Welcome To KEY TO THE CITY's Page For
Marion County, Illinois
Here is a history page for Salem.
Originally known as Decatur, Salem had to change its name when it opened its post office. There was already a Decatur, Illinois. The name of Salem was chosen by founders Rufus Ricker and Mark Tully, who came from a Salem, Indiana. It was founded in 1823 as the County Seat of the new county of Marion.
Salem was incorporated in 1855. It's first mayor was Warren McMackin. An interesting side note: He was the first of five generation of his family to hold the office of Mayor in Salem.
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William Jennings Bryan
Born here in Salem on 19 March 1860. A museum marks his birthplace and is filled with memorabilia of his life, his politics and life of that day. He was known by most as "The Silver-Tongued Orator." He ran for President of the United States three different times.
John T. Scopes
This is also the hometown of Mr. Scopes, who was indicted for teaching evolution in Dayton, Tennessee. The following text is from a new article of 11 June 1925 in the Salem Republican, "John Thomas Scopes, 24 years, indicted for teaching evolution in Dayton, Tenn., High School is present in New York securing counsel and advisers to face his trial, July 16th. Merchants of Dayton were not slow to realize the commercial side of this trial. They held a banquet, invited Scopes to attend and mapped out a plan to secure rooms and board to accommodate the people who be attracted by the trial, reckoning it bring thousand of dollars to them. They planned to ride high, wide and handsome in the way of prices, which Scopes says disgusted him and he told them frankly it was a poor sample of southern hospitality, and suggested that every visitor be given a square deal.
One of the grand jurors who found the indictment suggested that hanging should be Scope's portion. Scopes, it will be recalled, graduated with Salem High School class of 1919 on which occasion, Wm. Jennings Bryan delivered the address. [It will be recalled that Bryan was a prosecutor at the trial.] The whole matter has assumed the portion of Dayton and her merchants endeavoring to secure a large amount of notoriety and publicity with an open question as whether Scopes is a party to the plot or not.
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Salem, IL Community High School
1200 North Broadway
Salem, Illinois 62881