THE PRAIRIE HISTORIANS
Vol. 18, March 1988, Issue 1
The Place Family and Home
From: Ruby Place Ion
Along with the Old Willliamsburg Ledgers Ruby sent some Place histore
which will be put in our files. From which I have gleaned the following---
John Place died in Ohio, (1760-1828) he was first married to Patience
Downing and second to Lydia Jackson Garland who came to Jefferson County
Ill. with step-sons Isaac and Sidney Place, daughter Hannah Ketchum, and
John's brother Isaac Place and families. They came in 1839 along with
the families of Asa B. Newell, Eli Gilbert, and Erastus Fairchild.
Lydia is buried in the old Davenport Cemetery north-east of Waltonville,
just a few feet east of the old road that once ran north and south,
the first road built through the area.
When they homesteaded in Illinois they purchased about 265 acres at
about 25$ per acre. The last of the Place land was sold in recent years
to Cyril Barton, and has most recently been resold to a coal company.
My grandfather was Paul Haun Place and my grandmother was Margaret
Cameron who married second Levi Howell. Paul Haun was the son of Sidney
Place and Phoda Dufur who came here from Ohio.
My parents were Frank Place and Maude Newell, our home was two miles
north of Waltonville, just east of the tracks on the south side of
the road. The house is still standing. My father built the house for
his wife and seven children, four of fwhom are still living: Paul,
Sylvia Robinson, Wilma Imig, and I, Ruby Ion. Stella, Claude and a
son who died in infancy, are deceased.
Everything up in our old neighborhood, two miles north of Waltonville,
has changed, even the creek has changed it's course. Only the railroad
is left. The road to our house is full of pot holes big enough to bury
a wagon in. Our old house is the only one left east of the tracks where
at one time there were a dozen or so, all occupied by kin-folk. There
was the Mark Place home, the old Bill Place and his son Bill Jr.'s house.
Hanford Fairchild had an old log house a short distance back of us
on an old north-south road that used to run through there. (Possibly
the same one that ran north and south past the old Davenport Cemetery
3/4 mile further south.) The road branched off to other houses, the
Whittaker home, Paul Haun Places sister lived there and they are buried
in what was the garden near their home. (Another sister, Hannah Ketcham's
house was moved from Williamsburg to Waltonville, the old Jake Green
House.) George (Hawk Bill) Newell's place and Levi Newell's, THEY are
all gone. The old Gus Norris place, the Bill Shurtz, Doc Fairchild,
the Steck home, all are gone.
The old Ethel Howell home, she was dad's half sister, was built in 1920
by neighbors and friends; Bob Shurtz, Doc Fairchild, Will Laur, Hawk
Bill Howell, and Phillip Howell, my grandfather.
Only three houses remain, Gifford Taylor's, Steve Fairchild's home,
and our old place.
When I was a small child, about 1915, two olderly brothers, Luther and
Isaac Place, cousins to my father Frank Place, came by train from Kansas
and stayed two weeks. They were the sons of old Isaac Place. One of
them lived to be 100 years old and the other to age 102. They had a
sister here, Emily Place Hirons Gilbert. They went to see her but they
wouldn't stay at her house for they said she was a "damned" abolitionist,
against drinking and using tobacco. They never returned again, one died
during World War 1, and the other shortly after. They were born at the
foot to Green Mountain, New Conneeticut, now Vermont, came to Ohio
following The War of 1912, and further west to Illinois before The
I remember sitting on their laps and listening as they told glorious
stories about the big two story house they grew up in. It had large
pillars and it faced the water where big sailing ships would anchor off
shore. The wind blowing through the tall grass made a whispering sound
so they named their home Whispering Meadows.
As I said, everything has changed in the old neighborhood, or maybe
it ahs just come full circle. Once more door run freely in the bottoms.
Bears are seen occasionally and coyotes and timber wolves are seen once
in a while. Foxes, coons, and squirrels are again plentiful, much as it
was when my ancestors first arrived in 1839.
Submitted by: Stacey Jones