Kathi Kresol has been researching the history of Northern Illinois for almost two decades.  She has two solo books “Murder and Mayhem in Rockford, Illinois” and Haunted Rockford, Illinois”.  Kathi has also collaborated with other local authors to share several short articles in four books featuring compilations of Rockford authors.   

Kathi loves to share the stories she researches in presentations for local organizations and the Haunted Rockford Events.  The local newspaper, Rock River Times has shared Kathi’s stories for several years.  The  column “Voices from the Grave”  has allowed Kathi to share her passion for history with a larger part of Rockford’s Community.  She is always honored when someone mentions reading one of her stories.

Kathi’s main goal in sharing her stories, whether they are true crime, ghost stories, or local history is to honor the lives of the men, women and children who came before.  Some of the stories reflect a tragic moment in these peoples’ lives.  But Kathi also tries to show the courage that the survivor’s displayed as they move forward from the worst possible moment.  She also hopes that these stories illuminate the compassion that the folks of Rockford always have displayed to those who are suffering.  

Kathi tries to weave the history and the legends together with personal experiences in sharing the ghost stories.  Her goal is not to convince anyone to believe in ghosts.  She invites folks to  read the stories with an open mind and decide for themselves whether these tales are just interesting legends that have been passed down or true ghostly encounters.  For maybe it is as Einstein once said, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.”

Kathi’s main inspiration comes from her four remarkable children and “the guy who brings her coffee”, John. They all support her by allowing her to drag them to historical places, listening to the stories, helping her “look for dead guys”, and putting up with her absences when she disappears to research or write.

 

Rockford Buzz, an online source of all things Rockford, published an interview with Kathi Kresol on October 31, 2018.

“To uncover what makes local organizations tick , you must go back to their founder. Kathi Kresol is Haunted Rockford. She is the heart of the organization, and everything you see comes from her brain and her passion. 
 
When I got to sit down with Kathi to discuss how Haunted Rockford came to be, she seemed to have an endless supply of stories to tell. Honestly, I could have sat there all day and listened to everything she had to say. The way she tells these stories with respect to the folks who have passed is admirable. They aren’t just things for her to tell and forget, each one stays with her and you can hear in her delivery that she truly cares. Whether they died of natural causes or were victim to terrible circumstance, it doesn’t change her demeanor. She wants to tell their stories and it allows them to live on. “
 
 
 

 Contact Kathi

Email:      kathi@hauntedrockford.com

Jehial Harmon

Jehial Harmon was born in Suffield, Connecticut, Oct. 5, 1762.  This made him only  12 years old in April of 1775 when the Battle of Lexington  (and the beginning of the Revolutionary War) occurred.  Jehial’s older brother served in the army but Jehial’s parents thought he was too young to go with his brother.  The parents finally relented in 1779, when Jehial turned 16.  His brother was ill and was forced to leave the service.  Jehial joined up and from all accounts fought bravely.

Jehial survived the war and went on to have a family.  Some of his children came to the “west” to settle and start families of their own here in Rockford.  Jehial came to live with his children in 1844.  He died here in Rockford on March 3, 1845.   Jehial was buried at Greenwood Cemetery.  His grave was marked June 14 1902. “Connecticut in the Revolution.”

Copyright © 2013 Kathi Kresol, Haunted Rockford Events

Barbara Hamilton

Barbara Hamilton was only 14 years old when she died on June 6, 1909 in her home on North Second Street.  She had been ill for a while, in fact, her parents had just brought her  home from a hospital in Chicago where she had spent a couple of months struggling to get better.

Little Barbara took a turn for the worst and her father was called home from a business trip to Minneapolis.  He was a successful attorney. He made the journey by from Minneapolis to Janesville  by train and the rest of the journey by “automobile”.   He got to her bedside just a few minutes before she passed away. Unfortunately, Barbara was unconscious and the father voiced doubt whether she knew he was there.

Before her illness Barbara spent time riding horses and was a member of the Children of the American Revolution.

Barbara was said to have been a very sweet young girl and that everyone who knew her loved her.  She was the Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Hamilton’s only child and they were devastated when she
died.

There is a legend surrounding this little girl.  It seems she loved horses and when her beloved horse passed away, rumor has it that the family buried it here in this hillside so that it could be close to Barbara.  Psychics visiting the area in Cedar Bluff have been confused and startled to see a horse running through the cemetery.

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Kathi Kresol, Haunted Rockford Events