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Columns

  • Use nature to forecast the weather

    I can remember sitting at the supper table one evening at Grandma Spires’ house in Bingham when her older brother, Wilber Meyer, made the comment that his ducks were moving about more than usual – a sure sign of rain. And rain it did, the next day.
    A few days later, while finishing the last of my outdoor chores, I chanced to look up and the moon had a pretty large ring around it – another sign of rain. In fact, the size of the circle can tell you when the rain will arrive.

  • The Way We Were

    20 Years Ago

    1996 – The Vandalia Vandals clobbered Breese Central, 30-6, to end the football season with a perfect 9-0 mark. The Vandals were to host Piasa Southwestern in the first round of postseason playoffs.
    Josephine Burtschi, a noted Vandalia historian who established The Little Brick House, died at the age of 87.
    A white male in a Chevrolet Blazer robbed First Bank in Vandalia, getting away with an undisclosed amount.

  • Memories of trick-or-treating

    The season is upon us … I mean the season of “trick or treat.”
    My trick or treat days did not begin until I was about 7 years old – 1958.
    In those days, the candy gathering took up both Saturday and Sunday nights. My folks were parents of six kids, so at any given Halloween, there were at least four of us, each with a grocery sack, out begging for candy.
    My maternal grandmother, Edna Gum, lived in a little bungalow on the corner of Eighth and Randolph streets, and this was our base of operations.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week's photo: This young boy grew up and retired in Sefton, graduated from and worked for the University of Illinois College of Agriculture.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week's photo: A woman and her nephew are shown in this week's photo. She is retired and lives in Vandalia, and he works in a local factory and lives in Brownstown.

  • Carroll records his family history

    In 1928, when James Monroe Jernigan Carroll was 96 years old, he sat down and composed a paper he titled, “A Brief History of the Carroll and Elam Families.”
    James Monroe Carroll was the oldest son of Raford and Sarah Jernigan Carroll, and was born on Dec. 20, 1832, as recorded in the family Bible.
    “Raford Carroll was born in North Carolina, Nov. 3, 1808, and came to Tennessee in 1818 and was there married to Sarah Jernigan, March 15, 1829.

  • 'Pop' Miller told old baseball stories

    I had the good fortune to meet Floyd “Pop” Miller and his wife, Vivian, of Mulberry Grove when I joined the Fayette County Genealogical Society in the late 1980s.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week's photo: The two brothers in this photo, taken in about 1950, have lived in or around Ramsey their entire lives.

  • The Way We Were

    20 Years Ago

    1996 – The Vandalia City Council rejected proposed pay increases for the mayor, city clerk, city treasurer and aldermen, and also agreed to put the hiring of a director of community development “on the back burner.”
    Odie Washington, the director of the Illinois Department of Corrections, was the guest speaker at the Vandalia Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting.
    Vandalia defeated Hillsboro, 28-6, in varsity football play to remain undefeated and take over the conference lead.

  • The Way We Were

    20 Years Ago

    1996 – Kelly McGinnis, a Greenville man being sought for the murder of Greenville attorney Tom Meyer, fled from authorities after an unsuccessful attempt to enter the  LeFevre, Zeman,  Oldfield & Lawinger law office in Vandalia.
    Megan Schukar was crowned homecoming queen at Vandalia Community High School. Foreign exchange student Bogdan Leshchinskiy was crowned king.
    Former Vandalia Community High School principal and teacher Bob McAllister died after a battle with cancer.