Welcome To

The Mercer County Historical Society
& Essley-Noble Museum's Home Page


Number of Visits made to MCHS Homepage since March 31st, 2001.

Last updated May 21, 2009

The Mercer County Historical Society is an organization of people whose main concern is preserving the history of Mercer County in Illinois. They have established a museum ( Essley-Noble Memorial Building located at 1406 SE 2nd Ave, Aledo, IL.) with many displays of historical facets of Mercer County including a one-room schoolhouse and a machine shed full of the county's antique artifacts and vintage farm machinery. The organization has approximately 400 members and their expenses are met to a great degree by membership fees and donations. They publish a newsletter that is mailed out four times during the year which can be costly to the organization. The Mercer County Historical Society is a non-profit organization

The Mercer County Historical Society's goals are to preserve artifacts and provide educational opportunities concerning articles and information of historical value and significance to the history and life of residents of Mercer County, IL.

MCHS has a genealogy division with extensive data and related documents for the researching of family histories. Much of the data has been collected by MCHS members. It consists of obit records; marriage records; cemetery records; Census records; family histories; etc.

Mercer County Facts

Mercer County was created on January 13, 1825 (Laws, 1825, p. 93) and was formed from unorganized land (Pike County). County organization was completed in 1835. Present area, or parts of it, formerly included in: Attached to Warren County [Laws, 1831, p. 68.] (1831–1835), Attached to Peoria County [Laws, 1826, p. 76.] (1826–1831), Attached to Schuyler County [Laws, 1825, p. 95.] (1825–1826), Pike County (1821–1825), Madison County (1812–1821) and St. Clair County (1795–1812).

The County was named for Hugh Mercer, a General of the Revolution, killed at the battle of Princeton. The County Seat is Aledo . Prior County Seats was New Boston—Temporary designation (1835–1837), Millersburg (1837–1847), Keithsburg (1847–1857) and Aledo (1857–Present). See also County History for more historical details.

Counties adjacent to Mercer County are Rock Island County (north), Henry County (east), Knox County (southeast), Henderson County (south), Warren County (south), Des Moines County, Iowa (southwest), Louisa County, Iowa (west).

Mercer County Townships include Abington, Duncan, Eliza, Greene, Keithsburg, Mercer Name changed from Centre), Millersburg, New Boston, North Henderson Name changed from Liberty), Ohio Grove Name changed from Ohio), Perryton, Preemption Name changed from Fairfield), Richland Grove, Rivoli Name changed from North Pope), Suez Name changed from Palmyra)

Mercer Communities - Aledo, Illinois * - Alexis, Illinois - Boden, Illinois - Burgess, Illinois - Cable, Illinois - Eliza, Illinois - Gilchrist, Illinois - Hamlet, Illinois - Joy, Illinois - Keithsburg, Illinois - Mannon, Illinois - Marston, Illinois - Matherville, Illinois - Millersburg, Illinois - New Boston, Illinois - New Windsor, Illinois - North Henderson, IL - Norwood, Illinois - Petersville, Illinois - Preemption, Illinois - Reynolds, Illinois - Seaton, Illinois - Shale City, Illinois - Sherrard, Illinois - Sugar Grove, Illinois - Sunbeam, Illinois - Swedona, Illinois - Viola, Illinois - Wanlock, Illinois

----------------------------------------------------------- The Times Record Mon May 11, 2009, 10:09 AM CDT -----------------------------------------------------------
Aledo, Ill. - Ruth Cabeen Giffin, 93, of Aledo, a Mercer County historian, died peacefully Sunday, May 3, 2009 at the Mercer County Nursing Home. Funeral Services were Friday at 1:30 p.m. at the Sunbeam United Presbyterian Church, rural Aledo. Burial was in Candor Cemetery. Visitation took place Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Speer Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to the Mercer County Nursing Home or the Sunbeam United Presbyterian Church. Condolences may be left for the family at www.speerfuneralhome.com. Ruth Ella Cabeen was born on Nov. 24, 1915 to Thomas Elmer and Catherine Ann (Saunders) Cabeen on the family farm in Ohio Grove Township, Mercer County. She was a graduate of Aledo High School. She married Everett Lee Giffin on Dec. 6, 1934 in Roseville. He preceded her in death on July 20, 1980. Ruth's vocation was history. She was a devoted Curator of the Essley Nobel Museum and one of the founding board members of the museum, retiring in the early 1990s. She truly enjoyed giving tours to visiting classes and going out to the schools to educate. Ruth enjoyed geneology and helped many families with research. The history of Mercer County was very special to her, as the Cabeen family settled in this area in 1835. Ruth was a lifelong member of the Sunbeam United Presbyterian Church, of which she was the first woman Elder; a member of the William Dennison Chapter of NSDAR for more than 50 years; a former member of the Order of Eastern Star #126, Aledo and was an avid reader. Those left to cherish Ruth's memory include her children and their spouses: Neil (Virginia) Giffin of Prophetstown, Debra (Gary) Finch of Aledo and Barbara (Allen) Haim of San Rafael, Calif.; grandchildren: Tammie and Steve Sandrock, Susan and David Russell, Paul and Shari Giffin, Jeremy and Lisa Finch, Jaime and Rob Kernan, Jill and Jon Escajeda and Tom and Rosalinda Haim; great-grandchildren: Scott and Brad Sandrock; Morgan Giffin Russell; Sydney Giffin; Taylor, Tristen, Lauren Ruth and Natalie Finch and Griffen and Trevor Kernan; and a niece and nephew, Richard Cabeen and Kay Kilgariff. Ruth was preceded in death by her parents, husband, brother, Hugh Cabeen; and a brother, James in infancy.




MERCER COUNTY FAIR DATES SET, July 13-18 This summer’s Mercer County Fair will be held July 13 through July 18 at the county fairgrounds on Aledo’s southwest side.

Grandstand events have also been scheduled. Harness racing will open the fair on Monday, July 13 at 1:00 pm. This is the only day of horse racing at this year’s fair and no other fair events will take place on Monday.

The Queen Pageant will be held in front of the grandstand on Tuesday, July 14 at 6:30 pm. A new event at the fair this summer is a 4X4 truck tug-of-war on Wednesday, July 15. Starting time is 6:30 Wednesday.

Senior Citizens Day, offering reduced admission prices for seniors, is Thursday, July 16. The Mercer County Community Band, under the direction of Rusty Ruggles, will play at the shelter at 5:30 pm. Following the band the New Windsor Drill Team will perform in front of the grandstand at 6:30 with a draft horse show at 7:00 pm.

Friday, July 17 will find the truck and tractor pull on the straight-a-way in front of the grandstand, while the popular Demo Derby will showcase local drivers on Saturday evening, July 18. Both events begin at 6:30 pm.

Kid’s Day is Wednesday, July 15, from noon to 4:30 pm, with the armband costing $15.00.

The second week of July is the traditional date for the fair, officials of the Mercer County Ag Society said. The Ag Society has been the sponsor of the Mercer County Fair in the first county fair in 1853. This year marks the 156rd year of the annual agricultural exposition.

MCHS Membership Form

1882 History Of Mercer County Reprint



A Mercer County resource not available anywhere else is housed in the Essley-Noble Museum. Our Genealogy Chairman, Cheryl McCaw, assisted by others over the years, has compiled names and newspaper locations for all the obituaries published in Aledo newspapers 1857-2005! Although there have been several other newspapers briefly published in Mercer County over the years, only those in the county seat, Aledo, have covered the 150 past years. We now offer an index of those obituaries.

If you find the name of an ancestor listed in the index, you may make a request either in writing or by e-mail for a copy of the published obituary. Upon receiving your request we will examine the newspaper microfilm to locate the obituary and copy it. We must charge a $5 fee for each obituary requested and sent. Include in your request specific information i.e. full name, names of family members, time period they lived, locale in which they lived, etc. as much as you know. If the obituary is obviously not for your ancestor we will notify you of that. If the obituary is one you want, we will ask for payment before sending it.

Mercer County Historical Society
PO Box 269
Aledo IL 61231


MCHS & Essley-Noble Museum are located at 1406 SE 2nd Avenue, Aledo, IL 61231

NEW Mailing address is MCHS, PO Box 269, Aledo IL 61231

Museum Phone: 309/582-2280

Opening Day , WED. April 1st, 2009;
Closing Day , SAT. October 31st,2009

Hours: 1:00 - 5:00 pm

Wed., Sat., & Sunday

April 1ST through the end of October .

Family Search

MCHS Officers & Board of Directors for 2009-2010

  • Bill Bertrand, President
  • Dave Duncan,Vice President
  • Mary Jane Sticklen, Secretary
  • Jim Runyon, Treasurer

  • Shirley Ball
  • Ronn Dillavou
  • Dave Frieden
  • Beverly Gray
  • Cheryl McCaw
  • Doug McCaw
  • Harriett Reynolds
  • Alyce Robinson
  • Twyla Holmes
  • Richard McMeekan
  • Sandi Sharer

  • Veda Meriwether....Curator
  • Dennis Henderson


    Newsletter Address changes may be sent to
    Jim Runyon
    756 State Hwy #94
    Aledo IL 61231

    Send emails to us!

    Email Query to MCHS

    We'll be glad to help you what ever way we can.

    Please submit your written Genealogy query to
    MCHS Genealogy Dept
    PO Box 269
    Aledo IL 61231

    Limit to one couple per request.

    Please visit ..... www.mercercommunities.com

    Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Western Illinois University,
    University Library, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455;
    Telephone: (309) 298-2716. Map and Directions. Covers the following counties:
    Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Knox, McDonough,
    Mercer, Peoria, Pike, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark and Warren.
    Hours: Monday – Friday, except state holidays 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

    National Archives - Great Lakes Region(Chicago), 7358 South Pulaski Road,
    Chicago, Illinois 60629-5898; 773-948-9001; E-mail: chicago.archives@nara.gov
    (Maintains retired records from Federal agencies and courts in Illinois,
    Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.)General Information Leaflet

    Illinois State Archives, Norton Building, Capitol Complex, Springfield, IL 62756;
    TELEPHONE: (217) 782-4682, Fax: (217) 524-3930; HOURS: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

    The Illinois State Historical Society,
    210 1/2 S. Sixth, Springfield, IL 62701-1503;
    Phone: (217)525-2781, Fax: (217)525-2783,

    Illinois State Genealogical Society,
    P.O. Box 10195, Springfield, IL 62791;
    Phone: (217) 789-1968,

    Illinois State Library, 300 South 2nd Street, Springfield, IL 62701-1796;
    Phone: (217) 785-5600

    Illinois State Historical Library,
    Old State Capitol, Springfield, IL 62701
    County histories, plat books, census indexes, cemetery indexes, city material,
    family and association files, microfilmed newspapers, manuscripts,
    and photographs are located beneath the restored old
    state capitol between 5th and 6th streets and Washington and Adams streets.

    For Birth - Death - Marriage records... contact:
    Mercer County Clerk & Recorder Office
    Mercer County Courthouse
    Po Box 66,
    Aledo, IL 61231
    Please include the dates.

    Wills and Porbates....Contact
    Mercer County Circuit Clerk,
    Mercer County Courthouse
    100 SE 3rd Street, Box 175
    Aledo, IL 61231

    All departments below at located at the Mercer County Courthouse, P.O. Box 66, Aledo, IL 61231 , unless a different address is listed below. NOTE: The record dates below are from the earliest date to present time.

    Mercer County Circuit Court Clerk has Probate Records from 1837 and Court Records from 1836 and is located at the address above. Phone Number: (309) 582-7122

    The Clerk of the Circuit Court, commonly known as the Circuit Clerk, is the keeper of the files and records of the Circuit Court. The Circuit Clerk works at the direction of Circuit Court, Appellate Court and Supreme Court of Illinois and is mandated to follow and enforce the laws of the State of Illinois. The Circuit Clerk's Office processes all documents in criminal law, chancery, support, probate, adoption, juvenile, drainage, local improvement, mental, small claims, traffic, ordinance violations, prepares appeals to the higher court, issues passports, summons jurors, tax deeds and handles approximately ten million dollars in costs, fines, restitution, investments and support each year. The Office also issues summonses, writs, attachments, subpoenas and all other tasks as mandated by the courts.

    Mercer County Recorder has Land Records from 1834 and is located at the courthouse. Phone Number: (309) 582-7021

    The County Recorder of Deeds serves the people of County by receiving, filing and maintaining all records related to real property in our county. These documents range from all types of conveyance deeds, mortgages, releases and assignments, property liens, as well as, assorted federal, state and local liens. The Recorder’s office is responsible for the recordation and storage of plats of subdivision, land surveys and monument records. Many other types of miscellaneous documents are recorded, such as; foreign birth certificates, foreign marriage licenses, and military discharge paperwork to name a few.

    Mercer County Clerk has Birth / Death Records from 1877 and Marriage Records from 1835 and is located at the courthouse. Phone Number: (309) 582-7021

    The County Clerk maintains records and issues certificates of vital statistics (birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage certificates) for the entire County.

    Newsletter Editor

    Send Articles for newsletter
    To Mary Jane Sticklen, Editor
    1452 160 St.
    Aledo, IL 61231

    Mercer County Historical Society

    MCHS Partnership With WIU

    Story of Marsh Journals:

    two-part series examining the journals of early Mercer County settler William A.B. Marsh and his son, Wilson V. Marsh.


    Mercer County 1914 Vol.2 INDEX

    One Room School

    5th Grade Tours

    Inside Essley-Noble Museum

    MCHS Ice Cream Social



    Illinois Societies

    Henry Co.,IL

    Knox Co.


    Louisa Co.,IA

    Mercer Co.,IL

    Old Map of Mercer County

    Rock Island Co.,IL

    Henderson Co.,IL

    Warren Co.,IL


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