Monday, June 30, 2008

A gathering of Elizabeths

The world's most famous Elizabeth didn't show, but about 400 others did.

The northern Illinois community of Elizabeth tried, on June 28, to set a world record for the largest Gathering of Elizabeths. Women with Elizabeth in any part of their name were allowed in; one participant has Elizabeth as a last name.

The event drew women from more than 20 US states. Those participating had to show a copy of a birth certificate or driver's license.

"We did invite Queen Elizabeth II, but she politely declined," said Susan Gordy, who helped organize the event.

Elizabeth Taylor was also invited but did not reply, Gordy said. The event was designed to celebrate the community and honor famous Elizabeths, including one of the women for whom the community of about 700 people was named.

In 1832, Elizabeth Armstrong, one of at least three Elizabeths living in the Apple River Fort settlement, played a prominent role in defending the community during an attack in the Black Hawk War, a battle between Native Americans and settlers for land in the area, according to Gordy, who works at the Apple River Fort Historic Site.

Armstrong and the other Elizabeths were praised for their courage and honored in the naming of the town, Gordy said.

Gordy said the community plans to submit an application to Guinness World Records.