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
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