.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Columns

  • Aunt Frieda's trunk yields mysterious portrait

    Following years of living away from Fayette County, my dads oldest sister, Frieda Torbeck, decided it was time to return to her roots in St. Paul. She had left the area as a teenager, joining a neighborhood friend in a domestic job in northern Illinois.

    Many of the young women who went to the cities to work as housemaids and nursemaids, returned home, married and raised families, their grandchildren now living on the old family farms. But not Frieda.

    She found a position with a family whose mother had died and became housekeeper, looking after two children.

  • Flour milling once a thriving business

    Again this week, we turn to the historical archives found in back issues of The Vandalia Union newspaper. For this weeks column, we are visiting the week of Oct. 13, 1927.

    In that issue, an article titled, "Flour Milling in Fayette County" was published in the paper. Special attention was given to the St. Elmo Milling Co., once the most thriving of its kind in this part of the country.

  • Grandpa's Indian discovery creates stir

    My mother, Cora Rebbe Torbeck, was reared along Flat Creek in Wilberton Township. The firstborn of seven children of Edward and Edna Moeller Rebbe, she was reared within a stone's throw of the home of her grandparents, Chris and Minnie Rebbe.

    One night, while sitting around the supper table, Mom told us of the time her father had unearthed the skeleton of an Indian while plowing a field along Flat Creek. Mom knew that this had happened while her dad was still a teenager, but she didnt know any of the details. The story intrigued me.

  • Paper preserves Pennington story

    Back in 1914, the editor of The Vandalia Union newspaper asked the old settlers to write down what they remembered about the county 50 years before. There were 20 or more replies, and they were published in the newspaper, beginning on April 9, 1914.

    Maranda Pennington was one of the first to respond, and her personal story of the days of 1865 is very interesting.

    She wrote, Editors and readers of the Union I do not remember any certain incidents that transpired in the year 1864, but well do I remember my experiences during 1865.

  • Charles Evans served community in many ways

    With the involvement of the United States in World War I, the nations citizens became well aware that the resources of our allies were nearly exhausted. Eyes turned to America for necessary food, fuel and supplies to continue the conflict.

    In Fayette County, as in other counties throughout the nation, agencies were formed to not only gather clothes for the Belgian war effort, but also to be sure that local residents had enough food and fuel.

  • Flood challenges us to enjoy life's detours

    A week and a half ago, I ventured into the Everglades-like country that – at most times of the year – is the fertile farmland of central Iowa.

    Never, ever, have I seen it like that. Not in all of my growing-up years there have I seen flooding like they experienced in the southeastern part of the state.

    Of course, my first thoughts were for the poor people whose lives have been turned upside down by the flooding. The damage they face is truly devastating, and the cleanup effort will take months – years in some cases.

  • County native was pioneer in aviation

    Many years ago, I became custodian of an old handkerchief box containing obituaries and family information about the Charles and Gertrude Clark St. Pierre family. It had been kept by Miss Genevieve Capps, and passed on by Mary Joyce Capps.

    I had heard of the St. Pierre family the St. Pierre corner south of Bayle City being notorious as a dangerous intersection. The family came to this area before the Civil War. Edmond St. Pierre was born in Canada, and his wife, Catharine LaGarce, was born in Versailles, France.

  • 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.