Madison County Historical Society Recognized as Illinois Centennial Organization | Press Releases
The Illinois State Historical Society recently recognized the Madison County Historical Society (MCHS) as the Illinois Centennial Organization. The Centennial Awards certificate states that the MCHS “has contributed to the civic and economic heritage of the State of Illinois for one hundred years.”
A century ago, on December 3, 1921, the Madison County Historical Society held its first annual meeting in the Estates Court Room of the Madison County Courthouse. The aim of the new organization was to “preserve the books, papers, military records and any other item of the county of historical interest”.
The officers elected to serve the new organization were Professor William D. Armstrong, Alton, president; Gaius Paddock, Fort Russell, vice-president; Estates Judge George W. Crossman, Secretary; Miss Laura Gonterman, Treasurer.
The directors included Mrs. Charles (Annie) Burton, Edwardsville, Wilbur T. Norton, Alton and William L. Waters, Godfrey. Associate members of the Board of Directors were Ms. Mark Henson, Collinsville and Norman G. Flagg, Fort Russell.
Since the first annual meeting was held on the 103rd anniversary of the state of Illinois, Flagg, an Illinois lawmaker whose family came to Madison County in 1818, has related ” interesting historical events of the state ”. Burton recited the lyrics to “Illinois, Our Illinois,” a song she wrote and published in 1918 to commemorate the Illinois Centennial and pay homage to Illinois soldiers during World War I.
Almost a century later, in 2016, descendants of the Flagg and Paddock families of Madison County donated a large collection of documents, photographs and artifacts to the Madison County Historical Society. Norman G. Flagg’s grandparents, the family’s first settlers in Madison County, were Gershom Flagg (1792-1857) and his wife, Jane Paddock Flagg (1787-1863). Both families were from Vermont.
The first meeting ended with an invitation to all county residents to join the Society at a cost of $ 1 per year in annual dues.
Annual dues have increased over the past 100 years, but the invitation remains for all county residents to join the Society. The Society’s mission is also largely unchanged, with the organization collecting and preserving all manner of artifacts that tell the story of Madison County and its people. To support the ongoing work of the Madison County Historical Society, visit https://madcohistory.org/membership/ or call 618-656-1294 for more information. Gift certificates are available for the holidays.