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Columns

  • Andy Buchanan shared memories of his life

    The following story about Andrew Jackson Buchanan was written by Fred E. Martin and published in The Vandalia Union newspaper on March 13, 1924. At that time, the subject of the article, Mr. Buchanan, was living in Mulberry Grove and surely shared his remembrances with the writer.
    He was born on Jan. 6, 1846, on his father’s homestead in Seminary Township, about 2.5 miles east of Mulberry Grove. It was here that Andy grew to manhood, and after his marriage, raised his family.

  • Banks of the Okaw

    This week’s Mystery Banks Photo: This grandfather is shown with six of his grandsons about 25 years ago.

  • 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.