JEFFERSON COUNTY ILLINOIS
HALBERT J. SHEEKS
Halbert J. Sheeks was known far and near for his prize watermelons.
He had a sand farm near White Pines. This river was crossed every
year to what was known as Sheeks Reunion, but everyone really came
from far and near for the delicious pig and sheep that had been
cooked over a large pit all night. Men roasted the animals by turning
them over and over on a large steel pole. Halbert J. Sheeks was the
son of David L. Sheeks who raised his sister's son, Sam Bass.
Laura Sallee Sheeks, still living at age 87, was known for her guitar
music. Her children and grandchildren still remember her rendition of
"The Chicago Fire" and "The Spanish Fandango". All 8 of Laura and
Henry's children were born in Indiana. The Sallee family survived a
cyclone which hit their home in Bedford, Indiana about 1929. Their
home there was in Lawrence Co., and they later moved to Oakland, Ill.,
Douglas Co. for a short time before moving to Jefferson Co. in
Mt. Vernon, Ill. The name Salle is believed to have been taken from
the famous name. laSalle.
Following Henry's death, Laura lived alone on her farm until her
failing health forced her to sell her beloved farm. The 1957 tornado
almost wiped out everything she owned, even the cattle were so crippled
that they had to be destroyed. She had her home repaired, and continued
to live there for some time. She attended East Salem Church faithfully.
It was in the spring of 1935 when Laura and Henry moved to Jefferson
Co. to an 80 acre farm now known as Green Acres. Their 8 children
are all still living: in Oakland, Norris City, Bluford, Decatur,
Fairmont, and Mt. Vernon. The grandchildren are scattered over
several states, and have various talents, some musicians, singing,
dancing, writing, and three became well known basketball players.
Henry Sallee was born in 1882, the son of James Alonzo Sallee and
Catherine Luck Bright. He died in 1954 and is buried at East Salem
Cemetery. His mother was the daughter of Harry Bright of Lincoln
Co. Ky. He owned a large plantation there and purchased a slave there
for $900 just one day before the slaves were freed. The first ancestor
of the Lawrence Co. Brights has been traced to the little Lutheran
Church of Schreissheim in the Palatinate Village, in the late 16th
century. Laura Nora Sheeks Sallee was born in 1889, the daughter of
Halbert J. Sheeks and Ella Fields Sheeks.
Facts & Folks
Submitted by Sandy Whalen Bauer