The three women in the following story had several similarities.  They were all young, they were all white, and they were all murdered.  All three are part of a large club in Rockford that no one ever wants to join.  The unsolved murder club.    

Most people in this area have heard about the famous detective from Chicago, Allan Pinkerton.  He is considered to be America’s first Private Detective.  Pinkerton was born in 1819 in Scotland where his father, William worked as a policeman. 

When Oscar Olson died in December of 1910, many Swedish friends and family mourned the young man. Oscar was well known and liked by the Rockford’s close knit Swedish Community. He was a carpenter by trade and from all accounts quite a good one. 

David Benjamin and his wife, Frances were much like everyone else that settled in the early town of Guilford, Illinois.  Their parents moved here to make a better life for their families. Both families made their living by farming.

When Everett Hawley said goodbye to his wife Etha on February 19, 1976, they had no way of knowing that the day would not go according to plan.  Everett usually spent part of his day with his business partner, Clarence Owens.  The two men worked together for years buying and selling real estate.

Memorial Day was set aside to remember and honor those men and women who have died during their service to the United States Military.  It became an official holiday in 1868.  This area has always been filled with many men and women who joined the fight to protect this country in our times of need

The Little Spring Creek winds its way through Whiteside County near the small town of Coleta.  The creek has been drawing people to its banks for many years.  The area once hosted hay rides through the woods along the creek for families to enjoy.  

Susan Ilsley was very concerned on the evening of June 3, 1858.  The torrential rains that started to fall around 5:00 p.m. that day were still raging by 10:00 p.m.  She knew her husband Horatio was also worried though of course, he didn’t show it.  As a pastor, he was always the first to calm everyone else’s fears. 

Forty one years ago, on September 27, 1977, 17-year old Louise Betts was dropped off near a shopping mall by her mother, Nancy.  No one would ever see Louise alive again.  When Louise didn’t come home, her parents called the police to report her missing. 

It has been almost forty years since the Rockford Area Crime Stoppers was formed in 1981.  Former Police Chief Delbert Peterson began to develop the program in March of 1980.  Though the stories vary on how Peterson learned of the program, he was intrigued by the thought of a program that united the police department, the local media and the community in order to fight crime.

In its heyday, the Wagon Wheel Resort was considered the premiere place to visit in this area.  The creator of this legendary place was Walt Williamson.  Walt started his quest in 1936 with a small loan and a desire to open a truck stop and root beer stand.

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