Friday, February 20, 2015

Death of Bessie Irene Black

Today the Lawrence County Historical Society mourns the death of Bessie Irene Black, not just a historian and genealogist, but a truly great lady.

After learning that the tomb of one of her favorite British queens (and a distant relative) in Westminster Abbey, London, was not appropriately marked, she wrote to the English government, purchased a plaque and had it installed.  She also was instrumental in having the Lincoln monument erected in Westport to commemorate the Lincoln family’s crossing into Illinois.  

Perhaps one of her most important contributions was a book in 1976 listing every tombstone inscription in every Lawrence County Cemetery. This book is highly sought after today, because many of those early tombstones are now unreadable.

In 1985 Mrs. Black decided to share her 50-year family history collection by opening a genealogical library in Bridgeport.  Since then genealogists, not only locally but from around the country, have used this facility to research their family history with her help.  

In 2011, after searching for a way to ensure that her legacy and life’s work would continue to be available as a resource in Lawrence County, she gifted the collection to the Lawrence County Historical Society which she had helped organize fifty years earlier.

Irene Black will be very much missed.  Our prayers are with the family.   

“When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid;
yea thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.” Proverbs 3:24


Details:  Visitation is 12:30-2:00 Monday, February 23rd at the Glasser Funeral Home, 1101 Oak St, Bridgeport, Il.  Funeral will be immediately following with burial at the Zion Cemetery.