Mary Westerhold, Madison County Archival Library Research Director, explores some of Madison County’s small, forgotten cemeteries
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Entries by Adam Celuch
Glen Carbon, Collinsville, Maryville and Edwardsville are known for their coal mining legacy, but nearly every community above the bluffs in Madison County at one time had a coal industry.
The Godfrey Mansion still stands near the town of Godfrey, a town named for Captain Benjamin Godfrey. The stately home is one of a number of houses pictured in the 1873 Atlas of Madison County.
The farming community of Grantfork had numerous names over the years. Although small a small town, it has one of the oldest businesses in the county: a restaurant that has been serving meals since 1895.
In 1816, a squatter named John Cook built a cabin near what is now the corner of Orient and Church Streets in Collinsville. His improvements were later purchased by three brothers named Collins.
After several unsuccessful attempts, in 1887 a group was finally organized to preserve Madison County’s History. They were the Madison County Old Settlers Union, but many called them “snow birds.”
For three years, volunteers at the Madison County Archival Library worked to process over 44,000 probate files. Along the way, they found some interesting pieces of Madison County history.
In 1833 the Illinois State Penitentiary opened in Alton. It closed in 1860 when a new prison opened in Joliet but re-opened the following year to serve as a prison for Confederate soldiers.
Here are the stories of four Madison County Residents known nationally in their time, but forgotten today: Minna Inglis Clark Fletcher, Charles Helmuth Seybt, Vasil Stephanoff, and Charles Boeschenstein.
The most recent Madison County Courthouse celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2015. Court was initially held in designated homes, followed by four buildings constructed specifically as courthouses.