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Madison County Genealogical Society

Minutes of the Meeting - November 12, 2009


The November 12, 2009, meeting of the Madison County Genealogical Society was held at the Edwardsville Public Library in Edwardsville, Illinois.

President, Robert Ridenour, called the meeting to order.


In the absence of our Treasurer LaVerne Bloemker, Secretary, Barbara Hitch presented the financial report for the month of October 2009.

*** NOTICE ***

Dues for 2010 are now being accepted. We would very much appreciate receiving your renewal checks by 1 January 2010. Present members will receive one more Stalker in December and two Newsletters in November and January.


Do you have a family member that is interested in (or even obsessed with) genealogy? A membership in the Madison County Genealogical Society would be a very thoughtful Holiday Gift. A gift card will be sent to the recipient of any gift membership.

The following memberships are available:
Individual/Family Annual Membership $20.00
Patron Annual Membership $30.00
Life Membership $250.00

Contact our Secretary, Barbara Hitch, at, about a gift membership.

November Meeting

On November 12, 2009, William Nunes presented a program titled Interesting Facts About Illinois.

Mr. Nunes grew up in East St. Louis. He taught Social Studies for one year at Bayliss High School in St. Louis, at Collinsville High from 1964 to 1970, and at Edwardsville High School form 1970 to 1993. He said he was not interested in Illinois history until after he retired from teaching. He started on his literary career by writing a book about growing up in East St. Louis. He has since written over a dozen books about Illinois and Missouri. Bill's latest book is Big Book of St. Louis and Southern Illinois Crime.

Mr. Nunes gave the audience many interesting facts about Illinois (these "facts" are claimed to be such by Mr. Nunes):

The two oldest brick buildings in the state are in Cahokia and Edwardsville. Standard Oil of Wood River built the community a concrete swimming pool in 1924 - at that time it was the largest swimming pool in the world! Owens-Illinois Glassworks in Alton - inventor of the glass ashtray - was the largest glassmaker in the world! The sand bottom swimming pool in Jones' Park in East St. Louis was the largest inland beach in America.

The Chain of Rocks Bridge near Granite City, Illinois, is the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. When it was on US Route 66, it was the most significant bridge on Route 66.

Decatur, Illinois, claims to be the soybean capital of America. Moline, Illinois, is the farm implement capital of the world. Peoria, Illinois, is the earth moving equipment capital of the world.

Tower Rock in the Mississippi River near Grand Tower, Illinois, is the nation's smallest national monument. The nation's smallest Post Office, with a lobby, is in Muddy, Saline County, Illinois.

No state can match Illinois for living famous politicians: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Durbin, Dennis Hastert, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Jesse Jackson, Carol Moseley-Braun, and Phyllis Schlafly.

Illinois artists are responsible for creating Dick Tracy, Tarzan, Moon Mullins, Popeye, Blondie, Willie & Joe, and Little Orphan Annie.

The Springfield Illinois Race Riot of 1908 was responsible for the founding of the NAACP.

Many well known criminals have ties to Illinois: Al Capone, John Dillinger, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Speck, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, Charlie Birger, Paula Sims, the Shelton Gang, Buster Wortman, the Unabomber - Theodore Kaczynski, James Earl Ray, the Looney Gang, Johnny Torrio, and the Tylenol Killer (who was never apprehended).

Illinois is not thought of as "The Wild West," but the state produced Pawnee Bill, Black Bart, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Ned Buntline, Jack Slade, and Wild Bill Hickock.

The list of famous Illinois Civil War names includes Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, John Pope, Steven Douglas, Ben Grierson, and John Logan (America's greatest political general during the Civil War). A school teacher from Mendota, Illinois, William Quantrill, led the sack of Lawrence, Kansas, during the Civil War.

For decades, The Centralia (Illinois) High School basketball program had more wins than any other prep basketball program in nation.

The nation's largest train robbery was perpetrated at Roundout, Illinois (near Chicago), by the Newton Boys from Texas.

Mr. Nunes also entertained the audience with several humorous stories based on his research for his books

Bill said that, according to the Illinois State Library, he is the most prolific living Illinois history author.

Mr. Nunes had copies of all his books for sale at the meeting, some at greatly reduced prices.

If you wish to know more about Bill Nunes and his books, you can visit his website:

This presentation was very well received by the audience.