Photo 12-DCL-24


I'm pretty sure this is Johnny Bob Harrell's (Harold?) house. My uncle knew him, quite the character. His house is in Louisville, Illinois, resembling George Washington's Mt. Vernon. I think Johnny Bob was a survivalist at one time, he harbored an AWOL Marine once, I can see his guard tower in the back ground.

You're correct - Johnny Bob Harrell's "Mt. Vernon". More information here:

As a kid, my grandparents lived in Flora, Illinois - and they showed us the mansion/compound in Louisville along Rt. 45 a handful of times. Hilariously, my maternal grandmother's maiden name was Harrell - but my family was always careful to add, "but no relation", given the drama he caused in Louisville and his fairly, mmm, "hardcore" religious beliefs.

Really cool picture, though!

Met John one time about 92 or so. I was hired to survey a new property line between him and a neighbor so the neighbor could harvest some trees in the Little Wabash river bottoms. He kinda snuck up on me there in the woods and it scared the crap out of me. As we talked he mentioned that his daughter had married a black then said something racist. Very slight man with shoulder length white hair.I may not agree with his philosophy , but he seemed very kindly. The guard towers are gone now and the place is a mess. Most of his followers cabins are broken down. I remember his festival on the grounds in the late 70's. Lotsa camo and armament. It was a big deal.

My Great Grandmother, Jennie Harrell Stewart, She married Addison Joseph Stewart, both buried at Elmwood. Jennie's parents, I recall/believe are up in Oskaloosa Cemetery/Suttons Point. Jennie had several brothers and sisters and I believe Johnnie Bob is related to one of these , if not, a sibling of Jennies Fathers brother. Jennies youngest daughter was my grandmother
I heard about the house and tried to see it, think someone or grandma said they were like second or third cousins or something. She , my grandmother has passed in 2008, and her mom Jennie Harrell Stewart and my grandma's sister both ether died I think in either 1924 or 1926, both of Tuburculosis

I visited the house as a child when my mother let her curiosity get the best of her and we attended one of his open house meetings Probably 1962 or around then. Then a few years later my brothers and I would sneak on the grounds and go up the watch towers (my grandmother lived about a block from there) It struck me when I visited the real Mt Vernon a few years ago, how familiar it seemed to me. Because of johnny Bob's house.

Your Comment

Do you have a connection to this photograph? Maybe you grew up here or know someone who did? What has changed in the 46 years since this photo was taken? Tell us!