by the Jersey County Historical Society, the Jersey County Historical Museum is
located at the Cheney Mansion site just north of downtown Jerseyville. The Mansion was built after the Civil War
and incorporated the ‘Little Red House’. ‘The Little Red House,”
constructed in 1827, was the first frame structure in Jersey County. The
building served as a tavern, stagecoach stop, and a bank. The Cheney Mansion is
furnished with 19th century pieces (photo right,) houses a collection of ladies
and gentlemen's clothing, and features a complete kitchen from the 1800-1900
era. The “Little Red House” was utilized as a station for the Underground
Railroad until the end of the Civil War and included a false cellar that was
used to hide slaves searching for freedom.
the Cheney Mansion was purchased by local benefactors Clayton Brown and Richard
McCauley and donated to the Historical Society. Recently renovated, the mansion
features many original Cheney family artifacts as well as vintage clothing,
furniture, toys, and other items of historical interest. The Jersey County
Historical Society was formed in the early years of the 20th century with the
purpose of collecting, preserving and displaying articles from the past and to
explain the history of the beginnings of the Jersey County community and is
operated and maintained by volunteers from the area.
building (photo left) housing additional museum space, a Research Center,
and a Gift Shop is located in back of the mansion. On display in this
facility are military artifacts and uniforms from the Civil War through Desert
Storm and a large selection of photographs of the Jersey County’s past. The
Research Center includes a library, used mostly for genealogy research, and has
census records, obituaries, marriage records, family records and booklets,
newspapers going back to 1864. The library also features many old photos of
homes that were built in the late 1800's and past atlases. Historical Society
volunteers are on hand to assist those looking for information.
on the grounds is the Lone Star School which represents all 72 one-room schools
that once were a part of Jersey County. This building is an excellent example of
the rural one-room schoolhouse that once was common throughout Illinois. In 2003
the school was been moved from its original location in Westfield to the Cheney
Mansion grounds and restored on its original stone foundation. It has been
furnished with typical period pieces and other artifacts typical to schools of
its era. Visitors touring the Lone Star School can experience what it was like
to attend these one-room country schools.
Other structures that have been preserved are the Union Forest Church and the
McAdams Log Cabin.
annual Apple Festival is held on the
Cheney Mansion grounds is held in the fall. The front door of
the mansion is normally locked, so during hours of operation, go to the side
door or to the back building.
Visiting the Jersey
County Historical Museum
Tours of the Cheney
Mansion and the Jersey County Historical Society complex are by appointment only
and are limited to groups of 10 or more. Reservations can be made by calling
Carol at 618-498-2811 or 618-639-4749. The cost is $5 per person.
The society's genealogy
center is open to the public:
Thursday and Friday: 1 pm - 4 pm
Saturday 10 am - 4 pm
An admission is charged to visit the Jersey County
Historical Museum: $5 to tour the mansion,
museum, and Lone Star School.
There is no charge to use the genealogy research center.
Directions: The Jersey County Historical Museum is located at 601 N.
State Street (US-67) north of downtown Jerseyville.
N 39 07.411
W 90 19.806
more about the Jerseyville area.