We are pleased to announce that we’ve added the Breese Journal to our archives! Breese, Illinois, is located in Clinton County in South Central Illinois. We have issues dating back to 1923 when Breese had a population of around 2,000. The headlines back then announced the installation of the town’s first stop signs and plans to build a sewer system (although according to this clipping outhouses were still around for another 35 years!)
The city of Breese was founded in 1855 and settled in part by German immigrants who were drawn to the area’s fertile farmland. It was named after Sidney Breese, a senator and contemporary to Abraham Lincoln. The city is located about 40 miles from downtown St. Louis, so if you have ancestors from Eastern Missouri you might find them mentioned in this paper.
During the Depression, Breese established a Mayor’s Relief Committee to provide food and clothing for the town’s unemployed. Several years later, in 1940, as the world became embroiled in war, Clinton County resident William August Klasing enlisted in the US Navy. He was serving on the USS Oklahoma when Pearl Harbor was bombed, becoming Clinton County’s first casualty of war. Using DNA, last year his remains were identified and returned home after 78 years.
The Breese Journal is a wonderful resource for researching ancestors that lived in the area. This clipping shows all the births and deaths in Breese during 1930! The paper reported when residents spent time in the hospital or made a visit to grandma, and notable events like when the Westermann family purchased a new Studebaker. Each page provides a historical snapshot of the time.
Many of the area’s residents worked in the railroad and mining industry. You can learn about Breese’s first coal mine that opened in the 1800s, and mining tragedies such as the East Mine accident in 1906.