Ernest J. Stevens – Millionaire Hotelier and Businessman

Ernest James Stevens - Stevens Hotel

Ernest James Stevens was born on February 13, 1884 in Colchester, McDonough County, Illinois. His parents were Jessie Louise (Smith) and James William Stevens. In 1890 the family with four sons moved to Chicago where Ernest’s father James W. and his brother Edward established the Illinois Life Insurance Company, a business that ultimately generated the substantial…

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Ed & Lon Maxwell (alias The Williams Bros.) – Outlaws

The Maxwell Bros.

Two of the most notorious men this county ever produced, and who at one time attained a national reputation for their murderous and nefarious deeds, were Edward and Alonzo Maxwell, the outlaw brothers, raised in Forgottonia‘s  McDonough County, who rivaled Frank and Jesse James in their notoriety. Beginning with petty thievery in Blandinsville, IL and ending with the…

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George W. Swink – Businessman & Politician

George Washington Swink, or G.W. Swink, (1836–1910) was a landowner and politician in Colorado and is said to have been the holder of the first timber claim certificate in the United States, issued by President Grover Cleveland on November 3, 1887. George W. Swink was born June 30, 1836, in Breckinridge County, Kentucky, and moved with his parents to Schuyler County, Illinois, when he was four.…

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Ray “Rock” Hanson – War Hero / Athletic Coach

Raymond W. “Rock” Hanson former United States Marine Colonel and highly decorated veteran of World War I and World War II, was best known as the football coach at Western Illinois State Teachers College (now Western Illinois University) in Macomb, Illinois from 1926 to 1941. Hanson enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1916 and served during World War I. He was assigned to the 75th Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment. Hanson…

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James K. Magie – Journalist

James K. Magie - photo courtesy of Patrice E. McFarland

James K. Magie was the owner of the Macomb Journal during the Civil War era in Macomb from 1861 to 1865. He accompanied Abraham Lincoln as he traveled around Illinois in the late 1850s debating politics with Stephen Douglas. Magie was with Lincoln in Macomb, when a significant strategy for the debates was settled upon,…

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Sen. Kimberly Lightford – Politician

Kimberly Lightford (born May 10, 1968) is a Democratic member of the Illinois Senate, representing the 4th district since 1998. She is Senate Majority Leader and also serves on Labor, Education, Executive, Financial Institutions and Redistricting committees. She is also chair of the Senate Black Caucus and co-chair of the Illinois Commission of Intergovernmental Cooperation.…

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Mike Wagner – NFL Super Bowl Champion

Michael Robert Wagner is a former professional football player, a safety for 10 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. He won four Super Bowls as a member of the famed Steel Curtain defense. Born in Waukegan, Illinois, Wagner graduated in 1967 from Carmel High School in Mundelein. He played college football at…

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