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Old Slave House Chronology

Jon Musgrave. 2005. Slaves, Salt, Sex & Mr. Crenshaw. Marion, Ill.: IllinoisHistory.com. Appendix B. Used by permission.

 
 

  • November 19, 1797 John Hart Crenshaw born.
  • October 2, 1817 Crenshaw marries Francine “Sina” Taylor in Gallatin Co., Illinois.
  • mid 1820s Crenshaw indicted for kidnapping along with John Forrester and Preston W. Davis.
  • 1827 Crenshaw becomes slave trader and takes Frank Granger and 15 others to Tennessee.
  • 1828 Crenshaw kidnaps Lucinda and her two children, takes them to Barren Co., Kentucky.
  • November 5, 1828 Crenshaw buys his first saltworks.
  • July 8, 1829 John Crenshaw and his brother Abraham buy site of Old Slave House [OSH].
  • 1834 Traditional start date for construction of the house.
  • January 12, 1835 Crenshaw buys out Abraham’s land interest, including OSH site.
  • 1838 Likely start date for construction, as this is date on cornerstone.
  • 1838 Construction begins on Shawneetown & Alton R.R. grade below the hill in front of the OSH.
  • March – June 1840 Crenshaw moves from Hickory Hill area to mill town at Cypressville (modern-day Junction)
  • July 23, 1840 Cypressville post office begins operation in Crenshaw’s store.
  • September 5-17, 1840 Abraham Lincoln campaigns in Gallatin County, likely date for attendance at dance at OSH.
  • December 9, 1840 Legislature grants Crenshaw sole control of the saltworks
  • March – June 1840 Crenshaw moves from Cypressville back to Hickory Hill.
  • 1842 Traditional completion date for OSH based on window jamb.
  • Winter 1842 Crenshaw kidnaps Maria Adams and her children, sells them to Lewis Kuykendall and son.
  • February 25, 1846 Margaret Crenshaw marries Charles H. Lanphier in the OSH.
  • June 6, 1846 Soldiers elect Michael K. Lawler captain in Mexican War.
  • Before September 1846 Crenshaw gets involved in Newton Wright’s attempt to falsely imprison the former Prather slaves.
  • December 1, 1846 Crenshaw forced to give up lease of the state-owned saltworks after failing to pay taxes for seven years.
  • May 7, 1847 Bank mortgage of $15,000 due.
  • c. 1847 Crenshaw kidnaps Peter White and three others from Equality.
  • November 13, 1847 Crenshaw surrenders lease of state’s saltworks.
  • December 1, 1847 Crenshaw once again mortgages OSH to brother-in-law Taylor.
  • Late 1847 / Early 1848 Crenshaw loses leg in attack.
  • March 11, 1848 Crenshaw recovers enough to ride horse into Shawneetown.
  • March 24, 1849 Crenshaw and partners buy Hicks Mill in Equality.
  • By May1849 Crenshaw moves family into John Lane’s old tavern in Equality.
  • April 28, 1850 Battered by judgments Crenshaw mortgages OSH to Taylor.
  • Spring 1850 Brother-in-law Jonathan Houston farms part of land at OSH.
  • September 18-21, 1850 Census finds Crenshaw in Equality, son William T. at the OSH.
  • After September1850 Wm. T. Crenshaw moves out of OSH for Monroe Co., Illinois.
  • 1851 Crenshaw hires German family to live in house, run farm
  • 1851-1853 Strange noises reported coming from third floor
  • 1853 George D. Sanks buys land immediately north of the OSH
  • 1853-1855 George D. Sanks family lives in the Old Slave House
  • Before June 1855 Crenshaw moves back to the Old Slave House
  • June 1856 Crenshaw goes to Washington, gets new leg.
  • 1856-1859 Likely period Bob Wilson serves as stud slave at OSH.
  • March 4, 1861 Abraham Lincoln takes oath of office as the 16th president.
  • April 12, 1861 Confederates begin bombardment of Fort Sumter.
  • April 13, 1861 Fort Sumter falls.
  • April 15, 1861 Michael K. Lawler begins organizing what becomes the 18th Ill. Inf.
  • April 15-21, 1861 Charles H. Lanphier takes strong pro-Union stance in Springfield
  • July 9, 1861 James Foster and the Gallatin Co. Cav. join up with the 1st Ill. Cav. Foster named Capt.
  • July 30, 1861 Wm. T. Crenshaw one of 1314 men counted in military census.
  • After Sept. 4, 1861 E. D. Taylor meets with U.S. Grant in Cairo on Lincoln’s behalf.
  • Oct. 27, 1861 Ninian W. Edwards writes Lincoln, tells of Taylor’s impending trip to Washington to see him.
  • Nov. 7, 1861 Confederates make first raid into Gallatin County.
  • 1861-1864 During the war Lawler’s family moves in with Crenshaw’s.
  • Early January 1862 Taylor meets with Gen. John A. McClernand at Cairo.
  • Feb. 13-16, 1862 Battle of Fort Donelson. Lawler wounded.
  • April 6, 1864 Crenshaw pays $3,000 to Taylor who releases OSH mortgage.
  • April 23-28, 1864 Confederate raiders threaten Shawneetown.
  • May 2, 1864 Crenshaw sells OSH and 300 acres to James S. Folsom.
  • Nov. 5, 1866 Folsom and wife Susan, mortgage OSH to son Albert Folsom.
  • Dec. 5, 1867 Hickory Hill Lane on west side of OSH to become county road.
  • 1869 St. Louis & Southeastern finally builds the long-planned railroad just below OSH.
  • June 17, 1870 Crenshaw’s household totals 12 individuals. Lives about two miles NW of OSH.
  • June 18, 1870 Census finds Albert and Catherine Folsom living in the OSH.
  • Jan. 15, 1871 Railroad service begins on tracks below the OSH.
  • Oct. 5, 1871 Crenshaw makes last property sale, 1,000 acres for $20,000.
  • Dec. 4, 1871 Crenshaw dies. Buried in Hickory Hill cemetery northeast of the OSH.
  • June 12, 1872 Albert Folsom marries Alice Watkins in Gallatin County.
  • Aug. 11, 1873 Methodist minister IDs Granger as a sobriquet for Crenshaw.
  • Feb. 28, 1878 Albert Folsom sells OSH to Alice W. F. Folsom.
  • June 19, 1880 A. W. Folsom’s family includes four people living at Hickory Hill.
  • Aug. 7, 1880 Folsom sells OSH to William M. & Martha A. Hargrave on credit.
  • Sept. 17, 1881 Crenshaw’s widow Sina dies at last home, Ryefield Farm.
  • August 1891 Crenshaw descendant takes oldest surviving photograph of OSH
  • Late January 1893 Joseph Dempsey moves into the OSH soon after his January wedding.
  • June 5, 1897 Hargraves finally pay off note purchasing OSH.
  • 1900 Dempseys living in Equality, unsure who is living in OSH.
  • 1904 Clarence Bonnell moves to Harrisburg. Learns stories of OSH.
  • 1906 Gerald C. Smith learns about kidnappings from a Kuykendall
  • July 6, 1908 Dempsey leases coal mine from Hargrave’s son, lives in the OSH.
  • 1911 Smith told not to talk about Crenshaw after father becomes minister in Equality M.E. church.
  • 1912 James Harrison Wilson recalls father’s role in breaking up post Mexican War kidnappings
  • March 17, 1913 Last of the Dempsey children born in the OSH.
  • After March 1913 Dempsey family moves out. A. J. Sisk’s family moves into OSH.
  • 1913-1914 Sisk installs floor in carriage way on first floor. Removes widow walk railing if not removed completely before.
  • March 1, 1914 Fred. K. Hargrave issues bond for deed to Andrew J. Sisk.
  • Aug. 15, 1915 Hargrave issues deed to Sisk’s wife Hattie Sisk for OSH land.
  • Oct. 1, 1915 Sisks mortgage OSH property.
  • November 14, 1918 Sisk’s father and Civil War veteran A. J., Sr., dies after living in OSH for five years. Both father and son attended the Methodist church in Equality Crenshaw had attended during his last years.
  • Winter 1921 The “Lost Story” of the OSH is published.
  • 1924-1929 Crenshaw’s large barn burned likely due to teenagers smoking.
  • 1924-1929 Sisk builds porch on west side of the house that’s later enclosed.
  • 1926 With new highways tourists start visiting OSH to see third floor.
  • 1930 Census counts five in Sisk family living in OSH.
  • 1930 To deter tourists, A. J. Sisk charges 10¢ for adults, 5¢ for kids.
  • 1934 James Lyle Sisk installs first interpretive markers in the house.
  • Summer 1934 George W. Smith and John Mulcaster begin first study of OSH.
  • December 1935 Mulcaster enters veterans’ hospital.
  • March 1936 Myra Wiederhold interviews old German immigrant about her time in the OSH in the 1850s.
  • April 2, 1936 Wm. L. Patton, a great-grandson of Crenshaw’s, recalls his grandmother’s story of playing in slave quarters, which he assumes is the third floor.
  • April 6, 1936 Charles K. Roedel writes OSH was a “depot for the ‘underground slave traffic,’” but thought it ran north.
  • April 7, 1936 Patton replies to Roedel. Corrects direction: “Crenshaw instead of running Negroes north, ‘sold them down the river’.”
  • November 1937 Barbara Burr Hubbs publishes first article on OSH.
  • 1939 WPA Guide adds to confusion. Describes OSH as UGRR station.
  • c. 1941 Bonnie Sisk, publishes first tourist booklet on the OSH.
  • February 1, 1937 Mulcaster dies after 11 months in the hospital.
  • April 22, 1942 Daughter of Crenshaw’s niece begins providing OSH stories.
  • November 10, 1944 So. Ill. Hist. Soc. calls on state to acquire OSH as a historic site.
  • January 19, 1945 U. of Illinois official urges state to acquire OSH as a historic site.
  • March 1952 OSH owner Andrew Jackson Sisk, Jr., dies.
  • 1958-1961 State hires consultant to look at OSH who reports back that house doesn’t “have the dignity to be a state historic site.” Calls site’s story a morbid tale of “slaves, salt, sex & Mr. Crenshaw.”
  • 1963 George M. Sisk, Jr., begins operations of the Old Slave House.
  • 1965 Sisk acquires OSH.
  • c. 1970 Crenshaw descendant writes of Crenshaw’s use 90-day slaves.
  • October 31, 1996 Last day of business for the Old Slave House,
  • November 4, 1996 Ron Nelson finds first solid proof of Crenshaw’s kidnappings.
  • February 11, 1998 U.S. Rep. Glenn Poshard supports OSH in Congressional speech.
  • June 9, 1998 Poshard supports Network to Freedom bill, references OSH.
  • December 2000 State of Illinois acquires the house from George M. Sisk, Jr.
  • February 27, 2003 State acquires Old Slave House antiques from Sisk.
  • July 14, 2004 Application mailed for U.G.R.R. Network to Freedom designation.
  • September 15, 2004 National Park Service recognizes OSH’ s role as part of Reverse Underground Railroad. Adds site to National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program.

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