From January 2016 to January 2017, the region known as Forgottonia lost approximately 2,775 jobs. To learn why, we sat down with Dr. Trenton Ellis, a rural sociologist from Black Hills St. University. Although he lives in Spearfish, South Dakota, Ellis is a native of Forgottonia growing up in Canton, IL and graduating from Spoon River College in 2005. After SRC, Ellis completed undergraduate and master’s degrees from Western Illinois University in Macomb. In 2009 he matriculated to South Dakota State University’s Department of Sociology and Rural Studies where he graduated with a PhD in sociology in 2015. In 2016 he was awarded an outstanding Teaching Award at BHSU.
The following is an excerpt from our interview with Dr. Ellis.
On this episode we wanted to share a cool experience we recently had in our psychology class. We were visited by the lovely Mrs. Karen Hahn a social worker from Psychology Specialists in Canton, IL. Karen’s visit is definitely consistent with our objective to examine the social problems we face in our own context of rural America; specifically these 16 counties in western IL referred to by many as Forgottonia. In fact if we want firsthand insights of what exactly the issues are and what it takes to overcome them, I’m not sure there’s anybody better to talk to then a social worker like Karen.
Part 1 – Karen’s Story (0 – 4 min)
Karen Hahn is a licensed clinical social worker at Psychology Specialists in Canton, IL. She grew up on a farm and was a good student throughout school. She wanted to be an accountant because they made money. She attended Truman State University to get a business degree, but discovered she had a passion for sociology. About 1.5 years later, she changed her major–despite her father’s protest– and got a degree in child and family health. From there she moved to Canton and worked at a daycare, with runaways, in the foster system, the college, and the community mental health system; all these places with a social service degree. Later she discovered a passion for working with hospice patients.
To gain a better idea of what the 16 county region known as Forgottonia actually looks like, we compiled some data from the 2010 census and elsewhere. What follows is an overview of the 2016 election results by county. Click here for a profile of Forgottonia’s demographics and a brief overview about the history of each county.
In the 2016 election, all 16 counties in Forgottonia voted in favor of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump over Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In comparison, the election of 2012 saw 11 of 16 counties vote in favor of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney while the other 5 counties had a majority for Democrat Barack Obama. The election of 2008 saw 9 of 16 counties favor Democrat Barack Obama while 7 counties had a majority for Republican candidate John McCain.
To gain a better idea of what the 16 county region known as Forgottonia actually looks like, we compiled some data from the 2010 census. What follows is an overview of each county’s demographics. Click here for a profile of each county’s presidential election results, and a brief overview about the history of each county.
The top 3 most populated counties in Forgottonia are Adams County (67,000), Knox County (52,919) and Fulton County (37,069). The least populated counties are Brown County (6,900), Scott County (5,355) and Calhoun County (5,000). 13 of 16 counties have a 90% or more white majority with the exception of Brown County (76.1%), Cass County (86.3%) and Knox County (87.5%). See our chart below for further detail regarding the demographics of each county in Forgottonia.
The following is an excerpt from our initial episode about Neil Gamm and the history of Forgottonia. Our guest was Mr. Larry Eskridge from the Canton Daily Ledger. Our essential questions asks “What was the Forgottonia movement about and how is it similar and different today?” ENJOY!