Historian and author Darrel Dexter, standing, shared some stories about the Union County area’s history during a presentation held last Sunday afternoon at Stinson Memorial Library in Anna.

‘Pioneer Sketches’ reception, book signing held at Stinson

A new edition of a book about Union County history was featured during a presentation held last Sunday afternoon at Stinson Memorial Library in Anna.

Local historian and author Darrel Dexter has written a new edition of the book titled “Pioneer Sketches of Union County, Illinois.”

The PAST organization of Union County hosted a reception and book-signing at the Anna library. PAST, which stands for Promoting Appreciation for Structural Treasures, works to preserve, protect and promote Union County’s history.

The author shared a little bit of Union County history during the event at the library, which was attended by more than 30 people.

The 200-plus page book is an edited and annotated update of the work Dexter published in 1986. 

The book features a collection of articles written by Dr. Sidney Smith Condon that were originally published as a weekly series in the Jonesboro Gazette newspaper in 1871.

The 1986 book was no longer in print, so PAST encouraged Dexter to update the content for a new edition. 

The author has added pictures and many footnotes from his many years of research about Union County and its early families.  

He expanded on Condon’s original pioneer biographies, with detailed family ancestries that provide generations of information.

Dexter is the author of more than 30 historical and genealogy books that make historical data readily available to everyone. He teaches history at Egyptian School in Tamms.

The new edition of the book is dedicated to the memory of the late Geneva Davie Wiggs. 

Wiggs was a local photographer who not only shared many historical photos with Dexter, but also bequeathed her historical photo collection as a legacy to all of the people of Southern Illinois.

Dexter praised Wiggs for the generosity she showed in sharing the history of Union County.

The publication of the new edition was made possible with the support of a donation from Friend of PAST LuAnn McGinnis of Hattiesburg, Miss., and the help of many other Friends of the PAST.

McGinnis was in attendance at Sunday afternoon’s program in Anna.

Also in attendance were Mary Kay Wiggs Sullivan and Billie Kay Wiggs Hamlin, the daughters of the late Geneva Wiggs. Sullivan and Wiggs both live in Cape Girardeau.

The publication of the book is seen as a first step as plans are being made for the 2018 bicentennial celebrations of the State of Illinois, Union County and the City of Jonesboro.

PAST presented a copy of the new book to Stinson Memorial Library prior to the start of Sunday afternoon’s program.

The book, which costs $25, is available at PAST’s Heritage House in Jonesboro, as well as at locations in the area.

The book also can be ordered by sending a check for $25 made to “P.A.S.T.”  and mailed to Linda Hileman, 1370 Kaolin Rd., Cobden, Ill. 62920. 

PAST noted that those who order the book by mail are asked to add $3 to the amount of your check if you would like the book mailed to you.

The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158
Email: news@annanews.com

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