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Kankakee County Confidential
(2016) KANKAKEE COUNTY CONFIDENTIAL is a follow-up to “Wild Kankakee” and it is even wilder than "Wild Kankakee"!
The book has stories never told before! Such as –
Governor Len Small had a love child and a whole secret family in Kankakee.
The details on the murder of Paul Leathers, the strangest unsolved murder in Kankakee history. Many people, including some police and some family, wonder if it really was Leathers’ body that was found!
A story NEVER told before is the story of how a group of African-American ministers bought property in the 1940s with the intention of building a hospital for black people, a home for wayward black boys and girls, a retirement home for black clergy. The land was bought, the deed was filed. And yet, they were chased out and forced to sell the property by Kankakee officials who did not want a large “Negro development” built here.
State. Sen. Edward McBroom’s womanizing was so brazen that he propositioned a grieving widow at her husband’s wake!
Revealed for the first time are the appearances of Frank Sinatra ad Nat King Cole in Kankakee, unknown until now, because they sang here before they were famous.
The Kankakee County sheriff and his big bag of money that couldn’t be explained, how he was forced out of office for several offenses, including helping operate houses of prostitution, and the details about the jail cell that had no door so that a special prisoner could come and go as he pleased (including going out at night to commit burglaries).
The real story about how the Chicago Bears training camp came to Bourbonnais. The real story behind the schemes to build a third airport and a new tollway, projects that no one wants except those who will profit from building them.
A history of the sad race relations in Kankakee, including a century of local minstrel shows, Klan activity, and the city newspaper that regularly used the N word in headlines.
More details about the murder of Stephen Small, and the wrongful conviction of Nancy Rish, and how the lies continue to keep her in prison.
$28, plus $4 postage
Small Justice: The Tragic Murder of Stephen Small and the Shameful Conviction of an Innocent Woman
(2014) Kidnapped by a desperate cocaine dealer, Stephen B. Small was buried alive while the kidnapper waited to collect a million dollar ransom. Tragically, Mr. Small died. Danny Edwards was caught, convicted and was sentenced to death. His life was spared after all death sentences were commuted to life in prison by Governor George Ryan.
It was political pressure -- the Small family was at the top of Kankakee's powerful elite -- that brought
in the top prosecutors in the state, so they could use Edwards' case against his girlfriend, Nancy Rish. Every piece of forensic evidence at the trial cleared Nancy Rish. Not one piece of evidence and not one witness’ testimony proved her guilt. But she was convicted on the conjecture and false assertions of the prosecutors. Everything was set up to railroad this woman into prison. If Danny Edwards had picked any other victim, his girlfriend never would have been prosecuted. Nancy Rish got small justice and she got Small justice. Nancy Rish is innocent. Danny Edwards and Nancy Rish have given their first in-depth interviews
Len Small: Governors and Gangsters: When Al Capone Owned The Top Officials in Illinois
(2009) Get the only book written about Governor Len Small of Kankakee, who was governor of Illinois from 1921 to 1929. He was the most corrupt politician in Illinois history, a state famous for crooked politicians. He embezzled two million dollars from the state. He went on trial , but was acquitted after Al Capone’s hoodlums tampered with the jury. Governor Small sold thousands of pardons and paroles, many to Capone hoodlums. One was to Harry Guzik, who ran the whorehouses for Capone and Torrio. Guzik was convicted of forcing a teenage girl into prostitution, but never spent one day in jail; he was pardoned immediately by Governor Small. Small also pardoned several cop killers, and anyone else who paid the price. Small’s campaigns were endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, and he let them use state facilities for their rallies. Hardcover, 348 pages.
Wild Kankakee: Gangsters, Bootleggers, Bank Robbers, Murder and Offbeat Tales of Crime, Tragedy and Bizarre Stories You Won't See in Other Local History Books
(2012) Think you know Kankakee's history? The title says it all. This is a wildly popular book the city and chamber of commerce would just as soon not see published. But the public in Kankakee loves it. Hardcover, 328 pages.
Cardiff: Ghost Town on the Prairie
The history of a legendary coal mining town in Livingston County, Illinois, that sprung up almost overnight in 1899. It had a rollicking history of mine disasters, violence, numerous saloons, and a fine community with banks, businesses and schools. When the mine closed in 1912, the town disappeared almost as quickly as it began. The book also has a history of other nearby, now-gone coal towns of Clarke City, Tracy, Torino, the mine disasters at Diamond and Cherry, and a history of the nearby village of Campus. Hardcover, 316 pages, lots of photographs.
$29, plus $4 for postage
Cardiff 2: A Second Volume of History From the Ghost Town on the Prairie
(2008) All-new additional history of Cardiff and the other towns covered in the first volume. This book adds a little history from nearby towns of Cabery, Dwight, Braceville, Braidwood, Coal City, Carbon Hill, Gardner and South Wilmington. Hardcover, 312 pages, lots of photographs. $29, plus $4 for postage.
Chicago to Springfield
(2010) The gangsters in 1920s Chicago were able to flourish by paying off the politicians who let them have their way, such as notorious Chicago Mayor William Hale "Big Bill" Thompson and Governor Len Small. This book looks at several corrupt politicians of the era, such as Judge Edwards Shurtleff, William Lorimer, Fred Lundin, Anton Cermak, Lee O'Neil Browne, Chauncey Jenkins, Frank L. Smith and more. It also looks at the gangsters who came to power, such as Al Capone, Frank Nitti, the Guzik brothers, Johnny Torrio and so many more.Softcover, 128 pages.
Kankakee Makes Good: Kankakee Postcards Vol. 2
(2007) This is the second volume of picture postcards of old Kankakee. Hardcover, 256 pages of full color picture postcards, many are a hundred years old. Some of the scenes pictured here are now gone.
$20 plus $4 postage
County West Companion: A Further History of Western Kankakee County
(2005) The first volume of County West history sold out. This is an all-new companion volume. A huge 492-page coffee-table book of the history of the towns in the western half of Kankakee County: Herscher. Essex, Limestone, Lehigh, Buckingham, Cabery, Reddick, Union Hill, Irwin, Goodrich, Bonfield, and the townships. Many rare photographs. Hardcover, 492 pages.
$25, plus $5 postage
Ottawa: Images of America
(2011) Arcadia Publishing. A pictorial history of the city of Ottawa, Illinois. Early history, people and places, churches and schools, sports and recreation, war and remembrance, business and industry. 128 pages.
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