Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Jon Musgrave  

Pen Name: None

Genre: History Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult;


-- Website --
-- Jon Musgrave on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Jon Musgrave lives in Marion, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Musgrave was a former Daily Register managing editor and a historian active in the effort to preserve the Old Slave House, Jon Musgrave joined with fellow area historians Ron Nelson and Gary DeNeal in the fall of 1996 to research the real history of this much misunderstood historic site. Musgrave's efforts continued for eight years and cumulated with Slaves, Salt, Sex & Mr. Crenshaw. Unknown when he started researching the site, nine months into the research he discovered his own family relationship to the original owner of this antebellum kidnapping station. When not researching and writing about Southern Illinois' history, Musgrave sells real estate in Marion, and has been appointed to Illinois' new Amistad Commission to study how the history of slavery is taught in the state's public schools. He is also the owner and publisher of

Selected Titles At Your Library

Slaves, salt, sex & Mr. Crenshaw :
ISBN: 097079844X. OCLC Number:,. Marion, Ill. :. ©2004.

The bloody vendetta of southern Illinois /
ISBN: 0970798466. OCLC Number:,. Marion, Ill. :. ©2006.

Secrets of the Herrin gangs :
ISBN: 0970798490. OCLC Number:,. Marion, IL :. ©2010.

Her ran slots for Charlie Birger, managed the business for the Sheltons and served as the "brain" of the Herrin outfit during the Gang War of the 1920s. By the 30s, he was the "most dangerous man" of the coal belt "bad lands" of Southern Illinois. In Secrets of the Herrin Gangs, Ralph Johnson provides an inside account of Bloody Williamson from the viewpoint of a Shleton gangster. At the end of the Gang War in January 1927, with the Sheltons in prison and Charlie Birger on his tail, Johnson decided to get out and cash out, selling his story first to the St. Louis Star and then across the country in a 10-part series that ran coast to coast. Now for the first time, Johnson's account has been combined in one volume and updated. Southern Illinois historian Jon Musgrave follows up the inside account and reveals the unassuming Benton gangster behind the Ralph Johnson alias. A salesman and writer by trade, the young gangster found himself at the center of the war between Carl Shelton and Charlie Birger. Musgrave uncovers his history from the Herrin Massacre to 1950s Reno, Nevada.

Inside the Shelton gang :
ISBN: 0970798482. OCLC Number:,. Marion, IL :. ©2013.

When a father's wall of secrets begin to crumble, a family's lost heritage of violence erupts from the front pages of history. For daughter Ruthie it's a discovery that will forever change her life as she learns what it meant to be a Shelton in the days of Prohibition and the decades following, to be a member of a crime family that rivaled Al Capone's for control Illinois.

Speaking Engagements

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