Tales of Coles County – Unsolved Murder of John Mason

A reading from the new edition of my book Tales of Coles County, Illinois, released in October 2020!

In part three: Hidden History, I examine events some believe are better left unremembered. What is the history of Coles County’s ghost towns? What were some of its most infamous murders? What happened in the Tornado of 1917? Never-before published information about Mattoon’s battle with Prohibition and even a local chapter of the KKK is inside.

Pre-order and use the code COLES2020 to receive a 10% discount off the cover price! The window for pre-orders will be open until September 30, 2020, at which time you will receive a notification of when your copy will ship. Shipments are expected in early October when the book is officially released.

Pre-order Tales of Coles County, Illinois today and save!

Tales of Coles County – Lafayette Avenue Ghost

A reading from the new edition of my book Tales of Coles County, Illinois, released in October 2020!

In Part 2: Legends and Lore, I reveal over a dozen hidden stories from the from the area’s past and present, including ghost stories, folk tales, and other legends and lore. When did a poltergeist terrorize one rural family in Pleasant Grove Township? What is the real story behind the “Mad Gasser of Mattoon”? Why do they call one stretch of road “Dead Man’s Curve”? The answers to these questions and more can be found in this definitive volume.

Pre-order and use the code COLES2020 to receive a 10% discount off the cover price! The window for pre-orders will be open until September 30, 2020, at which time you will receive a notification of when your copy will ship. Shipments are expected in early October when the book is officially released.

Pre-order Tales of Coles County, Illinois today and save!

Tales of Coles County – The Old Miller’s Tale

A reading from the new edition of my book Tales of Coles County, Illinois, to be released in October 2020! First published in 2004, Tales of Coles County takes an entertaining look at local history through vivid historical fiction. When four students from Eastern Illinois University are stranded during a violent storm, they seek shelter with an elderly couple who give them more than they bargain for. After one night, the four will never look at Coles County the same way. With each story, they learn more about the place they’ve come to call home. The Second Battle of the Ambraw, the Charleston Riot of 1864, the Coles County Poor Farm, events surrounding the Airtight Bridge Murder, and the Blair Hall Fire of 2004, all are told.

Pre-order and use the code COLES2020 to receive a 10% discount off the cover price! The window for pre-orders will be open until September 30, 2020, at which time you will receive a notification of when your copy will ship. Shipments are expected in early October when the book is officially released.

Pre-order Tales of Coles County, Illinois today and save!

Interview with Local Historian and Preservationist David Kent Coy

David Kent Coy is a retired social worker, having a career of over 40 years working with people with developmental disabilities, severe mental illness, and also senior citizens. He is a Life Member of the Coles County Historical Society, the Coles County, Illinois Genealogical Society, and the Association for the Preservation of Historical Coles County. He is a Past President of the Illinois State Genealogical Society and was awarded their highest honor, the Lowell Volkel Medal of Honor.

Tell us a little about your background. How did you become interested in genealogy and local history?

When I was born, I had 12 living ancestors. I had both parents, one grandmother, two grandfathers, all four great-grandmothers, two great-grandfathers, and one great-great-grandmother. I can remember them all, except for one great-grandmother, who died at 86 when I was just a few months old. Two of my great-grandmothers lived until I was 16 and I started writing down their stories a little over a year before they both died in Oct. 1969. They each remembered a few of their great-grandparents – so that got me started. Going to college at E.I.U., in Charleston, Coles County helped, because several of my ancestors had pioneered there at an early time.

What do you think makes Coles County so unique?

The first thing I think of was that the boundaries of Coles County once were much larger and included Cumberland County and Douglas County. I think the presence of Eastern Illinois University has made a big impact on the county. The connections to Abraham Lincoln have always fascinated me also.

Continue reading “Interview with Local Historian and Preservationist David Kent Coy”

Tales of Coles County – EIU Sneak Peek

Join me for a look at the section on legends and lore of Eastern Illinois University in the new edition of my book Tales of Coles County, Illinois. Burl Ives, Mary Hawkins and Pemberton Hall, a group of pranksters called The Phantom, and a dog named Napoleon are all detailed like never before. Pre-orders start in September and the book will out in October.

New Edition of Tales of Coles County Ready for Pre-Orders!

Pre-ordering for the sixth and final edition of Tales of Coles County, Illinois is now available.

Own a previous edition? You won’t want to miss this! The original stories have been completely revised and updated. This edition also includes an index and a foreword by local genealogist Ann Winkler Hinrichs.

One hundred additional pages, five brand new illustrations by Katie Conrad, comprehensive bibliography, and over a dozen new photos await you inside.

Pre-order today and use the offer code COLES2020 at checkout to receive a 10% discount off the cover price! The window for pre-orders will be open until September 30, 2020, at which time you will receive a notification of when your copy will ship. Shipments are expected in early October when the book is officially released.

Interview with Genealogist Ann Winkler Hinrichs

Ann Winkler Hinrichs was born in Charleston, Illinois but grew up in Greenup where both her parents were school teachers. Both sides of her family are from Coles County, as earliest as 1828. Ann has been a RN for 40 years but if she could change careers, she would be a Historical Archivist. She loves figuring out the genealogical/historical mysteries of the past and where they lead us. Ann was Chairperson of the 150th Anniversary of the Charleston Riot and is currently vice president of the Coles County Genealogical Society.

How did you become interested in genealogy and local history?

I loved listening to my Paternal Grandfather and Maternal Grandparents tell stories about their families. At 14 my Maternal Grandparents bought me a family tree book for Christmas, which they sat with me and helped to fill it out. I still have the book to this day. My Paternal Great Aunt wrote a great deal about our family, going back to the Revolutionary War. There is so much Coles County history in her writings since they arrived in 1828. My 3rd GGrandfather who served 7 years in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War is buried NW of Ashmore.

What do you think is so unique about Coles County?

The Lincoln connection is what I think is so unique. When most people think of Lincoln, they think of Springfield. Outside of Springfield/New Salem I think Coles County has the richest Lincoln history. The County was the home of Lincoln’s parents, he was involved in many court cases, one of Lincoln Douglas debates occurred here and the Charleston Riot.

Continue reading “Interview with Genealogist Ann Winkler Hinrichs”

Tales of Coles County Sneak Peek

Look inside the new edition of Tales of Coles County, Illinois in this exclusive sneak preview. What can you expect in this sixth and final edition? More tales – more legends – more history. Plus a comprehensive bibliography and index for genealogists and local history buffs alike. Pre-orders start in September and the book will out in October.