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Columns

  • Book tells of first murders in Fayette County

    Over the years, I have written about many of the first murders committed in our county,  with the information coming from the “History of Fayette County, Illinois,” published in 1878.

  • Banks of the Okaw Oct. 27, 2011

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: These four cousins were photographed together in 1971.

  • The Way We Were Oct. 27, 2011

    15 Years Ago

    1996 – The Vandalia City Council took the first step toward changing the city’s form of government from mayor-aldermanic to city administrator by lowering the mayor’s annual salary from $37,854 to $5,000.
    Lyle Lotz, a longtime St. Peter businessman with a strong record of community service, died after an extended battle with cancer. He was 56.
    The Vandalia Vandals defeated Piasa Southwestern, 25-23, to advance to the second round of the IHSA Football Playoffs.

  • Junction Park was an entertainment facility

    I don’t remember much about Junction Park, east of the Kaskaskia River bridge, but it seems that for people just slightly older that myself, many good memories from their teenage years and courtin’ days are anchored here.

  • Banks of the Okaw-Oct. 20, 2011

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This young woman, who was 17 when the photograph was taken, was born in Patoka and attended Shobonier Grade School.

  • The Way We Were-Oct. 20, 2011

    15 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 post-season 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.

  • Dorothy Anthony writes of good old days

    In 1995, Dorothy Anthony of Greenville contacted me to see if I could help her put stories and poems she had written together in a book.
    Dorothy told me that for the past 20 years she had published a one-page newsletter for her friends and relatives, and included in them memories and stories from her childhood and everyday life. The idea for her newsletter came to her one day when she needed someone to talk to…to fill that empty space.   

  • Banks of the Okaw-Oct. 13, 2011

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This picture, taken in 1950, shows two young women who grew up in Vandalia. One now lives in Ramsey and one now lives out of state (after living in Decatur for several years).

  • The Way We Were Oct. 13, 2011

    15 Years Ago

    1996  – Using a stifling defense and a strong ground game, the Vandalia Vandals defeated Pana, 12-0, to win the Mid-State Conference football crown, the school's first in 20 years.
    Rich Walker, Vandalia's mayor for the past 12 years, announced that he would not seek reelection.
    Bill and Vernus Lytle of Brownstown were planning to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

  • Conestoga wagons were the way to the West

    In 1914, The Vandalia Union, as it celebrated its 50th anniversary, invited readers to write reminiscences for publication in an anniversary issue. Many people took the editor up on his invitation, including one citizen who wished to remain anonymous.
    This writer gives a colorful, first-person account of the covered wagon days. It is from stories such as these that we learn more about life in Fayette County during the 1800s.