Hutsonville Historical Society
Six log cabins representing life as it had been in Illinois in 1812 can be found in the Crawford County community of Hutsonville. The re-created village is dedicated to the Isaac Hutson family, who were massacred by Indians in 1812. The village is located one-and-a-half miles south of Hutsonville on Outer South Rose Street and stands sixty-four rods west of the original massacre site. The cabin was built near the creek that later bore the first white settler's name: Hutson.
Wayne Brock of Trimble offered a log cabin to the Hutsonville Chamber of Commerce in 1967. The chamber president Jim Winters knew the community's desire to build a memorial to the Hutson family. After contacting several people, the Hutsonville Historical Society was formed in 1966. Earl, Alva, Oris, and Mervyn McCoy donated an acre of land. The McCoy ancestors had settled the land upon which the Hutsons were massacred.
Work began soon after the society was formed. Clinton Correll, Bob Correll, Gayle Meeker, and Harry Milam marked the logs, dismantled the cabin, and moved it to the memorial site. Sawyer and neighbor, Henry Mehler, advised the men as to what type of lumber was needed to make the shake shingles on the roof of the Hutson Cabin.
By June 1967 the first in a series of cabins was erected, chinked, roofed, and ready for the many loaned and donated articles that the community wanted to display in their museum. In its first year, 2,500 people visited. In 1971 a second cabin was built from two cabins that the society dismantled, and it is now used as a large museum, Clark Seymour of Palestine gave a cabin to the Historical Society in 1972. Abraham Conrad had built this cabin in Hutsonville Township. This cabin was moved intact and is now the Weavers Cottage. In 1977 a country store was completed using logs from the Guy McCoy home, located one mile west of the cabin site, and logs from an Annapolis area cabin. Dedicated historical society members have struggled to make the memorial a source of pride for the small rural community. No state or federal funds are used to maintain this museum.
In 1978 the Mike Richards family of Palestine donated logs to build a chapel. Some logs in the belfry were from the Olive Branch Baptist Church. Some thirty-five weddings have been performed in the nondenominational church. Church services are held throughout the summer months.
In 1989 a barn was moved from west of Trimble. It had been the home of Mr. and Mrs. Bert Creed. A foundation is under construction and work will be completed in the coming year for an authentic inn dating from about 1790. The logs from Elias Brashear's cabin were moved from north of Heathsville.
The village has hosted many activities including tours by scouts, schools, and organizations, as well as the annual massacre pageant. Other special events include a March Muster, 1812 Christmas, bazaars, driving tours, Illinois Ranger Encampment, Boy Scout Camp, Girl Scout Day Camp, quilt raffles, school tour for Crawford County History Day, and a Wabash River Pearl Show. Hutsonville is proud of the accomplishments and the maintenance of this 1812 village.—[From Terre Haute Tribune, July 8, 1960; Hutsonville Herald, Mar. 10, 1967; Robinson Daily News, April 17, 1967, July 29, 1969, Ap. 13, 1972, Aug. 7, 1971; Norris Electric News, Sept. 1968; David Freeland, Muzzle Blasts, Aug. 1971; Palestine Pioneer, July 15, 1990; student historian's interview with Barbara Galey, Jan. 4, 1999; student historian's interview with Scarlett Williamson, Jan. 10, 1999; Hutsonville Historical Society, records and scrapbooks.]
The rebuilt cabins at Memorial Village in Hutsonville provide a glimpse of life on the prairie in 1812. (Photo courtesy Christy Tolle)