New Artifacts Tell Story of Daily Life in Early Central Illinois

By Matt Metcalf |

Published 03/10 2014 06:03PM

Updated 03/11 2014 06:57PM

MAHOMET -- Artifacts recently donated to the Museum of the Grand Prairie (, including lice combs, dinnerware, and children's toys, shed new light on life in Central Illinois in the 1830s.

The road leading west from Urbana brought new settlers from Ohio and further east. Many stopped for food or a night's lodging at the Nine Gal Tavern, located near the Sangamon Ford south of Mahomet in Champaign County. The artifacts they left behind over a two hundred year period, including pocket knives, bottle glass, and musketballs, help us understand the choices these pioneers made and the reasons some chose to settle here.

The artifacts, acquired at the end of January 2014, come from two different donations. Museum managers say the individual assemblages, once reunited, hold a great deal of research potential for the archaeological and historic communities and can serve as a comparative collection to help date historic-period sites in East Central Illinois.

Volunteers are needed to help bag and identify the materials. Please call the museum at (217) 586-2612 to donate your time.

Visit the Museum of the Grand Prairie to see the artifacts on display! Hours are 1-5pm daily through May.

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