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Columns

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: These two brothers, pictured more than 40 years ago,  worked together in Decatur for 15 years.

  • Isaac Hill produced early map of area

    Last week, I wrote about Paul Beck, who came to the Big Spring area of Carson Township in search of a good place to build a fort. This was around 1805.
    Soon after Beck had determined  what was the best location for his fort, he met a prominent Indian chief, who bid him welcome and professed great friendship. The Indian invited Beck to come and make his home among them, which he did.
    He built a double-log home near the gushing waters of the big spring that he would later be identified with.

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1998 – The Fayette County Board looked over the final plans for a courthouse renovation and addition project, and voted 10-3-1 to proceed with the project.
    A ground-breaking ceremony was held in St. Elmo for Deken Sports Park. The complex will include a baseball diamond, softball diamond, two basketball courts, a jogging/walking path, a children’s play area and four picnic pavilions.
    Earl and Helen Shelton were celebrating their 60th anniversary, and Forrest and Elva Johnson were marking their golden anniversary.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: These two siblings, pictured in 1930, lived during their childhood in the Shobonier area.

  • George Beck made forts unnecessary here

    After years spent in searching for proof that at least one fort or blockhouse had been put up in Fayette County during the Indian years, I finally found my proof … no forts or blockhouses were ever built here.    
    My proof was lying in the manuscript of George Beck, a great-grandson of Paul Beck, who was credited with being the first white person to settle within what is now Fayette County.

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1998 – An evening house fire in Vernon claimed the lives of Elzy and Pauline Gehrken.
    Brownstown Superintendent of Schools Jeanne Jones reported that the district needed to take on a construction project to ease overcrowding at the elementary school. The district filed an application for state funds to help with the project.
    The Vandalia City Council approved an ordinance allowing for massage therapy and tanning parlors in the city.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This 5-year-old, pictured in 1934, is an Oklahoma native but has lived in St. Elmo most of her life.

  • Book tells tale of trip to South Carolina

    Credit for the following adventure goes to my son, Mat. A couple of weeks ago,  he asked if I had ever heard of a Capt. Andrews from South Carolina, who was paid to come to Vandalia to pick up an old man, who wanted to come home. This was an entirely new story for me.

  • Robert L. Wilson one of 'The Long Nine'

    The famous Illinois "Long-Nine," of which Abraham Lincoln was the established leader,  was made up of two Sangamon County senators,  Archer Herndon and Job Fletcher, and seven representatives, Lincoln, Ninian Wirt Edwards, John Dawson, Andrew McCormick, Dan Stone, William F. Elin and Robert L. Wilson.

  • The Way We Were

    20 Years Ago

    1993 – Wanita Carruthers of Vera, a 1993 graduate of Vandalia Community High School, was named Miss Fayette County Fair. She also received the title of Miss Congeniality.
    Brittany Miller was named Little Miss Fayette County Fair.
    Preparations continued for Vandalia’s 175th anniversary, with the unveiling of the anniversary logo and the release of a tentative schedule of events.