Judy Travelstead shows some of the Anna Pottery collection from the late 1800s on display at the Union County Historical Museum in October in Cobden.

JONESBORO — Union County turned 200 years old this week, and the official kickoff of that bicentennial celebration is Saturday afternoon.

The event runs from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro, and is sponsored by the Union County Historical and Genealogy Society. Union County was officially formed as a county in the Illinois Territory on Jan. 2, 1818, before Illinois became a state.

The event is open to the public, and organizers are encouraging those who come wear pioneer-type attire, although it is not mandatory.

The event will feature local people portraying historical characters: The governor of Illinois Territory at the time, Ninian Edwards, will be portrayed by State's Attorney Tyler Edmonds, who will read the legislative act that created Union County. John and Julia Grammer, the first local person elected to the state legislature and his wife, will be portrayed by Duane Hileman and Lillian Milam.

There will also be copies of historical documents on exhibit, including the 1818 census of Union County; plat maps showing the location of those owning property in the county and Jonesboro in 1818; the 1819 Jonesboro Township poll book; a list of the 1807 and 1813 squatters in Union County and where they were living; maps showing the progression of the development of the state of Illinois; and photos of early Illinois statesmen.

Also available for sale will be first-day postal issue envelopes commemorating the event.

The Anna-Jonesboro Women’s Club is serving refreshments, and Marshall Pogue, a violinist, is providing entertainment.

For more information, call 618-893-2567.



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Stephanie Esters is a reporter covering Jackson and Union counties.

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