The Legacy of Coal

The black diamond — bituminous coal — provided the economic fuel for Williamson County’s dramatic early growth.

Since the day a pioneer found coal near the present-day village of Spillertown north of Marion, coal has shaped the economic landscape of Williamson County.

The very name of Williamson County towns bespeak their mining history: Carterville, Herrin, Colp, Stiritz, and other towns were named for mines or the men who created them. Continue reading

Jones, John W. “Willie” 1912-1968, Civic Leader

John William “Willie” Jones, beloved Marion citizen, active civic leader and the first black man to obtain membership in any Marion service club, was a native of Marion born on January 12, 1912 to William Jones and Mrs. Alice Crossland. Jones was hailed by Marion editor and news publisher, Oldham Paisley, as being a force of one in maintaining racial tension in Marion and promoting development of the black community. Continue reading

Rodd, Harry R. 1912-1987, Marion Mayor 1947-1951

Harry R. Rodd was born August 15, 1912 in DuQuoin to Roy Edgar Rodd (1880-1968) and Lela May Calvert (1886-1974). Harry’s father, Roy, was born on a farm in Williamson County in 1880 in the now defunct Western precinct that we know today as Blairsville Township in the northwest corner of the county. He spent most of his life living in Marion and worked as an insurance salesman. Continue reading