Mt. Vernon Register-News

March 24, 2013

'Notorious Outlaws of Early Illinois' to be presented

By RICK HAYES rick.hayes@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — “Desperadoes: Notorious Outlaws of Early Illinois” will be presented at 6:30 p.m. April 3 at the Jefferson County Historical Village.

The program is being produced in part by the Illinois Humanities Council’s Road Scholars Speakers Bureau, a program that provides organizations statewide with affordable, entertaining, and though-provoking humanities events for their communities.

John Hallwas, an Illinois Road Scholar, will be the featured speaker. Hallwas, a retired Western Illinois University professor, has written several books.

From the early frontier lawbreakers at Cave-In-Rock to such figures as the Maxwell Brothers and Frank Rande, who died in the 1800s, Illinois prior to the 20th century was a dangerous place fraught with crime, information states. Hallwas will dive into Illinois’ notorious past and attendees will learn about early law enforcement, vililantes, lynching and more through dozens of images, featuring outlaws, jails, and wanted posters.

“We apply to the Illinois Humanities Council each year for two programs. We had the first Illinois Scholar here in February, and we thought Mr. Hallwas’ presentation would be interesting,” said Jamie Wheeler, Director of Community Relations for the Historical Society. “That first program was more music-oriented, where this one will be more of a lecture format.”

Wheeler added, “We had a program in 2011 on Charlie Birger and his gang presented by local attorney Lane Harvey. We really had a good turnout for that program, which is another reason why we thought Mr. Hallwas’ presentation would go over well with our local audience.”

A roster of speakers, hailing from 16 different towns and cities across Illinois present topics in history, culture, literature, music, politics, law, science and many more through the Speakers Bureau.

“The contagious passion our speakers have for their topics is what makes this program so dynamic and appealing. We don’t need to change lives; we just want audiences to feel curious again,” stated Mallory Laurel, the IHC’s program coordinator.

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities, information states.