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History of Braceville

The village of Braceville was plotted by Nathan Cotton in 1861 and was populated mostly by men directly interested in mining coal; especially after 1870 when several mines were opened and the town became the center of the mining area.  After a disastrous fire destroyed most of the business section of the town, on Railroad Avenue, parallel to the Alton tracks, the new stores were built on Mitchell Street which claimed to have a population of 3500 residents when it was at its peak.  About 500 of them were employed in the nearby coal mines. 


At this time there were six churches: Methodist, Episcopal, Primitive Methodist, English Baptist, Welsh Baptist, Welsh Congregational and Spiritual.  The residents were mostly Welsh and English but later many nationalities were represented.


George Augustine was the first postmaster and built the first post office and the first house in the village of Braceville.  The first schoolhouse was a grade school but a high school was built soon with a total of twelve teachers and 500 pupils in the twelve grades.  Serving as Superintendents of the Braceville High School were at different times: E. A. Rathbun, Fred Clements, W. R. Blackwelder and Ray Smith.


At one time Braceville’s soccer and football teams as well as baseball team, were the best in the State.