It might surprise you to learn that of the 20 presidents who have served since 1900, just 5 have come from a big city (Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, Donald Trump). It wasn’t until the 1920s when the majority of Americans began to migrate from small towns to big cities. You might be surprised to learn what notable figures have come from your town, county or state.
In our area of western Illinois, we were saddened to learn about the passing of John Mahoney. Many Americans recognize beloved actor John Mahoney from his days as Frasier’s dad, Martin Crane, on the hit NBC sitcom. However, most natives of rural Forgottonia recall that Mahoney lived in Western Illinois McDonough County for a time as a young man. Although he was actually born in England and associated most with living in Chicago, he came to Macomb, IL to live with his sister where he studied at Quincy University and joined the army to help him become a citizen faster. According to his bio on Wikipedia, Mahoney taught English for a time during the 1970s at Western Illinois University before settling in the Chicago area.
The passing of the very talented John Mahoney provides an opportunity for rural Americans to remember two quick lessons:
(1)Don’t connect every icon with a big city. There are plenty who have been nestled in a small town, not all unlike Mahoney.
(2)Take some time to research notable people from your own town, county, and state. You might be surprised who you discover! Check out our resources below for more info.
Here is an article referencing the Small Town Heritage of our American Presidents
Read more about notable figures like John Mahoney on our post about McDonough County in Western Illinois. We’ve also been working to compile a more comprehensive list of notable figures from all 16 counties that make up Forgottonia. You can visit our page here to learn more.
Here is a link to the CNN article discussing the passing of Frasier star John Mahoney.