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Today's Opinions

  • Ben-Hur Literary Club impacted Ramsey

    The Ben-Hur Literary Club was organized on Oct. 25, 1901, by some of Ramsey’s upper crust ladies, and has been identified as one of the longest continuous organizations in Illinois.

    The object of the club, as stated in their "constitution," was to "advance the knowledge of literature and promote the art of conversation."

  • City's teamwork and volunteers are vital

    In recent years, Vandalia has stepped up its commitment to better present the history of this community, this region and this state. In turn, those efforts have improved the experiences of people from other towns and states who stop here to learn about Vandalia, Fayette County and Abraham Lincoln.

  • Outlaw Slade had ties to Fayette County

    Mark Twain wrote of his Western travels in the book, “Roughing It.” Twain said that the men he traveled with had three subjects on their mind – "Californy, the Nevada silver mines and the desperado, Slade."

    Twain wrote, “From Ft. Kearney west, he was feared a great deal more than the Almighty. Mothers used his name to strike terror in the hearts of their misbehaving children.”

  • Outlaw Slade had ties to Fayette County

    Mark Twain wrote of his Western travels in the book, “Roughing It.” Twain said that the men he traveled with had three subjects on their mind – "Californy, the Nevada silver mines and the desperado, Slade."

    Twain wrote, “From Ft. Kearney west, he was feared a great deal more than the Almighty. Mothers used his name to strike terror in the hearts of their misbehaving children.”

  • Funk, Taylor worthy of honor

    Being chauffeured in a decorated car for five or six blocks is not really an adequate way for two men to be recognized for their lifetimes of service to our community. But it is, at the very least, a way to show Don Funk and Ed Taylor that we do appreciate all that they have done for Vandalia.

    Funk and Taylor will serve as the grand marshals for the Vandalia Lions Club’s Halloween parade next Thursday evening. It will be the first time in several decades that they won’t have to be helping to pull off one of the largest Halloween parades in Illinois.

  • Vandalia native recording images of our city

    Someone asked the other day how I found ideas for the articles that appear in this column.

    That is an interesting question. A subject can be suggested by a photograph, a biography of a person, the history of a town and even questions from our readers.

    Fayette County’s recorded history begins in scattered histories of Illinois, the "History of Fayette County," published in 1878; followed by the "Pictorial History of Vandalia, Illinois," in 1904; and the "Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Fayette County," from 1910.

  • Funds aid fight to eradicate breast cancer

    There aren’t many among us who haven’t been impacted by breast cancer.

    It is the leading cause of cancer death among women between the ages of 40 and 59, and it is second only to lung cancer in total cancer deaths among women.

    This week, we at The Leader-Union are observing national Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a variety of activities.

  • Accidental poisoning kills family members

    Along with contributing a weekly history column for The Leader-Union, I also answer genealogy and history questions in a “Queries” column published bi-monthly in The Ramsey News-Journal.

    A question from Ron Marsh of Pullman, Wash., prompted me to look closer at the family of Zelah F. Watwood, who homesteaded along Boaz Creek (Ramsey Creek) in the 1830s.

    Ron had found the family living in Fayette County in 1840 and 1850, but Zelah was not mentioned in the 1855 Illinois State Census records. Ron questioned what happened to him. Had he moved on?