Miscellaneous Articles and Stories

Miscellaneous Newspaper and other Articles

Please send newspaper and other articles to Cass County Historical and Genealogical Society or to Marcia Cox for posting. Please include source and date if available.
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THE RAID - The Cass County Historian, June 1990 - Submitted by Marcia Cox
     On November 2, 1872, the County Seat Elections resulted in a majority of 128 votes for the removal of the Seat to Virginia. Earlier in the year an important meeting had been held. Under the leadership of Jacob Dunaway, Samuel Petefish, Z.W. Gatton, Charles Crandall and Ignatuis Skiles, plans for the erection of a courthouse in Virginia had been made. For that purpose, they raised $25,000 from business men and citizens.
     This building was supposedly a City Hall, but was secretly intended to serve as the County Courthouse. Joseph W. Black, a Virginia Architect of state wide reputation had designed the Methodist Church and Central School in Beardstown, The Cumberland Presbyterian, Methodist, and Christian Churches, Tureman Opera House and costly residences in Virginia. He was engaged as the architect. The contractors were Jobst and Pierce of Peoria. Commissioners were William Campbell, Robert Fielden and John H. Melone.
     Although the structure was basically divided into rooms appropriate for a courthouse, equipment was not to be completed until county officers could occupy it as a county seat.
     After the election of 1872, injunctions were periodically issued for preventing the removal of county records to Virginia. Beardstown managed for two years to keep the injunctions in force, but in November 1874, due to an oversight on the part of Beardstown lawyers, the latest injunction expired at midnight. The Virginia men had been waiting for this moment for over two years and a small group thus began the final chapter in the location of the county seat.
     Before the trip to Beardstown started, these men met at the home of Mayor John A. Petefish, 642 S. Main Street. Only the families of the men concerned knew what was being planned. Mrs. Robert Stribbling, Granddaughter of Robert Hall, reported neither her grandmother, Mrs. Henry Hall, a widow who lived with the Robert Halls or her mother, went to bed all night. Toward morning, when Robert Hall returned home, the women were greatly relieved. At the Petefish home, the blinds had been drawn, so as to arouse no suspicion. In the days shadows behind the house, the wagons, which had been driven in stealthily were waiting to take the adventurers on their excursion. Hay was piled into the wagons as protection against the cold and gunny sacks were included for wrapping wheels and horses feet to deaden any noise in Beardstown.
     Since Beardstown men would have attacked the invaders, it was necessary to choose those men for the trip who would have the physical and moral courage required to meet whatever might occur in Beardstown. This was no time to depend on men of short stature or flabby muscle. The group included Bob Hall, John A. Petefish, Dan Murray, City Marshall who drove the wagon and had been a prize fighter, Henry Murray, Tom Finn, Jack Tureman, Harvey Sallee, S.H. Petefish, Ignatius Skiles, William Campbell, Jacob Dunaway, R.W. Mills, C.W. Savage, William Epler and Gideon Boyd.
     At the time of the county seat crisis, James B. Black was County Clerk. Entering at a side door that had been left unlocked, the men silently approached the designated hall. No one spoke a word. Black pointed to the bundles and some of the men carried them out. Finally all the records were loaded and off they started for the return trip.
     Halfway home, the men heard two horseback riders behind them. Thinking they were being followed, the wagons turned off on a side road and waited. But the riders were unaware and the men were allowed on their way.
     Jim Black returned with the men to Virginia, and as County Clerk, was on sit-down strike in Virginia, where the records were hidden. The rest of the County Officers and supplies were in the Beardstown Courthouse. It was Black's records that were brought to Virginia and hidden. If the records were divided, no official business could legally be done. No doubt the majority of the Virginia people weren't in on the planning, and did not know who was involved and so the records were safe.
     No regular business was done from that cold night in November until the Supreme Court settled the June of 1875, making Virginia the County Seat.
Note: The author of this article is unknown. It was among the material belonging to the late Catherine Collins which was given to the Cass County Historical Society.

THE MOUND - The Cass County Historian, Sept. 1995, source Beardstown Illinoian, July 24, 1888 -These events in the article occurred some forty years earlier. - Submitted by Marcia Cox
     Between Taylor's Packing House and Billings Steam Saw Mill once stood Beardstown's only notable elevation, called the "Mound". Measured by best recollections I should say that it was 60 feet from the waters edge to the summit and the river side was steep and abrupt, made so by the action of the water in its onward flow for ages. On all other sides of the slope was gradual, it reached formerly below the saw mill portions of the slope being dug away to allow the erection of the mill. It then extended to the packing house and gently raised the grade of First Street (now Main Street) not however abruptly. From this street teams could easily ascend the mound and on its summit there was ample room to turn around. In the construction of this mound there was much mystery, as the savants of that day were never able to classify its builders as to tribe or nations or locate the period of construction. Some wise men of that day declared that the dirt used in its erection was imported from the Schuyler bluffs, no material of similar character being found any nearer. I have often wondered why that mound was not made sacred, canonized and enlarged, improved and abandoned for a park or resort. But alas, the practical utilitarian tendency of the age leaves little room for such sentimentalism and the vandal hand of the city marshall was laid on the mound and load after load of its sacred dirt began to be carted away to fill up low places for the streets and neutralize the dead efforts of the sand roads. The digging began near the street just below the slaughter house and year by year went on until in the early 1850 the upper end began to show a perpendicular rise, the same as on the river side, though not as high.
     A common method of "downing" the mound was to drift under with the pick until the overhanging weight would fall in a great mass. One of these falls came prematurely on one occasion, smashing a wagon, crippling a team and killing a man. Would some old citizen remember who it was. I have forgotten.
     In 1852 the drifting and digging had approached pretty well into the center of the mound and one day the stroke of the pick was answered by a ringing metallic sound. Proceeding with care, a well preserved copper kettle was brought to light and some very ancient Spanish and French copper coins. Two entire skeletons of mammoth proportions were taken out at this time. They were found in a sitting posture and must have been over seven feet high when alive. The wise men of the time once again failed to determine the tribe or date of burial of the distinguished dead. That they were notable is evident from the amount of earth piled upon them and if that dirt was brought from the Schuyler bluffs and put on the mound by devoted followers who swam the river to obtain it, the proof accumulates that they were mighty men in their nation. By the way what became of the copper kettle and those skeletons?
     Remember the Beardstown toboggans? We didn't call it that name at the time but the situation and fun were the same. Down the slope of the mound, in times of sleet and snow, a fearful velocity could be gained and a little dexterous steering with legs behind for rudder sent the riders up First Street, sometimes to Tinsleys corner. Rude made hand sleds were used for the most part and though formal costumes were unknown, the boys and girls had solid enjoyment all the same. Sometimes the broad slab from the saw mill would be cautiously steered up and mounted by a dozen or more boys, making the snow and sleds flying lively. One night a rather gleeful party, disdaining all common methods, had a recourse to a sleigh taken without leave from Dumbaughs yard. Several successful trips were taken and the fun was waxing furious. In order to get a little more headway, the sleigh was drawn to the very apex of the mound, in fact a little too far for when all was ready and the first couple rushed to get in, the sleigh took a sudden back movement and shot into darkness down the steep river side where lighting on the sloping ice from fall of the river, its momentum carried it nearly across. Next morning the sleigh was sighted but the weather having moderated, no one dared to go after it where it remained during the soft spell but when Frost King resumed his grip on the river, it was captured and returned to Dumbaughs yard.

FARM SOLD - Virginia Gazette, Virginia, Illinois, July 3, 1905, later published in The Cass County Historian, June 1998
     Fred REICHERT has sold the Conrad REICHERT farm near Bluff Springs, consisting of 127 1/2 acres to M.D. HEXTER for $4,300. REICHERT takes the HEXTER stock of merchandise in Beardstown as part of the consideration and take possession of August 1.

WEDDING - The Cass County Historian, December 1996, source Virginia Enquirer, May 14, 1887 - Submitted by Marcia Cox
     Lou W. LEGGETT of Beardstown and Lucinda E. HORRUM of Hickory (Cass Co.) married Tuesday, May 3rd at Shawneetown, Gallatin Co., Illinois. They took the train to Beardstown where William BARDLEY drove them to the residence of the bride's parents where a sumptuous supper awaited them.

WEDDING - The Cass County Historian, December 1996, source Chandlerville Times, December 1, 1905
     George Henry KLOKER, prominent farmer of near Virginia and Miss Viola GEILS of Arenzville were married at the courthouse on Saturday. The groom is 45 and the bride is 18. She has been living as a companion to Mr. KLOKERS aged mother.

WEDDING - The Cass County Historian, June 1998, source Ashland Sentinel, Ashland, Illinois, February 12, 1904
     Last Thursday at the residence of County Judge WALKER occurred the marriage of William EYRE to Miss Rose MANNEL.Mr. EYRE is a capable janitor at the courthouse. They will reside in the McDONALD property on Springfield Street.

WEDDING - Married at the residence of the bride's sister, Mrs. Wallace STILTZ, two miles southwest of Ashland on Wednesday evening, October 5, at 6:30 pm, Miss Sarah ZIRKLE and Daniel K. BUCKLEY. The ceremony was performed by Squire S.A. SHORT. The groom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius BUCKLEY, old and respected citizens of Ashland. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis ZIRKLE of Prentice. The young couple will reside on half mile north of Ashland.

WEDDING - The Cass County Historian, March 2001, source, The Virginia Gazette, Virginia, Illinois, September 25, 1903 - James SHERRILL and Mrs. Mary COLLINS were married the 24th in Springfield.

DROWNING BOY - The Cass County Historian, December 1999, source, Beardstown Illinoian Star, Beardstown, Illinois, January 9, 1922
     Falling through a hole in the ice on MEYERS pond yesterday afternoon, WIlliam DIEBOLD, 10 year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank DIEBOLD, 517 W. Third Street, was under an inch of ice when rescued by Wendell CLARKE of 1010 Clay Street, who was skating on the pond at the time of the accident.
     The Accident occurred about three o'clock, yesterday afternoon and the boy was taken to his home and is a little worse for wear, according to reports.
     Wendell was across the pond from young DIEBOLD when the lad disappeared into the water. He pulled the lad from his cold bath after he had gone down two times when the ice he grasped in an effort to pull himself out had broken twice.
     When CLARKE got to the boy he was under the ice where he had come up after going down a second time. CLARKE dove into the water and pulled him from under the ice to the surface.
     The lad was doubled up and in convulsions when he was carried to land and taken to his home where he was reported to be felling fairly well today.
     CLARKE unable to walk in his shoes after the exposure went bare footed to the home of Mrs. Flora REILEY on Third Street. He was able to go out with his crew this morning however.

SOCIAL - The Cass County Historian, December 1996, source Chandlerville Times, March 3, 1905 - Submitted by Marcia Cox
     A delightful time was spent at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John BRANIAN on February 24th. The evening was spent playing games and music was furnished by Jim BRANIAN and Jim BLAIR. Present were Letha COOPER, Minnie BRANIAN, Ruth WORKMAN, Louise COOPER, Matilda WORKMAN, Hattie LUCAS, Hattie BLAIR, Myrtle FRANKENFELD, Mrs. Annie HALL, James WORKMAN, Noah COOPER, Arley COOPER, Jim BRANIAN, Earmay SPRINKLE, William FRANKENFELD, Henry FRANKENFELD, Henry BRANER, Ed WORKMAN, Jim BLAIR, George HEDGEPATH, Mr. and Mrs. John BLAIR, Mr. and Mrs. GERDES, Mr. and Mrs. Bristo COOPER and Mr. and Mrs. Oscar COOPER.

PEARL WEDDING - Chandlerville Time, Friday, June 2, 1899 - Submitted by Carol Orwig
     Perhaps the first Pearl Wedding Anniversary ever celebrated in Chandlerville occurred last Friday night.
     Eighty three years ago last January, Jacob Kruse was born in Canton, Appenzelle, Switzerland and some four years later Miss Anna Magdalena Schies arrived to the same picturesque country to make her home in this world. In 1839, these two happy souls were joined in wedlock and in 1849 they sailed for America, arriving in New Orleans May 2nd of that year and from there they went to St. Louis, Mo. They arrived in that city during the great cholera epidemic and while escaping death, suffered from the disease. Two weeks later they came to Beardstown, Illinois, where they remained until 1878, then came to Chandlerville, Illinois and have made their home here ever since.
     Just ten tears ago they celebrated their golden wedding and it was an important event in the history of Chandlerville.
     Eight children have been born to them, five having died in infancy and the sixth, Mrs Anna Magdalena, the deceased wife of F.W. Rentzsch, the seventh, Mrs. Miller Hageman, who now resides in California and the eighth Miss Elizabeth, who has made her home with her parents and has been their constant attendant in their latter days. She has proven herself a worthy daughter and her parents rely upon her entirely. There are few couples who reached the ripe old age of this couple, who have been blessed with such an affectionate and unselfish daughter, who has given her life to care of her parents. The celebration was in the nature of a surprise and is described as follows by one who was there.
     A most pleasant surprise was enjoyed last Friday evening at the home of Mr and Mrs Jacob Kruse, it being their 60th anniversary. About seven o'clock their friends formed in a body taking with them a large handsome rocking chair and about nine o'clock Mr and Mrs Kruse with their friends was asked to come out to an excellent supper, which was a big surprise to the old folks. A few songs were sung and Rev. C. Bergen made a very appropriate talk for the occasion. The hour soon came for them to depart, their many friends wishing them that they may enjoy many more such happy evenings as was enjoyed by those present.

CIGAR FACTORIES - Illinoian Star, January 26, 1995, written by Roy Roberts, later published in The Cass County Historian, June 1998
     Back in the 1800's there were a number of factories in Beardstown with several carrying over into the early 1900's. Not only were they manufacturing for the needs of the local citizenry but they were exporting their products. There was the business of making wagons and carriages and along the railroad there were shops hiring over three hundred employees who were making box cars. There were talented furniture makers, there were millers, there was an ice cream factory and there was a big business of cigar manufacturing.
     Cigar smoking must have really been the thing. There were a number of cigar makers in Beardstown with most of them having their own cigar boxes and their own brands. They were exporting them around the state. Around 100 years ago George FERGUSON was making cigars at GARMAN and SHUPE at 115 State Street. William GUELKER had his shop at 109 1/2 State and later at 114 West Main Street. The SCHAEFER Cigar Co. was at 111 East 11th Street, Fred SAGER was at 418 East 8th and then at 205 1/2 State. There were more. Henry GREVE was at 108 Washington. Anton GREVE at 112 Washington and Charles GERSMEYER rolled his cigars at 108 State Street.
     Note that four were in the first block of State Street. Around the block on Washington there were two more and the one that stayed in business the longest was Mr. Charles HUNTER. He was first in partnership with Fred SAGER above the GARM Clothing Store which then became WOOLWORTH Five and Ten Cent Store. After they split up, Mr. HUNTER bought out the GREVE Brothers, who were up in their eighties and moved over to Main Street where he opened HUNTER Cigar Store and News Stand. When he purchased the GREVE business it included the wooden Indian that stood in front of the HUNTER Shop for years. Charlie HUNTER, son of the cigar maker, managed the shop after the death of his father and kept it open until just a few years ago.
     Charlie told how the peddlers would come to town even before the day of the automobiles, probably on train, bringing cases of samples of their sheets of tobacco. The talented cigar manufacturer could look, feel and taste and burn a piece of tobacco to select the best tobacco for his shop. If he was shipped something different than the sample, back it would go, so the salesman soon found out who he could fool with the cheaper or less quality tobacco. The sample displayed had been taken from a 400 pound of pressed tobacco, which would then be shipped to the buyer.
     Mr. HUNTER and an employee, Earl IVEY would roll the cigars for the HUNTERS. A good cigar maker could make 200 a day and had to make them all the same size with each one being weighed so that they would fit neatly in a cigar box. Mr. IVEY had the local record of making around 250 for one day's production.
     They all had their special names for the cigars. There was the five cent Big Hit, the five cent LaNoma, the five cent High Grade and the ten cent LaBuna. HUNTER make the "HUNTER's PRIZE" for fifteen cents.
     Mr. HUNTER would load up his products and had regular routes such as Browning, Astoria, Rushville, Mt. Sterling, Versailles and Meredosia, stopping at every store which would sell cigars.
     I don't know just when the cigaret came upon the scene but they were much milder than the cigar and didn't smell so bad. That plus the large companies changing from the homemade to the machine made, soon ruined the small cigar maker.

JAMES A. DICK - The Cass County Historian, June 1998
     James A. DICK was born June 10, 1823 in Simpson County, Kentucky, son of Peter and Christina (SHUTT) DICK. The couple with their eight children arrived in Illinois in 1829, living for a time in Sangamon County and by 1831 were residents of Cass County.
     Mr. DICK bought 160 acres of land and the family lived in a small cabin for two years before making improvements on the home. Peter DICK died in 1849 and his wife in 1852. Both are buried in DICK cemetery in township 19, range 8-9.
     James A. DICK married Mary BOWEN in 1845 in this county. She was born in 1819 in Monroe County, Ohio, a daughter of Jeremiah and Ellen BOWEN. James farmed for many years and spent three years in Jefferson County, Kansas before returning to Cass County. He was the sheriff when the famous Almanac Trial was held at the court house in Beardstown. Duff ARMSTRONG, the prisoner was lodged in the sheriff's home rather than being held in the local jail. James A. DICK's picture hangs in the Lincoln Courthouse here in Beardstown.
     Mr. DICK died 28 October, 1902, in Beardstown at his home located on Second Street between Monroe and Clay Streets. At the time of his death he was survived by his children, Ellen Mains, and James M. both of Oskaloosa, Kansas, William F. of near Beardstown and Adeline, living with her father. The obituary states that Mr. DICK was buried at Oak Grove cemetery in Beardstown, but possibly has no tombstone.

ESCAPED - The Cass County Historian, December 1999
     Sheriff George W. FARRAR is heading a galaxy of deputies who are scattered throughout the country west of Arenzville as far as Bluffs, Illinois, where the two prisoners, one wounded, who escaped from the county jail last Sunday night after a sensational gun battle with the Sheriff, and are believed to be in hiding.
     The Sheriff's Office has learned that two young men, both hatless and coatless, appeared at the ZILLION home in Arenzville Monday night and asked for food and clothing, explaining the absence of hats and coats, the men told the ZILLION family that they had been held up on a Burlington freight train. They secured two caps and coats in Arenzville. Later one of the men visited a restaurant in Arenzville and ate lunch. This is thought to have been RIGGS. SPENCER, whom it is believed was wounded by Sheriff FARRAR in the gun fight is thought to have been afraid of detections and remained outside.
     Work [Word] that two strangers had visited a farm home west of Arenzville on the public road leading towards Meredosia, led Sheriff FARRAR to rust to that vicinity with an auto load of deputies to make a personal investigation and search.
     Reports that one of the men had been captured were without foundation, but the leads coming from Meredosia vicinity led to hopes that the men will soon be captured.

JOHN HICKMAN - Sangamon Valley Times, July 27, 1894, reprinted in The Cass County Historian, March 2001
     A telegram dispatch from Joliet stated that John HICKMAN who was sentenced by the Cass county courts on April 5, 1870 for the murder of his wife, died July 18, aged 66 years.
     HICKMAN was a peculiar character. He was born in Tenn. about 1826. During the Mexican War he enlisted as a private. After the war he came to Illinois with his parents and settled on the Hickman place on the Virginia road, 2 miles south of Virginia. He married Nancy HOOD and they had two children. The daughter was Nancy who married Isaac WILLIAMS and lives in Jacksonville. Son, Aaron went to live with his sister.
      HICKMAN killed his first wife. She was sickly and kept to her bed most of the time. One day he god [got] mad about something and struck her over the head with a flat iron. He started to run away, little Aaron followed him. HICKMAN picked up a club and struck his son on the head, nearly killing him. His wife died within a day and HICKMAN was captured. He was brought to Chandlerville for preliminary trial and then taken to Beardstown which was the county seat. He was tried at the next term of court and acquitted on grounds of insanity and committed to the insane asylum in Jacksonville and taken there by James DICK, Sheriff. Jeptha PLASTER was appointed his conservator. He left the asylum in less than a year and turned out as a well man. In 1863 he married Mrs. Margaret SCHOONOVER who had formerly married Ed BLAKE. She had three children, Charles SCHOONOVER of Phillipsburg, Montana, a daughter who was adopted and raised by Zeph KEITH and a daughter, Jennie who was adopted and raised by Mr. and Mrs. Jeptha PLASTER. She later married Robert ARMSTRONG and resides south of town.
     In January 1870, HICKMAN in a frenzy knocked his wife down with a stick of stove wood. He ran into the bush but came back and taking a butcher knife he slit her throat. As soon as the murder was known, a party was out looking for him. He was found by Ezra WHEELLOCK. There were threats of lynching him but he was taken to Beardstown and at the April term was given a life sentence. The remains were taken to Jacksonville.

1910 CASS COUNTY CENSUS LISTING - Newton SINCLAIR 48 and Elizabeth 45 lived in Ashland village on Fremont Street in 1910.

Miscellaneous Articles and Stories, p.2