Oral History of Forgottonia – Dr. Francis Regnier: The Forgotten Hero of New Salem, by Amber Cannon

“Don’t always look into famous people, look into people that helped a person become so well known.”

Amber Cannon


As part of our Oral History in Forgottonia series, Cuba High School freshman Amber Cannon hosts this episode about Dr. Francis Regnier; the forgotten hero of New Salem. Most folks know a lot about New Salem and the town’s most famous citizen, Abraham Lincoln, but this episode hopes to inform you about another historical figure that made an enormous contribution to the town.

Inside the home of Dr. Francis Regnier


  • Who is Dr. Francis Regnier and how long was he in New Salem?
  • What sort of medical tools would he have used during this time?
  • What are some lessons we can learn from his legacy today?

Amber Cannon BIO

Amber is a freshman at Cuba High School. Amber is involved with history club, Scholastic Bowl, and Drama Club. They enjoy writing, podcasting, and other creative endeavors. Along with Mom, Katy, Amber has volunteered for several years at the New Salem Historical Site in Petersburg, Illinois. After high school, Amber is thinking about becoming a writer and being able to sell a book at some point.

Here’s Amber in action while volunteering in New Salem
Amber recording her podcast, lots of hard work went into this!
Pill Cutter that Amber references in her podcast


Our ORAL HISTORY of FORGOTTONIA series is part of the NCHE Rural Experience in America grant in partnership with the Western IL Museum, and the Western IL University Archives.  In 2021, the National Council for History Education (NCHE) recruited teachers nationwide to participate in free and open professional development that occurred asynchronously and synchronously online, focusing on rural history and historical inquiry using Library of Congress sources. Teachers traveled to Norman, Oklahoma to collaborate with a community partner selected from their hometown to create a public history project.

These community-based, service-learning public history projects enable students to investigate their local and regional histories deeply and to connect their own histories to the larger human experience. A key purpose of this project is to link rural communities and their histories to national narratives and primary source collections, and the targeted focus of this proposal provides an avenue for such purposeful connections.

Our project, The Oral History of Forgottonia, is one of several throughout the country featured by the NCHE. To learn about other projects featured by this grant, check out this list and visit the links at the bottom of this post.


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