THE PRAIRIE HISTORIAN
Volume 3 Number 1
LATE AND IMPORTANT
The pages of this issue of The Prairie Historian were reproduced by The Business
Education Department of Waltonville High School, for which we are extremely
grateful and express our heartfelt thanks.
The court records quoted on pages 14 and 15 are from Marion County, Kentucky.
We wish to apologize for the late arrival of this issue of The Prairie Historian.
The Business Education Teacher was sick, then there was Spring Vacation,
and the editor has been somewhat under the weather, also.SORRY.
Manuscript included in the Prairie
Historian will be identified with the name of the author when that is known.
Errors or mistakes in those without such creditation must be blamed upon the editor
or his informants.
Issued by The Prairie Historians,
an organization dedicated to the preservation of things of historic interest.
Centered in, but not limited to the southwest four townships of Jefferson County, Illinois
and contiguous regions without geographic limitation. In this region lies Knob Prairie, and
a number of smaller prairies.
Membership fee per calender year
President: Jerry Elliston
Vice-President: Ileta Philp
Secretary-Treasurer: Estelle Holloway
Librarian: Dorothy Knight
Directors: Willard Fairchild, Betty Borowiak, Louis T. Norris
Editor: Jerry Elliston
Associate editors: Margie Elliston, Hattie Fairchild, Louis Norris, Betty Borowiak, Hildred Roberts.
Although every effort will be made to screen the material presented on the pages of The
Prairie Historian, neither the editor nor the Prairie Historians assume responsibility for
errors in fact expressed by contributors.
Comments and criticism are always welcome, but each member should assume the role
of reporter should anything of historical interest come to his attention.
2. A Report on the Old Jail
3. The Old Primitive Baptist Church Building by Melissa K. Wells
4. Elk Prairie
5. Early Life in Elk Prairie by Adam Clark Johnson
9. A Famous Horse Race John A. Wall's History of Jefferson County
10. The Story of a Pioneer Woman by Audrey Merriman
11. A Wagon Train From Jefferson County to Oregon by Beatrice Tuttle
14. Of Human Bondage
17. Days at Oakland School by Melissa K. Wells
18. Waltonville East Side by Beatrice Tuttle
23. Elk Prairie School 1894
A REPORT ON THE OLD JAIL
The Trustees of the Village of Waltonville have leased the old village jail to
The Prairie Historians for a period of 25 years for $1.00, and even contributed
$50.00 toward the repair and restoration of the old building. It is to be used
as a library and business office and will be shared by the local chapter
of Illinois Association for Advancement of Archeaology called The Guardians
of Archaeological Remains. The old jail is now ready for occupancy, so keep a look
out for filing cabinets, book cases, etc.
Some of the members of the GAR replaced the seven window panes that were broken,
repaired the door, furnished a stove, and installed wiring and lights, but by far
the biggest part of the restoration was done by Maxey Holloway and Arthur and Bill
Mensel. They also plan to tuck point the outside as soon as the weather warms
up in the spring.
The GAR have asked that they be allowed to pay the utility costs, gas and electricity,
etc. The old Waltonville jail will soon contain more information about the people who lived
in this area from the ice-age to the present than any other similar library in the state of
Illinois. The Prairie Historians already have a large accumulation of historic documents and
information, family records, and such to which more will be added as time goes on.&
Documents, records, and books, for research, will be available through The Librarian,
but few will be loaned.
The GAR have conducted several excavations into pre-historic ruins in this area and
have a great deal of information about the people who lived here during
the stone-age. One, called The Hirons Site was excavated just north of Waltonville
on the ridge overlooking Knob Creek, (more work must be done there eventually).
During the excavation they uncovered the remains of a large community fire which was nearer
the point of the ridge than the main part of the village. Several large specimans of
charcoal were carefully removed and sent to Dr. Eugene Estes at Rend Lake College, who is
making a tree ring calender of this area. When completed, the growth rings, which
vary according to the amount of rainfall and other growth factors in any given year, leave
a record as reliable as finger prints, and which will be used to build a calender backwards
in time so that it will someday be possible to examine a large lump of charcoal from a camp
fire that burned in a pre-historic village and tell within a few years of when the people
lived there, in many cases to the exact year.
The samples submitted to Dr. Estes furnished a calender of 40 years. To those who
dread a huge task this seems like foolishness. We think (from comparison with other ruins)
that the little village stood on the Knob Creek ridge between 2,000 and 2,200 years ago, so
you might say what does 40 years in in 2,000 amount to. It does seem like a hopeless task,
but 40 years is one-fiftieth of 2,000, so 49 more such discoveries would complete the calender.
The solution to when the stone-age people lived in the little village on Knob Creek
is not that far fetched, however, because Dr. Estes already as a good tree ring calender
going back to aout 1400 AD and has recently came into possession (through the efforts of the
GAR) of a piece of a large log that was buried in a Hopewell mound which gave a carbon date of
about 300AD It is badly decomposed but still shows the growth rings, and when he gets the
information deciphered it should push the calender from about 300 AD to within a couple of
hundred years of the charcoal from the Hirons site. There still remains a tremendous gap to be
filled, but perserverence will prevail in the end, and eventually we will begin to gather
information telling when each group of people lived in the area from the ice-age to the present
as noted before. This will require a great amount of work on the part of the archaeologists, but
like the Prairie Historians, their purpose is to gather information. History and archaeology are
allied endeavors and the dividing line is very hard to define. This then is the kind of people
with whom you are sharing your facilities. They are highly regarded by professional anthropologists
all over the state,and are encouraged and guidied by salvage archaeologist from Southern Illinois
University. Most of their winter time meetings are held in the laboratory there, attended by many
anthropologists of the University staff, some of whom are members. Summertime meetings are naturally
held on the site where they are excavating.
THE OLD PRIMITIVE BAPTIST CHURCH
The Old Primitive Baptist Church House in Waltonville, Illinois was erected in 1903.
The first services were held in January 1904.; This church was a member of the Bethel Association
and was known as Union Church. The other churches belonging to this Association were: Salem,
Middle Fork, Moore's Prairie and Nine Mile. In the minutes of the 95th Annual Meeting of Bethel Assoc.,
records state in September 1923, the statistical table gives for Union Church Jefferson County, Illinois,
Joseph Hicks and Vincent Hamilton, Messengers. Church Clerk, M. E. Hamilton. In the 96th Annual Assoc Meeting,
quote: "Our next Association will be held with Union Church in Waltonville, Jefferson County, Illinois
on the C. B. & Q and the W. C. & W. railroads commencing Friday before the 3rd Sunday in September AD 1925,
at 10 AM where we hope to meet you again. UNtil then Farewell." Some of the ministers in the church were:
Rev. Fuller of Indiana, Rev. W. E. Brush, Martin, Tennessee, and Rev. D. E. Baker, Boyle City, Illinois.
Mrs. J. W. Wells
A PROGRESS REPORT
The Old Baptist Church building has been dangled before us like a morsel of food before
a hungry animal. only to be jerked away any time we reached for it,
or so it seems. So far, the oweners have never made a firm committment, choosing instead to tempt
our desire in hopes of an ever higher offer. Thanks to the generosity of the members of The
Prairie Historians, we are now in a position to commit ourselves should the owners decide to negotiate in a
mature manner. We would very much like to salvage the old building and turn it into a museum, but
the success of the historical salvage work being done by the Prairie Historians does not depend
upon that action entirely, so it seems that we should now get on with our work and let the
owners seek us out when they are ready to sell. The generous contributions and pledges of the members
will go a long way toward paying for the building should it become possible to purchase. We will retain
the funds for a while pending further action, or the possibility of an alternate attempt to secure
a building for a museum, in which case the contributors will be consulted before any action
is taken. THANK YOU ONE AND ALL. THE LOYALTY OF THE MEMBERS IS OVERWHELMING
This issue of The Prairie Historian features Elk Prairie. A search of historical re-
cords yielded the following:
John A. Wall's History of Jefferson County "The first act of the County
Commissioners was the laying out of the county into civil divisions. It was first divided
into two townships or districts called respectively, Moore's Prairie and Casey's Prairie.
In 1820, Walnut Hill Precinct was formed. It included all of Marion County and all of
Jefferson County north of a line dividing townships 1 and 2 south." (That would be a line
between Rome and Mt. Vernon townships. Marion county was once a part of Jefferson county,
which was then 72 miles long. ED). "The next thing we find in the civil divisions is in 1832
when Grand Prairie Precinct was formed. It was in the northwest part of the county and was 8
miles square. The voting place being Poston's Mill. In June 1834, Horse Creek Precinct was laid out.
It extended for seven miles from the east side of the county. Was bounded on the north by the
county line and on the south by the Fairfield Road. Voting place Frank Haney's. Gun Prairie Precinct
was formed in 1835, beginning where the new Hurricane Creek crosses the west line of the county. Run
with the Hurricane to Morgan's Mill, to S. Toney's and W. Toney's to the edge of Moore's Prairie and
to the south line of the county. Voting place, house of William King." (This would include Elk Prairie, ED).
"The next precinct was Long Prairie. Bounded on the west by Middle Fork and Muddy River and the Grand
Prairie Road." (Now Richview Road, ED). "In 1846, the Elk Prairie Precinct was formed. It's boundaries
were from the mouth of Dodd's Creek to Mendenhall's Quarry, west to Middle Fork and to the county line,
then up the creek to the place of beginning. Voting place J. Kelly's. At the same time, New Moore's
Prairie Precinct was formed, including township four Range, four. Voting place, Wilbanks." (The present
Moore's Prairie Township, ED) "Then for many years, the business of the county moved on under the old
Precinct system. The first board of Commissioners was composed of Zadok Casey, Fleming Greenwood, and
Joseph Jordan, and under this system of commissioners, three in number, the business of the county was
conducted until 1869, when township organization was voted in and the county was laid off in 16 townships
each six miles square. Under the Precinct System, county officers changed but seldom, and managed
to succeed themselves. But under Township organization, the county officers changes oftener and the
township officers changed every year, indicating the fact that the people ruled. Jefferson County adopted
township organization in 1869, and the first Board of Supervisors was elected in 1870. G. W. Evans was the
first Supervisor of Elk Prairie Township.
THE LIFE OF THE EARLY PIONEERS
ELK PRAIRIE AND ELSEWHERE
IN JEFFERSON COUNTY.
(Editor's note - The following is from the writings of Doctor Adam Clark Johnson a collection
of which has been preserved in the Mt. Vernon City Library. Dr. Johnson was himself a Jefferson
County pioneer, coming here in 1834. He died in 1899. "Coffee was not much used, as
it cost 50 cents a pound, and had to be brought from Shawneetown or Kaskaskia at that. Meat was
more plentiful that bread. All kinds of game abounded; but sometimes when the bread was out,
dried venison was eaten as a substitute when bear meat was very fat. At first corn and meal were
brought from the older settlements, on the Wabash, on horse back, but many of the first settlers
had to beat their meal in a mortar, generally the mortar was a stump with a basin burned out in
the top of it. Over this was suspended, on a sweep, a huge billet of wood. This billet of wood
was brought down endwise upon the grain in the mortar, the sweep raised it, and thump, thump, the
pounding went on 'til the grain was broken small enough to make bread. Another style of mortar was
made of a large block and the pestle was a maul with an iron wedge in the end of it. This style had
the advantage that it could be brought into the house and used in bad weather and the head of the
iron wedge cut the grain rapidly. The meal was sifted through a sieve made by stretching a piece
of deer skin over a hoop and punching it full of holes with a red hot spindle. In the early autumn,
meal was grated-the corn being then about half fried, and the bread made from this grated meal, and
baked on a board or in the ashes, was as delicious as the heart could wish. But the pioneer had his
delicacies. Meal was "sarched". For this purpose it was beaten finer than usual, then it was put
into a cloth of loose open texture, and as much as possible, sifted and beaten out through the cloth.
This was called "sarched" meal, and was almost as fine as flour.
There were plenty of berries in summer; and good quantities of crab apples were "Holed away" for winter
use. After the first two or three years vegetables for the table began to be plentiful; and after a few more,
apples and other fruits, mostly of inferior quality, came in. From the first, honey was abundant.
If the wife had no meat for breakfast, the man would say; "Wait a few minutes til I go out and kill some,"
and in a few mintes he brought in his game; and so if out of honey, he would say; "Wait a few minutes til
I go out and cut a bee-tree," and he soon brought in the honey. Uncle Jim Bodine told me that soon after
coming to Jefferson County he was out hunting and met a man with a bucket of "Piggin" in his hand and an
axe on his shoulder. "Which way?" he said. And the man answered as confidently as if every tree in the woods
bore honey, "G'wine to cut a bee-tree?" "Have you found a bee-tree?" "No, but I'm q'wine to, and when you
hear the tree fall, come over and get some honey," And sure enough, in a little while, crash! down came the
tree about a hundred yards away. Crab apples cooked in honey, make delicious preserves." A very palatable
dish was prepared of boiled wheat. This, of course, came in after they had had time to raise wheat, and it
was called, "firmity." The wheat was boiled till it began to burst open, then set away to cool, when it formed
a mass that could be sliced down like fresh cheese. It was eaten with honey. A domestic drink in common use
was "Metheglin." The pressed honeycomb was put in water till fermentation began, a little of the strained honey
was added, and the mixture was sweet, sharp, and delicious.
Of course the pioneers came wearing hats. These wore out. Then, most of the hats and caps for winter use were
made of skins, often of the most fantastic shapes. In a few years, straw was plentiful and furnished material
for the summer hats. Many of the ladies were skilled in making straw hats, and those bleached in sulpher smoke,
were "real nice." After the original supply of clothing was worn out, except some of the best that was saved
for Sunday, the first resource was to make clothes of deer-skins. These, in the hands of the Indians, made
excellent clothing; but our first settlers were not such good tanners, and the clothes did not do so well.
The Breeches soon got a tremendous knee, that was as permanent as it was prominent. When Uncle Lewis Johnson
was moving out, Aunt Franky saw a boy in Moore's Prairie dressed in buck-skin, and exclaimed, in the sincerity
of her kind heart: "Why la me, Honey, just look at that poor crippled boy." When the men or boys went out
in the grass, while the dew was on, the breeches would soon be dangling around their feet six inches too long;
and then about ten o'clock or sooner, when they became dry again, they crackled and rustled about their knees,
six inches too short. Moccasins were almost universally worn, often being made for winter use with the hair still
on. After a few years, however, when people had had time to raise cotton, buck-skin gradually gave way to cotton
goods, the latter being dyed with copperas, or cop eras being mingled with white when variety was desired. Great
quantities of a kind of mineral dye were taken from copperas bluffs, not far from where Jefferson City arose later;
but the bluffs also abounded in snakes, and the danger of getting die instead of dye kept some away. A red rock, or
soap-stone, was found at the old Henry Blalock place that was used to make what was called a stone dye. In those days
people raised indigo. The plant was bruised and kept in soak for some time, then wrung out; the fluid was churned
with a basket to cut the indigo, left to settle, and the water poured off, and the indigo dried in the sun. The
liquid used as mordant, to "set" this blue dye, was such as to make the dyeing an unpleasant process-such as sometimes
to draw the buffalo-gnat around their Sunday clothes in a most provoking style. Sheep and wool, with walnut and
sumac dyes, came in a few years later. The needle, of course, had to be brought in, but the pins used were made of wool.
Buttons were of many kinds. A great many were made of pieces of goard, shaped with a knife, and covered with some kind
of cloth. Some were made of horn, some of bone, some of leather, etc. I believe wooden pins, for suspender buttons, are
not completely gone out of style yet. (1868)
So these people, 40 miles from Carmi, 66 from Shawneetown, 85 or 90 from St. Louis or Alton, and still further from
anywhere else, without river or railroad--or indeed any sort of road, played Crusoe, making the best use of what they
had, and lived comfortably. Here, for years, lived some of the happiest, most contented and sociable people in the world.
Everybody was welcome, and felt so, at everybody's house. "The houses were mostly round pole cabins, but some were
built of small logs "skelped down" or very slightly hewn, and of split logs smoothed a little on the flat side.
Some of the cracks in the walls were chinked and daubed, while some were left open to admit light. Windows were
nearly or quite unknown. some of the cabins had cracks that a small dog could jump through. The doors were made
of split boards, upright, but lapped like weather-boarding, fastened to two cross pieces, each of which had an auger
hole in the end for a hinge. A slanting pin in a log beside the door held it shut. If the floor was anything else
than the bare ground, it was made of puncheons, or slabs split and smoothed a little with a chopping axe, and fastened
down with wooden pins, or not fastened at all. There were but three sleepers to the floor, one at each end and one
in the middle where the two lengths of slabs met. The roof was not nailed and had no rafters. At the eaves the end
logs projected at each corner a foot or so beyond the walls, and on the ends of these rested logs, one on each side;
and these were called "buttin' poles" because the ends of the first course of boards butted against them. Several
courses of logs were then put up, the gables of course upright, while the side logs were drawn in to shape the roof.
On these logs the clapboards were laid, four foot boards being generally used and held down by "weight poles." A
pole was laid on each course of boards, and these were kept in place by blocks or sticks set up between them, called
"Knees." The chimney was of split logs and small sticks above, with a rock -sometimes dirt- fireplace. Sometimes
there was a loft, made by laying clapboards on the joists; sometimes not, and the joists were handy for hanging up
deerskins, etc. Often there was but one joist and that was across the middle of the room. The furniture suited the
house. Shelves resting on long pins in the walls answered for cupboard, pantry, bureau, and wardrobe; as everything
that might not as well be on the floor was stored away on these shelves. There were few bedsteads. "Bed Scaffolds"
were made on two rails or barked poles driven into the walls, one for the side and one for the end, in the corner of
the cabin, the other ends of these rails being let into a post - the entire structure having but one bedpost. Boards
were laid across from the long rail to the wall, and on these the bed - if the happy family had one -- was laid.
The table was either made of boards pegged to a rough, unweildly, frame, or it was made on stakes driven into the ground
-- i.e.. the floor. The well to do had a pot and a skillet; but some broiled their meat on the coals, and cooked their
Johnny Cakes on a board propped up so as to face the fire. Nearly every family had a chair or two they had brought
with them, and some knew how to make chairs; but benches and stools on slabs, or peg legs were common. The gun-rack
was over the door. It was a fork cut off of a sapling and one prong of it fastened to the wall. The broom was a bundle
of long grass wrapped with white oak splits. If there was anything else in the house it was most likely a box as large
as the average trunk and called "the chist." Some cabins had sheds on the front side--always without any floor, where
saddles, harness, indeed anything else, were hung up. And seldom did one fail to see a hide of some kind stretched on
the wall to dry.
It was not long before every man had a stable. It was generally of light poles, six to ten feet square, and about that
high, with a loft for feed, and sometimes a small lean-to for a crib. Some had small cow lots; "but for years it was
common for all stock to run at large, carrying big bells on their necks, while the calf was kept in the little enclosure
around the house. There were no wells or cisterns, and no good springs, so the nearest branch furnished water in the
winter and the creek in summer. The table-ware and cutlery were not just such as we use now. Uncle Jesse A. Dees told
me that when he went to housekeeping, he cut his meat at table - with the hunting knife that he always carried in his
belt, and a stick that he cut and sharpened as he came in from work. Pewter plates were much more common - than now.
Buckets were hardly as common as pails and piggins. These differed from buckets in having no bale; but one stave four
to six inches longer than the rest stood up for a handle at one side. They were all right to be carried on one's head
in southern fashion. For light they used lamps, but in no case coal oil. A vessel, commonly what was left of a broken
saucer, was filled with grease, a rag or string was put in, with one end hanging over the edge to be lighted. Occasionally
you might find an iron lamp, a little vessel with a spout to it for a wick, having an upright with a joint in the middle
and both a hook and a sharp point at the end, so it could be either hung on a peg or stuck into a crack in a log of the
wall. After they had time to raise cotton, candles were used. A lot of wick, some hung on a stick, these were dipped
into melted tallow, held up a minute to cool, then dipped again, til they were large enough. A block with an auger hole
in it then served for a candlestick."
Perrin's History of Jefferson
County, Illinois says: "It takes its name from the number of bones and horns of elk found there by the early
settlers." Among the early settlers we can mention the Stephensons, William King, the Whitmans, Ezra Lanier, James and
Martin Teeters, John D. M. Cochran, Willis Holder, the Picketts and some of the Wilbankses, and other whose names are
not now remembered. William King first settled in Gun Prairie, but afterward came here. He was not very strict in his
moral characteristics, and followed Soloman's lead in a plurality of wives. He finally sold out to Uriah Compton, took
his brother-in-law's wife, leaving two or three of his own behind, and left the country. Some pioneers, doubtless, still
remember the bustle and preparation for "going to the mill." The shelling of the corn the day before, the rising, long
before day in order to make the trip in one day if possible, the careful wrapping up in cold weather, the cautions about
the creek or branch crossings, and the anxiety felt at home if "the boys" were gone much longer than expected.
The Elk Prairie settlement, now called Dareville, grew up in an early day. Dr. A. C. Johnson started practice there about
1870 after graduating from the Ohio Medical College. He later moved to Mt. Vernon. A Post Office was established there
July 10, 1871, served by Star Route #11799 a twice weekly route from Ashley to Spring Garden carried by Captain Joe Laur
who also ran the stage line. It was discontinued on the 31st day of May 1905. During that time the following men served
as Postmaster. H. R. Dare, July 10, 1871, Daniel R. Arendale, August 21, 1885, Hubbard R. Dare March 26, 1889,
Willis A. Thompson April 16, 1894, George C. Black October 9, 1897 until closing date.
A FAMOUS HORSE RACE
On page 58 of Wall's History of Jefferson County begins the following caption: "Stinson H. Anderson was another
prominent citizen and statesman whom we desire to speak of in this chapter. The material and political history
of Illinois and Jefferson County were embellished by the finger marks of the two statesmen, Gov.'s Zadok Casey and
Stinson Anderson. Although of the same political faith, Casey was more of a Jeffersonian Democrat while Anderson
was more of the Jackson order. Yet to say that at all times they were in complete harmony would be in conflict
with the political history of the county. Often, it was found that there were two Richmonds in the field and they
always proved to be foemen worthy if each others' steal. Gov. Anderson was born in Sumner county, Tennessee, at
the opening of the century in 1800, and while yet a young man came to Jefferson County. A few years later than his
peer, Gov. Casey. He bought a farm east of town embracing all that portion of Mt. Vernon east of 8th Street, which
afterwards, was the Dr. Green farm, and soon proved himself one of the most enterprising and successful farmers
in the county. He devoted considerable attention to raising fine livestock, especially fine horses. He loved a
fleet-footed courserrand at one time, he owned a little race mare which he called Polly Ann. He believed that
she could out run the fleetest animal in the realm. Dr. Logan, father of General John A. Logan, had a fine racer
called, Walnut Cracker, and he challenged Governor Anderson for a test of speed between his horse and Polly Ann.
Logan lived where Murphysboro is now, and after considerable bantering between the oweners of the rival nags,
the race was agreed upon. A thousand yard dash. So confident was each of the speed of their pets, that they
staked not only their ready cash, but almost their entire property upon the outcome. The race was run on Logan's
track at Murphysboro and General Bill Anderson, son of the Governor, (then but a lad), and General John A. Logan,
were the riders. When the horses came out upon the track, the Logan horse came with his head up and nostrils
distended like a veritable war horse, while little Pollu Ann stood with her head down and ears drooping, seeming
almost lifeless. General Bill felt awed at the appearance of Walnut Cracker and whimpering, said to his father
that he feared Polly Ann was beaten. "William," said the Governor, "she's got to beat, and you must see that
she does, or I'll feel tempted to beat you." The big race was off a few minutes later, and amidst a tremendous
excitement, Polly Ann passed under the wire several lengths ahead of the high-headed Logan horse, thus, giving
the Governor posession of all the Logan stock, horses, cattle, and hogs, except Walnut Cracker, and the Governor
said that he didn't want him. Governor Anderson came at a time most needed to help build up the agricultural
interests of the county and make the county seat a place of importance. He sold the Green farm to Ridgeway,
a brother-in-law, and embarked on a business uptown, but farming suited him better, and in a few years, he came
in possession of one of the best farms in Elk Prairie township, and moved there with his family. (Old maps show
the farm as being near Dareville. ED)
THE STORY OF A PIONEER WOMAN
submitted by Audrey Merriman
John Adams came from Mason County, Kentucky in a covered wagon, and decided upon Jefferson County, Illinois,
as the ideal place to settle and spend the rest of his life. He married 6-22-1852, Susan Polly Gilbert,
born 4-10-1836 in Washington County, Ohio, the daughter of Eli Gilbert, Jr., who was born in Chitadon County,
Vermont and Lucy Fairchild Gilbert, who was born in Chanango County, New York. They were early pioneers in
Jefferson County, coming here in 1839. Her parents died on the same day, January 20, 1878, and they are laid
to rest in the same grave in Knob Prairie Cemetery. John and Susan Polly Adams had a large family, nine children,
all born and reared in Elk Prairie township. Soon after they were married they began to clear the land so they
could raise their crops. Before they accomploished this large task, the Civil War began, so John Adams enlisted
in Company K, 49th Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, serving under Captain Joe Laur, at the very beginning of the
Civil War. Susan Polly was left with 3 small children, Jane, Eli, and Elvira (who later married James Bravard),
and having only a few acres cleared, very little fencing, a small log house, and very few other buildings, she
was left with much work to do by herself. It was necessary for her to farm the land alone in order to raise
supplies for her family and the livestock, which she had. Shortly after John entered the service another baby
was born, so now she had four small children to care for alone. John served the full four years; was discharged,
but re-enlisted for a brother-in-law, Eli Wilson Gilbert, and served to the end of the War. During this five
years Susan Polly suffered hardships from overwork and poverty that but a few could have bourne; but with her
rugged pioneer spirit she accomplished what had to be done.
In her youth she was taught all kinds of household duties and was taught by her mother all the various processes
by which cloth is made from wool, cotton, and hemp, which included the carding, spinning, dyeing and weaving of
fabrics for clothing and bedding, and she even made the thread with which the garments were sewn. So with her
never ending line of work she passed the years until John returned home from the war. But when he returned he
was almost an invalid, caused from exposure he endured during the battle at Fort Donnelson, Tennessee, and he
was never well after that. So her work was lightened but very little with the return of her husband for she now
had him to care for. John died December 19, 1877, leaving her with four children to raise alone. So once again
she was the sole support of her family. In the fall of 1878 she moved to Norton County, Kansas, to a homestead
on Government land, taking her children with her. She regretted this move very much for extreme drought the next
year caused her to decide to once again pack up her little family and hitch up the covered wagon and start the
long trip back to her little farm in Elk Prairie. She remained there until 1884, when once again she moved west
with her family, this time settling in Rawlins County, Kaksas. She never returned to Illinois again and she died
June 3, 1919. Thus ends the life of a wonderful pioneer woman who showed much spirit and ambition and literally
carved a home out of the wilderness by herself for her family, and maintained that home under the worst of
conditions. She was truly a remarkable woman and well deserving of all the praise she received. Taken from the
biography of Susan Adams, written by her daughter, Mrs. George Anderson.
A WAGON TRAIN FROM JEFFERSON COUNTY TO OREGON
by Beatrice Tuttle
Preparation and beginning of the trip: In the southwest part of Jefferson County, Illinois, and about a mile
north of the Frnaklin County line, there once existed the small village of Winfield, Post Office, Fitzgerrell.
Several families from this area and surrounding places farther east, came to Winfield for the departure. It
was early spring, 1865, when the group congregated, and started to Oregon in covered wagons. There were many
details to be accomplished. Wagons were strengthened by laying a second floor and doing additional bracing.
Great amounts of food, clothing, bedding, utensils, and tools had to be provided. The wagons were drawn by
ox teams, sometimes using half a dozen oxen to a wagon. They took extra oxen, several horses, and milk cows.
Scouts who rode ahead used horses. Persons from the immediate locality who went to Oregon were as follows:
Elder Joseph Hartley, the founder of the Primitive Baptist Church near Winfield was one traveler. There were
three some of Elder Hartley and their families who went: The oldest son, Edmund Waller Hartley, his wife,
and seven children; the second son, David F. Hartley, his wife and five children ; the third son, Henry H.
Hartley, his wife and daughter. Another son, Clayton Hartley, who was in the military service at the time,
later joined the group in Oregon. Isaac Clampet, who built the first mill in Winfield, and his wife,
Dialtha Dudley Clampet, were also passengers to Oregon. Both the Hartleys and the Clampets obtained their
letters from the Horse Prairie Primitive Baptist Church to take with them. One lady from the Winfield group,
who had much pride and many beautiful clothes, knew little of the rigors of wagon train trabel. Those making
the trip were to leave just after daybreak on an appointed day. Some neighbor women halped her dress the
evening before the departure. The many clothes of her day included five or six petticoats and her best dress.
The ladies layed the proud woman across her bed to await the morning. Along the trail: It is known that the
wagon train traveled northwest past where Waltonville is now. Mrs. Ida Newell remembered that her mother,
Mrs. Augusta Philip, saw the wagon trail (about a mile long), come across Knob Hill and west toward her home.
My grandmother, age 23, and several young ladies from the Winfield community rode horseback (side-saddle), and
accompanied the wagon train several miles toward East St. Louis. The girls arrived home about dark that evening.
The wagon train group gathered on the east bank of the Mississippi River, farther north across from Hannibal,
Missouri. They joined a long larger train at Independence, Mo. Indians were often seen along the way. According
to Mr. Henry Hartley, they never experienced combat with the Red Man. Often, they would spy Indians on heights
above, and at a distance, who seemed to be watching the wagon train. If an Indian felt the travelers had seen
him, he used a quick disappearance act. The Indian did this by sliding down on the far side of his pony
(clutching to the pony's mane) then riding like the wind to get out of sight. Isaac Clampet served as scout and
was called, "Captain." His duties were fourfold:
To determine the best and safest routing, to kill game for the evening meal, to locate desirable camping grounds,
and to keep a lookout for indians. Other scouts were spaced at intervals along the trail to herald any trouble.
When evening came the wagons were formed in a circle. The meals were cooked by individual families within the
circle area. They considered this plan as a fort-like protection. Several milk cows were taken and milk was one
of their basic foods. The cream was poured into covered containers and allowed to sour. As the wagons bounced
along the sloshing churned the butter. Their food consisting mainly of dry beans, peas, and salt pork was a
bland diet, which became tiresome. This caused much illness and furnished some of the worst hardships. A most
pleasant experience awaited the wagon train people when they reached a Mormon settlement neat Salt Lake City, Utah.
The fall turnip crop was ready to use. Each person was given one turnip with the top. Some cut off the tops and ate
the turnips raw. Others pooled the turnips for their family and cooked them. Some used the tops to cook for greens.
The weary wanderers were overjoyed with the speciality of that meal. Often they stayed more than one day where an
unusually good camping site was found. If the water was plentiful, they washed their clothes, or used the time for
a rest period. One day, somewhere in the high mountain country, the Henry Hartley wagon was bringing up the rear.
Mr. Hartley was lying in the back of the wagon, as he had been sick with typhoid fever. Tom Ford, a bachelor, was
driving the team. The mountain trail was very narrow. Other wagons had gone ahead and had helped to make the trail
more narrow. A back wheel slid off the road, and the distance to the valley below was a frightening depth. Some lust
yells from the family, plus a quick outcry from Rom Ford, and the use of the whip caused the oxen to jump and jerk
the wagon to safety. Near the end of the trail in Idaho, but still in mountain country, the wife and mother of one
family died. Boards were taken from the bottom of the wagons and a coffin constructed. She was buried in a pretty
spot near the trail. A few years later, the husband went back to take the body to their new home for reburial. They
found she had been buried alive, for in her hands was some of the hair off her head. They then realized high altitude
had rendered her unconcious. In was November, 1865, when the Illinois people arrived in the Oregon country. The families
settled in various places. Edmund Wallker Hartley lived near Salem, Oregon, at McLeay; David Hartley first went
to Oregon, but later moved to Goldendale, Washington. Henry H. Hartley settled at Oregon City about 12 miles from
Foresy Grove, Oregon. Clayton Hartley, who joined his family in the west, lived at Forest Grove, Oregon, and later
moved to Goldendale, Washington. Some returned to Illinois The Henry H. Hartley family, in 1867, returned to the
general location of Winfield, Ill.
The trip was made by boat and portage by way of the Isthmus of Panama and New York. Travel by boat and train were
both exceedingly slow. The Hartleys rode in a hack for some distance on the Isthmus. They went in a row boat on the
Panama River and the boat was propelled by natives. From New York, they came by train to St. Louis. One day while
on the big boat, an exciting occurance caused the passengers to hunt quickly for places of safety. There was no
regrigeration on the boat, so they took bull calves to butcher. One of the animals got loose and appeared bellowing
and snorting in the dining room. The place was in shables by the time the seamen captured the excited animal, but
the people were no where to be seen. Near New York, the passengers had to change to a small boat (the larger one
could not anchor in the port). To do this, a rope ladder was used to swing the people from one boat to another. This
was reported to have been one of the most breath-taking experiences of all. In New York, Mrs. Hartley was dressed in
her best alpaca to take the train to Illinois. A boy pushing a baggage truck snagged her dress. She said, "What do
you mean tearing a body's best alpackie?" When she related this incident, her beautiful black eyes shone as brightly
as if it had just happened. Isaac and Dialtha Clampet first lived at The Dalles, Oregon. It was Fort Dalles at that
time. He ran a small store there for a period. Later Mr. & Mrs. Clampet moved to the Portland region. There he
owned and operated a saw mill and built houses. They developed a real estate business to complete their operation.
Mrs. Clampet explained they "beautified" the homes before selling them. This probably meant setting out evergreen
trees and shrubs which abound there. This became a profitable business for the Clampets. Mr. & Mrs. Clampet came
back to Illinois, but kept real estate holdings around Portland. They made trips now and then to check on their interests.
In 1901, while on one of these trips, Mr. Clampet died. He was buried at the Horse Prairie Primitive Baptist Cemetery
near Winfield. Mrs. Clampet stayed in Illinois and lived with a nephew and wife, William and Bartee Dudley in Scheller,
Illinois. Her last days were spent in the home of the Dudley's daughter and husband, Mayme and Frank Hester, Waltonville,
Illinois. Mrs. Dailtha Dudley Clampet lived a few weeks beyond her one hundredeth birthday. She died December 17, 1922,
and is buried beside her husband in the Horse Prairie Cemetery. The Clampets were parents of three chldren, who had
died before their Oregon Trail trip. Their names were Arolina, born 1846, Matilda, born 1849, and Francis, born 1850.
Their graves are in the Clampet Cemetery, south of the Primitive Baptist Cemetery. Acknowledgement for contributing
portions for this story are given to Mr. & Mrs. Henry H. Hartley, neighbors at Waltonville, Illinois; also to
Mrs. Dialtha Dudley Clampet, whom I met at the home of my grandmother, Mrs. Martha Clampet Newbury. More recently
the following persons added and verified information: Mrs. Bertha Hertherington, Mrs. Melissa Wells, and Mrs. Leona Allen.
OF HUMAN BONDAGE
Late one evening, in the spring of 1858, Jim Loman arrived in Elk Prairie. He was leading an old mare named, Nellie,
and carrying a chopping axe and a rifle. All the other worldly goods he possessed were on the back of Old Nell.
These included his wife, Sarah Jane McLaine and their three year old daughter, Mary, plus an iron skillet, an
auger, and a hoe. That night, they stayed with a very hospitable future neighbor, and set about establishing a
home of their own early next morning. This was not unusual in itself as a great many people were still coming
into the area in early pioneer style as of that date, but there was one thing about Jim that would be of interest
to the historian, for he was the son of a bounder. His father, Isaac Loman, had been bound out at the age of ten,
to do whatever his legal matter demanded until he was 21 years old. In some cases, these legal bonds were really
an apprenticeship, but in most cases, it was nothing more than child slavery. In this case, it did not work out
very well, for the late Guy Loman said life became intolerable and Isaac ran away while still young and spent the
rest of his life until he became a man, as a run-away bounder, hunted by every sherriff in the state. He finally
reached maturity, became a free man, and married Phoebe Davenport. Two of their children, James and Elias came to
Illinois and settled in Elk Prairie. Both went to the Civil War from there. Him enlisted in the 31st Illinois Infantry,
was with Sherman on the famous March to the Sea, developed a chronic case of rheumatism and dysentary from exposure,
and bad water and never fully recovered. Elias married Sarah Ann Gillian, and had ten children as shown in the family
history section of this story. He served in Company B, 31st Illinois Infantry, also, throughout the war he was
mustered out with the Company on July 19, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky.
The following legal document bound the Loman children to their masters until they were of legal age.
Court Order Book D, page 341. May court, 1817.
"Ordered that the Clerk of This Court issue summons against Sally Loman to appear here
at the next term of this Court to show cause if any why her children in her possessions should
not be bound out as the law directs."
Deed Book M., page 52.
May Court, 1817. "James Loman bound out to William Bently and Company, until he arrives at the
age of 21."
Court Order Book D., page 346. July Court 1817. "Ordered that the Clerk of this Court bind out
Isaac Loman and Mourning Loman sons of William Loman who has absconded and failed to provide
support for said Isaac and Mourning to William Richardson to learn all the common arts and mysteries
of the sigar and mfg. business as the law directs: The said Isaac being of the age of 10 years the
9th day of September next and Mourning 6 years old the 6th day of this July." "Agreeable to an order of
the Worshipful Court for the County aforesaid. This indenture is made between William Irvine a Clerk of
the said Court on behalf of Isaac and Mourning Loman sons of William Loman of the one part and William
Richardson of the County aforesaid of the other part." "Witnesseth: That the said Isaac and Mourning Loman
is honestly and industriously to serve and obey the said Richardson in all lawful commands until they arrive
to the age of 21 years each (the said Isaac being of the age of ten years old the 9th day of September next,
and Mourning 6, the 6th day of the present July ............ said Richardson agrees to clothe, lodge,
feed, and learn them all the common arts and mysteries of the sigar, mfg. tobacco business...
22 July, 1817."
Court Order Book, p 530. July Court, 1817. "Ordered that the Clerk of this Court bind out Lucinda Loman
(dtr of William Loman) who has absconded and failed to provide for said Lucinda a support, to Ignatius
R. Simms to learn all the common arts and mysteries of the spinning, weaving, and house business
as the Law directs."
Court Order Book, p 417. January Court 1818. "Susannah Loman dtr of Sally Loman bound out to
Samuel P. Harris to learn all the common arts and mysteries of the weaving and household business
as the Law Directs." (you will notice that there was nothing said about an education. ED)
Loman Family History: William Loman married Sally Golden Madison, Co., Ky 1800 Children: James, Isaac
B. 1807, Mourning B. 1811, Lucinda, Susanah. Marriages: James m Nancy J. Hoskins 1865. Isaac m
Phoebe Davenport 1829, MOurning m. Llydia Wheeling 1831.
Walter Elias Loman b April 15, 1834 - d. 1-5-1893 m Sarah Ann Gillian 7-4-1838 d 5-5-1901.
Married 1-3-1856 Washington County, Illinois
James Dewitt, 10-28-1865, d 12-25-1892,
Elvadas H. (Douglas) b 9-1-1858 d 11-3-1887
Joseph Dance b 11-4-1860 d 11-25-1904
Frederrick McDonald b 4-8-1862 d 1-16-1865
Jenetta Frances b 7-1-1863 d. 1-16-1891
Sarah Josephine b 2-26-1868 d 7-20-1898
Ida Ann b 12-22-1870 d 4-25-1954
Cora Edna Adeline b 5-30-1872 d 3-15-1902
Walter Elias Oscar b 1-3-1875 d 11-12-1906
John Washington b 1-23-1878 d 8-30-1920.
James married Carline Hamlin, had four children, Elvadas married Menerva Holloway, had three
children, Luvadas, Tennessee, Richard, and Nettie Florence. Joseph married Renda Bell Rightnowar
had 4 children, Dana, Grover, Sarah, Erva. Jenetta Frances married Joe Wilson, had twin babies
that died. Sarah Josephine married Add Hicks had 4 chldren, Clarence, Cora, Walter, Johnny.
Had Roscoe by a man named Pickett. (Probably a second marriage.) Ida married Jess Bodine,
had 2 boys Van and John. Cora married Perry Bean had 2 children one named Sylvia.
Oscar married Martha Rightnowar had 3 children Lonnie, Berthal and Mary. John married Liza Hicks
and had one boy Ernest.
James Loman b 5-28-1831 was married on July 1, 1850 to Sarah J. McClaine a native of Hopkins
County, Kentucky, a daughter of Lurenna McClaine, they had 7 children but we have a record of
only five: Mary who married William Hester, William, Vienna who married Newt Wells, Isaac
Benjamin (Ben), who married Clara Belle Clinton, and Leota.
Children of I. B. and Clara Belle Clinton Loman were: Myrtle b 1881, Lawrence b. 1883, Bill b. 1885,
Clara b. 1887, Jim b 1889, Jeanetta b. 1891, May b. 1893, Roy b. 1895, Vienna b. 1897, and Fay
Grover C. Loman married Ann Rightnowar had three children, James Albert, Estelle, Irene.
MORE ELK PRAIRIE PIONEERS
Joshua Roberson born in Georgia March 8, 1797, came to Tennessee when a young man,
married Margaret Caldwell and came to Jefferson County, Illinois. Died February 27, 1849 after
a short illness. His sons were Edward C. who married Nancy McWright, went to Missouri then to
Kansas. Henry L. who married Mary A. C. Watson, and settled in Elk Prairie.
John J. who married Susan Hodge, lived in Moore's Prairie then in Frizzells Prairie. Elbert,
who also married a Hodge, Jane, lived several years in Elk Prairie and at last moved to
Frizzells Prairie, and Jasper who served all through the war, married Jane Bundy in 1866 and
located in Elk Prairie. Of Joshua Roberson's daughters Elizabeth A. married John Cockram, but
lived only a few years. Lucinda married William Abney in 1846. He died in 1858, then she
married Sam Parks. Delilah married Ben Pickett and moved to Kentucky. Slatha married George
W. Henderson of Elk Prairie who was drafted and died during the War. Edward Roberson, brother
of Joshua didn't remain here but went to northern Missouri.
Harvey Wells: Located in Elk Prairie Township, Jefferson County, Illinois was born near present
residence in October 5, 1843, son of William and Lucy Farthing Wells, the former was born in
Giles County, Tennessee. The father came to Elk Prairie in an early day and engaged in farming.
He died in 1888. The mother was born near Licking, Ky and died in 1890. For a short time Harvey
was a student in the pioneer school house held in a log cabin with puncheon floors. Small trees
split open were used for seats and supported by wooden pins. A plank on the side of the wall
was used for a writing desk. When he was 19 he began teaching in the county, for 6 years. Then
took a course at Carbondale, in 1871. He married Miss Margaret Cutherie (daughter of Elisha and
Rebecca Gutherie). They were parents of 2 children, both dying in infancy. Mother died in
1875. Mr. Wells later married Mrs. Lorenda (Farthing) Puckett, daughter of Wm. & Lyda \
(Mendenhall) Farthing. Two children survived from this marriage, viz: Pearl and Gay.
DAYS AT OAKLAND SCHOOL, ELK PRAIRIE TOWNSHIP, JEFFERSON COUNTY, ILLINOIS
by Melissa Kirkpatrick Wells
John M. Smith was my first teacher. Following the school year he entered Barnes Medical
College, St. Louis, Missouri and became a Medical doctor. He married Elsie Greenwood and
was father of one daughter, Lois. He began practice in Scheller, Illinois. In a few years, his
health began to fail and he moved ot the state of Texas, thinking in a warm climate, his health
would improve, but it did not. He stayed in Texas several months, then returned to Scheller,
living only a short time. He died of Tuberculosis. Dr. Smith's death was a great loss to his
family, friends, and the community. At the time of this picture, of our school was taken
photographers were scarce, so some of the mothers brought their small children for pictures.
We had great times at the Oakland School. We played such games as Black Man, Drop the
Handkerchief, Tag, Andy Over, Hop Scotch, and Baseball. In real cold weather, when a nearby
pond was frozen over, we would skate during the noon hour. Our schoolhouse was located in a
wooded area, a lovely place in the fall of the year when the leaves were so colorful and beauti-
ful in yellow, red, and golden brown. The building was heated by a long, box, wood-burning stove
in the center of the room. We carried our lunch to school in tin buckets or baskets, that were
stored on a shelf in the back of the room; many a day, our sandwiches would be frozen at
noon. The coats, caps, and hoods were hung on hooks or pegs above the buckets and baskets. Our
seats ewre double--many times, when the school would be crowded, there would be three in one seat.
The long recitation seats were popular during this period. Most country schools would have
a pie or box supper during the winter. They would be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Occasionally, some young men would pay dearly for a certain box or pie if he was sure whose
he was bidding on. The proceeds from the evening sale would be used to purchase books for the library,
or something the school needed. One year, Oakland School bought an organ. This was really a great
help in our daily singing as well as other times when we would put on a Thanksgiving, Christmas,
or Last Day of School Program. Our school always closed with a basket dinner for all-a great day.
The closing of school was always a sad day for me as I always shed a few tears.
WALTONVILLE, EAST SIDE
submitted by Bea Tuttle
The East Side of Waltonville, Illinois in Elk Prairie Township came into existance after
the Burlington Railroad and Reservoir were built. That was about 1906 or 1907. A coal company
had made an effort to locate a mine in the general area. Sesser, however, was chosen for the
location of this mine. In the meantime, the land had been laid out for houses and business
buildings. The first structure to be built was the bank building, the only brick building with
still stand today. The Farmer's Bank opened for business in 1907, with John D. Hirons, as the
cashier. Upstairs were rooms which were used for a variety of purposes. As a meeting place for
lodges, as living quarters, and as office rooms. Following the establishment of the bank, the
construction of the other business buildings began. There was a general merchandise store, a
hardware store, a drug store, a blacksmith shop, a livery stable, a bakery, and the I. O. O. F
Lodge building. A two story brick building and a home back of it were built by I. W. Robinson.
On the first floor Mr. Robinson operated a drug store where a great variety of sundries and
necessities as well as school books and supplies were sold. His son, Dr. J. W. Robinson, had
office rooms on the second floor. This was the first building on the east side to go by the
fire route. The general merchandise and hardware stores were built as a unit. The general store's
first operator was H. H. Davis followed by Henderson and Hester, F. P. Hester and Baldridge,
and Alva Baldridge. Charles E. Bevis was the first manager of the hardware store. Mr. Bevis
was also a funeral director and kept the supplies for this service upstairs over the store.
General Bean and a brother, Allen, purchased the store when Charles Bevis became a traveling
salesman. When H. H. Davis was selling the general merchandise, the livery stable was built.
In 1908 David Newbury built the stable several years before selling it to Worth Hickman. The
building is currently occupied by the famous blacksmith shop of Thomas Atkins.
THE LIVERY STABLE
by Beatrice Tuttle
Many early and flourishing enterprises have long since passed into olbivion. The
livery stable fits that pattern. William David Newbury erected in 1908 the building in
Waltonville which now houses the Tom Atkins Blacksmith Shop. There he enjoyed for a few
years a remunerative business in the livery stable. When he started he personally drove
the salesmen, often called drummers, to towns near Waltonville. Mr. Newbury had a light
wagon or hack to haul their trunks of goods called trunk lines. At that time Waltonville
had a good hotel-The Park Hotel-and drummers stayed there. One route which radiated from
Waltonville was to go to Sesser, then west to Tamaroa. Sometimes the salesmen left for Tamaroa
on the Illinois Central train, and again he might return by way of Scheller and back to The
Park Hotel. Some of the salesmen rented a horse and buggy (rig) and did their own driving.
Dave Newbury kept in the stable a beautiful, matched, team of horses to drive to the
hearses for Charles E. Bevis and Judge J. D. Norris, Funeral Directors. The team was black,
as were the hearses. The hearses had carved paneling which surrounded the glass portions.
The driver and Minister, who rode with him, had no protection from the weather, as the driver's
seat was well elevated and uncovered. Mr. Newbury also operated a delivery service for merchants
or others who needed that help. Merchandise was shipped to Waltonville on the C. B. & Q
and the W. C. & W. railroads. He met all trains and delivered material to the different stores.
When the salesmen began to buy cars, or have them furnished by their companies, the livery stable
business slackened. Dave Newbury then began selling lightning rods and De Laval cream seperators
for the Charles E. Bevis Hardware Store in the territory surrounding Waltonville. He was a
successful salesman and soon received a territory at Marion, then Bloomington, and Princeton,
Illinois. It was the latter place that he raised his family. In the meantime Dave Newbury
had sold the livery stable to Wert Hickam. He added feed store products and continued in business
for a few years.
THE BLACK SMITH SHOP
Tom Atkins, past 80 years old still slim and wirey, continues to do the blacksmithing
for the Waltonville area. Back in the days of the walking plow a share sharpened by Tom Atkins
would run itself. Many a farmer stepped from the furrow and allowed the team and plow to
continue on across the field by themselves to demonstrate that fact. The draft is considerably
lightened by a properly dressed plow share, so it is very likely that the plow animals could also
tell when the plow share had been sharpened at Tom's shop. Tom Atkins is a third generation
blacksmith in this area. His grandfather Moses Atkins set up shop in Winfield in the 1860's. Tom
still uses Mose's old tool chest in his shop today. The exact age of the battered old chest is
unknown, but it is certainly quite a lot more than 100 years, and except for a brief period when
Tom's father (Doc Atkins) lived in Springfield, Illinois, it has been in use in the local area for
all that time. The length of time in business is indicated by the kind of tools still available in
the shop. Should you ask for a froe, an auger, or an adze (All tools of a much earlier day)
Tom walks over to the chest or tool rack and picks one out. They aren't antiques in Tom's shop.
They are just outmoded tools. Doubtless the floor of the shop will be covered with plow shares
waiting their turn to be sharpened at Tom's forge this plow time, just as they have been at the
Atkins Shop for the last century. Several years ago an electric forge blower and an electric
hammer was installed to speed up the work, otherwise the shop is the same as in the days of
long ago. Around 1908 Jesse Dees built a home and blacksmith shop on the east side. He had been
operating a shop at his farm home in the Four Corners neighborhood northwest of Waltonville.
Across the street from The Dees Shop, Charles Foster built a bakery. Several years afterward,
Charles Baker, of northern Illinois purchased the bakery and continued in business for a time.
The last of the East Side buildings to be erected was built by the Odd Fellow Lodge. The
brick building had two stories and was attached to the hardware store. The lower part was
occupied by two places of business. The room next to the hardware store was used by William
Kirkpatrick for the sale of buggies and harness as well as repairing harness and shoes. The room
was later used for a feed store with Isaac L. Quinn, as proprietor. Southwest of these buildings
was a small wooden structure which housed a mill for grinding grain. It was a part of the feed store
operated by Davis and Tuttle. At the southwest corner of the I. O. O. F. building was a stairway
leading upstairs to the Lodge Hall. Meetings were held there by the Odd Fellows, The Rebekahs, Woodmen,
and Royal Neighbors. This hall had signigicance as a community center. Many types of activities were held
there. The first included school events, graduation excercises, political rallies, plays, lectures,
World War 1 drives, and even a Fiddlers Contest. The Fiddlers Contest was a lively occassion and
continued deep into the night. The program for this gala affair was furnished by Mrs. Opal Elliston,
whose father, George Murray, was a participant. Some of the others who took part were John Will
Hicks, Mose Hall and John (Napper) Fleener. The contents of the announcement and Program are
as shown below.
Given by the M. W. A. AT THE I. O. O. F. HALL
Saturday night Feb. 12
The following prizes will be given
DONER PRIZE TUNE
C. H. Coats .50 mdse "Nearer My God To Thee"
A. J. Weems .50 " "Arkansas Traveler"
J. T. Fry & Son $1.00 mdse "Leather Britches"
R. S. Mannes .50 cash "Irish Washer Woman"
Dave Newbury 1/2 gal cream sep. oil "Mocking Bird"
Dr. J. W. Wells $1.00 "Dixie"
Dr. J. W. Wells .50 "Over the Waves"
Waltonville Bank $1.00 "My Old Kentucky Home"
Farmers Bank $1.00 "Shawnee River"
J. D. Norris .50 mdse "Natchez Under the Hill"
Winn Lumber Company .50 Tune not selected
D. E. Hicks .50 Tune not selected
F. P. Hester $1.00 mdse Free to select own tune
Charles E. Bevis .50 pocket knife "The Sweetest Flower"
or pair of scissors
W. S. Kirkpatrick .75 buggy whip "Turkey In The Straw"
J. W. Hickam .50 "Marching Through Georgia"
J. H. Hester 1 lb Nectar Brand "God Be With You til We Meet Again" coffee the best grade
On February 13, 1928, a fire which originated in the Oddfellows building destroyed the
entire block of business buildings. Only the bank across the street north was saved.
Propritors of the businesses at the time were: Alva Baldridge, General Merchandise,
Allen Bean, Hardware and Groceries, William Kirkpatrick, Harness and Shoe Shop, and
Isaac L. Quinn, General Store.
(Editors note:) To those who cannot
remember when the East Side, as it was called then, existed, it is almost impossible
to imagine the business activity that went on prior to February 13, 1928 and the row
of brick buildings that made up that part of town, which bordered a very wide thoroughfare.
Only the old Bank Building which now houses "Gary's Quick Stop" and The Oddfellows Hall
remains. It was separated from the other buildings by a wide street.
NOTICE The June Prairie Historian will
feature Bald Hill Township. If you have any historical
information about people or places in Bald Hill, please send them to the
Submitted by: Abby Newell
Nov 5, 2002