From: Sally Hathaway
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 14:12:43 EST
Subject: Another Famous Legend from the Pioneer Days In My Backyard
(HELLS) HALF ACRE
One of the noted places of Christian County bore the name of Half Acre, and
was on the bank of the Sangamom River on the public road which runs between
Taylorville and Bear Creek, in the northeastern part of Johnson Township.
Edward Bradley, and Irishman, bought a half acre of land, and on it founded
the town, which bore this peculiar name. Mr Bradley opened a grocery, and
according to the custom of the times, obtained a license to sell liquor. The
town obtained the location of a sawmill, owned by Bell and Christian, and
several log cabins grew up about the little settlement. Unfortunatley the
lawless element gained supremacy, and the place became known by the highly
objectionable title of "Hell's Half Acre." During a storm the nucleus of the
town, the saloon was struck by lightning, and burned, and with it gone, the
place declined, and now nothing remains to mark the spot.
Historical Encyclopedia of ILlinois Christian County IL Vol II p 768
FYI: I have personnaly walked and looked through the place for years when I
lived back there.
William Kerwin and Stephen Kerwin, and a couple of others, now own land next
the river and to that old town in Illinois. My family. It is beside the
South Fork Branch River under R 48; with another legend of the old bridge
There has been articles about this place over the last 50 yrs, The Breeze-
Courier Newspaper, Taylorville, IL. It is also seen in many various books
about the area and in many sites online. GhostBusters even had a little note
about it . This is a very common and well known little story in the past 100
years, even could call it it folk legend.
We have watched people through the years go out with metal detectors and
search for old coins, guns, bullets, harness wear, etc. Some have been found
through the years.