Helping you stay up to date with WCHS . . . .

Join Us to Learn More About Village & Township History!

Thanks to a grant from Illinois Humanities, WCHS presents an "activating history" program to help interested residents and researchers learn more about Winnebago Village & Township history. Participants will also learn about the Local History Collection and take away a history timeline and list of Local History Collection resources. The program will be followed by an open house featuring scrapbooks and albums from the collection and a ribbon-cutting for the new WCHS Local History Reading & Display Area at the library. The program is Sunday,  September 25, 2022 at 2 pm at the Winnebago Public Library, 210 N. Elida Street in Winnebago. Doors open at 1:30 pm. Admission is free. Donations are welcome.

2022 Board of Directors & Board Officers

At the 2021 Annual Member Meeting, departing Board Members Don Crawford and Pat Wakeley were presented with plaques recognizing their service. Mary Gross was elected to fill the slot vacated by Pat. Norma Kloster, Irv Koning, and Denise Speracino were re-elected to the Board. The Board appointed Tom Van Sickle to a one-year term to fill Don's unexpired vacant term.

At its January meeting, the Board elected officers for 2022:
     President                 Irv Koning
     Vice-President       Rob Bucey
     Secretary                 Russ Kaney
     Treasurer                Denise Speracino


2021 Annual Member Meeting

The annual meeting of the membership of WCHS was held November 3, 2021. Board officers reported on 2021 accomplishments, 2022 goals, and WCHS financial and membership status.
Departing Board members Don Crawford and Pat Wakeley were recognized for their service.
Mary Gross received a new Volunteer of the Year award. Mary Gross, Irv Koning, Norma Kloster, and Denise Speracino were elected to two-year terms on the Board of Directors. See the 2021 Annual Report here.


Volunteer of the Year

The WCHS Board established an annual Volunteer of the Year award to recognize the value of volunteers to the work of WCHS. At the 2021 Annual Member Meeting, Mary Gross was presented with the first award. We thank Mary for all she has done and continues to do for WCHS and the community.


Diary of Mary Elizabeth Weldon Added to Local Area  History Collection

The Winnebago Community Historical Society is pleased to announce that it has acquired a diary kept by Mary Elizabeth Weldon (1820-1894), daughter of Jonathan Weldon (1795-1876) and Mary Davis Weldon (1786-1871), one of the earliest settlers in Winnebago Township. The diary covers the period October 1841 through the beginning of July 1842. It provides a detailed picture of pioneer life in the newly settled area. Mary’s entries record the weather, the family’s farm duties, her housework duties, interactions with neighbors, land disputes, and her religious concerns. Of particular interest are the land disputes that arose as settlers claimed land rights under the Federal Preemption Act of 1841. The diary records the tar and feathering of her father, Jonathan, in the course of one such dispute.

The diary is a small leather-bound booklet with 64 pages of tightly spaced writing in the cursive style of the late 1800s, using brown and blue ink. The diary has been transcribed verbatim so that its contents can be studied without damage to the original, which is preserved in the Local Area History Collection at the Winnebago Public Library. A transcript is available for purchase here.

The Winnebago Community Historical Society was able to purchase the diary through a generous donation from Robert Weldon, a descendant of Jonathan and Mary Weldon.