John Allen spent many years living in a log cabin which was located at
what is now about the middle of the big reservoir north of Mt. Vernon.
When he sold that piece of land, he built a home on what is now the
present location of the J.e. beach. His brother, Hibe Allen lived
nearby and they both raised their families in that area .
Sherman Allen, his three brothers. Eli, Dee and Charlie and two
sisters, Rose Allen Cox and Nin Allen Short, grew up there. In 1899
Sherman went to work for the Illinois-Iowa Power Co., (now our present
Illinois Power Co.) He worked for them until he retired in 1941. His
first job with the compallY was at the old pump house near Tolle Road.
Later he was made foreman of the gas and water department and remained
on that job until he retired. Upon retiring he was given a dinner party
and a gold watch by the company and fellow employees.
While with the power company, he was also a city fireman. Each fireman
had an alarm in his home. which was sounded in case of a fire during
the night. The fire barn was at the same location as the present fire
station. It had stalls for the big beautiful horses, a jail cell or two
where the city police would hold any law breakers. and sleeping quarters
for the driver of the appartus. The fire apparatus was kept in position
at all times, the harness for the horses was on pulleys and suspended
from the ceiling and could be quickly lowered onto the horses, a few
buckles tightened, and the horses. sensing a run, were raring to go.
The apparatus was then driven to the northwest corner of the square where
all the firemen could (hopefully) get there in time to climb on the
wagon and rush to the fire.
The firemen had another duty to perform: every 4th of July a high platform
was built on that corner of the square for a fireworks display. Roman candles,
sky rockets and sparklers for an audience of young and old. It was a great
evening for everyone. On one such celebration someone accidentally dropped
a match or sparks fell into a box of Roman candles. They started to go off in
every direction. Everyone scrambled for cover and fortunately no one was injured.
Source: Facts and Folks of Jefferson County, Illinois
Submitted by Sandy Whalen Bauer