Dear Readers, On my first research trip in March 2015, Mary Kay and I drove from St. Louis, Missouri to Oraville and Murphysboro, Illinois, about 2-3 hours away by car.
I drove to Murphysboro first, but quickly turned onto #13 North at the bridge over the Big Muddy River, then turned left at Highway #4. The drive to Oraville from Murphysboro was 13 minutes without traffic, a distance of 10.8 miles.
Oraville is so small, you will miss it if you blink! There are no fences. Just a few modest homes on about eight blocks, originally centered on the Mobile & Ohio railroad tracks, whose right-of-way is still visible. Today there still is no town hall or fire station or library. But the people we met were friendly, and all of them seemed to love their little town.
There are still lots of ponds and wet depressions for frogs, and cornfields still surround the town. Rattlesnake Creek is straight west out of town, on Ripley Road, through the cornfields.
In 1910 the trip from Oraville to Murphysboro took three hours by horse and buggy.
Oraville comes to life in the Spencer family Chapters #1-2.