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Columns

  • Old Johnson Store a Pittsburg landmark

    Named for William M. Pitt, Pittsburg is a crossroads community located at the junction of sections 16, 17, 20 and 21 in Seminary Township. Originally spelled Pittsburgh, the "h" was dropped from the spelling in 1889 when the post office was established.

    In a letter to the editor from Walter H. Evans, published in the Jan. 31, 1974, edition of The Vandalia Leader, Evans wrote that his earliest recollections began about 1890, when he was four years old.

  • Fight at party results in shooting, trial

    Hurricane Township, in the northwestern corner of Fayette County, was a hotbed of Southern sympathy during the Civil War.

    There was a great deal of unrest throughout the county because a group of outlaws, numbering in the hundreds, roamed throughout a five-county area, including Bond, Montgomery and Fayette counties, terrorizing the inhabitants, murdering, thieving and burning bridges.

  • Vandalia films from 1930s now on DVD

    Earlier this spring, I was standing with my husband, Dale, and Gary Carroll in front of the Liberty Theatre in downtown Vandalia. We were watching Eldon Brackenbush maneuver the cherrypicker lift as he applied new paint to the Liberty marquee sign.

    As we stood there, Dale asked Gary if any type of memorabilia had been left in the old movie house when he bought it. Gary laughed and said that very little had been left behind. He had found one silk movie advertisement rolled up and stored up on a high shelf, along with two reels of an old Vandalia movie from 1936.

  • Let's talk turkey about presidential pardons

    On the news this past week was the clip of President Bush issuing an official pardon to the presidential turkey during a photo op at the White House.

    Wishing to know a little more about the presidential pardons offered these birds, and how long it had been going on, I booted up my computer and Googled the phrase, "presidential turkey."

    Among the top four choices was a news story about "Biscuits," the 2007 presidential bird, whose pardon made headline news.

  • Memories of Thanksgiving on the farm

    One of my favorite childhood memories is of our family gatherings at my grandparents' farm to celebrate Thanksgiving.

    It was the one holiday when our entire family (on my mother's side, anyway) would get together. There must've been more than 50 of us on most Thanksgivings.

    In addition to mountains of great food, we had all kinds of other attractions on my grandparents' farm.

  • Remington family had Vandalia connection

    While not a common name among Vandalia citizens, Henry J. Remington, "closely related to the Remingtons of firearm fame," chose Vandalia as the place to live out his last years.

    Henry J. Remington was born on June 8, 1839, in Savoy, Berkshire County, Mass., the son of Aaron Remington, a veteran of the War of 1812. Both of Henrys grandfathers served in the Revolutionary War.

    He was an interesting enough fellow that the editors of the "Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Fayette County," published in 1910, included him in their volume.

  • The Way We Were

    10 Years Ago

    1997 The Vandalia Historical Society was to hold a ceremony to recognize Mary Burtschi for her donation of the Little Brick House to the society.

    The Vandalia Jaycees were still looking for a place to hold their haunted house.

    Travis Blain rushed for 294 yards against Pana, but the Vandals lost, 21-14, in an overtime contest.

    Mr. and Mrs. David Hill of Vandalia were celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary, and Mr. and Mrs. Erwin Hollman of St. Peter were marking their 50th anniversary.

  • Soldiers have a story to tell, if they will

    As the soldier from Texas walked by my father, he called, Hey Torbeck, how many lives does a cat have? Nine, replied my father, to which the Texan, Hulett Sells, a Tech Sgt. with the 96th Deadeyes, remarked, Ive had eight. Sells walked on another l00 yards and was hit by a bullet.

    The name of Hulett Sells appears on the Roll Of Honor, with nine other men from Co. D of the 386th Infantry killed over 50 years ago on Leyte.

  • Ceremony to commemorate Eli Forbis

    The 1878 History of Fayette County credits Eli Forbis and John Little as being the first settlers of Sefton Township.

    According to the book, the two men came to the county together in 1830 and settled on Section 19, both building cabins and making improvements that year.

    From research done by Ben Forbis, we know that Eli and wife, Jemima Gardner Forbis, came to Fayette County from Christian County, Ky., where their youngest son, Eli Harper Forbis, was born.

  • Naming road fitting way to recall Emerick

    I’m sure that I was like many of the other 200-plus people who turned out on Saturday for the dedication of the Terry J. Emerick Memorial Highway.

    That dedication took me back to the afternoon of May 25, 1994, when Terry died in the line of duty.

    But it also brought back many more positive memories, those of the time that we spent around Terry.