At first no one paid much attention to the loud voices coming from the apartment on the southwest side of Rockford on February 3, 1929.  The young couple who lived in the upstairs of the house on Wall Street fought quite frequently.

It seems that many people in Rockford knew of Elisha Dunn.  But they differed in their opinions about him.  Some saw him as a healer, a medical doctor who saved lives.  Others labeled him an eccentric man who once thought himself a psychic.  Many others, less kind, called him a fraud, swindler, and a liar.

George Laurs was a 24-year-old immigrant who like many men in 1913, came to Rockford to look for employment.  He considered himself very lucky when he was hired by the Cyclone Blow Company from Chicago to assist in the installation of a giant blow pipe on the third floor of a furniture factory.

The sounds of long-forgotten music are heard in the halls of a home on Rockford’s west side.  The house was built on the Rock River in 1893 by W.F. Barnes for his family.

The music has been heard by several employees of the Burpee Natural History Museum who now owns the building

This tragic story played out right on the streets of Rockford.  It was March 24, 1922 and spring was just beginning to take hold.

Mrs. May Sorter and her son, Theodore, were being escorted by Amos Estes.  They were making their way home from the Colonial Theater.

Jack Magee was born in Rockford on August 6, 1916.  He was one of six children born to Harry and Ethel Magee.  They lived on Chicago Avenue before relocating to Belvidere around 1929.

Jack married Lucia Burton in 1937.  They had a son that they named Charles after her father.  Jack got a job driving a truck for the Harry Perkins Transfer Company.

Everyone who knew Randall Blank described him in the same way; happy, caring and completely dedicated to becoming a Rockford police officer.  Randall worked hard to make his dream come true.   He graduated from Jefferson High School and went to Rock Valley College.

There are no records left to tell how the young couple met.  But one thing was abundantly clear, Leo Carlson loved Celia.  They were young when they married in 1908.  Later, Leo’s friends would say that he would speak often of his young wife’s beauty.

When the sun came up on that Thursday morning, July 17, 1930 people in the little town of Oregon, Illinois were bracing themselves for another warm day.  No one could predict that gunfire would disrupt the normally peaceful downtown square.

Rockford has been fortunate to have many men and women whose names have put the Forest City on the map.  One of these extraordinary people, named Sammy Mandell, came to light in the 1920s and ’30s.  Though most people won’t recognize the name, Sammy was once the Boxing Lightweight Champion of the World.

When a woman’s body was found floating face down in the Rock River on July 6, 1925, the police realized they faced many challenges.  There was no identification on the body and there were no witnesses to what might have happened to the young woman.  Her long dark skirt was badly torn and when they turned her over to remove her from the water, they noticed that her mouth and nose were filled with mud from the bottom of the river.  

It had been a good day that Sunday, August 13, 1933.  Forty-one-year-old Earl Hanson had enjoyed the day with his 12-year-old daughter, June.  They attended church services and went to the theater.  Earl headed north on Main Street to take June back to her mother’s home at about nine o’ clock in the evening.



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