One year after arsonists destroy it, Galum church remembered
By: Carly O'Keefe
Perry County, IL - On July 11, 2005, fire crews were called to the Galum Presbyterian Church in rural Perry County, Illinois. Arsonists torched the historic church, destroying more than 150 years of memories with it.
One year later, there is no new church in the Galum Cemetery. Instead a new monument stands as a reminder of the historic building and how it was lost.
"There was no way to replace it," said Glen Hamilton.
Several generations of Hamilton's family have been involved with the Galum Church since it was formed back in 1844. The church, burnt last year, was built in 1854. On the morning of July 11, 2005, he was called and alerted the church was reduced to cinders. The memories of that day and seeing the small church reduced to cinders are still fresh in his mind.
"I just hated to see it," said Hamilton. "But when you can't do anything about it, you just accept it and go ahead."
Going on doesn't mean forgetting. Now among the hundreds of headstones in the Galum Cemetery, there stands a new monument. It doesn't pay tribute to a person, but rather to the thousands of memories lost in that fire.
"It shows the picture of the church, tells about its erection and destruction," said Hamilton. "On the back there's a little bit of history."
"It's really got a lot of past in it," said Pinckneyville resident John Scholebo.
Scholebo drove out to the cemetery Wednesday to see the new memorial. His daughter was married in Galum Church in October, 2004. While he didn't attend services there, he says the old church always meant something to him.
"There was so many memories in there" said Scholebo. "They're not lost, people are going to remember it for the rest of their lives."