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Alboin (r. 560-572 CE) was a king of the Lombards who led his people into Italy and founded the Kingdom of the Lombards which lasted from 568-774 CE. His father was Audoin, King of the Lombards, and his mother Queen Rodelinda. He was most likely born c. 530 CE in Pannonia, grew up with military training, and fought against the Avar and Gepid tribes before leading his people to Italy. After his first wife, Chlothsind, died, he married Rosamund, the daughter of the Gepid king Cunimund whom Alboin killed in battle.

In spite of his military victories and successful reign, he came to be known to later generations primarily through his assassination by his wife, which formed the basis of paintings by a number of artists and works such as the opera Rosamunda by Giovanni Rucellai (1525 CE) and the verse drama Rosamund by Algernon Charles Swinburne (1860 CE). Both of these artists drew heavily from the primary work on Alboin: Paul the Deacon's 8th-century CE History of the Lombards. Paul records that, in 572 CE, after Alboin had ruled Italy for almost four years, Rosamund had him assassinated to avenge her father's murder. The dramatic nature of the assassination and Alboin's treatment of Rosamund in their marriage has lent itself to imaginative works in which either Alboin or Rosamund is depicted as a tragic figure who suffers unjustly. According to the primary sources, however (especially that of Paul the Deacon), Alboin was a tribal warlord who established a homeland for his people and treated his captive wife as he would any other war prize; he paid for such unkind treatment with his life.

Military Victories & Reign in Pannonia

Nothing is known of Alboin's early years or upbringing. His later exploits suggest that he had military training and, as the son of the king, was most likely instructed in politics. Paul the Deacon first records that he succeeded his father, Audoin, in 560 CE. Audoin had allied himself with the Byzantine Empire, but either he or Alboin decided to broaden their power base by also allying themselves with the Franks, who were then growing in power. C. 560 CE, therefore, Alboin married the daughter of the Frankish king Chlothar, Chlothsind, to secure this alliance. The historian Francesco Borri writes:

Alboin must have been a very powerful man, even if contemporary sources describing his political and military activities are scanty...The fact that Alboin was able to marry a Frankish princess, which no Lombard king after him was able to do, confirms his importance in the scenario of late Roman Europe (223-224).

The Lombards may have been invited into Pannonia by the Byzantine Empire to deal with the threat of the Gepid tribes in the region or may have come on their own. Either way, conflicts between the Lombards and the Gepids were routine, and the Lombards allied themselves with another tribe, the Avars, to finally crush the Gepids. The Avars had also come to Pannonia either by the invitation of Emperor Justin II or on their own initiative. The Avar king Bayan I (r. 562/565-602 CE) brokered a deal with Alboin agreeing that, if their alliance defeated the Gepids, the Avars would be given the Gepid's lands. According to Paul the Deacon, in 567 CE the Gepids, now under the rule of their king Cunimund, attacked the Lombards (though other sources claim Alboin and Bayan I instigated hostilities). The precise dates of the alliances between the Byzantine Empire, the Lombards, the Avars, and the Gepids are confused owing to constant contradictions in the primary sources, but it appears that, at this time, the Lombards and Avars were closely allied against the Gepids with the support of the Byzantine Empire. The alliance crushed the Gepids, and Alboin killed Cunimund by beheading him in battle. He took the head of the king as a trophy and later had it made into a wine cup which he wore on his belt. Other sources, however, claim it was Bayan I who killed Cunimund, beheaded him, and gave the skull to Alboin to celebrate their joint victory.

With the Gepids defeated, Alboin consolidated his rule and marked the boundaries of his territory. The Avars, however, had managed to occupy more of the region than the Gepids had before them, owing to the deal Alboin had agreed to before battle, and they threatened the Lombard territories. Alboin then married Rosamund, daughter of Cunimund, to form an alliance with the Gepids against the Avars, but it was too late. The Avars under Bayan I were too powerful now, and the Gepid forces were too weakened by the previous war to prove very useful. Alboin realized the most prudent course of action was to leave Pannonia, but he was uncertain where to lead his people to. A large number of Lombard troops had served in the imperial forces under the Byzantine general Narses in Italy, performing particularly well in combat at the Battle of Taginae in 552 CE where Narses defeated the Ostrogothic king Totila and reclaimed Italy for the empire. These soldiers still remembered Italy as a fertile land, and either they suggested a migration to Alboin or, according to other sources, Narses himself invited them to Italy (this later claim is routinely contested). Whatever his motivation, in April 568 CE, Alboin led the Lombards out of Pannonia and into northern Italy.

Migration to Italy & Reign

The Byzantine Empire was at war with the Ostrogoths of Italy since the death of Theodoric the Great in 526 CE until Narses' victory over the Goths at the Battle of Mons Lactarius in 555 CE. In 568 CE, Italy was therefore a part of the Byzantine Empire but was sparsely fortified or defended. So many resources had been expended in winning it back from the Goths over so many years that now the empire seemed confident, for some reason, that the region could defend itself if need be. Alboin and his people entered Italy from the north and took the town of Forum Iulii without a fight. From here, he marched on Aquileia and, with that town secure, continued his conquest of the region until, by 569 CE, he had taken Milan and controlled the north of Italy without engaging in any serious military conflicts. Between 569-572 CE, Alboin conquered most of the rest of the country (though some parts were still controlled by the Byzantine Empire, such as Rome), establishing his capital at Verona while he lay siege to Pavia, the only city that resisted the Lombard invasion to any significant degree. It took three years of siege to take the city and, while that was in progress, Alboin set about establishing his kingdom from his palace at Verona.

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He divided the country into 36 territories known as "duchies," presided over by a duke who was responsible for reporting directly to the king. While this made for efficient government from a bureaucratic point of view, it left too much power in the hands of the individual dukes, and so regions either prospered or suffered depending on the quality of their particular duke. Alboin ruled effectively from Verona but, as he was more concerned with securing his borders against the Franks and fending off the eastern empire's efforts to dislodge him, he left the affairs of government to these subordinates, which resulted in a lack of cohesion between the territories as each duke, naturally, wanted the best for his particular region. These dukes, therefore, acted autonomously in conquering regions towards the south of Italy which, scholars claim, Alboin had no interest in taking from the Byzantine Empire.

The sources on Alboin's reign are few. Paul the Deacon writes how under Alboin's reign,

There was this wonderful kingdom of the Lombards. There was no violence, no plotting pitfalls, and no others unjustly oppressed. No one plundered and there were no thefts, there was no robbery; everyone went wherever they wanted, safe and without any fear (History, III, 16).

Although this description is considered by scholars to be an exaggeration, it does seem that Alboin's reign brought stability and prosperity to Italy, especially in the north, and he was an effective monarch in spite of the activities of the individual dukes. Although they acted in their own best interests, historians surmise (based on the general reaction to Alboin's death and the aftermath) that they seem to have believed they were pursuing a course Alboin would have approved of.

Assassination & Aftermath

Alboin's marriage to Rosamund had never been a happy one. Paul the Deacon claims that Alboin routinely abused his wife and mocked her. The marriage, like many involving nobility through the ages, had been simply a device to secure an alliance. Further, Rosamund was already Alboin's captive after the defeat and death of Cunimund, and so she hardly had a choice in marrying the Lombard king. In June 572 CE, she apparently reached the point where she could no longer tolerate being married to the man who had killed her father and wore his skull on his belt as a drinking cup. Paul writes:

When he [Alboin] was more flown with wine than was appropriate at a feast in Verona, he asked that wine be given to the queen to drink in the cup which he had made from the head of his father-in-law Cunimundus. He invited her to drink happily with her father...Therefore, when Rosamund found out about the matter, she conceived a deep pain in her heart that she was unable to quell. She burned to avenge the death of her father on her husband (History, III, 18).

Rosamund convinced Alboin's foster brother, Helmechis, to murder him. Other sources on Alboin's assassination (such as Gregory of Tours or Marius of Aventicum) provide different details, but all agree that the plot was set in motion by Rosamund who had, perhaps, fallen in love with Helmechis or, at least, was having an affair with him. Rosamund and Helmechis enlisted the aid of a bodyguard named Peredeo, who was tricked into the conspiracy by Rosamund who disguised herself as a servant, had sex with him, and then essentially blackmailed him into service. One day, when Alboin had retired to his room to rest after lunch, Helmechis and Peredeo attacked him. Rosamund had ordered that Peredeo tie Alboin's sword to his bed so the king would be unarmed. Alboin fought off his assailants with a footstool but was beaten down and killed.

The couple, along with Alboin's daughter from his first marriage, Peredeo, the royal treasure, and a segment of the army, then fled from Verona to the Byzantine-controlled city of Ravenna. This course of action has suggested to many historians that the assassination was actually instigated by the Byzantine Empire and Rosamund was manipulated by them. While the empire may have had a hand in Alboin's death (and certainly would have been relieved by it), the primary sources all claim the assassination was planned and carried out by Rosamund to avenge her father's death and punish her husband for his abuse of her. Even so, the fact that the conspirators were welcomed in Ravenna and that, after their deaths, the royal treasure and Alboin's daughter were sent to Constantinople, does argue in favor of Byzantine involvement in Alboin's assassination.

Helmechis and Rosamund were married in Ravenna, and he proclaimed himself king. The dukes refused to acknowledge him, however, and proclaimed their own king, Cleph, the duke of Pavia, which city had finally fallen to the siege. Rosamund, apparently, did not find Helmechis any more to her liking than she had Alboin and poisoned his wine cup. Helmechis, however, suspecting her treachery, made her drink from the cup either before, or just after, he had done so, and in this way, they both died at the other's hands.

Cleph reigned for 18 months before he was assassinated by one of his servants. The individual dukes then fought each other for control of the kingdom from 572-586 CE, when King Authari was elected in order to fight off incursions by the Byzantines and the Franks. The Lombard Kingdom in Italy maintained its control of the region, sometimes losing and sometimes substantially gaining territory, until 774 CE, when they were conquered by Charlemagne of the Franks and absorbed into his empire. Although later Lombard kings, such as Agilulf (reigned 590-616 CE), Rothari (reigned 636-652 CE) and, especially, Liutprand (reigned 712-744 CE), made greater advancements in conquest and government than Alboin, the first Lombard king of Italy is still remembered for leading his people to a secure homeland and establishing a kingdom he felt they could call their own. His life and achievements have been overshadowed by his death and his subsequent transformation into a character in literary tragedy but, while he lived, he seems to have been a man of considerable power and vision for the future of his people.

Albion's History

Noble County was organized in 1836 by an act of the Indiana legislature and named for James Noble, who served two terms in the U.S. Senate from 1816-1831.

Its first county seat was located on the Fort Wayne-Goshen trail (today's U.S. 33), at that time the county's main thoroughfare. For various reasons the county seat was subsequently moved eastward to tiny settlements at Augusta (1843), Port Mitchell a year later and to a permanent home at Albion in a modest two-story frame structure in 1847.

This building was destroyed by fire in 1859 and replaced on the same public square by a brick building in 1860, which served until 1887, by which time it had become dilapidated and too small to serve the needs of the growing county government. In 1889, the current Richardson Romanesque-style building which dominates the square today was built. It serves as the county's seat of justice with assorted offices in and near the town, which currently has a population of approximately 2000.

The Old Jail, now owned and maintained by the Noble County Historical Society was built in 1876 one block west of the courthouse. On occasion a sheriff's deputy would holler from an open second-floor window in the courthouse for someone in the jail to bring over "so-and-so" for a courtroom appearance. A modern Noble County jail is located on State Road 9, on the east side of town.

In the 165 years of its existence Albion has experienced a modest growth in population. In 1874 it became a stop on the newly-installed Baltimore & Ohil Railroad. This led to the establishment of an industrial park whose major occupants were a foundry and a buggy factory, later followed by a lumberyard and grain elevators.

B & O service--passenger and freight--virtually ceased in the 1950's and today the only reminder of those times is the clatter of long lines of CSX coal cars passing through town.

At its peak, the Couthouse Square and surrounding blocks boasted an Opera House, law offices, a large variety of retail stores, livery stables--succeeded by service stations. At one time or another the town boasted a movie theater, a sweet shop, jewelry store, pharmacy, doctors and dentists, shoe store, barbershops--just to name a few. After a few years of decline, Albion is enjoying a revival with most of the buildings downtown occupied and residents enjoy the square for numerous events and festivals. The town is still served by a hardware store, several restaurants, gift shops, offices, banks, grocery, doctor, dentist, pharmacy, ice cream shop and a fitness club.

Albion, of course, retained the courthouse--which has been wonderfully maintained and is still an attractive center piece of downtown. An entire block next to the courthouse is under construction for new county offices. The S.T.A.R. Team (a member of the Indiana Main Street program) works to improve the attractiveness and viability of downtown, most recently supporting the addition of murals to the sides of buildings and coordinating activities. The town's industrial park is thriving and the community is served by a weekly newspaper. Many of these amenities are considered unique to a town the size of Albion, giving it great potential for sustaining its charm for years to come.
The narrative written by Robert Gagen Jr. (updated 2021)

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Alboin - History

Located in northeastern Pushmataha County, Albion is situated on U.S. Highway 271, about two miles south of the Pushmataha-Latimer county line. The area was originally in the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. A post office was established there on December 6, 1887. The St. Louis and San Francisco Railway built a line through the area in 1886–87. During the 1880s the Shine Brothers operated a sawmill. Other early businesses included the Jerome Clayton Lumber Company and the Albion Mercantile. When the town was platted and incorporated in 1906, John T. Bailey named it Albion, which is a Roman/ancient word for England. In that year the Farmers' Union built a cotton gin.

The town served an agricultural region producing cotton and hay as well as cattle, sheep, and turkeys. In 1911 R. L. Polk's Oklahoma State Gazetteer and Business Directory estimated Albion's population at three hundred. At that time a bank, a hotel, three general stores, a livery, a blacksmith, a shoemaker, and a confectionery constituted the business district. E. E. Lenhart published the Albion Advocate newspaper. L. A. Reynolds owned the hotel and served as postmaster. Early churches included Methodist, Baptist, and Church of Christ. A 1920 population of 301 dropped to a low of 161 in 1960 and 88 in 1990.

Around 1913 Mato Kosyk (1853–1940), a Lutheran minister who had immigrated to the United States from Werben, Lower Lusatia, East Germany, in 1883, retired to a farm near Albion. A poet, he is considered one of three great Sorbian (a Slavic language) writers. Therefore, Europeans acknowledged his one-hundred-fiftieth birthday in 2003.

At the turn of the twenty-first century Albion, with 143 residents, served as a "bedroom" community. The population dropped to 106 in the 2010 census. Albion's school provided an education from kindergarten through eighth grade. High school students attended Clayton schools. The Albion State Bank (NR 79002024) and the Mato Kosyk House (NR 79002025) were listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


"Albion," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Profiles of America, Vol. 2 (2d ed. Millerton, N.Y.: Grey House Publishing, 2003).

Dorothy Arnote West, Pushmataha County: The Early Years (N.p.: Dorothy Arnote West, 2002).

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Continuing the Albion Tradition of Innovation

Mark's grandfather, F. Karl Schneider purchased Albion Engineering Company in Philadelphia in 1929. At the time, the company consisted of a machine shop that built keg washers for Schmidt's Brewery and elliptical gears for the local knitting mills. The machine shop was on the second floor of a wagon wheel garage, powered by overhead drive shafts.

In the early 1930s, F. Karl Schneider designed a caulk dispensing gun for Calbar Paint & Varnish Company who manufactured paint and putty in the first floor garage Albion owned. In 1936, F. Karl Schneider was awarded the patent for the smooth rod drive caulking gun. The development of the first smooth rod drive caulking gun launched Albion into the dispensing tool market. In 1937, Albion patented a trigger-actuated grease dispensing gun, with design features still in use today.

The company has since expanded the dispensing gun product line immensely for air-powered and multi-component caulk gun models, dispensing gun accessories and special dispensing gun tools, such as Albion's stainless steel mixing device. Mark Schneider has been granted several patents and has several others pending in the field of high-thrust and power assisted caulking guns.

Today, the Albion Engineering Company has almost 600 catalogued dispensing guns, caulk gun accessories, and specialty products. We continue to remain committed to providing you with innovative, top of the line caulking gun solutions for your dispensing needs. Contact us for more information.

Albion College originally met the educational needs of the children of Native Americans and settlers in the area. In 1835, the College was awarded a charter by the Michigan Territorial Legislature, thanks to the efforts of Methodists who were early settlers in the Michigan Territory.

Always on the leading edge, Albion became one of the first schools in the Midwest to introduce coeducation. In 1850, the legislature approved the founding of the Albion Female Collegiate Institute, which was then controlled by its counterpart, the Wesleyan Seminary Corporation. But in 1857, the two schools merged under the name of the Wesleyan Seminary and Female College at Albion. Albion College was fully authorized by the state legislature to award four-year college degrees to both men and women on February 25, 1861.

From the time the cornerstone was laid for the first permanent building in 1840 until today, Albion College has remained on the same site, the original part of which is now affectionately called "the Quad." In 1861, there were only two classroom buildings. But by 1901, Albion had added a chapel, an observatory, a gymnasium, a chemistry building, and a library.

Today, Albion stands on 225 acres with more than 30 major buildings. Since 2000, we've completed tremendous additions that range from the Ferguson Administrative Building to our LEED-certified Science Complex. The aquatic, recreation, and learning centers are complemented by our 340-acre equestrian facility and Davis Athletic Complex. In 2017, the opening of the Ludington Center officially established a College presence in downtown Albion, providing more opportunities for engagement and collaboration with the City of Albion and surrounding community.

The College's enrollment has increased from 500 students in 1901 to more than triple that number today. Full-time faculty currently totals 101, and the College has more than 23,000 living alumni.

Our growth and change are signs of our success, which we believe is founded on the things about Albion that have always remained the same. First, our emphasis on excellence in liberal arts education is our hallmark. Our commitment to a broad, rigorous foundation is complemented by our work ethic. We put students in the real world and ask them to research, participate, and lead. We expect them to do it well, to take it further, and to be more. Because Albion is where you turn thought into action. Where you learn how to live at the leading edge of who you are. Where you become your best self, ready to live a life of impact. And that's Albion College today.

Albion History

The Albion business has taken several forms over the years. Founder and publisher Seth Ross began planning for an Internet-based business to be called "Albion" in the spring of 1989. He placed a NeXT computer with the hostname "albion" into service for online and book publishing in May 1990.

In January 1993, Albion Books commenced business with the publication of Taking the Next Step: A Buyer's Guide to NeXTSTEP by Ross and co-author Daniel Kehoe. Between May 1994, when business manager Catherine Hubbard assumed a critical role, and December 7 1995, Albion put out three book titles, each accompanied by an online service: Netiquette TM by Virginia Shea, The Millennium Shows, a novel by Philip Baruth, and The Newbie's Guide TM to The Microsoft Network by Michael Lehman.

Armed with credo that "information wants to be free," Albion Cybercasting launched its first electronic mailing list, Blake Online , in November 1993 and has been serving the net ever since. Working with webmaster Daniel Kehoe, Albion launched this World Wide Web site in January 1995. That same month, after several months of negotiations, a core team composed of Ross, Hubbard, and programmer/author Michael Lehman, started developing a major online service on The Microsoft Network called the AlbionChannel SM .

The Albion MSN service was composed of four "programs" -- the Netiquette Center, the Newbie Forum, BookExpo SM , and The Doors of Cyberspace SM -- that were launched currently with Windows 95 in August 1995. Our popular MSN services reached hundreds of thousands of MSN browsers and began to attract significant sponsorship commitments. Of course, success like this can be the kiss of death. While the service was a hit with users, a variety of circumstances prompted us to remove the AlbionChannel from MSN in July 1996.

In January 1997, Albion started offering web and Java development services to corporate clients. In April 1997, Albion launched Netdictionary , an alphabetical reference guide to Internet terms designed to demonstrate our Java and web development capabilities.

Brief History

In 1816, George Flowerand Morris Birkbeck, both affluent Englishmen, became interested in emigrating from England to America and establishing a colony of their countrymen.

Morris Birkbeck, who came from a well-to-do Quaker family in Surrey, was a well-educated English gentleman farmer of a 1500 acre leased estate called Wanborough. He resented his lack of political franchise in England, and his obligation to support the Anglican Church, of which he disapproved.

George Flower was the son of Richard Flower of Marden Hall, Hertfordshire, England. Richard was a man of considerable influence in England where he became wealthy through the operation of an extensive brewery. The Flower family also had a strong desire for independence, with liberal tendencies, a dislike about cities, and a deep sympathy for the working class, particularly farmers. Richard Flower commissioned his eldest son, George, then in his late twenties, to investigate possibilities for emigrating from England.

In April 1816, George Flower left Liverpool for New York, a crossing that took 50 days. He made a long, circuitous trip on horseback from New York to Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Lexington and Nashville, Culminating at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home in Virginia, where he spent the winter months. During this trip he visited with many intellectual and influential men, evaluating settlements and studying America.

By spring he was convinced that the best place for the English settlement was not in the established East, or the South, but in the West, on the American prairies. He was about to return to England when he learned that Mr. Birkbeck and his party had arrived in Richmond, Virginia where he hastened to join them. The Birkbeckparty consisted of Mr. Birkbeck, a widower aged 54, his two daughters aged 19 and 16, and two of his sons aged 16 and 14 Miss Eliza Julia Andrews, 25 Elias Pym Fordham, aged 29, nephew of Elizabeth (Fordham) Flower(George’s mother) and two servants.

Because Birkbeck had previously met Edward Coles, an American diplomat, and through him had become interested in the prairies of Illinois, Birkbeck and Flower were in agreement and decided to leave at once for the West. After an arduous stagecoach ride to Pittsburgh, they traveled over land on horseback through Pennsylvania to Chillicothe and Cincinnati, Ohio and across Indiana, ending their travels at Vincennes on the Wabash River.

While at Vincennes, George Flower was married to Eliza Julia Andrews, a member of Birkbeck’s party. Earlier in the journey, Miss Andrews had also been proposed to by Mr. Birkbeck. Many historians believe this marriage began a rift between Birkbeck and Flower that would ultimately affect their proposed settlement. It should be noted that George Flower was already married at the time of his marriage to Eliza Julia. He had been married in England to his cousin Jane Dawson.

The party settled temporarily in Princeton, Indiana, while Birkbeck and Flower continued to hunt for the prairies they sought. They traveled to Harmonie in Posey County, Indiana, and to Shawneetown in Gallatin County Illinois garnering information, then back up the Illinois side of the river until they came to a series of prairies. They came upon Boultinghouse Prairie in Edwards County and chose it as the location for the proposed colony of Englishmen. Thereafter it was known as “English Prairie”.

It was agreed between Mr. Flower and Mr. Birkbeck that Mr. Flower should return to England to induce immigration to their chosen spot in Edwards County, and help with planning transportation for interested settlers, while Mr. Birkbeck was to attend to procuring the necessary lands and otherwise prepare for the reception of their countrymen.

Remaining on the Prairie, Birkbeckentered the necessary land grants of almost 10,000 acres at $2 per acre. Birkbeck began at once to build cabins for his family, and temporary accommodations for those who would later join the settlement. At the same time, Elias Pym Fordham begins construction for the Flower homes.

In March 1818, the first party of 88 immigrants embarked from Bristol, England. In this group were 44 farmers from Morris Birkbeck’sSurrey area of England, and the rest were tradesmen and mechanics from London and other parts of England. Capable bachelors, Charles Trimmer and James Lawrence, led them. This party of immigrants is known as the “Lawrence and Trimmer party”.

A month later, in April 1818, a second load of more than 60 immigrants departed Liverpool England in a chartered ship. This group included the Richard Flower family Maria Fordham, sister of Elias Pym Fordham, George Flower and his two sons the John Woods family and the Shepherd family of 4 whose family had served the Fordham-Flower family for 3 generations and who refused to be left behind.

The rift that had developed between Birkbeck and Flower, for whatever reason, divided the settlers into two factions. As a result of the rift, two settlements were begun in 1818 about 2 miles apart. George Flower founded Albion(the poetic name for England), and Morris Birkbeck founded Wanborough (the name of his former estate in England) some 2 miles west of Albion.

The two villages and the area around them became known as the “English Settlement“. Over the next several decades, English immigrants continued to arrive, many of them relatives of those who had come earlier, and wrote home with their success in America. One of the first immigrants, John Woods, published “2 years residence on the English Prairie” in 1820, intended as a guide for those who were immigrating.

Wanborough as a town, unfortunately, lost its heart with the death of Morris Birkbeck who drowned on June 4 th , 1825 while crossing the Fox River returning from New Harmony, Indiana. He and his son Bradford had gone to New Harmony to deliver a packet of letters to Mr. Owen who was to take them to England. Today all that remains of Wanborough is a cemetery, the final resting place of many of the early pioneers of that settlement.

During the few short years that Birkbeck lived in the English settlement, he did much to promote its settlement to English immigrants by publishing two books in 1818, “Notes on a Journey in America, from the Coast of Virginia to the Territory of Illinois, with Proposals for the Establishment of a Colony of English”, and “letters from Illinois”. Both of these books were widely read both in England and America.

Birkbeck was also instrumental in the anti-slavery movement, writing essays under the pen name of Jonathan Freeman. He is largely credited for Illinois remaining a free state in the general election of August 2nd 1824 when the citizens were asked whether to call a state convention in which Illinois might scrap her old Constitution, based on the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 which declared that the Northwest Territory should be forever free from slavery.

As for the Flowerfamily, they expended a considerable fortune in establishing and defending the settlement at Albion. Their home, Park House, was located due south of the courthouse and 1 mile south of Albion. At the time it was built, it was said to be the finest home west of the Allegheny Mountains. It was destroyed by fire in the 1860s.

In 1849, with most of the family fortune gone, George and Eliza Julia moved to New Harmony, Indiana and became innkeepers of “Flower House” in one of the former Rappite dormitories. They continued operating the inn until 1855 or earlier 1856 when they moved to Mt. Vernon, Indiana.

By 1861 their health was fading quickly. At the home of their daughter, Rosamond Agniel, on January 15th 1862, both George and Eliza Julia died in Grayville, she in the morning and he towards evening. They were laid to rest side by side at Oak Grove Cemetery at Grayville. They had wanted to be buried in Albion, but the January weather, and poor road conditions made that impossible.

Albion Public Library

Corner of 4th and main

Built in 1842 by Dr. Frank Thompson as his residence, office, and hospital, the building has housed the Albion public library since 1922. Established in April 1819, the Albion Public Library is the oldest public library in the state of Illinois.

St. John’s Episcopal Church

East Cherry Street between 4th and 5th streets

Early mention is made of church services held in log cabins in Wanborough using the service of the Church of England . As early as 1822 , mention is made of Church of England prayers being read in part of the Market House on the southwest corner of the public square in Albion .

After the Revolutionary War and Independence from England the Church of England became the Episcopal Church in the United States.

Built in 1842, this is the original building of St John’s Episcopal Church. It is the oldest Episcopal Church building in the Diocese of Springfield and was designed and constructed of handmade brick from the early brick yards of Albion. The bell tower contains the original bell that was hung there in 1844.

Edwards County Historical Society

212 West Main Street

The Edwards County Historical Society was organized on August 21st 1939. In 1941, the society purchased the birthplace of former Illinois governor Louis L. Emmerson (serving 1929 to 1933) and it became the Society’s permanent home. The front portion of this building is a log structure built in the mid-1850s. The original building was “two over two” with porches on the front and back. The second floor was accessed by stairs from these porches, there being no interior stairs .

The Edwards County Historical Society is opened Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30 and other times by appointment.

Edwards County Courthouse

Courthouse Square

The 1st Court House of Edwards County was completed in 1825 at a cost $3000. In 1852 a contract for $3600 was let to build a new courthouse and the old one was sold with the provision that it be moved within nine months. In 1887 an attempt to build a new courthouse failed. After much wrangling and a threat to move the county seat to Browns, it was agreed that the courthouse be remodeled. The building could be remodeled by the county commissioners without the approval of the voters. The 1852 courthouse was completely razed except for a portion of the old wall on the west and a small section on the South, thus qualifying as “remodeling”. The present Edwards County Courthouse was erected in 1888.

Old Edwards County Jail

Future home of the Edwards County Historical Society library Courthouse Square

The historic Edwards County Jail is currently being restored by the Edwards County Historical Society. Once completed, the building will house the Society’s historical and genealogical library. It was built in 1859 by Elias Weaver. Mr. Weaver had come to the English Settlement at Albion from Rapp’s German settlement at Harmonie, Posey County, Indiana. In 1893 the North portion was added for the cell area and the original front part became the residence of the sheriff and his family. This standing-seam roof is original from the 1893 remodeling .

Washington Painter House

South 5th Street

The Washington Painter home at 223 South 5th Street in Albion was built in 1871 by Washington and Margaret (Wilson) Painter. That same year, Washington Painter became co-founder of the firm of Painter & Frankland in Albion, with his brother-in-law George Frankland. Painter and Frankland manufactured the Eureka Stump Plow, which was invented and patented by Washington Painter. The firm also manufactured the “Albion Wagon” in volume for the then flourishing wagon market. An original “Albion Wagon” is also on display at the residence. In later years, Painter & Frankland became predominately a hardware store .

Washington Painter, being a blacksmith, made the antique wrought iron fence, and gates, which border the front of the property. He also made a tin bathtub which remains in use in the house today.

Downtown Business Block

North 5th Street

Across the street from the pagoda are 5 business buildings that were erected in 1908. A disastrous fire in January of that year had destroyed all the buildings that had been located on these sites. The double brick wall of the Painter & Frankland hardware store building prevented the fire from spreading farther up the block. The Painter & Frankland (now Deja’Vu) building has an ornate Mesker stamped metal facade .

The original business is located in these five buildings for many years were: W. A. Schock men’s clothing store, Spillers clothing store, Curdling’s shoe store, B.F. Michel’s pharmacy, and Stewart & Emmerson Co., Bankers (later First National Bank). The bank vault was saved and rebuilt around. It is still in place today.

Congregational Church – Southern Collegiate Institute

129 East Main Street

First Methodist Church

This building has housed the Methodist Church since 1917, although the Methodist Church in Albion began with visits of circuit-riding preachers in 1821. The building was erected in the years 1896 to 1898 by the Congregational Church, which was organized in 1891 as the result of the Congregational Church establishing a college, the Southern Collegiate Institute, in Albion. This building was also used as the music department for the college (SCI). They operated the College in Albion for 25 years, from 1891 until financial difficulties forced them to close the college with the graduating class of 1916. The interior of the church was gutted by fire in November 1905 and rebuilt. The Methodist Church has maintained the facility with most of the original details intact.

First Presbyterian Church

Corner of 6th and Elm Street

According to the Edwards County History Book published in 1980, First Presbyterian Church Cumberland was formed in 1843, meeting in the Union Church House on the east side of the public square. The building of a frame church was followed by a brick structure before the current church home was constructed in 1910. Total building costs were less than $10,000. Notable Albion community leaders J.F. Stewart, Washington Painter, B.F. Michaels, George O. Green and George Bower made up the building committee. The church remains an active presence in the Albion Community .

Charles S. Stewart House

Corner of 6th and Elm Streets

Charles S. Stewart and Arabella J. Weed were married and moved into their newly built residence in the fall of 1865. Constructed by Elias Weaver, a well-known local builder, Mr. Weaver’s family came to America with the Rapp Society (Harmonie, Posey County, Indiana). Mr. Weaver later relocated to Albionand married Christina Stewart, an aunt of Charles S. Stewart .

The Stewart House exhibits many features of the Greek revival style, which was dominant in America from about 1820 to 1860. Its popularity led it to being called the National style. It borrows many of its features from ancient Greek temples.

The Stewart house is presently being restored and at least a portion of it is expected to be open for the 2011 Heritage Day Tour. The house is being nominated for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

Courthouse Square

The southwest corner of the public square has a long history as a community gathering spot in Albion. The first structure located there was built in 1890 to give shelter to one of four wells commissioned in 1889 to provide drinking water to Passerby and horses. After completion, the wells soon gained notoriety for their health-giving mineral water and were visited by persons from places far and wide. They valued its properties as a cure for “rheumatism, kidney and urinary troubles, and derangements of the stomach and bowels and many other afflictions” .

The first pagoda was followed by a more substantial model in 1906. It also served as a bandstand and housed the town’s fire bell. The above photo was taken soon after, before the fire in 1908.

The current Pagoda, third on this site, is unusual in its octagonal shape, architectural flavor, and solid construction. It was constructed in 1914 with funds raised by the Albion Women’s Beautifying Club. The mineral well is no longer active but the upper floor serves as a stage for many community gatherings. Note that the fire bell was moved from the pagoda to the courthouse lawn.

Edwards County Memorial Arch

Southwest inside Corner of Courthouse Square

T he original Honor Roll Memorial Veterans Arch was dedicated on July 4th, 1943, before a crowd estimated at 7,500 people. This was the largest attendance for any event in Albion to that date. The current Veterans Memorial Arch was dedicated on May 26th, 1986 .

Marker for Morris Birkbeck

East Side of Inner Square on Courthouse Square

On the square across from the Albion Public Library is a memorial to Morris Birkbeck, co-founder of the “English settlement” in Edwards County. This memorial was erected in 1929 by the Department of Illinois Women’s Relief Corps Auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic “in respect and gratitude for the decided part he took against the introduction of slavery” in Illinois

Additional information about Morris Birkbeck can be found at the front of the publication.

Wanborough Cemetery

Approximately 1 1/2 Miles West Albion

West of Albion, Wanborough Cemetery stands as a reminder of the brave souls who weathered the tests of pioneers to begin the settlement of the new English Colony in America. The cemetery is all that remains of the community called Wanborough. It contains some interesting old headstones of the early residents. A historical marker was erected there in 2007.

Old Albion Cemetery

Between 4th and 5th Streets north of Pine Street

The old Albion cemetery north of downtown is an interesting visit into the early days of Albion. The old stone carvings and ornamental ironwork also provide many possibilities for photography .

Lincoln Oak Grove

West Main Street

A monument was erected in 1956 to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s speech in the presidential campaign of 1840. To an audience in General William Pickering’s Grove of oak trees, Lincoln was stumping southern Illinois as a Whig elector for the General William Henry Harrison in the “Tippecanoe & Tyler Too” campaign .

Lincoln made his second appearance in Albion in 1856, when he was campaigning for U.S. Representative and presidential elector. Again the meeting was held in the Pickering Grove with General Pickering acting as master of the ceremonies. Lincoln spent the night in Albion at the Bowman’s Tavern (hotel) which was located on what is now the northeast corner of the Borowiak’s IGA parking lot.

Brick Streets and the Brick Industry in Albion

The initial project of paving Albion’s streets with brick, dating to 1911, encompassed 21 blocks, “Paving District number 1”. The total cost of paving these 21 blocks was $83,432, and about 74 men, mostly local, provided the labor. Exclusively Albion Vitrified Paving blocks, and sandstone curbing were used throughout.

The manufacture of bricks in Albion has a long history. Reports as long ago as 1819 mention a brick kiln being built and the manufacturing of brick being undertaken in Albion. By 1850, the Basset & Sons yard was producing 400,000 handmade bricks per year.

On August 9th, 1900, the Albion Shale Brick Company was incorporated with a capital stock of $20,000, later increased to $200,000. It was located just south of the former Albion Depot at the south edge of Albion. In 1926, the Albion shale brick company purchased the West Salem Hollow Tile and Brick Company which had been organized in 1911.

The Albion vitrified brick company was incorporated in 1902. It used the long push-on type kiln, later supplemented by the Bee-hive type kiln. Very fine paving bricks were made there. They were made from a good quality of shale which was found nearby. Some of those bricks are to be found now in the streets of Albion as well as many other towns and cities across the country, including Mt. Carmel, Carmi, Mount Vernon, Carbondale, Centralia, East St. Louis, Chicago, Evansville, and New Albany, Indiana, St Louis Missouri, Memphis Tennessee and Louisville, Kentucky. The Albion Vitrified Brick Company was officially invited to make an exhibit at the St Louis World’s Fair in 1904. An article in the December 2nd, 1909 issue of the Albion Register states that since April 1st of that year, over 5 million paving blocks had been shipped from Albion to the different towns and cities. The quality of Albion paving bricks was known throughout the Midwest.

The two Albion yards (Albion Shale Brick Company and Albion Vitrified Brick Company) voted to consolidate November 8th, 1929 (The Great Depression had begun). Intermittently from then until 1975, when the last plant closed, the manufacture of brick furnished a living for many area families. The three whistles calling the workers to work, announcing noon hour, and closing time added an atmosphere to the town that is still missed today.

Albion citizens are rightfully proud of the brick streets. The century-old streets have withstood the test of time and have required virtually no maintenance. Realizing the historical value and pride the residents of Albion have for the brick streets the Albion City Council voted in July 2008 to begin their restoration. The specific restoration project that won the vote is for West Elm Street from 5th Street to 8th Street, including the intersection of 5th and Elm Streets.

Work will begin the spring of 2011 to restore Elm Street starting at the northeast corner of the 5th Street intersection.

June 5 marks 200 years since the founding of Bolton

Saturday June 5 th marks the 200 th anniversary of the purchase, by George Bolton, of a 200-acre mill site along the Humber River. He was 22 years old. The site’s potential had been identified by Provincial Land Surveyor James Chewett as he surveyed Albion Township in 1819 and was part of 2635 acres of land in Albion Township that Chewett received as payment for his services. George Bolton’s subsequent grist mill was the catalyst for our community. Here is what we know about him:

George Bolton was born in 1799 and grew up in Tannington, Suffolk England, not far from the Worlingworth church where his birth is registered. He was the youngest of six children born to James and Judith Bolton and he was educated, as were his siblings.

Although thought to be a bachelor, George had had a disagreement with his father over an unsanctioned marriage that, in the end, did not last. Written out of his father’s will, George left England and travelled to Jamaica where he acquired capital working in the indigo trade.

When George arrived in Canada in 1821, he was joining his brother, James Bolton, 18 years his senior and one of the first to settle in Albion Township. James’ 100-acre farm lay close to the Caledon King Town Line and Castlederg Sideroad. One of George’s first tasks was to build a house, later described as a frame, roughcast building. He also selected and started clearing a site for his grist mill on the south bank of the Humber. He was guided by James, a skilled millwright, who helped him build his mill and construct a dam across the river. The mill was grinding grain by 1824.

The economic value of the area surrounding George’s property had been recognized and the survey reserved the 200 acres to the south for the Clergy and the 200 acres to the west for the Crown. In addition, 1000 acres on the tableland, immediately north, were given, as an extraordinary land grant, to a high-ranking military officer, Robert Loring, who lived in Kingston. This created challenges for mill access since surrounding road allowances were not cleared or maintained by these ‘absentee’ landowners.

George was known to be very hospitable to the many farmers who brought grain to the mill. He must also have had strength, resilience and endurance. He persevered and was successful, thanks to the ever-growing demand for flour.

His closest neighbours were niece Harriet Bolton and her husband John Godbolt who settled on land George sold to them, north of the Humber, well east of what is now Humber Lea Road. By 1830, there were fewer than 10 people living in a one-kilometer radius of Bolton’s Mill.

Around 1830, George provided land and a log structure for a school and in 1831, built a store at the NE corner of what would be King Street East at Mill. The following year, the government appointed George as postmaster and he housed the post office, named ALBION, in his store. In the early 1830s, two of George and James’ sisters immigrated to Canada, also settling in Albion Township: Maria Bolton Fuller and her husband Samuel. Rachel Bolton Godbolt and her husband George. George Bolton did not take sides during the 1837 Mackenzie Rebellion unlike James who fled to the US in the aftermath because of his vocal and written support of the uprising.

In 1845, after 23 years as miller, George retired and sold the mill, house and other property to his assistant and nephew, James Bolton Jr. He died on November 16, 1869 in Glenville, near Newmarket, on the farm of James Bolton Jr. and his wife Ellen. Efforts to locate where he is buried have been unsuccessful.

Black History

Since recruiting Black men from the south to work in the city’s industries, Black families have come to settle in Albion. Now the small town’s population has grown to be home to approximately 30% African American residents.

During the last 100+ years, Albion has stood out for its strength as a hub for civil rights leaders and social justice activists. Its residents often compare the community to a big family – one that can disagree and still remain by each other’s side, particularly in times of need.

Albion was the home of three Tuskegee Airmen, a rare achievement for a city this size.

Strenuous challenges have impacted the city of Albion once a thriving industrial town, the closing of businesses, the local hospital, and the public school district have caused many residents to leave also.

Those who remain in Albion are concerned about the city’s future while many are still coming together to envision what is possible amidst such great loss, many others feel a sense of mistrust too great to risk further pain.

When considering a key component of Albion’s Black History, let us remember some of the most incredible leaders who have come and imparted their wisdom. Among many trailblazers who have given back to the community, Albion’s anchor institutions have hosted the following luminaries:

What is more, the graduates of Albion Public Schools have also gone on to achieve greatness in every arena you can imagine. As with all of the information on, the content of the Black History page will continue to grow to paint the more full and rich picture of Albion that it deserves.

The best information about Black History in Albion can be found on the new website:

For now, please see below the articles and webpages that Albion residents have created to tell vital stories that are far too often overlooked in American society.

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