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ANNUAL REPORT OF THE SECRETARY OF THE
ILLINOIS STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY,
MAY, 1910— MAY. 1911.
Springfield, lUinois, May 18, 1911.
To the Board of Directors of the lUmois State Historical
GbntiiEmen— In my report made to you a year ago, I
spoke of the steady gain in the membership and influence
of the Society, and the experience of the past year has
been of a continued onward and upward march. Our
membership, however, ought to be much larger than it is.
Few of our members have sought to gain new members for
the Society. Some notable and honorable exceptions to
this rule can be given, chief among whom may be men-
tioned, Mr. Wm. A. Meese, Mr. Wm. E. Sandham, Dr.
W. H. Stennett, Mr. I. S. Blackwelder, Mr. Wm. G. Edens,
Dr. Daniel Berry, and others. Had we each one secured
as many new members as these gentlemen our Society
would number thousands instead of hundreds. We have
now more than 1,200 members of all classes :
22 honorary members,
8 life members,
47 newspaper members,
1163 active annual members.
A total membership of 1240.
We have lost by death a number of our members, who
are, as far as known to me, namely :
John W. Good, Moline, HI deceased April 22, 1910
Wm. R. Head, Chicago, 111. deceased May 10, 1910
Henry Hall, Jacksonville. Ill deceased May 29, 1910
Rev. John Fairbanks, Jacksonville, HI deceased 1910
C. J. McManis, Princeton, HI deceased 1910
H. G. McPike, Alton, 111 deceased 1910
J, M. Pearson, Godfrey, 111 deceased 1910
Luke Dickerman, Stillman VaJley, 111
deceased Jnly 4, 1910
Legh K. Brainerd, Springfield, LI. .deceased Dec. 3, 1910
Thomas J. Oowder, Springfield, HI
deceased Feb. 22, 1911
James S. Culver, Springfield, HI
deceased March 17, 1911
Hally Haight, Naperville, 111 deceased May 3, 1911
Mrs. Harriet Rumsey Taylor, Springfield, HI
deceased May 15, 1911
I again urge you to notify the Secretary of the Society
of deaths in our membership. It is not possible for me
to learn of them unless notice is sent me. We wish to
publish brief notices in the Journal and to keep our
records accurate. Please bear this in mind.
The present General Assembly just drawing to a dose
has enacted considerable legislation in relation to his-
torical nmtters. Mr. Meese, Chairman of our Legislative
Committee, and to whose efficient labors is largely due the
result, will tell you of the important step which this Gen-
eral Assembly has taken in the creation of a commission
to prepare plans looking toward the erection of a build-
ing for the Historical Society and Library and some
kindred interests. This bill passed the Senate some days
ago and I hope by this time it has passed the House, as
we had the promise of House leaders that it would.
In 1912, next year, Madison county will celebrate her
centennial anniversary, it having been set off as a sepa-
rate county by proclamation of Gov. Ninian Edwards in
1812. Madison county has asked an appropriation of
$5,000 to erect a monument near Edwardsville, the county
seat, to the memory of Gov. Edwards, Gov. Coles, and the
pioneers who took part in the border warfare, when Fort
Russell, near the present Edwardsville, was one of the
principal frontier forts.
In 1812 Illinois territory became a territory of the
second grade and in that year the first territorial legis-
lature wasi held. Madison county will includle in its
celebration, the celebration of the one hundredth anni-
versary of the beginning of representative government
in Illinois. This bill has passed the Senate.
A bill has also passed the Senate appropriating money
for the purchase of the site of Fort Chartres, one of the
most important of the early Ftench posts. A joint resolu-
tion has been passed asking the board of trustees of the
Historical Library to attempt to decide upon the route
traveled by the family of Mr. Lincoln in its migration
from Kentucky to Illinois by way of Indiana. The Gover-
nor in his message reeonunended that this be done, and
that the route be suitably marked and called the *^ Lincoln
The most ambitious of the historical plans has been
the attempt to secure an appropriation for the purchase
of Starved Rock and vicinity, about 1,100 acres. A bill
carrying an appropriation of $225,000 has passed the
House and has yet to be acted upon by the Senate. To
the indefatigable labors of Prof. J. A. James is largely
due the sentiment throughout the State demanding the
preservation of Starved Rock as a State park. To this
end Professor James, the chairman of the State Park
Commission, has labored in season and out of season,
written letters, given addresses, interviewed influential
persons, furnished historical arguments to other speakers,
for the past two years, and when, as a result of the labors
of the State Park Commission, the plan was embodied in
a bill and presented to the present session of the General
Assembly, Professor James used every effort to place
the matter before the members of the General Assembly,
and he delivered strong, forceful and logical arguments,
full of historical information; before the appropriation
committees of each branch of the General Assembly, with
the result that the State will have a magnificent park in
that beautiful and truly historic country. Professor
James was ably assisted by Mr. A. Richards, the secre-
tary, who did much practical work of great value, as well
as by the other members of the Commission.
The Quartert^y Journal.
Tlie Quarterly Journal of the Society meets with favor
from the Society and from all persons interested in the
cause of State History. It is quoted very freely by the
newspapers of the State and we have daily requests for
copies of it and for permission to reprint articles from
its columns. You are again urged to contribute to it
items of historical interest or original material.
The Secretary appeared before the appropriation com-
mittees of the legislature in the interest of a bill for an
appropriation for a new building for the Library and
Society. She took as her principal text the burning of
the capitol at Albany and the destruction of priceless
records and the present defenseless condition of our own
records, and the committees were impressed with the
necessity of providing better quarters, with proper means
of caring for our records and other historical treasures,
and have created the conmiission already mentioned.
We are so crowded in our present quarters that it
really seems that the limit of the storing capacity of our
rooms has been reached. I would like each one of you
to see for himself the congested condition of our rooms.
We can no longer keep an even fairly tidy appearance.
Tables and floor must be kept loaded. Our wall space
for pictures is all used and our shelves for books and
newspaper files are all overloaded. No plan has been
advanced which tells us what we can do until the new
building is a reality.
The 1909 transactions of the Society have been printed
and will reaxxh you I hope within a short time. A new
edition of fifteen thousand copies of the Linooln-Donglas
Debate volume has been printed and distributed. The
demand for this volume has been surprising and it has not
The History of Illinois newspai)ers, 1814-1879, edited
by Mr. F. W. Scott and published as Illinois Historical
Collections, Vol. 6, has been distributed. It is an ad-
mirable and useful volume, and receives high commjenda-
tion from the press and interested parties generally.
Vol. 7 of the Collections, the second of the executive
series of Governors' Letter Books, has also been issued,
Mr. C. M. Thompson and Prof. E. B. Greene being the
editors. Its introductory chapters present a most inter-
esting history of the time covered by the State papers, and
throw much light upon the internal improvement scheme
which so nearly wrecked the State, and upon the Mormon
question. The George Rogers Clark Papers, edited by
Prof. J. A. James, will probably be the next of the Col-
lections to be issued. Professor James has devoted sev-
eral years of patient, scholarly labor to the preparation
of this volume, and it will probably be, next to the Lincoln-
Douglas Debate volume. No. 3 of the Collections, the most
popular of the series, as all of our people are interested
in the adventures and services of Colonel George Rogers
Tlie membership of the Society is so large that it seems
that the one annual meeting gives hardly enough
opportunity for the members to meet, and it seems that
the members in the different localities of the State can
and ought to aid local societies or committees to observe
local historical events. I suggest that a committee be
appointed to consider a plan for such special meetings.
The secretary of the Society attended the celebration of
the 70th anniversary af the organization of Woodford
county. This was held under the auspices of the Wood-
ford County Historical Society, Fel)ruary 27, 1911. The
meeting was a very successful one. Addresses were made
by pioneers of the county and everyone present seemed
to enjoy the exercises and appreciate the work that the
Woodford County Society is doing. I hope we will have
a report of this celebration from a delegate from the
Society and that other societies may be represented at
this meeting and give us some account of their activities.
The Colored Historical Society of Illinois, located at
Springfield, has asked me to report for it that it has sixty
active members who are much interested in preserving
the history of their race in its struggles for growth and
betterment. I believe this is the only colored historical
society in the State.
We have received some gifts for which we desire to
express our thanks. Members of the Society axe urged
to help in the collection of local historical material. A
circular letter was sent you some time ago asking such
materials. We are very anxious to obtain old letters
which describe early conditions in the localities of the
State, the pioneers' manner of living, modes of trans-
portation, cost of commodities, etc. If you know of any
such local material we will be glad to be informed of it.
We will gladly have copies made of historical documents
if the originals can not be obtained.
Miss Louise I. Enos, a member of the Society, has pre-
sented on behalf of her father's heirs, a valuable Lincoln
document. It is an original surveyiag paper. It was
mentioned in the April Journal of the Society. The Hon.
Norman G. Flaigg has a collection of early Illinois letters
written mostly by his father. He has allowed the Society
to publish them and they wUl be edited by Mr. S. J. Buck
and published in the transactions of the Society.
Such material is of the greatest value and interest.
Please help the Society and Library in the collection of
Governor Bicliard Yates has presented the Society
with a manuscript record book containing the earliest
military orders of his father, the great War Governor.
There are not many entries but what there are are of
the greatest interest.
We acknowledge gifts in the Journal, and so I will not
take your time by enumerating them now.
On April 14, the Society held a meeting in commemora-
tion of the fiftieth anniversary of the breaking out of the
war between the States. The meeting was one of the
most interesting we have ever held and the attendance
was as large as we have ever had. Addresses were made
by Colonel Carr, Gen. Smith D. Atkins, Mr. Eugene F.
Baldwin and Col. Bluford Wilson at the afternoon meet-
ing, and in the evening Judge Marcus Kavanaghl' de-
livered an address. The old war timie music was sung.
The patriotic societies were invited and were well rep-
resented. It shows what can be done in the way of a
special meeting to commemorate an historic event.
Our committees will, I hope, report on their activities.
I urge greater activity among the members of the com-
Jessie Palmer Weber,
Secretary Illinois State Historical Society.