March 26, 2017

Illinois-Through the Eyes of Author Doris McCraw/Angela Raines

I write history and poetry under my own name Doris McCraw and have had papers published through the Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs, CO. Most recently an anthology of haiku poetry: “Everyday Haiku, an anthology”, contains some of my work.  I also write fiction under the pen name Angela Raines with the novel “Josie’s Dream” as the latest.  I’ve also have short stories and novellas available on Amazon available for purchase Here. 

Illinois, pronounced: il-uh-noi, is a state dear to my heart. I spent my early years in this “Land of Lincoln” as the license plate says. They were storied years, at least as I look back. Who I am, my love of history, all date back to those early years.

When you say Illinois, most people immediately think of Chicago and its suburbs, or the flat farming land. But Illinois is made up of so much more, and the history...well read on.

I grew up in West Central Illinois, where Illinois, Missouri and Iowa meet. I fished and swam the Mississippi river and hunted geodes near its banks. The largest town was Quincy, a town with history you can’t make up. Founded in 1819, it saw many people take refuge in its settlement. For a more complete history, click  on the following link:,_Illinois

Carthage, Illinois, the next largest town near my childhood home was the site of the death of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saints movement. Smith and his brother Hyrum were killed by a mob in 1844, while they were being held at the jail. Abraham Lincoln was the attorney for the only legally hanged man in Carthage. Even after that loss, Lincoln returned to Carthage to speak when campaigning for the Senate in 1858. Here is a link to additional information about this storied town:,_Illinois

Dallas City, Illinois, founded in 1848, was the home of my grandparents until my grandmothers death in 1937. Founded along the Mississippi River, where the low rapids were located before damming the river saw their demise, saw many a famous people, such as President Polk, Abraham Lincoln, come through the area. It is just across the river from Ft. Madison, Iowa. The town of Nauvoo is also close by, and is about thirty-five miles from my home.

To the east of my hometown is the town of Plymouth. Founded in 1836, it is on the far eastern corner of Hancock County. It is near the town of MacComb, Illinois, McDonough County, where Western Illinois University is located. Other towns in the area; Augusta, Nauvoo, Bently, Basco, all were a part of the region I spent my childhood in. They are also part of the area of Illinois that was known as ‘Forgotonia’. That story is worth reading, and is far to lengthy to cover here. Let’s just say, there was a movement to secede from the US and form their own country. You can start that journey here:

There were also numerous forts located in Illinois in the early years before . In Hancock County, the county of my birth there were three: Fort Edwards, Fort Johnson, Fort La Harpe. Adams County, where Quincy is located had  Camp Wood. McDonough County, just east of Hancock had Cross Roads Fort.  For information about these forts you can visit:

For some great photos of the areas I’ve been speaking of, check out this site: - -

So if anyone ask why I love history, I grew up surrounded by it. It is in my DNA. It was part and parcel of the land of my birth. I do hope you have enjoyed the journey and history to the land of my childhood. So if you are ever in Illinois, make sure to stop by and say hello to some great views, history and wonderful people.

                                                       Doris offers
Two prizes! First- three Agate Gulch novellas (in Ebook format) and second (her soon to be released
Disasters of the Pikes Peak Region (in trade paperback--and a brand new release-be the first to score your copy right here!)    Leave a comment for your chance to win.  Leave a contact link so we can reach you! Good Luck.
Doris Gardner-McCraw
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History

For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 

Photo and Poem:
Click Here –its an interesting poem page based on Life in Seventeen Syllables.

Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here
(all material provided by author)


  1. A very interesting post, Doris/Angela. I think we are kindred souls as you are a writer of a variety of genres and so am I. We are also neighbors as my native state and current home is Paducah in West Kentucky. I applaud your penchant for historical research which I'm sure adds authenticity to your books. I'm surprised we haven't met at a writers' con by now. I'm a member of Heartland Writers and have participated in many of their workshops at Cape and Sikeston in past years. In fact, it was at one of those where I met my first editor from Kensington. I wish you success with your books.
    Linda Swift

  2. I was very interested in your Illinois post which sounds fascinating and filled with history and wonderful sites to visit. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Illinois is a very special place which has so Many places which I would enjoy visiting. Galena is one which I would love to see. Your travelogue was great and your books sound captivating.

  4. Doris, thanks for sharing a little of Illinois history with us. I've spent a little time there, but mostly around the Great Lakes base (both kids' bootcamp graduation). I would've loved to see more of the state.

  5. Sorry to say, other than Chicago, Illinois has been a flyover place for me. But you've given this history lover plenty of reasons to reconsider that status.

  6. I've never really been to Illinois, unless you count the fact that sometime in 1966 or 1967, I changed buses at a Chicago station on my way from one state to another. I don't count this as having visited since I only saw the inside of that bus station. I regret missing out on seeing parts of Illinois. Good post. Thank you.

  7. I drive through Illinois a lot, usually on my way from my home in Indiana to my in-laws' in Missouri--beautiful state! Effingham is our half-way dinner point.

  8. I enjoyed your column, Doris. I've been to Chicago and Peoria. Obviously, I have missed a lot!

  9. Doris, I'm so sorry to be late, but here I am.
    Illinois is a beautiful state. I've been through there several times. I remember once driving through on the interstate in the dead of night with a thunderstorm approaching. A huge streak of lightning touched the ground in the distance and sparks flew from the bottom of it. It was terrible and, yet, awesomely beautiful. I have never seen a storm like that anywhere else.
    Lost Knight Out Of Time looks like an amazing story.
    I wish you all the best, Doris.

  10. This is great stuff, Doris. I'm from Oregon, but I had the opportunity to spend some time in Illinois when I was researching my great-great-grandmother Martha's story, A Place of Her Own. Martha grew up in Green County near Carrollton, so I spent some time there finding her girlhood home and digging through old files at the courthouse. Also went up into Macoupin County where Martha's oldest sister had settled. A wonderful experience. Thank you for sharing some Illinois history that isn't so well known.

  11. As you know, Doris, I grew up in the neighboring state of Iowa. I visited many of the locations you mentioned in your post, including Nauvoo; the Mississippi ran through my childhood backyard, too. I never tire of knowing the close proximity we shared as children but we didn't know each other until a few years ago! :) Our communities (and states) have a great deal of history, and it's certainly fun to explore, whether on the web or in person. Thanks for sharing so much more about the towns of your childhood!

  12. So wonderful. This is a lot of info. It's amazing how much is hidden in each state, in those little towns. Thanks Cher'ley

  13. Congratulations to Linda Swift- you won a copy of "Disasters of the Pikes Peak Region"

    and to Linda Thorne - e book copy of the 3 'Agate Gulch' stories

    I thank everyone who stopped by to read about the state of my birth "Illinois"

    Doris McCraw/Angela Raines


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