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Columns

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1995 – Jenner & Block, a Chicago law firm representing convicted murderer Stuart Heaton, filed a motion asking for the right to seek additional information it felt would help fight Heaton’s conviction and life imprisonment. Special prosecutor Don Sheafor was arguing that Jenner & Block should be disqualified because it was arguing Heaton was not adequately represented at trial, even though it waived that issue in appellate court.

  • Carrie Nation wielded ax against saloons

    Carrie Nation was a terror to the saloon owners in Kansas, and many fled before her ax.
    Carrie Amelia Moore was born on Nov. 25, 1846, in Garrard County, Ky., and married Dr. Charles Gloyd in 1867. Dr. Gloyd, a veteran of the Civil War was a drunkard, and died soon after their marriage.
    Ten years later, in 1877, she again tied the knot – this time with David Nation, a lawyer, minister and editor. In 1889, the couple moved to Medicine Lodge, Kan.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This woman, born and reared in the Ramsey area, has six children (four daughters and two sons). She loves to bake and clean. She adores angels of many sizes.
    Do you know her? If so, call The Leader-Union, 283-3374.
    In last week’s Mystery Banks Photo was: Bill Morton.
    Identifying him were: Mary Cripe, Donna Taylor, Esther Stine, and Phillip and Phyllis Richards.
    This week’s Scrambler:  kamsiset rea a caft fo feli. ti si het spornees ot eth orrre tath snoctu.

  • The Way We Were

    15 Years Ago

    1995 – The auditor for the city of Vandalia, Dale Timmermann, told the Vandalia City Council that it should consider hiking water rates, citing water and sewer deficits.
    The signing of a new operating agreement between Fayette County Hospital and CH Allied Services was scheduled for Sept. 7, and a groundbreaking ceremony for a hospital addition was set for Sept. 8.
    Charles and Yvette Hall of Mulberry Grove were planning to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

  • Early visitors to Vandalia give impressions

    In the past, I have written about a German visitor, Frederick Gustorf, who visited Vandalia in 1835. He traveled the National Road and found Vandalia, with a population of 800, “unchanged since it was founded 15 years ago.”
    He continued: “One can see about five or six big frame buildings containing stores.  The statehouse is a common brick building.  A solitary bank, a wooden church, with a small tower, and two or three state offices complete the community of Vandalia.

  • John Wakefield an early force in county

    Early this fall I attended a garage sale at Rob and Doris Wehrle’s on U.S. Route 51. While Rob took my husband to the back shed to show him some records he had for sale, I looked everything over pretty well, and settled on a box of back-issue Country Living and Colonial Home magazines.

    Happy with my purchase, we trotted off home and I spent the next several days leafing through the mostly 1999 and 2002 issues.

  • Vandalia a stop on the Underground Railroad

    The busiest time of the Underground Railroad (UGRR) was between the years l840 and 1860. Untold thousands of slaves were ushered between “stations” on this most secret of roads.

    The main points of entry into Illinois were Chester, Alton and Quincy. It is believed that five separate lines started at Quincy, which had one of the largest organized cells of the Underground Railroad in the entire state.

    For Fayette County, proof of the Underground Railroad has been a little long in coming.

  • Civil War soldier tells of his experiences

    A few weeks ago, my husband, Dale, and I were shopping in a neighboring town when we ran into Vandalians Jeanne and Ivan Witbracht.

    As we paused to talk, Jeanne told me of a document written by her Civil War great-grandfather, Sgt. J.K. Francis, that she thought I might find interesting. She told me it was a description of all the battles he had taken part in, and it included a list of the officers in his infantry regiment.

    She cautioned me that her great-grandfather was not a native of Fayette County, although there might be county men listed in the papers.

  • Company has 1968 aerial photos of area

    Ed Miller of State Aerial Farm Statistics Inc., telephoned the other day to tell me he was in the area. Ed and I have played phone tag during the past year, because he has something that I, as a historian, am interested in.

    Back in 1968, when I was a high school junior, this firm took photographs of Fayette County’s farms and towns. Once this was done, salespeople visited the farms and businesses to see if the owner would like to purchase the image painted on canvas.

  • Airplane crash in 1951 remembered

    On the morning of Aug. 27, 1951, folks in Vandalia were shaken up when sounds of a small airplane in distress filled the morning sky.

    Witnesses told The Vandalia Leader that the airplane was observed making three or more spirals through the clouds, and next they observed its rapid angular descent with throttle wide open, virtually skimming treetops.

    The four-passenger Bonanza Beechcraft airplane made a nose-dive into Carl Boggs’ car, which was parked along Sixth Street near the Old Capitol Monument Works, where he was employed at the time.