French Creoles of The Illinois Country: Fiddle Jigs, Creole Folktales and Haunting Ballads

A Road Scholar Program by Dennis Stroughmatt

Dennis Stroughmatt 2022 cropped Sq

May 22, 2024


Normal Public Library
206 W College Ave
Normal, IL 61761



New France once stretched from the St. Lawrence River of Canada to New Orleans, and within its territory lived a vast population of French colonists almost as diverse as they were strong. 

The Illinois French, who first arrived in southern Illinois in the late 1600s, witnessed the coming of new borders and the formation of new countries like Canada and The United States. Eventually, these French founders would find themselves divided and even isolated. But their culture has remained, still existing after two centuries of isolation in rural pockets along the Wabash River and Mississippi River in southern Illinois.

This program will take audiences on a journey of discovery where they will hear the history of this group’s arrival, the French dialects still spoken, and the unique music still performed in the old “Illinois Country.” Perhaps most importantly, through story and song, including a performance of local French “fiddling” on violin and sing-a-longs, audiences will have fun learning how the Illinois French serve as a time capsule for their cousins to the north and south—those in Canada and Louisiana.

FCA Tour of Historic Bldg at the Centre for French Colonial Life Museum Campus

French Colonial America hosts a tour of its Centre for French Colonial Life Museum Campus.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Jennifer Buchanan at

Learn more about Dennis Stroughmatt, this program, and how to book it here.

Host Organization