Prior to 1913 no systemic effort had been made to preserve the old-time records, and the evidences of old customs and habits of living, except such as were to be found in official records that was made necessary by the exigencies of business.
In August 1913 a call was sent out to about 150 prominent old people to organize, in which the following purposes were stated. “Your attention is called to the advisability of organizing a county historical society. The necessity for such a society has been suggested for the purpose of making a permanent record of the many interesting events of the past and present of our county; of compiling and preserving a record of the privations, achievements, failures of the notable men and women, mostly old settlers, who have contributed to the growth and success of our county, and of collecting and placing on permanent exhibition the relics and reminders of pioneer life, and also of prehistoric tribes and life within the boundaries of our county, for information and education of the present and future citizens of our county. It is thought that the organization of a county historical society would be the proper step to take in the accomplishment of these purposes. Such a society would co-operate with the Old Settlers Association and with the State Historical Society in similar work over the state.”
In response to this call which was signed by A. T. Strange, E. C. Richards and Jane Vawter’s, sixty people signified their willingness to become members. Accordingly, an organization was effected on September 26, with Edward C. Richards as president; Amos Miller first vice president; Jane Vawter’s, second vice president; Frank P. Winchester, recording secretary; R. E. Gifford, treasurer, and A. T. Strange, corresponding secretary.
In September 1915 a re-organization was effected re-election Mr. Richards, Mr. Gifford, Mr. Strange and Mrs. Vawter’s, and electing Lyman Ware, vice president and Mrs. Laura Clotfelter, recording secretary.
The society at once began the collection of forgotten history and old relics, securing a place for their temporary storage. In 1916, the society and its importance as a county auxiliary, and ask the county to assume the custody of the relics of the county’s past history, and provide a place in the courthouse for their custody and care. The matter was received favorably by the supervisors and a place ordered provided for in the basement of the courthouse. Quite a large number of historical facts gleaned from the past of the county is presented to the public in these pages, and it is intended to continue the work as the society can get the required data. The society continues to act as the custodian of the relics for the present, though they now belong to the county. The work the organizers is purely unselfish and philanthropic.
The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Montgomery County - Volume 2 – 1918