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Columns

  • Illinoisans played key roles at Gettysburg

    By Tom Emery
    This week marks the 150th anniversary of Gettysburg, the most famous battle of the Civil War. The Union victory on July 1-3, 1863, checked the northern invasion of Robert E. Lee, and is considered the turning point of the war.
    Several Illinoisans played key roles at Gettysburg, including Lt. Marcellus Jones of the 8th Illinois Cavalry, who borrowed a carbine from a fellow soldier and fired the first shot of the battle around 7:30 a.m. on July 1.

  • Marshall Watson shares memories of Avena

    Some time back, Andrew Harner of Charleston shared with me some old photographs of his family, very important people from the village of Avena in the township of the same name.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This young man, pictured with his younger sister about 65 years ago, grew up in Seminary Township. He lives in Vandalia and his sister lives in Ohio.

  • The Way We Were

    20 Years Ago

    1993 – Beulah Brown of Vandalia was named the recipient of a Governor’s Award for Unique Achievement. The award recognized Brown’s outstanding contributions to caring for elderly people.
    Robert and Corrine Baggett of Vandalia took a Caribbean cruise to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary.
    The student council at Vandalia Community High School spent a little more than $1,000 for outdoor steel furniture that was installed outside the VCHS gym.

  • Jacket offers unexpected history lesson

    There are many places I can visit if I am in search of history – a historic site, library, antique store or museum. Each of these places pretty much guarantees a look at the past through interpretive displays, a guided tour or use of research materials.

  • The Way We Were

    20 Years Ago

    1993 – The Vandalia City Council approved a pay hike of 3 percent for those city employees who are not covered by unions. Those union employees, in the public works and police departments, received the same pay hikes through union contracts. Those given pay increases by the council include workers in the city clerk’s office.
    The list of candidates for chief of police in Vandalia was narrowed from 32 to seven by city officials.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: These four brothers and a sister were pictured about 55 years ago.

  • Jeremiah, Mary Evans were early settlers

    Jeremiah and Mary "Polly" Larimer Evans of Washington County, Va., were among the first group of settlers, mostly kin, to come to what is now Bear Grove Township in Fayette County before 1820. This was then Bond County.

  • Rich, black soil draws farmers to area

    While leafing through a back issue of the genealogy quarterly of the Montgomery County Genealogical Society, headquartered in Litchfield, a series of letters written by Jacob Cress and Daniel Ludwick in the 1830s caught my attention.
    Addressed to family members still living in  Cabarrus County, N.C., the men, who were brothers-in-law, wrote letters encouraging their family to leave the “old wourn out red fields” of North Carolina and come to Illinois, were the land “is as rich and black as you wold want it.”

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This young man, pictured about 50 years ago, still plays the drums. He is semi-retired and still lives in the Vandalia area.