Category: Historical Research

Is Witchcraft Illegal in the State of Illinois?

Is Witchcraft Illegal in the State of Illinois?
Many people find fascination with the topic of the Salem Witch trials of 1692.  I have read a number of fascinating books on the subject and most recently a team of researchers from Salem State University have claimed to have located the actual site of the 19 executions by hanging that resulted from the trials. ... Read more »

The Chicago legend of Peabody ’s Tomb and the Masochistic Monks turns 93 Today

The Chicago legend of Peabody ’s Tomb and the Masochistic Monks turns 93 Today
On August 27, 1922 the legend of Peabody’s Tomb began.  Many people may not know the legend by name but if you grew up on the west side of Chicago or in the near west suburbs you might have heard about the old mansion and estate that high school kids would sneak into late at... Read more »

Assassination Theater – A Theatrical Investigation of the Murder of JFK

Assassination Theater – A Theatrical Investigation of the Murder of JFK
At first I thought that it wouldn’t be fair that I should be writing a review of Assassination Theater.  After all I love history and I am a former criminal investigator so it was right up my alley.  I thought it would be rather like a Republican doing a review of the Republican National Convention... Read more »
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Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison's Assassin Patrick Eugene Prendergast was executed on this date in 1894

Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison's Assassin Patrick Eugene Prendergast was executed on this date in 1894
Today, July 13, 2015 is the 121st anniversary of the execution by hanging of Patrick Eugene Prendergast.  Actually Patrick Eugene Joseph Prendergast was his full name.  Many who have read Erik Larson’s Devil in The White City are familiar with Prendergast.  He was a 25 year old Chicago newspaper distributor who on October 28, 1893... Read more »

List of Chicago Police Officers Killed and Injured at Chicago Haymarket Affair

List of Chicago Police Officers Killed and Injured at Chicago Haymarket Affair
Today marks the 129th Anniversary of what has become known as Chicago’s Haymarket Affair.  Some say it was the turning point for the labor movement not only in Chicago but the world.  There are two great websites that tell the story of that day.  One of those websites is the Chicago History Museum’s Haymarket Affair... Read more »

Don't Like Your Family History? There's an App for That!

Don't Like Your Family History?  There's an App for That!
I don’t mean to pick on Ben Affleck but since it is out there what the heck?!  If you are not aware by now through some leaked emails it was recently released that Ben Affleck had requested that information concerning him having slave-holding ancestors be withheld from viewers of the PBS show, “Finding Your Roots”.... Read more »
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Chicago Links to the Titanic - Annie Kate Kelly

Chicago Links to the Titanic - Annie Kate Kelly
Today, April 14, was the beginning of the end of the R.M.S. Titanic which started sinking on April 14, 1912 and became legend early on the morning of the 15th.  I have been writing a series of articles on Chicago’s links to the Titanic and this is the third in that series. Annie Kate Kelly,... Read more »

Columbia Susan Manak – First Baby Born at the World’s Columbian Exposition

Columbia Susan Manak – First Baby Born at the World’s Columbian Exposition
On October 17, 1892 a group of roughly 60 Inuits from Labrador arrived in Chicago to be part of the Esquimaux Village at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. It was the first of the ethnological exhibits to arrive at the Expo and was given a location inside the Exposition proper rather than on the Midway... Read more »

The Last Execution by Electric Chair in Chicago

The Last Execution by Electric Chair in Chicago
Today, February 18, 2015, is the 270th anniversary of Italian Physicist Alessandro Volta.  Volta is credited with inventing the first chemical battery and actually separated and identified the odorless gas, methane.  You can probably deduce by his name that the term to describe electric potential (the volt) is named in his honor.  Actually, since he... Read more »
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Anniversary of the Chicago Iroquois Theater Fire and the Unknown Victim

Anniversary of the Chicago Iroquois Theater Fire and the Unknown Victim
UPDATE: DECEMBER 30, 2016: I published this original article two years ago today and wrote about an unknown victim of the Iroquois Theater Fire named Emma Bartlett.  Thanks to a great lover of history who started a web page memorializing the fire and its victims, that is no longer the case!  The website is  http://www.iroquoistheater.com ... Read more »