Benjamin Franklin Toland 

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A 3 day event occurred to mark the 150th anniversary of
The Charleston Illinois Riot between Union Soldiers home on leave and those opposed to the War known as Copperheads. This Historic Event in Coles County History involved many friends and family of President Abraham Lincoln.

Upcoming Events:

World Premier of 
The Charleston Riot Documentary
Sunday August 24, 2014
Charleston IL Public Library 
Rotary Room

Please join us to view the Documentary 
and if you missed the Reenactment we will be showing the film of the Reenactment also. 

DVD's of the Documentary, Reenactment, Speakers Series, Harold Holzer key note speech and the play "A Question of Loyalty" written by Earl Halbe 
will be available for purchase along with Charleston Riot souvenirs that day.

Please come join us!

Recent Awards:
Coles County Historical Preservation Advisory Committee presented us with: Award of Merit on May 8, 2014

Illinois House of Representatives and Rep. Brad Holbrook recognized us for our contribution May 12, 2o14

Coles County Historical Society: Special Service Award
June 16, 2014

           Governor Pat Quinn  declared
                        March 28-30,2014
                    "Charleston Riot Days"
                      in the State of Illinois

If you would like to see some videos from the Riot weekend there is a great selection from many visitors who attended and from local media outlets on YOU TUBE: THE CHARLESTON RIOT

Charleston Riot Committee
520 Jackson Avenue
Charleston, IL 61920

Charleston Riot 150th Anniversary
Friday- March 28, 2014

3:00 pm Event kick off, with wreath laying at the site of the Charleston Riot marker on the square by descendants of participants. If you are a descendant, please contact us and let us know if you will be present by Monday March 24, 2014
Charleston Mayor Rennels will read City and State Proclamations

Civil War Encampment begins. *
Fall Creek Suttlery  
Ron Jones and Terry Thomann, Tin Type Photographers 

" A Visit With Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln"
                   Charleston Bible Church
                   2605 University Drive
               Offerings go to support the Charleston Christian Academy

Displays of Charleston Riot artifacts and Civil War artifacts will be throughout the Charleston Carnegie Library all weekend.
"Seven Score and Ten Years Years Ago: The Stories and Memories of the Charleston IL Riot" presented by EIU Public History Class will also be displayed.

Saturday- March 29, 2014
                  Square activities begin
                  Food and Craft vendors open on the square
                  Shuttle bus service begins from Fairgrounds to sites
                  Old Time Medicine Show throughout the day:
                          Sandford Lee presents Professor Farquar 

             Guided Historical Tours of the Charleston Square
                 12pm and 2pm

                  Charleston Courthouse and Tunnel Tours
                  (on the National Register of Historic Places)
                 Tin Type Photography

Guided Historical Tours of
                  11am and 1pm Old City Cemetery
                  3 pm Mound Cemetery 
                  where participants are buried.

                 Illinois State Genealogical Society will be on site at the                        Charleston Library Rotary Room Saturday and on the                          square Sunday to answer the question for you,                                                 "was my ancestor in the Civil War?"

9:30am 5K and 2 Mile Fun Walk "Reflections of the Riot"
                        Register Online or Print a registration form.

10:00am-4:00pm Historic House Tour  
821 Monroe Morton House

Built in 1836, Greek Revival Style. The town of Charleston is named after Charles Morton, who donated 20 acres of land for the purpose of setting up the town. The home is now active as a law office. * it will be opened limited hours, please check for times.

        106 Harrison Ramsey-Barlett House

 Brick Italianate home with original windows and interior shutters. Built betweem 1864-69 by Robert Hodgen, who surveyed the original Cloverleaf RR route and was instrumental in helping to bring EIU to Charleston. The clay for the bricks to build the home were taken from the property, resulting in the creation of Hodgen’s Pond. It is known by many as the former home of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Ramsey. It is currently owned by Dr. Brett and Susan Bartlett

    200 Harrison Beals House

Built in the 1870’s. Owned by Mr. Paul Beals. The home sits to the North of Hodgen’s Pond and is highlighted by a large solarium. The home is surrounded by landscaped gardens and overlooks Hodgen’s Pond to the south. The home is beautifully furnished with period items, many antiques in the home are family heirlooms of Paul’s family. 

       948 Sixth Street Connolly House

Built in 1863 is the second oldest structure still standing on 6th Street. Italianate Style. The bricks for the home were made at a kiln where EIU now stands, the clay coming from the college pond. Colonel James Connelly had the home built for his bride. Conn0lly served in the Civil War in the 123rd IL Vol Inf. He was a member of President Lincoln’s honor guard for his funeral. He was elected to the IL Legislature and later was appointed a US District Attorney in 1872 by President Grant. He also served in the US Congress. The home is being lovingly restored by Debra and Mike Sullivan.

820 Sixth Street Alvey-Kelly House
Built in 1864 by J.M. Alvey, co-owner of the city flour mill. The home originally featured Gothic Revival styling with gingerbread trim.
 In 1920 it was purchased by James Kelly, with the intention of demolishing the home. Instead he became fond of the home and the beautiful walnut winding staircase that graces the entryway. They instead remodeled the home to reflect their southern roots by replacing the windows French windows, removing the gingerbread and added a saltbox addition. James Kelly was the father of Chenault Kelly who built a home in the 1940’s to the north. She was a well known local author. The home has been recently purchased by new Charleston residents, Steven and Elizabeth Brantley.

   895  Seventh Street Dudley House
Built between 1890-92, by noted Charleston architect, Charles D. Mitchell for Mr. and Mrs. Corey McFarland.

The home was purchased by the Dr. Gerry Dudley family in 1920, and the home remained in their family until 1982 when it was donated to the Coles County Historical Society.
The home is Queen Anne style, with a wrap around porch and elaborate woodwork. The interior of the home is furnished with many of the Dudley family belongings, reflecting the 1920's. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

* The tour is recommended for ages 14 and above

11:00am   Troops arrival and Political Rally at the Coles County                               Fairgrounds Grandstands greeted by 33rd Illinois                                                                                   Volunteer Regiment Band,
                      Mayor Larry Rennels as 1864 Mayor Eli Wiley will be                                 our MC
                      Come sing some Civil War Songs!
                      Speeches by:
                      "President Lincoln" Joe Woodard
                      State Rep. Brad Halbrook will read the
                      State Proclamation     

                      US Congressman John Shimkus                

12:00pm   "A Visit With Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln"
                       For children at the Charleston Public Library
                       Mr. and Mrs. B.F. McClerren present

12:30-4:30 pm Speakers series at the Coles County Courthouse
 12:30pm Courtroom #1 Room #296
           Guy Fraker 
author of  "Lincoln's  Ladder to the Presidency"                Presents: "Lincoln, Linder and Ficklin:Law and Politics"
           1:30-2:30 Courtroom #3 Room #242 
           Michael Kleen author of "Tales of Coles County"
           Presents: "The Copperhead Threat in Illinois: Peace            
            Democrats, Loyalty Leagues, and the Charleston Riot of                                                                                                                1864" 

           2:30-3:30 Courtroom #1 Room #296
           R. Eden Martin author and descendant of
           Congressman John R. Eden who was to speak at a rally the                     day of the Riot
           3:30-4:30 Courtroom #3 Room #242
            Trial and Tribulations the Matsen Slave Trials

             Book signings by Lincoln/Coles County History authors     
                    throughout the day at Pensees Bookshop on the square

1:00-2:30pm 33rd Illinois Volunteer Regiment Band performs at                              the Gazebo corner of 6th and Monroe
                            Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy

1:30 pm Camp Grant Historical Marker by the State of Illinois                           Presentation. Corner of Logan and Shelby
                  Matttoon, IL

Civil War Encampment continues

5:00pm  Activities on the square close Shuttle Bus service stops

5:30-10:00pm Charleston Riot Dinner  $30.00
                              The Charleston Moose Lodge 
           Keynote Speaker: Harold Holzer, Lincoln Scholar  
           Get your tickets online or at the Recreation Department in 
           City Hall, 520 Jackson Ave, Charleston, IL.
           Entertainment by The 33rd Illinois Volunteer Regimental 
           Band; Introductions by President Lincoln (Joe Woodard)
                                 * Period Dress is Optional 

Sunday March 30, 2014
9:00 am
Self Guided Cemetery Tours 
Courthouse and tunnel Tours
Vendors around the square
Sandford Lee presents, Professor Farquar and Pole Cat Annie

11:00 am Guided Tour of the Square

12:00-2:45pm Speakers series at Charleston Public Library prior to Charleston Riot Reenactment
Dr. Bob Sampson, Author and Historian
Dr. John Scott Parkinson, Assistant Professor of History
                                                       Ball State University
Dr. Robert Sterling, Retired Professor of History,
                                         Eastern Ilinois University 
Harold Holzer, Senior VP of External Affairs for the Metropolitan
                Museum of  Art New York, Lincoln Scholar and author of                   "How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America"

3:00pm Live Reenactment of The Charleston Illinois Riot
Bring your own lawn chairs 

5:00 pm 
 Original Play, "A Question of Loyalty"written
           for the event by Earl Halbe   Charleston Christian Church
                   411 Jackson Avenue

 *Are you interested in joining
The Civil War  Encampment?
 Contact Western Federal Blues    
Encampment Schedule March 29-30, 2014   
Visitors Welcome to view activities 
0600 Revelry
1100  Arrival at Coles County Fairgrounds
1200  Mess Call
1300  Battalion Drill- company drill
1430   Guard Mounts
1700   Dress Parade

1830   Supper Call
2030   Tatoo

0700 Revelry
0800 Breakfast Call
1030  Church Service
1200  Mess Call
1300  Nap sack inspection
1500  Charleston IL Riot on Courthouse Square

* all events are subject to change or cancellation

If you are a descendant of a participant, we would like to hear from you. Please contact 
Ann Winkler Hinrichs @

Please join our Facebook Page
The Charleston Riot
A Question of Loyalty

We are adding more events on a monthly basis, so please check back with us for updates.

Saturday, June 23, 2012
The Charleston Illinois Riot: March 28, 1864

15oth Anniversary
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