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Columns

  • Tour of downtown businesses continues

    In my last column, we followed a tour of the south side of Gallatin Street provided by the late Esther Mabry Hausmann Buckley.  
    Written at the request of Charles Mills for The Leader-Union newspaper, Mrs. Buckley was pleasantly surprised that editor Mills found her writings interesting and published them in the pages of the newspaper.
    This week, our tour again starts near the Kaskaskia River, but this time it follows the north side of Gallatin Street westward to Sixth Street.
    •     •     •

  • Account takes trip down Gallatin Street

    In the late 1980s, the late Charles Mills contacted 83-year-old Esther Buckley, saying that he heard that she wrote stories.

    The daughter of Harry Mabry and Ida Fogler, Esther was at the right place to be an observer of Vandalia’s progress. When she was about 7 years old, her father moved the family from a farm to the big city. Esther referred to Vandalia as her “magic town.”

  • Banks of the Okaw-Nov. 25, 2010

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This young man, pictured in 1966, was born in Pana and now lives in Ramsey. He works at a Vandalia factory, has one sister and has never been married.
    Do you know him? If so, call The Leader-Union, 283-3374.
    In last week’s Mystery Banks Photo were: Bill (Beeb) Staff, Jim Staff, Dale Hamby and Charles (Skip) Carroll.

  • Bolt family sorts members by jobs

    My column this week is taken from an article that appeared in the Dec. 11, 1930,  issue of The Ramsey News-Journal.
    The article caught my attention because the writer approached the Bolt family genealogy from a different direction.
    Rather than a recitation of all the names in the family, he categorized the family by occupation. How interesting!
    “The Bolt family in Carson, of Calvin, Matt, Abe, Mart and Craft, have given to the educational field of Fayette county 26 successful school teachers, a record hard to beat.

  • Banks of the Okaw-Nov. 18, 2010

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: Is it any wonder that Greenville College had winning basketball teams back in the early 1950s? Four of the five starters were graduates of Vandalia Community High School, and all have been inducted into the VCHS Hall of Fame. Two of them presently live in Vandalia, one lives in Carbondale and one lives in Arkansas.
    Do you know them? If so, call The Leader-Union, 283-3374.

  • The town of Bob Doane now only a memory

    In 1941, the seventh-grade pupils of Beecher City School undertook a project to record the history of the once-flourishing village of Bob Doane, located in the southwest corner of Section 25 in Loudon Township.
    To do this, they visited with some of the older residents, including, Arizona Lockard,  80; Julian Buzzard, 84; E.E. Wood, 71; D.B. Buzzard; Johnny Alsop and Rose Phillips.

  • Banks of the Okaw-Nov. 11, 2010

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: These two boys, pictured about 50 years ago, grew up in Vandalia. The one on the left is now a doctor in Pennsylvania. The one on the right still lives in Vandalia and works at Graham Correctional Center.
    Do you know them? If so, call The Leader-Union, 283-3374.
     

    In last week’s Mystery Banks Photo was: Greg Stine.
    Identifying him was: No one.
     

  • Our nation's freedom is not free

    Ernest Thorp had two consuming passions when growing up on a farm outside Wapella – farming and flying. As a child of the Great Depression, he had plenty of opportunity to pursue both. Thorp was a college student at Illinois State University in 1941 when he earned his civilian pilot’s license. Two years later, he was training to fly B-17 Flying Fortresses.

  • Plank road helped settlers cross bottoms

    History is ever unfolding.  
    Driving east on U.S. Route 140 toward Bluff City this past Wednesday, I was surprised and thrilled to see logs piled up near the bridge construction site along that road.
    The squared logs were reminiscent of the hewn logs that had formed the plank road across what was known as the Okaw Bottoms more than 150 years ago. The logs, harvested from the virgin forest and squared with a woodcutter’s ax, were laid crosswise over the road with planks over the top to fit the wagon wheels.

  • Banks of the Okaw-Nov. 4, 2010

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This young man, pictured nearly 50 years ago, attended high school in Vandalia and moved to Ft. Worth, Texas, in 1975. He is married and has two children. His father was an auto body repairman at a local garage.
    Do you know him? If so, call The Leader-Union, 283-3374.
    No photo in last week’s Mystery Banks Photo.
    This week’s Scrambler:  ratts  yb nigdo thaw si rynaceses, hent twah si lobsipes, dan lydsunde uyo rae nodgi eht bimlesisop.