They Broke the Prairie

Author: Earnest Elmo Calkins
Introduction by Rodney O. Davis
A classic portrait of an Illinois city on its 100th anniversary
Paper – $22
Publication Date
Paperback: 01/01/1989
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About the Book

In the 1830s, the trails leading to the upper Mississippi valley were white with covered wagons. Forty-six Yankee wagons carried Galesburg’s first settlers: Presbyterian and Congregationalist farmers and their families who had left the rocky Mohawk Valley for the lush Illinois prairie. Earnest Elmo Calkins combines a wealth of lively details with amusing anecdotes to tell the story of Galesburg’s growth over the next century. Calkins traces the progress of the community and the college through the arrival of the railroad, slave running, abolitionist confrontations, the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the Civil War, and the postwar era.

About the Author

Earnest Elmo Calkins is the author of Louder, Please! The Autobiography of a Deaf Man.

Also by this author

History of Illinois coverThe Lincoln-Douglas Debates coverHerndon on Lincoln cover



“The finest history of an Illinois community is Calkin’s They Broke the Prairie, an engaging account of Galesburg's first 100 years. Much of the focus is on Knox College, which, like the town, was founded as an act of faith by George Washington Gale and his associates. The book is notable for its insight into the values that shaped the community--and clashed in the community--and for its vast array of vivid details and dramatic episodes.”--John E. Hallwas, A Reader’s Guide to Illinois Literature