Oral History of Forgottonia – Fulton County, Abe Lincoln, and the Civil War: Jayson Stead’s Interview with Rick Klinedinst


As part of our Oral History in Forgottonia series, Cuba High School junior Jayson Stead interviews local Lincoln enthusiast Rick Klinedinst, about Fulton County during the Civil War. In his day job, Mr. Klinedinst serves as the president of the MidAmerica National Bank. He is also passionate about history and has even helped publish a book called Camp Ellis: Once a City – Not Forgotten, which describes the large WW2 training & prison camp that was once in our community.  Mr. Klinedinst is a graduate of both Spoon River College and Western Illinois University. He is a member of the Canton Park District Board, the Spoon River Partnership for Economic Development, and an Ambassador with the Canton Area Chamber of Commerce. Rick & his wife Janet have 3 children and live in Canton, IL


  • How Fulton County was divided in the Civil War
  • What it was like to live in Fulton County during the Civil War
  • Abraham Lincoln in Fulton County
  • Why it’s important for young people to learn how the Civil War impacted our local region

Jayson Stead BIO

Jayson is a junior at Cuba High School and the son of Georgeanna & Christopher Stead. Jayson is involved with history club, youth group, track & field, and e-sports. He enjoys a good old-fashioned home-cooked meal, Fast and Furious movies, and all of Mr. Brewer’s history classes. After high school, Jayson is thinking about being a truck driver.

This book by Douglas K. Meyer is one of Jayson’s resources from the WIU Archives. Meyer traces the origins of how many regions of Illinois became divided (rural vs. urban, manufacturing vs. agriculture, native-born vs. foreign-born, etc.
Another great source Jayson was provided at the WIU Archives. In this book, Dr. John Hallwas provides further insight into the division of Fulton County through annotations of Edgar Lee Master’s famous collection of poems.
Western IL University’s own Dr. Tim Robert’s latest book called “The Infernal War” was also an outstanding source for Jayson’s research. This book perfectly captures the cultural context of Fulton County, IL during the Civil War as seen through the correspondence of William & Jane Standard. The Standards were antiwar Copperheads which demonstrates that not everyone in the area was fond of Lincoln during the war years.


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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