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Jasper County
Facts and Findings

If you know of any interesting facts about Jasper County and its people, please let me know.  I'm especially interested in finding buildings that are on the Historical Register, information about the monument to the pilot on the Courthouse Lawn in Newton, any veterans' monuments, etc. Your information will be added to this list for others to see (and you'll be given credit, of course!).  For more information on the people listed below, why not "Google" them?  Some of them have very intriguing stories!

Burl Ives,  famous balladeer, stage and screen star (1909-1995)

Born in Hunt, Jasper County, Illinois, Ives sang folk songs from an early age, many of which he learned from his pipe-smoking, tobacco-chewing grandmother. In 1930, Ives dropped out of college and hitchhiked across the country learning folk songs from miners, cowboys, hoboes, and evangelists. It's hard to say which song or performance is the most memorable in the career of Burl Ives. Broadway boasts of his role in the 1950s as Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Millions remember Ives from the 1962 television special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, which still runs every Christmas season. Children sang along with his records on such classic tunes as, Holly Jolly Christmas, and Little White Duck. On the big screen, Burl's performance in The Big Country, won him an Academy Award for best supporting actor. Burl Ives died of cancer on April 14, 1995. He was 85. He is buried in Mound Cemetery, Hunt City, Jasper County, Illinois.

Irene Hunt, (1907-2001) author of "Across 5 Aprils" (based on the life of a Jasper County family during the Civil War).

Irene Hunt was born to Franklin P. and Sarah Land Hunt in Pontiac, Illinois. Her family moved to Newton, Jasper County, Illinois when she was young. Her father died when she was seven years old, and she moved in with her grandparents. During this time, Ms. Hunt listened to her grandfather’s stories of when he was a boy during the Civil War, providing the background for what would be Hunt's first novel, Across Five Aprils.
The time between her father’s death and her graduation from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1939 were Hunt's "quiet years." Though she had originally been interested in writing after receiving her Master’s Degree from the University of Minnesota in 1946, Hunt did not write any literature until she'd completed thirty-nine years of teaching. She taught French and English in the Oak Park, Illinois public schools for fifteen years, psychology at the University of South Dakota for four years, and language arts in the Cicero public school system.

Hunt wrote Across Five Aprils when she retired in 1964 at age 57. This book won seven major awards, including a Newbery Honor in 1965. Her second novel,, Up a Road Slowly, received the Newbery Medal in 1967, marking it the most distinguished children's book in America that year. In all, Ms. Hunt won sixteen awards for five of her seven novels.

Ms. Hunt died on May 18, 2001 at age 94 in Champaign, Illinois.

Know of anyone else?  Please contact me and I'll add them.
Embarras River Bridge

The iron frame Embarras River Bridge in Newton has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. This bridge is also known as the Old Mill Bridge and is located just west of the Old Mill Inn and goes over the Embarras River.  The north side of the bridge connects with Wade Township Road 164, which continues through farm bottom land.

The bridge, built in 1890, is still is use by traffic. It was built by the Chicago Bridge Company and is one of the oldest and largest Pratt through truss bridges remaining in Illinois.  The road north of the bridge is the old Palestine to Vandalia road, connecting Palestine (the first city in Illinois) and Vandalia (the second capital of Illinois).

Interesting Fact (submitted by Lawrence Kestenbaum)

Did you know about the juxtaposition of Jasper and Newton that takes place in (I think) nine states. Either it's Jasper and Newton counties side-by-side, or a Jasper County with a Newton county seat, or a Newton County with Jasper as the county seat.

The "American Heritage" magazine had an article about this, probably about 25 years ago. Jasper and Newton were war heroes (Revolutionary War or War of 1812). A friend of mine reports that his Methodist-minister father has an expression of "like Jasper follows Newton".

At one time, Jasper County had 2 legal distilleries......1) Kraus Brothers in Bend; and 2) Gen. Dobell in Wheeler. There are no distilleries in Jasper County now (at least none that I know of)..

Jasper County Civil War Units

During the Civil War, Jasper County men served in the following units:

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Name Rank & Unit
Brown, Henry
Trexler Cemetery, North Muddy Township

Brown, Oliver Perry
Captain, 39th Ohio Volunteer Infantry
Shiloh Cemetery, Hunt Township
Charles R. Jenkins
USA Evans, William F.F. "Fletch"
1st Lieutenant, Company G, 38th Indiana Infantry
Riverside Cemetery, Newton

Hambric, James L.
Private, Company K, 60th Virginia Infantry
3rd Regiment, Wise Legion
Riverside Cemetery, Newton

Harding, George Columbus
97th Illinois, Company E
Aten Cemetery, Hidalgo
Will Urban
Hilton, G. W.
Private, Company K, 51st Virginia Infantry
Brockville Cemetery, Hunt Township

Johnson, James T.
Trexler Cemetery, North Muddy Township
Kibler, Isaac
Corporal, Company E, 97th Illinois Infantry
Plainfield Cemetery, Crooked Creek Township
Marie Miller
Knotts, John K.
Private, Unknown*
Mound Cemetery, Hunt Township

Lewis, George W.
Corporal, Company K, 59th Illinois Infantry
Trexler Cemetery, North Muddy Township
Linda (Kralman) Lambert
Martin, William R.
Private, Company B, 38th Illinois Infantry
Vanderhoof Cemetery, Newton
Linda Gerus
Perkins, Isaac
McFadden Cemetery, Yale

Von Ruedgisch, Otto
(served twice)
Private, Company B, 155th Illinois Infantry
Recruit, Company F, 11th Illinois Infantry
Fairfield Cemetery, Grove Township
Jim Von Ruedgisch
Weaver, Abraham
Company B, 155th Illinois Infantry
Pleasant Ridge Cemetery, Smallwood Township
Lenette Johnston

* = "CW" is on their tombstone; no further information is known at this time.

Jasper County Cemeteries:

(Note:  Information on Crooked Creek Township and Fox Township cemeteries provided by Rhonda Swisher.  Thanks, Rhonda!!!)

Please, please, add to this list.  If possible, include the location. As you can see, I don't have locations for several cemeteries listed above.


Linda (Kralman) Lambert (
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Updated Tuesday, 12-Feb-2008 15:33:31 MST