Hardin County

1940 Stories from Illinois History


Rosiclare, an Illinois village in Hardin County, has the distinction of being in the center of a region believed to contain the largest fluorspar deposits in the world. Of little value commercially when discovered here in 1842, fluorspar was at first mined only on a small scale. Later, however, it was found to be a valuable metallurgical flux, and for almost half a century several large mining companies have been extracting and refining the mineral in great quantities.


Bigsby Cave and Gorge, near Ford's Ferry, is not only an Illinois scenic spot, but also the center of many incidents and legends, concerning early settlement of Hardin County. The cave and gorge were named for Dr. Anna Bigsby, pioneer physician and teacher, who established the first school on Rock Creek, and in attending the sick throughout the section earned for herself the title, Heroine of the Ozarks.

Local tradition holds that "Dr. Anna," as she was familiarly called, was once captured by outlaws and escaped by a perilous leap from a bluff near the cave. Some people report seeing a nebulous light floating over Bigsby Gorge and refer to it as "Dr. Anna Light." They explain that it is the spirit of the heroine guarding a sum of her money supposed to be hidden in the cave.

Extracted 20 Oct 2019 by Norma Hass from Stories from Illinois History, compiled by the Workers of the Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Illinois, published in 1940, pages 32 and 42.

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