S4, E4 – Mini-Pod: Upcoming Plans for the Forgottonia Project in 2022

The purpose of this mini pod is to briefly discuss some upcoming plans & projects we’re hoping to do with this classroom podcast & webpage in 2022.


This year the Forgottonia Project will include…

  • MINI PODS – Ranging from a number of topics, quick announcements, brief interviews documenting Forgottonia history, music, etc.
  • STUDENT TAKEOVER PODCAST & BLOG EDITIONS – Hear directly from students growing up in Forgottonia as they ask questions, analyze research, and conduct interviews to gain a better understanding of their sense of place
  • LOCAL NEWS PODS – Featuring students in Mr. Brewer’s Current Events class. Listen as students share the biggest news stories from their community, as well as examine the relationship between journalism and Democracy. Students will develop their journalistic and civic skills by examining how current and controversial topics impact their community. Students will also highlight those local sports, weather, and entertainment stories that seek to bring us together.
  • BOOK STUDIES -We’ll examine local history books authored by Dr. John Hallwas, as well as other books relating to rural America. Dr. John Hallwas has written over 30 books on Forgottonia, as well as several articles featuring stories of Forgotten Voices throughout Illinois. You can learn more about Dr. Hallwas by clicking here. Speaking of Dr. Hallwas’s books…

#2 – Launching the Book Study – DIME NOVEL DESPERADOS: The Notorious Maxwell Brothers:

Our first book study will feature an analysis of Dr. Hallwas’s 2011 book “Dime Novel Desperados: The Notorious Maxwell Brothers.” The book is a TRUE-CRIME narrative that “recovers the long-forgotten story of Ed and Lon Maxwell, the outlaw brothers from Illinois who once rivaled Jesse and Frank James in national notoriety.” Ed & Lon grew up right here in Forgottonia (Fulton & McDonough Counties) and their story contains many lessons for us today. An essential argument Dr. Hallwas makes is that we should rethink the way we think about the Wild West; that is to include stories of communities like Forgottonia positioned just east of the Mississippi.

This series is done in partnership with CHS students and features comments from Dr. Hallwas as well as music from Forgottonia maestro Chris Vallillo. Each episode will review a chapter of the book as well as include a primary source analysis and a featurette of a famous Hollywood western. After their crime spree, the Maxwell mythology was perpetuated through Dime Novels which are at the root of the iconic Hollywood western. Studying various western films will offer further insight into the story of the Maxwells.

#3 – FINDING OUR SENSE OF PLACE: An examination of Census and Election Results in Forgottonia

Recently, students of Cuba High School completed an analysis of 2020 census data throughout Forgottonia. Students also documented and analyzed election results throughout the past 20 years in Forgottonia.

We include not only data but reflections on the roots of various voting and demographic patterns persisting throughout the region. Although these are mostly numbers, these numbers continue to tell stories that have long been invisible.

#4 – Additional Features

Additional features to our webpage include…

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