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Society activities

Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the Catlin Historical Society was held on January 8, 2001, at the Catlin Community Building, presided over by President Sara Cast. Minutes of the last general meeting of March 13, 2000 were read and approved.

Two new board members were elected. They are Kristi McGee and Neal Brogan, to serve three-year terms. Ron Smoot, current board member, was re-elected to serve another three-year term.

According to our by-laws a member can only serve two consecutive terms on the board. One of our board members, Elinor Crawford had served two terms (six years), and Irma Jones resigned from the board last December after serving one term (three years) We hated to lose them as board members as they were very conscientious and dedicated members.

Irma was elected to the board January 12, 1998 and served as Secretary of the board for two years and was on various committees. Irma also worked here at the Museum every Wednesday along with Virginia Wallen and June Collins, until she moved last summer to Liberty Lane Estates. Irma always had lots of good ideas she brought to the board. She helped at every Open House and all other activities held here at the Museum, at the park, and at the Log Cabin. We have missed her since her move and will miss her on the board.

Our other retiring Board Member is Elinor Crawford. Elinor was elected to the board on January 9, 1995 and served as Program Chairman that year. We needed a new President in 1996 as Jim Jones stated he would rather continue as Restoration Chairman than remain on the board. On March 11, 1996 Elinor volunteered to become president and served four years as President of the board. Elinor became very ill with heart problems and other complications during the summer and fall of 1999 so in January of 2000 Sara Cast took over as president. Elinor also was very instrumental in the process of the Log Cabin and was a member of the Log Cabin Committee. She resumed as an active board member during 2000. It was during her reign as president we started planning our (Historical Society) role in the War Memorial effort. We appreciate all of your efforts and work with regard to the Catlin Historical Society and the Catlin Heritage Museum, Elinor. Thanks for your years of loyalty and support, Elinor and Irma!

The log cabin fund raising is still ongoing. Real estate tax exemption will be forthcoming, we hope. $35,000 is still due on the cabin. Please contribute if you can.

Evelyn Darr is a new volunteer working with the photo collection. She is accessioning, putting photo numbers on and describing the photos. She loves getting to look at all the old photos and seeing who she knows in them. It is one of the more "fun" jobs (work) that we do. We need someone to organize and work with our newer photos also. These are big jobs and time consuming.

Thanks were given to Jim Gill, our Webmaster, for his work creating our website ( The Society has received many good comments and contacts from people visiting the web. I receive numerous E-mail messages from former residents who have visited the website or found my E-mail address ( on the Newsletter since we are not on the Internet here at the museum. I have been getting numerous requests for genealogy information and people offering to donate items for the Museum. We appreciate your interest and will try to do whatever research we have time for.

Since we are never sure how the weather will be in January we usually schedule a Show-and-Tell with members bringing antiques, historical papers, scrapbooks, etc. pertaining to Catlin or Catlin Township. This year we enjoyed some very interesting items and their history. Sara Cast was first and showed her grandparents', Josephine (Fisher) and Joel Taylor's punch cups dated October 1, 1898. She also brought a smoky white drinking glass, which belonged to Helen Carter and was bought from a peddler in the early 1900s, by her mother, Josie Taylor, when Helen was home sick from school. Sara wanted to know if anyone in the group had heard of buying items from a peddler. No one was old enough to remember peddlers but many told of buying from local men who delivered and supplied various goods in old trucks or buses throughout the area.

Ron Colwell who is an avid stamp collector, collecting since he was a child, brought the first issue postage stamp used in England and the first issue stamp of the United States, plus several other interesting stamps.

Steve Berry had a very interesting London newspaper from the 1860's, which had been sent to one of his ancestors here in Catlin.

Jim Jones brought several articles, which had belonged to his uncle, George Phetteplace, who lived west of Catlin up on the Salt Fork River. George was in the Navy and went around the world with Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet. Jim showed some of the artifacts George brought back to Catlin from the trip. From the Near East he had two pink silk handkerchiefs, which were very delicate, and had the Battleship Kentucky (Jim wasn't sure if that was the ship his uncle served on or not) painted on them, a bamboo box from Ceylon, black and white etchings from Japan and beautiful watercolor prints from England. He and Dorothy had recently had the etchings and prints matted and framed. Jim also showed some Indian artifacts which have been in his family for many years. He thinks they were probably found west of Catlin as the Phetteplace log cabin was on the brow of the hill between the old Scout Camp and the Salt Fork River (near where Camp Drake is now). Jim also told me his Uncle enlisted in the Spanish American War but the War ended before he left. George worked in construction all his life and later built a house here in Catlin. He also ran the power plant (photo and article) when it first opened here in Catlin in the early 1900s.

Terry Waltzer showed a pulley from a window he was replacing. The date was July 15, 1890 and was made in Freeport, Illinois.

Ruth Martin showed a scrapbook compiled by her grandmother, Mary Ann (Vandersteen) Church. Mary compiled this lovely scrapbook in 1936 at the age of 80. She was born May 5, 1856.

It was interesting to note that Ruth, Steve, and Jim all have a common Vandersteen/Church ancestor and many of the things they showed were connected with the family line.

Sue Colwell and I showed items belonging to the Museum collection. Sue brought an ornately decorated heart shaped pincushion pillow which had belonged to Margaret Best and was donated by her daughters, Linda McGee and Debbie Bachfischer. Sue also presented a scrapbook of valentines from the 1940's, which was saved by Jane Ann (Carrigan) Dains and given to the Museum.

I showed a top hat and its original box, which belonged to Fred R. Lloyd and worn by him in parades in Catlin where he portrayed Abe Lincoln, back in the 1920's. Mr. Lloyd was born in Catlin April 7, 1873 and died on October 30, 1965. He was the son of Henry and Sarah (Church) Lloyd. Mr. Lloyd was Vermilion County Treasurer from 1928-1932, and served as chairman of the board of supervisors and board of review.

I also showed an old poster entitled Lions in the Service, which had photos of Lt. John Reutter, Capt. H. F. Keeney, Capt. J.A. Douglas, and Pfc. Robt. McGee in their World War II uniforms. This poster was found recently by Don Burgin and John Hampton as they were cleaning the Lions Club storage room.

Also displayed were copies of photos (11"x15") donated to the Museum by G. Joseph Moody.

The meeting was very interesting to all present.

Catlin Historical Society
210 North Paris
Catlin, Illinois 61817