to it that these prize scholarships are not carried away from year to year by competitors from remote parts of the state.
Jerseyville Republican, July 22, 1892
The colored Methodist Camp meeting at Snedekers Grove commenced last night, with all the singers present. Pastor Green is doing all in his powers to make the meeting a success and hopes that the people will attend Sunday night will witness the fall of the walls of Jericho. (See handbills for particulars).
July 29, 1892
Pastor Greene who is conducting the colored camp meeting east of the city, announces interesting services, conducted by celebrated ministers, for next Sunday. Three oclock Sunday afternoon will witness the return of the Prodigal Son and other services of the day will be unusually interesting. The meeting will be continued another week.
Jersey County Democrat, March 11, 1894
Mrs. Mary Galloway (colored) died in Alton at the age of 115.
Jersey County Democrat, January 17, 1895
Died Mrs. Hannah Broadus (colored) died at her home Sunday aged about 84 years. The funeral took place from the colored Baptist church Monday afternoon, Rev. J. E. Jackson conducting the services. Mrs. Broadus was a slave for 55 years, receiving her freedom during the war. She was married twice and was the mother of fifteen children, five of whom with her latter husband are living. Her home has been Jerseyville for the past eleven years.
January 22, 1895
Remains of Mrs. Samuel Moore (colored) brought her for interment.
Jersey County Democrat, July 4, 1895
James L. Davenport and Mrs. Ollie Mead, colored, were made a happy one by Squire Erwin Monday.
Jerseyville Republican, December 12, 1895
Several from here heard the Tennessee Jubilee Singers at Carrollton, Saturday night. It will be remembered that, George Conley a Jersey boy, accompanies them as a tenor singer.
Daily Democrat, April 4, 1902
Happily Married. Big Wedding in Elite Colored Society. Mr. John Matthews Weds Mme. Martha Logan.
It has been some time since a wedding occurred in Jerseyville that attracted so much attention as that of Mr. John Matthews and Mrs. Martha Logan, (Colored). The marriage ceremony was performed yesterday at the St. Francis parsonage. Although the day was somewhat cloudy and stormy, the event was a most happy one and in accordance with the 200 invitations sent out about that many gathered at the parsonage promptly at 3 oclock to witness the ceremony. The bride was beautifully attired in a bright green plush dress and wore a black hat profusely trimmed with violet and a long bridal veil. The groom was handsomely dressed in conventional black, with white vest and both wore gloves. The attending couple was Mrs. Henry Bert and Mr. Gus Wallace who were also dressed in keeping with the solemnity and joy of the occasion. The beautiful span and carriage, which were used to convey the bridal party, were prettily decorated and as they passed through Main Street attracted much attention. After the marriage ceremony was performed the party was hurriedly taken to the home of the bride where in the evening from 7 to 10 p.m. the reception was held. It is not an unreasonable estimate to say that one thousand people called and paid respects to the happy, though aged colored couple who seemed thoroughly imbued with the real happiness and significance of the occasion. Mrs. Matthews received the congratulations of her numerous guest in the parlor during the reception. She was attired in a mercerized rose-colored cerise silk and wore a beautiful bridal wreath with long veil, while the groom assisted the waiters in serving the rich viands and delicacies previously prepared. The festal board was prettily decorated with fancy chinaware and beautiful bouquets of natural flowers. On the center mounted on a high stand was the large decorated brides cake from which a piece was cut for each guest. This pleasant duty fell to the lot of the handsome groom who has a tooth for sweet things himself and who performed his part with grace. The incident of crowding the parlor caused the floor to break through but as it fell only about two feet fortunately no one was injured, and as joy reigned supreme the incident was soon forgotten. The presents, which were given by the leading white and colored folks of the city, were numerous including jewelry, glassware, rocking chairs, dining-room table, etc. All who attended enjoyed a good time and the generous hospitality of the colored folks was noted by every one present, all of whom join in wishing this aged couple, respectively 75 and 65 years, much joy and prosperity.
Jerseyville Republican, September 17, 1903
Mrs. Margaret Smith died at her home at 10 a.m. Tuesday. Her funeral was held at Colored Baptist church.
Jerseyville Republican, September 1903
Following colored students were applicants and took the examination in Roberts office for the free scholarships under the provisions of the Washington Education Fund: John Sherman Wilson of Springfield. See Miss Minnie Price of Alton, or Miss Harriett Evans of Jerseyville.
Jerseyville Republican, December 9, 1909
Mrs. Harriet Summerville, wife of Jackson Summerville, died at her home in this city, Monday morning, November 6, 1909, aged 80 years. The funeral services were held from the Mt. Olive Baptist church at 2:30 oclock on Wednesday afternoon, Rev. Stephen Catt officiating.
Jerseyville Democrat, March 2, 1916
Dunbar Club Entertains
Members of the Dunbar Club gave a social function Monday evening February, 14 in Yeoman Hall. The Dunbar Club is named for the Negro poet, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, whose works the members of the club are studying. It was organized in January 1915, and meets every Tuesday evening at the home of some members and gives a literacy and musical program annually, the members entertains their friends at an open meeting. The officers are R. A. Cisco, president; Ida Wallace, vice president; R. Preison, secretary and J. Little, treasurer and the other members are Mrs. Robert Preison, Mr. & Mrs. Athur Evans of Alton.
There were 70 guests at the party Monday evening, including a number of people from Carrollton, Jacksonville and Alton. David D. Jones, executive secretary of the colored branch of the St. Louis YMCA was here and delivered a lecture.
Jerseyville Republican, July 4, 1918First Colored Boy Sent.
Glen Evans, son of John Evans, the first colored boy to be inducted into service from Jersey county, was sent to the Wendall Phillips high school in Chicago to receive special instructions on motor work.
Unknown Newspaper, February 1921
John King, colored, 52, died suddenly at his home in Jacksonville Feb. 4. The funeral services were held from the Jacksonville Baptist church on Fe. 9. Interment was in the Jacksonville Cemetery. The deceased was a son of Jeff King of this city.
Jerseyville Republican, February 3, 1921
BACK TO AFRICA IDEA FAILS IN JERSEYVILLE
The back to Africa movement being agitated among the negroes of the United States will perish for lack of support if all the Negroes of the country give it the same consideration as the colored residents of Jerseyville.
The main idea is to establish a black republic somewhere in Africa. The government will be fashioned somewhat along the lines of the United States government and a ship load of recruits will leave a United States port this week according to reports for the new land of promise.
Rev. Kane Lockwood, who has been pastor of Mount Olive Baptist church when questioned shook his head decidedly and said, “These boys dont want to come round for my support, I was bon south of Montgomery, Ala., and was a slave. Is gwine stay with Uncle Sam. Dis heah country sho suits me all right.” The Rev. Lockwood is the only member of his race in this locality now living who was a slave.
Henry Burt, deacon of the Mt. Olive church expressed his opinion very much along the same line as the Rev. Lockwood. “What I want go to Africa fo, I don wan any of those Gorillas chasin me.”
Jerseyville Republican, February 1, 1923
KU KLUX KLAN HAS BEEN SENDING MANY LETTERS TO VACATE. ONE CITIZEN REPORTED TO HAVE LEFT TOWN AFTER RECEIVING NOTICE. MANY OTHERS RECEIVED LETTERS. Two Men Report Witnessing Imitation Ceremonies of Klan Last Week in Place Southwest of Jerseyville.
The subject most discussed in Jerseyville at the present time is the Ku Klux Klan. That a Klan exists is a definitely established fact. That they purpose to become active has already been demonstrated by the number of letters sent out of certain citizens who apparently have been picked out the Klan as undesirable from the Klans standpoint of thinking.
One citizen, according to reports, quit his position with a local business firm after the receipt of a letter thought to have been sent by the Klan, giving him so many hours to leave town. The charge contained in the letter reported to have been sent by the Klan was one of illicit relations between the man and a certain married woman in the city of Jerseyville. The man in question has ever been a hard working individual and has been the sole support of this mother who is the widow of a veteran of the Civil War. The man left Jerseyville and his position rather that to face the wrath he might expect to be meted out by the signers of the letter. It is very doubtful, however, that the letter was written by the Ku Klux Klan.
Another individual who was arrested on a charge of violation of the prohibition act some time ago and entered a plea of guilty, according to reports, received a letter signed with the three Ks to get out of town and stay out. The party in question upon receipt of the letter went home to get a revolver. He stated to friends that he would not leave.
The keepers of two separate business places have been given warning it is said to leave town. At last reports they were still in business and had not left.
Up to date the activities of the local Klan, it is said, have been directed against individuals who are thought to have been law violators, either in fact of upon suspicion.
A couple of young men coming into Jerseyville a few evenings ago to attend a meeting of a local order report another initiation ceremony of the Klan. The automobile in which the two were riding broke down. While they were working on their car a score or more of automobiles bearing hooded figures passed in the night. The initiation ceremonies were taking place in an adjacent piece of the country and the two got a far away glimpse of the flaming cross and weird ceremonies.
Jerseyville Republican, November 29, 1923
MT. OLIVE COLORED CHURCH PASTOR IS WED
Rev. Kane Lockwood pastor and “Pulpit Supplier” for Mt. Olive Baptist colored church of Jerseyville, and Mrs. Jennie Whitesides, were united in marriage Sunday, Nov. 25th, just as the orb of the day was crossing the zenith of its daily pilgrimage. The marriage ceremony was performed by Justice of the Peace Thatcher at the home of the bride in the last house on West Exchange Street. About twenty-five friends, of the bride and groom were present for the ceremony. Following the ceremony a chicken wedding dinner was served.
The marriage of the couple brings back in itself a faint shadow of the days of slavery. The return on the back of the certificate made by the presiding official reveals some facts regarding terrible conditions that endured in the southland during those days when human chattels were sold and handled after the fashion of other animals.
The groom, Kane Lockwood, was torn from his mothers bosom when he was but a baby. When questioned by the presiding official as to the name of this mother he replied, “I doan know my mammys name. I doan even ‘member her. They took me from her when I was just a little feller.
About the same reply was made by the bride regarding the name of her father. Much of the history of the slave trade int the past century of American life is considered by the present generation as in the light almost of a myth. We have been told it existed. These last dim reminders of the few who lived under slavery are getting almost extince.
Lockwood is employed by Dr. A
Jerseyville Republican, February 14, 1924
Jeff King sold his blacksmith shop on east Prairie Street to Mott Brown and the new owner assumed charge Monday morning. King has been blacksmithing in Jerseyville ever since 1865 following the close of the Civil War. He was born in slavery and as a boy learned the trade of blacksmith. Following the war he came to Jerseyville. When he first arrived, he was employed by a Mr. Bell who had a blacksmith shop in Jerseyville. In a few months King opened a shop in the east part of Jerseyville across the street from his present residence in a brick building. Later he moved to another location. King at the present time is 86 years of age and has continued longer at his anvil than any blacksmith in Illinois.
Jersey Republican, December 11, 1924
The will of William Jefferson King filed for probation September 20 admitted to record December 8 in county court. Bequeaths residence and personal property to widow, Annie King. Upon her death a redivision of the property is provided for among the seven children of the deceased first wife and his one child from second marriage. Witnesses to the will which was made the 27th of April, 1909, were Charles F. Fabes, now deceased, and Frank L. Mundle, Rev. Stephen W. Catt, now deceased, was named in the will as executor.
Jerseyville Republican, November 6, 1924
Colored Church to hold a Revival at Mt. Olive Baptist Church, colored, with its membership of ten worshipers, is planning for a series of evangelistic meeting, commencing Sunday, November 16. An attempt will be made to revive the church, which has been pastorless for two years and on a decline in membership and support, except in its Sunday school which has been maintained. Lack of financial support also caused the organization to be dropped from the association and an effort will be made to restore it to its former standing. The revival will be in charge of Rev.Phillip A. Bosenell of Quincy. He occupied the pulpit last Sunday evening to a comparatively large audience. He said he had faith and the efforts will be rewarded by many new members being added to the fold.
Jerseyville Republican, July 28, 1927
STREET SHOW IN KANE ROUTED BY EGG HURLERS
A medicine show operating in Kane faced a barrage of eggs laid down by parties unknown or at least the parties hurling the offensive missiles have not been apprehended by the village constable, Robert Brown.
The misdeed has been charged to the Klu Klux Klan, the Knights of Columbus, the A. F. & A. M. and about all the other secret orders having membership in the Kane vicinity, but the thinking people of the community are of the opinion that the “shell game” was worked by some of the small fry of the community who took exceptions to the manner in which the manager of the medicine show chased them away from his automobile last Wedensday evening. A storm earlier in the day had caused a cessation of lighting service in the village, and the miscreants tood advantage of the darkness to commit their act.
The medicine show made its appearance some two weeks ago. Dr. So and So, selling medicine, curing most of the ailments to which humanity is heir, had accompanying him two negro entertainers, who sang and played to the great delight of many of the citizens. Now there was a time in the history of Kane when no darkskinned brother was permitted to show his person in the aforesaid village, the same unwritten law which at present prevails in Calhoun dounty also being in force in the said locality. In Calhoun they make the “niggers” swim the Illinois, while in Kane they point the Macoupin creek, north of the village, out to the descendants of Uncle Tom and Little Eva and bid them cross over and never return.
The medicine show was lighted by gasoline torches the night of the offense, and all of the rest of the village was plunged in darkness. The village constable rang the curfew bell at eight-thirty and as that ended his day of labor as an officer, he went home so was not present when the act of egging the show was committed.
Bombardment From Three Sides
According to the reports, the show was approaching its closing number for the evening, The negroes were in the act of singing one of their most popular song hits when eggs began to fly form three corners of the show lot. A luscious egg smote one of the actors full on the forehead and as he ducked he exclaimed: “I likes mah eggs fried, not raw!”
Several other citizens not attached to the medicine show collect an egg or two each, and one youth of fourteen, who was gazing upward at the antics of the actors received a large non-acredited egg right between the eyes, the exudations from the aforesaid egg spoiling the rim of his straw hat.
The show broke up for the evening but the actors again returned to Kane Friday night, and the Doctor announced in opening his show that he would offer a reward of ten dollars to any person who would admit that he had hurled the eggs at his show as he wanted to give him a whipping. It was hinted in Kane Monday morning that there might be several of the boys from the Macoupin Creek flats who would claim the reward just for the pugilistic experience they might obtain from a bout with the Doctor.
Saturday afternoon a number of eggs were placed as a warning on the platform being utilized by the show. The eggs were removed for analysis by the village constable who, with other citizens, fears taht trouble may yet reappear in a scrambled form of some kind before the medicine show stops selling corn remover, stomach regulator and other remedies.
For more information on Jersey County’s Black History, read the following Prairie Schooners:
Fall, 1982, pg’s 8 – 9, 14
Spring 1984, pg’s 5, 7, 12
Spring 1987, pg 18
Spring 1988, pg’s 1, 27
Fall 1990, pg 32
Spring 1991, pg’s 25 – 26
Spring 1995, pg 19
Spring 1997, The entire Schooner is dedicated to the history.
Material contributed by Marty Crull.