New edition of local history book written, signing reception planned

‘Pioneer Sketches of Union County, Illinois’

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

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

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

The 1986 book was no longer in print, so the PAST organization of Union County encouraged Dexter to update the content for a new edition. Plans called for the new edition to be printed and released by PAST in 2017. 

PAST noted in a news release that Dexter has added pictures and many footnotes from his vast knowledge, and years of research on Union County and its early families.  

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

He 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 2017 edition of “Pioneers” 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.

Through a donation from Friend of PAST LuAnn McGinnis of Hattiesburg, Miss., and the help of many other Friends of the PAST, those involved with the publication said that it is hoped the book will appropriately lead into the 2018 bicentennial commemorations of Union County, the City of Jonesboro and the State of Illinois.

Book Signing Reception Planned 

A book signing reception is planned starting at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 30, at Stinson Memorial Library in Anna. 

(Entry to Stinson on the day of the reception will be through downstairs side door at the library.)

During the program, the book will be introduced and Dexter will be welcomed to talk about his research.

In addition, PAST plans to honor McGinnis, who has ancestral roots in the area and who spurred the publishing of the book.  

Other honorees are expected to be Mary Kay Sullivan and Billie Kay Hamlin, the daughters of the late Geneva Wiggs.

The book will be available for $25 at the reception. The book also can be purchased at the This N’ That Flea Market on South Main Street in downtown Anna and at the PAST Heritage House in Jonesboro.  

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

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