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Columns

  • Guest Column-Illinois needs moratorium on prison closures

    It's time to quit playing with peoples lives with regard to prison closures, and end the political gamesmanship that surrounds prison site decisions. A bipartisan group of my colleagues in the General Assembly are advocating a comprehensive review of Illinois correctional facilities and programs.

  • Peter Hill wrote account of early settlers

    With the celebration of the 40th Grande Leve over the weekend, it seems that this is the proper place and time for Peter B. Hill to tell his story.

    His first-person account of the hardships in the early days of white habitation of the Illinois Territory was written in 1873, and gives us a first-person look at those days and times.

    Peter Bruns Hill was born April 14, 1808, in Kentucky, the youngest son of Henry and Elizabeth Bruns Hill. He was eight years old when his parents came to the territory.

  • Fayette County woman ran for president

    So, you think Hillary Clinton was the first woman to run for president? Think again.

    Her name was Victoria Woodhull, and in the year 1872 she was chosen by the Equal Rights Party to run as its candidate for president. She couldnt vote, but she could run for office.

    Born in Homer, Ohio, on Sept. 23, 1838, Victoria California Claflin was married at age 15 to Canning Woodhull. It was her marriage that brought her to Fayette County.

  • Many changes in Shobonier since 1844

    Shobonier, the only town in Kaskaskia Township, was established as a timber town in about 1844.

    It is located in Section 16, the School Section, and the first to buy lots here in 1851 were James Albert, Francis, J. Brown, Stephen Hopkins and George Willet.

    The survey of Shobonier by James R. Oliver was filed with the county as a permanent record on Nov. 20, 1859. The original town was on the west side of the railroad. Three additions, Blackman, Metzger and William Lee, have been made to the town since its beginning.

  • Mary Peyton Meyer was a true original

    She was, without question, an original.

    With a life that spanned 102 years, Mary Peyton Meyer saw a slice of American life that boggles the mind. She, quite literally, saw us move from the horse and buggy days to a time when we can communicate, through cyberspace, with people anywhere in the world. She saw the first automobiles, she saw man walk on the moon, she saw the development of the first computers (though she never saw the need for one to do her reports).

    And through all the changes, Mary exhibited a zest for life that amazed those half her age.

  • Fayette County women in World War I

    Nettie Hunt was the first nurse from Fayette County to see overseas service during World War 1. When America entered the war, Nettie went to St. Louis and volunteered for Red Cross work.

    Henrietta (Nettie) Hunt was born and raised in Carson Township, the youngest daughter of Haroldson Lafayette and Ella Rose Myers Hunt. After graduating eighth grade, Nettie attended the University at Valparaiso, Indiana.

  • Wait's dream became a reality

    William S. Wait was a visionary who died before he could see his vision become a reality.

    As far back as 1835, Wait, of Greenville, was thinking of a rail line stretching across Illinois from Terre Haute to St. Louis linking Greenville to both Eastern and Western markets.

    He actively lobbied members of the legislature, and got some positive support. But when it came to a vote, the charter was given not to Waits project the Mississippi & Atlantic Railroad but instead to backers of the Alton & Terre Haute Railroad.

  • Cherokee Indian chief buried in Vandalia

    Chief Bull Moose made his last stand in Vandalia on April 7, 1952.

    The 70-year-old man, along with his wife and daughters, had been staying at Bill Mareks DX Motor Court, located on U.S. Route 51, just south of the former Coca-Cola Distribution Center, when he suffered a heart attack.

    The brick building that housed the Coca-Cola Distribution Center became home to the now-defunct Waggoner Trucking Co., and is adjacent to the Chuckwagon Restaurant.

  • Uncle Jake's Model T Ford still kicking

    My dad, Edmund Torbeck, was born and reared one mile south of St. Paul in Wilberton Township.

    The farm on which he was reared was also the birthplace of his mother, Anna Yund, and had been given to her by her parents when she married Henry Torbeck in 1903.

    About a mile south of dads house lived his mothers bachelor brothers, Jacob and Albert Yund. Their unmarried sister, Wilhelmina "Minnie," moved in with them following their mothers death in 1929.

  • Amish settlement flourished then failed

    The Amish presence in Fayette County began in 1893, when three men from the Arthur settlement David K. Beiler, Noah S. Beachy and Moses J. Yoder visited the county searching for affordable land.

    They liked what they saw in central Sefton Township, and in November 1893, each bought a farm.

    These three families were the vanguard for the 30-plus families who would move to this area from Amish-Mennonite settlements in Indiana, Ohio, Kansas, Iowa and Oregon.