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Columns

  • Early Vandalia had saloons, livestock, guns

    In 1914, the editors of The Vandalia Union, in celebration of their 50th anniversary, asked for older residents who remembered the beginning days of the newspaper, to write their memories for publication.
    Many complied with his request, including John T. Wing, son of former county surveyor,  A.H. Wing. In his remembrances, he answered a long-held question of mine: What brought the Wing family to Fayette County?

  • The Way We Were

    25 Years Ago

    1989 – The Vandalia City Council voted to buy a 1985 Ford van for the Volunteer Fire Department, replacing the rescue truck that was lost through an accident.
    Shirley Harder, St. Elmo home economics teacher, was named teacher of the year at the Illinois Vocational Association’s state meeting.
    Shelley Roberts was named queen of the LaGrove High School Valentine Dance.

    30 Years Ago

  • Roads changed as Fayette County grew

    In 1889, Horatio H. Bingham, the founder of Bingham and its short-lived newspaper, The Bingham Agriculturist, published an article in which he told of an old road that passed near Bingham 50 years before its founding.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This picture, taken in 1998 or 1999, shows two "cheerleaders" for a Final Four benefit for Vandalia Community High School.

  • The Way We Were

    25 Years Ago

    1989 – Tim Wollin took second and John Wehrle third in the IHSA sectional wrestling tournament, earning a trip to the state tournament.
    Nokomis beat Vandalia 47-36 in the championship game of the girls’ regional basketball tournament.
    Mr. and Mrs. Dan Hortenstine of Ramsey were named Fayette County Soil and Water Conservation’s Farm Family of the Year.

    30 Years Ago

  • The Wakefields loved life on the frontier

    In my column last week, you learned of John Allen Wakefield, the first white settler of Otego Township. In that story,  there were Indians, wars, log homes and Abraham Lincoln.
    In this story of the second half of John Wakefield’s life, there are more Indians, vigilantes and late-night raids with a Lewis & Clark connection thrown in.

  • The Way We Were

    25 Years Ago

    1989 – The flu bug caused absenteeisms to climb at Fayette County schools.
    Vandalia wrestlers took second in the regional tournament at Cumberland. Seven qualified for sectionals, including Tim Wollin, who upped his record to 30-0. Others advancing were Gary Graumenz, Jamie Wehrle, John Wehrle, Heath Sheraden, John Durbin  and Chad Dunaway.

    30 Years Ago

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This young lady grew up  in the Vandalia area and lived here all her life.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This young man, shown about 75 years ago, was a lifelong farmer on the same farm he was born on in the western part of Fayette County.

  • The Way We Were

    25 Years Ago

    1989 – Patoka’s basketball team came up with a giant victory, beating Lebanon 76-73 in the Flora Shootout. Chad Mansker scored 26 points and earned MVP honors for the Warriors.
    Lisa Luster was crowned queen and Darren Rhodes king of the Brownstown Community High School homecoming.
    Beth Blankenship was named Mulberry Grove High School homecoming queen, while Sara Beth Murfin was named Patoka High School homecoming queen.
    John Baird retired from the St. Elmo post office after a 30-year postal career.