PORTRAITS – Courthouse Square District
The portraits at Smysor Plaza and at the Daum Building are paintings dedicated to residents who have been critical to the development and betterment of Murphysboro.
Led by artist Inga Silver (Inga Comer-Keene), the original eight-portrait project at Smysor Plaza involved youth from the local 4-H. The 4-H “Grange Hall Lads and Lassies” helped the artist paint these in the basement of the Jackson County Extension office. Angelique Kuehl was the 4-H coordinator at the time. Some of the young artists for the initial renderings were Tabitha Marie, Jessica Herring-White, Megan Rose, and Ben Reiman, among others.
In 2022, the Revitalize 62966-Art in the Community committee added additional commissioned portraits at the Daum Building. Leading this component was Caitlin Langellier, the high school art teacher, and selected students in the class. For these paintings, the student artists’ names appear by their work.
George Washington Smith – ( 1846-1907 )
Born in Putnam County, Ohio, Smith moved with his father to Wayne County, Illinois, in 1850 and learned the blacksmith trade. In 1868 he graduated from the literary department of McKendree College. He then went to Indiana University and received a law degree in 1870. He was admitted to the bar the same year and set up his practice in Murphysboro, serving as Master in Chancery from 1880-1888. In 1884, he married Mary Alice Dailey, also of Murphysboro. Smith was elected to the 51st and the nine succeeding Congresses, serving from March 4, 1889, until his death on November 30, 1907. He served as chairman of the Committee on Private Land Claims (54th through 59th Congresses). He was interred in the City Cemetery.
Dr. John Logan – ( 1788-1853 )
Dr. John Logan was born November 16, 1788, in Monaghan County, Ireland, of Scotch-Irish descent, and came to the United States with his parents, John and Elizabeth (Pharrell) Logan, in 1793. He moved to Jackson County in 1822, where he married Elizabeth Jenkins. Dr. Logan served four terms in the Illinois Legislature and became a friend of Abraham Lincoln. In 1839, Lincoln suggested that Logan County be named in his honor. In 1843, Dr. Logan gave land for the new county seat of Murphysboro and soon built the Logan House Hotel on this site. He is the father of General John A. Logan. Dr. Logan died on November 4, 1853, and was buried in Murphysboro, IL.
Sallie Logan – ( 1851-1936 )
Sallie Logan was born on April 15, 1851, to Sara Ann, a direct descendant of John Hancock, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Sallie and her family moved to the Carbondale area when she was 17. Sallie and Tom Logan (John A.’s brother) were married on August 23, 1873, and in 1891, they acquired land located at 18th and Walnut and built a large brick residence. She was described as “neat and dainty and always met you with a smile. She was very positive in her views and usually won out, but she was generally right…strong and high spirited.” After Tom died in 1907, she took his place as a director of the Murphysboro Electric Railway, Light, Heat & Power Company, and the Murphysboro Telephone Company. Serving as secretary and treasurer, she was known throughout the community for her business sense and philanthropy. When she died on April 29, 1936, the city accepted the property “in perpetuity as a free public library and community and social center for the benefit and common good of the inhabitants of Murphysboro.” On May 2, 1938, the city opened Sallie Logan Public Library in the former Logan house on May 2, 1938.
Harry Albert Herring – ( 1878-1946 )
Harry Albert Herring was known for his outstanding work in the field of firefighters. Fire Chief Herring retired from active service in September 1945 after serving in that office for 45 years. He organized the Egyptian Fire Fighters Association soon after the tornado of March 1925. The only living honorary life member of both the International Fire Chief’s Association and the Pacific Association of Fire Chiefs, Herring was a member of the Illinois State Fireman’s Association and president of the Murphysboro Park Board. He achieved national recognition for his organization of fire prevention education in public schools, a program that he saw become a nationwide part of public-school efforts.
Jim Deal – ( 1898-1984 )
Benjamin Deal – ( 1906-1983 )
The Deal Brothers were legendary figures in Murphysboro, gaining reputations with their blacksmith trade and civic-minded contributors to Southern Illinois. Visits to their blacksmith and grocery store at 17th and Logan Street created lifetime memories. Jim and Benjamin came to Murphysboro from Mississippi in 1922, and Jim was later honored on the national television program “This Is Your Life” for his work on the Bald Knob cross. Jim Deal is depicted in the Smysor Plaza portraits.
Dr. Andrew R. Esposito – ( 1908-2001 )
Dr. Andrew R. Esposito of Murphysboro, IL, a WW II Army Medical Corps veteran, was a well-known and respected physician/surgeon. He would also become the medical director of the Jackson County Nursing Home, a medical adviser to the county health department, and a practitioner at the Eurma C. Hayes Clinic in Carbondale. Active in professional groups, civic organizations, and church, Esposito headed the Southern Illinois Medical Association during its 100th anniversary. He also directed the Jackson County and Illinois Heart Associations, Jackson County Mental Health Association, and Jackson County Medical Society. He was also on the board of the Illinois Chapter American Cancer Society. Over the years, two separate Murphysboro mayors declared a day honoring his life of service to the city. In 1998 he was the grand marshal of the Murphysboro Apple Festival Grand Parade. He also received Quality of Life Services Inc.’s Quality Service Award.
Carl Lee – ( 1901-1986 )
Carl Lee was among the first blacks to graduate from Southern Illinois Normal University in 1928. (SINU later became SIUC.). While attending SINU, he created the Dunbar Society, which later became the Jackson County Branch of the NAACP. Years later, the Jackson County NAACP honored Carl Lee with a Banquet. Mr. Lee was appointed by Governor Henry Horner in 1940 to a 15-member State Commission to plan the “Negro Exposition” in Chicago that celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. He obtained two law degrees from the University of Illinois but never practiced law, saying he preferred to educate children. He attended Bethel AME church in Murphysboro and served on the Murphysboro Zoning Board and The Murphysboro Retired Teachers Association Board. When prominent community members like Flynn Robinson returned to Murphysboro, Carl Lee introduced them. He was the first black person in Murphysboro to have a day proclaimed in their honor in 1976; the Murphysboro Black Alumni Society has yearly recognized that day.
Sister Mary Bede – ( 1924-2007 )
Sister Mary Bede, a “spiritual presence in the city of Murphysboro,” was a staple of St. Joseph Memorial Hospital since her start there in 1960, including hospital administrator, nurse supervisor, and Director of Nursing for the facility. She was the first woman to get a citizenship award from Murphysboro in the 1970s and the first woman to receive the Minerva Award, given by the Murphysboro Chamber of Commerce. She also started and led the annual prayer breakfast for the Apple Festival, which included pastors from all denominations. She was described as “always first with sound advice and a friendly smile.”
Stephen Bostick – ( 1844-1928 ) artist: Mav Kjelberg
Stephen Bostick was born in 1844 and began his life as a slave in Arkansas. After the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, he enlisted in the Union Navy with two brothers and a cousin. At the end of the Civil War, his brothers settled 5 miles from the edge of Murphysboro, where Stephen joined them in 1866. This area became known as the Bostick Settlement. The Bostick Settlement had farms, a school, a church, and a cemetery. Mr. Bostick was a successful farmer and community member. He helped to establish the Murphysboro Grand Army of the Republic Post Number 728 in 1890. Stephen Bostick died in 1928.
Kay Bozarth – ( 1930-2020 ) artist: Ari Rebman
Ruby Catherine “Kay” Bozarth was born on April 15, 1930. She was a member of the United Methodist Church and Sunday School Class, Welcoming Committee, and Staff Relations Committee. She devoted her life to being involved in Murphysboro community events. Kay was a member of P.E.O. She started the first Apple Festival Scholarship Tea and was also a Co-Chair of the Apple Festival Prayer Breakfast for 7 years. She was also a founder of the John A. Logan Museum and Logan Breakfast fundraiser, as well as a founder of Table-Scapes, an event that funded historical preservation for Murphysboro and Carbondale. She organized and established the Murphysboro Reads Volunteer Program for all first-grade students in Murphysboro, bringing in retirees to individually read with children every week. After the death of her husband, she was instrumental in forming the Ernie Bozarth Basketball League for third, fourth, and fifth-grade students in Murphysboro. She supported Red Devil Basketball, SIUC Basketball, and SIUC Girl’s Gold. She was a volunteer for SIUC Arts and Education and for Thanksgiving and Christmas community dinners.
Kay received the Apple Festival Founder’s Award in 2006, the Diana Award from Beta Psi Chapter in 2008, the Alpha Kappa Society Award for Literacy in 2009, and the General John A. Logan Founder Award in 2011. She was inducted into the Murphysboro Athletic Hall of Fame in 2018 and the Murphysboro Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame in 2018. She was a 50-year-old member of Eastern Star and an RTA member. She was appointed to the Murphysboro District 186 Education Foundation Board in 2009 and served on the Murphysboro Distinguished Alumni Board. Her life was devoted to service and the betterment of the community. She died in 2020.
Cyrus Thomas – ( 1825-1910 ) artist: Olivia Cook
Cyrus Thomas was an ethnologist (studying different peoples and the relationships between them) and entomologist (studying insects) in the late 19th century noted for his studies of the natural history of the American West. Thomas was born in Tennessee in 1825 and later moved to Murphysboro. Initially interested in medicine, his passion led him to explore law, archeology, entomology, and climatology. His many fields of knowledge made him an essential part of Murphysboro’s history. In 1858, with a strong interest in natural history, he founded the Illinois Natural History Society and became a Southern Illinois Normal University professor. His professional, scientific career brought him positions with the United States Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, the United States Entomological Commission, and the United States Bureau of American Ethnology, and his work helped support the creation of Yellowstone National Park. Thomas’ first wife was General John A. Logan’s sister Dorothy. He died in 1910, and his work remains influential throughout the United States.
Robert Mohlenbrock – ( 1931 – ) artist: Xander Reeder
Born in 1931, Robert H. Mohlenbrock had always been fascinated with the flora of his hometown, Murphysboro, Illinois. His fascination grew as he nurtured it into a career. After graduating from Murphysboro High School, he completed both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He received a Ph.D. in Biology studying at Washington University. Dr. Mohlenbrock was a faculty member at Southern Illinois University for 33 years as a professor, chairman, and curator. Outside of his work at SIUC, he taught in over 32 states, published 80+ books, and was a consultant for many organizations, including the Army Corp of Engineers and the U.S. Forest Service. He was also a chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Robert Mohlenbrock was instrumental in establishing protected natural areas in southern Illinois, including Heron Pond and Little Black Slough Nature Preserve, a designated National Natural Landmark. A national authority in his field, his drive to ensure the protection of our area’s natural beauty and resources will always be appreciated and remembered.
R.Z. Gill – ( 1866 – 1951 ) artist: Katie Herzog
Rudolph Zerses Gill was born in Urbana, Illinois, in 1866. He graduated with a degree in architecture from the University of Illinois in 1887. In the early 20th century “Doll” Gill began securing architectural contracts in St. Louis, southeast Missouri, and southern Illinois. In 1902 he began purchasing property in Jackson County, where he eventually relocated. He designed several distinctive structures in Murphysboro. Prominent buildings include the Murphysboro Elks Lodge, now known as the Murphysboro Event Center on Walnut Street. This building was built in 1916 in the Classical Revival style. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. Another building designed by Mr. Gill is the Barth and Walker Building on the corner of Locust and Thirteenth Street. In its original design, the building featured three storefronts on the ground level and a club and dance hall on the second floor. It served as a central dressing station for injuries to those that could walk after the 1925 tri-state tornado. In 1983 this building was the subject of a watercolor painting featured in “American Artist Magazine”. The VanCloostere Building on Walnut Street, directly across from the Courthouse, was also designed by R. Z. Gill. In 1939 “Doll” Gill built the Riverside Park Band Shell. The structure was made of white poured concrete in the Modern style, with plain curvilinear lines, funded jointly by the WPA and the Murphysboro Park District. This landmark is a featured part of many of the events held at Riverside Park annually. The “Shell” was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2012. He also designed the baseball stadium at Riverside Park and Logan School on Fourteenth Street. Rudolph Zerses Gill died in Murphysboro in 1951.
Smysor Plaza and the Daum Building, located in the Courthouse Square District downtown
Address: south 1100 and 1200 blocks on Walnut Street
GPS – Lat: 37°7640790″N Lon: 89°335857″W
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