Local bookstore to host a historical re-telling of its checkered past

Cheyenne Fitzgerald, Entertainment Editor

Shelves of old books, studying, and chess nights are a daily occurrence in the exact spot that a murder took place in 1855 in Charleston.
Two pistol shots brought a father-in-law to the ground at what is now known to downtown Charleston as Bob’s Bookstore.
Most residents and members of the Eastern community were unaware that a murder happened in this town, let alone in the spot of the local bookstore. Joe Judd, the owner of the bookstore, and Eastern alumni, said even he was unaware until members of the Eastern Illinois University school of Continuing Education reached out to him and asked him if they could host an event re-telling the actions leading up to the murder.
Judd said residents of the area have become fond of this bookstore due to its Monday night chess nights, previous Friday night open mic nights, its collection of books, and even published book readings from some of Eastern’s former professors.
The event, titled “Murder at 6th and Monroe”, is scheduled to take place on Jan. 27 from noon to 1:30 p.m. The bookstore will be sharing the 161-year-old story of the stranger who swept the daughter of a leading Charleston family off her feet.
The story escalates when an accusation from the father-in-law, Nathan Ellington, caused a physical dispute that led to the murder on 6th and Monroe.
The son-in-law then being found guilty of the charge was brought to a tree just outside of the town square to be lynched as a crowd was said to have watched.
Judd said in 1855 it would have been preferred to do the lynching in the town square but none of the trees were good enough for the event.
Bob’s Bookstore will be bringing the story, and members of the Charleston community, back to the scene of the crime by hosting the event free of charge and open to the public.
Aside from the history event scheduled, the bookstore is also known for having Monday chess nights and open mic nights that had been held every Friday that was recently moved to Common Grounds in Mattoon, IL.
Instead the store will begin a poetry night on Tuesdays.
Judd said the poetry night would include a featured poet of the night who will read some of their work.
After the poet is through with their readings the floor will be open to any other poets who would like to share their poetry with the public.
Though the spot a murder occurred over a century ago, Judd said he does not foresee any harmful crimes and encourages the public to come out and enjoy a little history on Charleston.


Cheyenne Fitzgerald can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]