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Friend turns out to be journalism prof

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By The Staff

Recently, I contacted my friend, Roger Boye, of Evanston, to tell him my exciting news! My name appeared among the acknowledgments in Edward Callary’s new book, “Place Names Of Illinois.” This was a first for me, and I knew Roger would appreciate what it meant.

I met Roger early in 1995 through a genealogical query. He was interested in family information on the Rheiner and Boye families of St. Paul. I copied what I had and sent it to him.

John Boye, who owned St. Paul Mercantile, was my great-grandfather Jacob Yund’s only competitor for the mercantile trade in this small German-Lutheran community, located in Wilberton Township.

Reared in Lincoln, Neb., Roger knew of his Illinois relatives, but knew very little about what his grandmother, Clara Boye, called "the other store."

When Roger’s grandfather, the Rev. Carl H. Boye, died in Lincoln in 1959, Carl’s sister, Rose Boye, of St. Paul, came for a visit and became Roger’s card-playing partner.

From his great-aunt Rose, Roger learned more about the village where his grandfather was born and reared. By 1959, five generations of the Boye family had lived in St. Paul, settling there around 1867 with the Lutheran migration from Washington County.

This migration also brought Jacob Yund’s family from Mascoutah in St. Clair County about the same time.

Roger and I have traded information and photographs of St. Paul and our families over the years, and he has been to Vandalia to research and visit relatives.

In early 1999, Roger telephoned to say that because both of our great-grandfathers used tokens in their businesses, he thought it would make an interesting story for a magazine, "The Numismatist."

Roger wrote that the article in a timeline format, which he described as “illustrations complemented by words,” rather than the more typical “words complemented by illustrations.”

He did all the work, and sent me his rough draft to check facts and dates. I also loaned Yund Mercantile brass tokens, photos and a store receipt for inclusion in the story.

Some months later, I received my copy from Roger of the June 2000 issue of "The Numismatist," a national magazine with a circulation of 25,000-30,000.

Roger’s nine-page article, filled with historic photographs of both his great-grandfather’s mercantile and mine, touched on the history of the village of St. Paul from its beginnings in 1864 to current day, and provided a wealth of information.

Imagine my surprise when I reached the end of the article and began to read the italicized paragraph that told about the author. It read: “Roger Boye, assistant dean of The Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. For nearly 20 years, he wrote a weekly coin column for The Chicago Tribune, as well as numismatic articles for the Encyclopedia Britanica Book of the Year.”

I think I blanched. Roger and I met a couple of times in Vandalia for lunch to talk history and share pictures, but I must not have been paying attention when he mentioned what he did for a living.

After I got over the shock, I figured that if Roger hadn’t checked my letters for diction and sentence structure during the previous five years of our correspondence, he wasn’t going to start now. That’s what friends are for.