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Randolph County Illinois
Genealogy and History


Note: Some of these may be abstracted, instead of complete transcriptions.  We're adding the complete biographies slowly but surely!
The abstracted bios were transcribed by Jeana Gallagher unless otherwise noted

When the civil war broke out in 1861, the newspapers of Randolph County all espoused the cause of the administration of Mr. Lincoln, and the Democratic party were left without a local organ. To fill this vacancy, John R. Shannon and Robert M. McHenry established at Chester the Egyptian Picket Guard, the first number of which was issued on the twenty-second day of May, 1862. The paper became at once an exponent of the extremest Democratic views of the North, and became very popular with its friends, and bitterly inimical to those who disagreed with its doctrines.
In the spring of 1863 Mr. McHenry, whose health had given way, withdrew from the paper, and went to California. Mr. Shannon remained sole editor of the paper. In 1864 John T. McBride, Esq., became the proprietor and publisher, Mr. Shannon being retained as editor. In July, 1864, the press and office was attacked by a mob of returned soldiers, and demolished. In August following, the publication of the paper was resumed, and continued in the hands of McBride as publisher, and Shannon as editor, until in 1865, Mr. William H. Toy conducted the paper from that date until the fall of 1867. R. M. McHenry, one of its originators, having returned from California, then obtained the office, and dropped the name of Picket Guard, and gave to the paper the name of the Valley Clarion. Mr. McHenry was an able writer, and a young man of more than ordinary intellectual ability. His death from consumption in June, 1868, severed his connection with the Clarion, and Robert G. Detrick, Esq., became editor and publisher until the end of the volume. Mr. William J. Armour then became editor, and conducted the paper for one year. On the ninth of November, 1869, Charles L. Spencer, Esq., became editor and proprietor, and has continued in the control of its columns from that day to the present. Mr. Spencer has been instrumental in making the Clarion one of the most popular and influential papers of Southern Illinois. It is the organ of the Democracy of the County, and has an extended circulation.[Source: "An Illustrated Historical Map of Randolph County, Ills."; by John R. Williams, pub. by W. R. Brink & Co.; 1875; tr. by GT Transcription Team]



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