The story of Rufus M. Hooker, who mustered into the 8th Illinois Cavalry on September 1st, 1861 as a Captain in St. Charles, IL. Through new research, it has been discovered that Hooker was subsequently the first blood drawn by Confederate General Robert E. Lee when he was killed at the Battle of Mechanicsville on June 26th, 1862.
From all of us at the St. Charles History Museum, we would like to thank the hundreds of visitors we had at our spring exhibit: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Actions: St. Charles and the Underground Railroad. Our dedicated museum staff spent hundreds of hours researching local connections to the freedom-seeking movement of the mid-1800s.
As summer returns to St. Charles, we have so many exciting events planned! From educational programs on the history of St. Charles' homes and parks, to our historic house walk, to our living history presentation at the Museum during the St. Charles Fine Arts Show, there’s so much to learn about this great city
For those of us who call St. Charles home, we can learn from the people who settled here before us and their stories; their strengths, dreams, decisions and accomplishments, sprinkled with their struggles and disappointments. Consider that someday, we will be part of a future story with our own legacies.
The month of May is designated as National Historic Preservation month, and the St. Charles History Museum will be holding a variety of events and programs in recognition and celebration of the occasion. “This Place Matters” is a national campaign by the National Trust that encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and to their communities.
Researching the Underground Railroad can be incredibly frustrating at times, as we often run into dead ends due to the scarcity and secrecy of sources. The abolitionist movement was a dangerous cause to stand with, especially to those that were actively helping escaped slaves. Leaving behind evidence of abolitionist activity could have been deadly back then, and now makes research and finding the cold hard truth difficult.
For the third year in a row, we temporarily closed our doors to the public in order to complete important projects around the Museum. Over the four weeks, we had nearly 30 helpful volunteers contribute their efforts. While there are still projects to be finished, January 2019 Shutdown was a complete success!