A tremendous feat in collecting and compiling the interesting facts and stories of Rochester, this resource answers both quick questions and provides a detailed history of the community.
(Sangamon Valley Collection Manager / Lincoln Library)
Local history is engaging — and fun — because it explores people, places, and events we know or know of and gives us a sense of place. Cotton, Violins & Shots in the Night is local history at its best.
Charles A. Schweighauser
(Emeritus Professor of English, University of Illinois Springfield)
Readers will enjoy learning about, or remembering, many of the events included in Cotton, Violin & Shots in the Night...smiles, tears, cheers, and wows will be the reactions to this lively, easy- to-read, enjoyable history.
(Director of Library Services at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum - Retired)
I’ve always wanted to hop into a time machine and travel back into the various periods of Rochester. Ray and Pam Bruzan have given readers the arm-chair opportunity to do just that in Cotton, Violins & Shots in the Night.
Carolyn Bowersock Moore
(Born - Raised - Stayed in Rochester, Illinois; First President: Rochester Historical Preservation Society)
...An enlightening and interesting history of Rochester from the early 1800s pioneer days through 2010.... A fascinating historical documentation with many photos that anyone connected with Rochester will not want to miss.
(President Sangamon County Historical Society)
...an amazing assemblage of archival and family lore detailing the rich history of a unique prairie town. Their research is meticulous and compelling.
J. Michael Lennon
(Library of America editions of the work of Norman Mailer  and former Rochester resident)
...An extensive account ranging from pre-history into the future. Their combination of bullet points, stories and photos makes this book feel like a visit to Rochester...
(Producer/Host //Illinois Stories, WSEC PBS)
Many thanks to Ray and Pam for completing this story of Rochester in time for the village’s sesquicentennial. I found the book very interesting and I’m intrigued to think about what it would be like to come back in 50 years to see the changes between now and then.
(Rochester Village President, 2001-2017)