Marion County

1940 Stories from Illinois History


The first jail in Marion County, Illinois, must have seemed like a sort of cave to the wrongdoers it confined. Having neither doors nor windows, this dungeon-like prison was entered by a trap door in the roof, and a ladder was used to let prisoners in or out. The one-room log structure was built in 1830 at the cost of $500.


Lads and lassies of Illinois who have younger brothers and sisters may well look to their laurels in view of the manner in which one Marion County "little" sister demonstrated her initiative many years ago. An 1885 news item from Centralia told how a would-be bride of Salem decided at the last moment not to marry, after her suitor had already procured a marriage license. The girl's younger sister offered herself, however, and was accepted. A change of name was made on the certificate and the couple married.


Half a century ago, unemployed citizens of Illinois were told by a newspaper writer what to do with their leisure time. The following advice appeared in the Marion Leader of July 10, 1890:

"A good way for laborers and others to make dull times duller is to sit around and cuss and complain about the way things are going. Instead of sitting and waiting for something to turn up, all hands should take hold and turn something up, July is generally a dull month so far as employment in town is concerned, made so because all enterprise is devoted to harvesting and attending the crops. It is a good time for the working man to spend a few days improving his home and visiting his family."

Extracted 23 Oct 2019 by Norma Hass from Stories from Illinois History, compiled by the Workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Illinois, published in 1940, pages 14, 49, and 61.

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