Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0245
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Full Text of HR0245  103rd General Assembly




HR0245LRB103 32106 ECR 61115 r


2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois House of
3Representatives wish to congratulate the City of Salem on the
4occasion of its bicentennial as the county seat of Marion
5County; and
6    WHEREAS, The largest series of earthquakes in the history
7of the new American republic brought the first settlers to
8Salem; the New Madrid, Missouri earthquakes of 1811 to 1812,
9which caused the Mississippi River to flow backward and church
10bells to ring as far away as Boston, sent Captain Samuel Young
11searching for a more hospitable home; after finding abundant
12game and tranquility when he reached the land of present-day
13Salem, he made camp on what is now the courthouse square; and
14    WHEREAS, In the 1820s, a severe drought hit northern and
15central Illinois, which contributed to wagonloads of people
16traveling to southern Illinois to obtain food and grain for
17themselves and their livestock; this migration was compared to
18the Biblical story of Israel going to Egypt to purchase grain;
19thus, southern Illinois became known as "Egypt" or "Little
20Egypt", with Salem being referred to as the "Gateway of Little
21Egypt"; and
22    WHEREAS, Salem is situated halfway between the Indiana and



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1Missouri borders on what was originally the Vincennes-St.
2Louis Road, known today as U.S. Highway 50 that goes from
3Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, evolving the city into a
4stagecoach stop along the Vincennes Trail; although most of
5the Conestoga wagons rolled through the city, enough stopped
6to deposit their cargoes that Salem was eventually
7incorporated as a village in 1855; and
8    WHEREAS, Marion County was created on January 24, 1823;
9the legislation, sponsored by State Representative Zadoc Casey
10of Mount Vernon, stated that for the purpose of fixing the
11permanent seat of justice for the county, or the "county
12seat", a selection would be recommended by three appointed
13commissioners, who were Andrew Bankson, William Hicks, and
14John G. Fitch; and
15    WHEREAS, The commissioners, after viewing the situation of
16the county and examining the different donations offered,
17decided to fix the permanent seat of justice of Marion County
18on 30 acres of land offered by James Roberts, making their
19decision on May 13, 1823; and
20    WHEREAS, At the first meeting of the Marion County
21Commissioners on June 2, 1823, the location of the seat of
22justice was accepted, and the commissioners' court ordered
23that this seat be known and designated by the name Salem; and



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1    WHEREAS, Local history indicates that the town of Salem
2was first known as Decatur; however, when the founding fathers
3went to register the town at the then state capitol of
4Vandalia, they learned the name Decatur had already been
5selected for another community in Illinois; due to the
6religious influence of the town fathers, they selected the
7name "Salem" as the town's permanent name, which is featured
8in the Old Testament and derives from the Hebrew word meaning
9"Jerusalem"; and
10    WHEREAS, Salem's next 200 years have included a rich
11history influenced by and involving agriculture, railroads,
12the discovery of oil and coal, the development and expansion
13of commerce and industry, and the influence of local leaders
14on local, state, and federal public policy; and
15    WHEREAS, William Jennings Bryan, known as "The
16Silver-Tongued Orator", is one of Salem's most famous
17citizens; he was the presidential nominee for the Democratic
18Party three times, represented Nebraska in the U.S. House of
19Representatives, and served as the Secretary of State under
20President Woodrow Wilson; and
21    WHEREAS, Salem is also home of John Thomas Scopes, a 1919
22graduate of Salem High School whose commencement speaker was



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1William Jennings Bryan; at 24 years old, Scopes was indicted
2for teaching evolution at a high school in Dayton, Tennessee;
3William Jennings Bryan served as a prosecutor at the
4subsequent trial, notably referred to as the Scopes Monkey
5Trial or The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes; and
6    WHEREAS, Salem is rich in local lore and legends,
7including being the birthplace of the condiment Miracle Whip;
8the restaurateur behind Max Crossett's Café, an eatery located
9at 100 North Washington, claimed that the Kraft Company bought
10the café's recipe of Max's X-tra Fine Salad Dressing for $300
11in 1931, which was then renamed Kraft's Miracle Whip; and
12    WHEREAS, Another Salem legend surrounds the Halfway
13Tavern, located on U.S. 50 just east of Salem and halfway
14between St. Louis, Missouri and Vincennes, Indiana; originally
15constructed in 1815, the establishment was used as both an inn
16and livery stable; there has been speculation that one of the
17customers was a young attorney named Abraham Lincoln during a
18time when he and other lawyers "rode the circuit" from
19courthouse to courthouse to try cases; some years ago, the
20State of Illinois took over the property, making it a historic
21site; and
22    WHEREAS, In the 1930s, Salem transformed from a
23quiet-paced small town, doing its best to recover from the



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1Great Depression, to a city hit with another severe jolt in its
2economy due to the oil boom; the city was noted for having the
3second highest amount of oil production in any one area when 93
4million barrels of oil were pumped from area farmland in 1939;
6    WHEREAS, Salem is known as the "Birthplace of the G.I.
7Bill of Rights", otherwise known as the Servicemen's
8Readjustment Act of 1944; this Act was forged from the
9knowledge of Salem's own Luther B. Easley American Legion Post
10128 on November 4, 1943, and it was drafted by Omar J. McMackin
11and Earl W. Merritt, both of Salem, former Governor John
12Stelle of McLeansboro, Dr. Leonard W. Esper of Springfield,
13George H. Bauer of Effingham, William R. McCauley of Olney,
14James P. Ringley of Lemont, and A. L. Starshak of Chicago;
15former Governor Stelle was with President Franklin D.
16Roosevelt when he signed it into law in Washington, D.C. on
17June 22, 1944; therefore, be it
20we congratulate the City of Salem on its bicentennial
21anniversary as the county seat of Marion County, and we honor
22the achievements of its citizens and its role in Illinois and
23U.S. history; and be it further



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1    RESOLVED, That we wish the City of Salem another 200 years
2of success; and be it further
3    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
4presented to City of Salem as an expression of our esteem and