Caseyville history told Thursday

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Local history buffs will have a chance to learn about the lastoutpost on Highway 550 Thursday night when longtime Caseyvilleresident Fred Calcote pours out all he knows about the littlecommunity in a presentation hosted by the Lincoln County Historicaland Genealogical Society.

Born on the edges of Caseyville in 1933 and residing there mostof his life, Calcote has basically lived the history himself, andhe’s done his own research to fill in the fuzzy spots. He willexplain the origins of the community and describe several points ofinterest Thursday at 7 p.m. at the State Room.

“All of my life, I’ve been interested in people, culture and the’how’ and ‘why’ behind all that,” he said. “I know what I know fromlife experience and being curious enough to look back at where theoriginal people came from.”

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Calcote said Caseyville is not just random spot on the highway,but was founded in 1807 – before Brookhaven was Brookhaven andLincoln County was Lincoln County – by Scottish Presbyterians.Evidence of Caseyville’s Catholic origins exists in PhiladelphiaBaptist Church, which Calcote said was purchased from its Catholicfounders in 1865.

“We know the Catholics preceded everyone, but for some reasonthey moved on,” he said. “I don’t know why.”

Calcote said the community got its name from James Casey, whosefamily settled there in the 1850s. Casey lived on the south side ofthe crossroads at Highway 550, Calcote said, and founded the firststore in the community. He said an infant member of the Caseyfamily is buried beneath a monument near the horse pens.

Several other historical points remain around Caseyville,Calcote said, such as the site of the old Ben Salem PresbyterianChurch of the 1850s, the Bethel Methodist Church Cemetery of the1870s and a house that was once a Methodist parsonage and part ofScotland Charge.

Lincoln County Historical and Genealogical Society PresidentRita Rich said presentations such as Calcote’s are important to theorganization’s mission of keeping Lincoln County history alive.

“Part of what the society is about … is to know our countywhere we live,” she said. “I think it’s interesting because it’ssomething you see every day.”

Rich said the society is interested in hosting morepresentations on the county’s small communities. Anyone with theknowledge to make a historical presentation may call Rich at601-833-8023.