Illinois History Minutes

May 12 Illinois History Minute


Being divorced was not a good look for a woman from a prominent family in the early 20th century. But Jayne Bartlett Kerr of the Clark County town of Marshall made the most of it. She married salesman Louis Kerr on this day, May 12th, in 1898 and moved to Wisconsin. A few years later, she was back, with a young son, but no husband. As perhaps the best-known divorcee in Marshall, Mrs. Kerr became a community leader. She helped organize facilities for tuberculosis patients and campaigned for a tax referendum to build Marshall’s public library.

Ernie Banks hit his 500th home run, on this day in 1970. The ball went over the left-field wall in Wrigley Field, helping the Chicago Cubs beat Atlanta, 4 to 3. Banks became the ninth Major League player to hit 500 homers.