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Columns

  • 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.

  • The Way We Were

    20 Years Ago

    1993 – A children’s activity area was added to the schedule for the Grande Levée. The area was sponsored by Baroque Folk, and was staffed by members of Vandalia Girl Scout Troop No. 381.
    Tonya Cox was valedictorian of the class of 1993 at Vandalia Community High School, and Arpad Walker was salutatorian.
    Tiffany Slater was valedictorian of the graduating class at Patoka High School, and Jennifer Britt was salutatorian.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: These siblings, pictured in 1938, lived in Loogootee.

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1998 – The Vandalia Community High School wrestling team finished fourth in the state wrestling tournament, bringing home a trophy for the fourth year in a row.
    A panel of Fifth District Appellate Court judges upheld the conviction of Shobonier man Rocky Bennyhoff. Bennyhoff was convicted of reckless homicide for his part in a 1995 wreck that resulted in the death of two Vandalia teens.
    George Ryan, the Illinois Secretary of State who was a candidate for governor, was the guest speaker at the Lincoln Day dinner in Vandalia.

  • Duels were used to settle personal issues

    As far as my research shows, there has never been a duel fought in Vandalia. There have been a couple of hangings, whippings meted out by the local sheriff, according to law, a few murders and a tarring and feathering or two, but no duels.
    Duels were an accepted way for gentlemen of honor to settle “difficulties” of a personal character in the early days of Illinois.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: No photo this week. We need old photos for the Banks feature.
    In last week’s Mystery Banks Photo were: Mary Greer Rendleman and Carole Ray White.
    Identifying them were: No one.
    This week’s Scrambler: eht utrefu sha twidea nolg nughoe; fi ew od ont prags ti, retoh shadn, ginpsrag drah nad dylboo, liwl.
    Can you unscramble it? If so, call The Leader-Union, 283-3374, by 5 p.m. next Monday.

  • Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1998 – St. Elmo native Bruce Williams, a 1979 graduate of St. Elmo High School, was killed in a U.S. Navy helicopter crash.
    Vandalia Community High School wrestler Ty Kidd placed third in the 160-pound class at the state-wrestling tournament.
    Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hoffman of Bingham were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.
    Emil Graumenz, a long-time resident of the St. Peter area, was celebrating his 90th birthday.