"AN EVENTFUL DAY BEING THE CHRONICLES OF A "KNIGHT OF THE GRIP", MAKING A BUSINESS CALL AT PALESTINE IN THE YEAR OF 1869." This is from the WABASH PEARL WEEKLY paper from Jan. 7, 1910 (The edges are really frayed but we'll type what we can.) --ER. Alexander

After a delightful ride of seven miles through the smiling landscape on a ---day in June 1869 we came in sight of the beautiful little village of Palestine.

As our stage coach swung around the corner near the Lagow homestead our John, Bob Beatty, the veteran stage driver, announced our coming by the notes of his bugle the echoes of which aroused the sleepy village for its tri-weekly round of excitement which he brought to them in the way of mail and visitors from the outside world.

In a short time we were halted before the post office to discharge mail with the care of Uncle Enoch Gogin, who at that time was the servant of "Uncle Sam" in the building which stood where the skating rink is now located.

Our coach then returned to the hotel, then kept by Norton Wilson, in the building which stood where Dave Fife now conducts his Hardware business. After depositing his passengers into the keeping of their genial host and hostess, the coach preceded on it way toward Sullivan, Mr. Beatty giving a parting salute on his trumpet as his vehicle disappeared beyond the village limits near the residence of Wm. Donnell.

We were welcomed into the hostelry and soon retired of the dust and dirt, incident to a trip in the old style coach, and were soon prepared to make our first interview with the good trades people of Palestine.

"Well begun is half done," and there could be no better beginning than to "sip the nectar of the Gods" at the old town pump ( in this case it was an open well which stood at one of the busiest corners of the busy town.)

Our first call was upon the firm of E. E. Murphy & Co, then doing a thriving business on the corner now occupied by Mr. Henry Maddox's furniture store--Here we met Dr. Harmon Alexander and his son, Charley, the jolly little dwarf, about 4 feet high and nearly as broad.

Proceeding down the street we next made a call upon Uncle Tommy Boatright; a quaint old character, who kept an old fashioned grocery store. It was here that we noticed a sign;- SHUGER 15 CENTS PER POUND. We endeavored to point out the error, but were told in blunt words that "it spelled sugar," and the sign was still doing business as originally made. We left to call upon our next customer, Dr. Malone.

The old doctor, on first appearance was not what you might call sociable, but in after years upon better acquaintance we became quite friendly, and we have spent many pleasant hours in conversation with him. He kept a line of drugs, dry good and groceries, and at the time of which we write was doing a thriving business; much better that my next customer, S. W. Hutchings, who was just about "through the book" as the old saying goes, at the time of my first visit.

But our next stop was at the busiest store within thirty or forty miles, that of the firm of Haskett Bros., who were then doing an immense business, not only in their store, but their packing house was in active operation, taking the product of the farms for miles around and making shipments to all points in the west and south.The store and office force numbered from ten to thirty people, and to sell them a big bill of goods would "put a feather in my cap" with my employers. Their establishment took up almost all of the space from their store down to the corner on the east side of Main street. I think that the firm in the corner building were the tailors, Roach & Nichols, not having anything in their line I did not call upon them.

Directly across the street was the hotel of S. W. Hutchings, which at one time was one of the leading hotels of Southern Illinois,( but at the time of which I write was not in a very flourishing condition,) Not having any business in this hotel and the building next to it being vacant we passed them by and made our next call of Peter Grigg, the jeweler, selling him a good sized bill of goods.

We could not pass the " seat of justice, which came next to our travels without making a social call upon Squire Logan, one of the shrewdest dispensers of home-made justice ever known in the west.( While making our call upon him, a newly elected constable came in to be given his full authority as such. Stepping up to the Squire he said: "Squire , I want you to qualify me for my office." The Squire replied; "I can swear you in but all hell couldn't qualify you for the office."

At this juncture we made our "get away" and called upon Uncle Norton Vane, who was conducting a grocery and ice cream parlor in the building next to Squire's office.

Jim Anderson was next in our line of march. While talking business with Mr. A. we were entertained by his comrades. telling their recent army experiences. As we carried a "side line" of drugs we, of course dropped in upon Dr. Steele and the merry crowd of the biggest practical jokers in the state, Dr. Thompson, Dr. Rafferty, A.G. Marckley, L.V.Chaffee, John Kitchell and a few other kindred spirits. It had been but a few days since they had performed one of their numerous jokes on one of their own party, which came very nearly resulting in a catastrophe.

It seems that the talk had drifted around and the capacity of each to absorb the most unusual drink, and a wager was made that we are in the party could drink a glass of water containing such soda as could be made to lay on the point of a pen knife blade. The wager was taken by Marckley and those on the other side of the wager secured a quantity of soda which had become solidified and pared it down until there was probably as much as one or two inch cube which was successfully made to balance on the end of the blade. Mr. Marckley being "game" performed his part of the feat, but almost at the risk of his life, it taking the efforts of the three doctors to bring him through the ordeal, a wiser and weaker man.

Our next and last business call of the morning was at the flourishing hardware and implement store of Judge J. C. Allen, under the management of Mr. John Kitchell. After transacting our business we started for our hotel, across the street, in company with the Judge. There was a tremendous uproar issuing from back of the stores and presently a gang of street urchins of all ages, sizes and conditions emerged upon the street making the usual amount of noise and disturbance of such a crowd. The Judge, seeing what he thought were familiar faces attracted their attention and shouted, "Jim, you and -and-you and that other one go on home now at once" It seems that with this numerous brood, and being away from home so much he was unable to remember the names of his own children, The "other one" happened to be two of his boys Fred and Will.

After our morning of strenuous activities we repaired to our room to get our larger orders in shape to sent to the "House", as some of our products were to be shipped from New York, New Orleans, Cincinnati & etc. ( Chicago was too far out of the world then to have much influence on the trade of this territory,) and it would be months before the last of our orders would be in the stores and warerooms of our customers, having to travel by railroad, steam boat, and wagon road.

We did ample justice to the many good things placed before us by our kind landlady and then took a stroll around the streets of the village, visiting the "Market places" for you must know that Palestine was the principal trading point for a large scope of territory. The immense warehouses were being placed in readiness for the coming harvest. Among the warehouses we visited now were those in the rear of J.C. Allen's store building extending along the alley for about 100 feet, joining a large two-story belonging to Bristol Bros. and being operated by A. G. Marckley. About fifty feet further south was the Hutchings warehouse. During the harvest season those warehouses would be filled to overflowing,waiting until such a time as the waters of the Wabash would float large streamers which would take the grain to Vincennes and Evansville New Orleans and other markets. The East side of the square had it share of warehouses, the biggest of which was that belonging to Haskett Bros. in which they stored the product of their packing house. There was not only the warehouse attached to their store and extending to the alley, but there was another reaching the full 150 feet from the alley to West Main Street, and in addition a lard warehouse across the street. Dr. Malone also had a large warehouse, and there was a smaller one in the rear of E. E. Murphey & Co's store.

Taking them all collectively, I venture to say that the combined capacity of the warehouses in Palestine at this time would exceed the combined warehouse capacity of Crawford County at the present time.

Having several " side lines" in the manufacturing we next made a visit to the factory district of Palestine stopping first at the coffin factory of Milton Murphy and Thomas Corbin in the old Tindolph building which stood on the corner now occupied by Mr. Fifes residence.

Further down, at the end of the street was a flour mill and across the street from it was the tan yard operated by Mr. Andrew Martin, in which there were 15-20 tan vats, the industry giving employment to quite a number of men and boys. We next visited the "Machine shop" district.

Henry Beam operated a large agricultural implement and vehicle factory in the shop now owned by Wm. Green, and also owned a woodworking establishment which stood on the ground where the Church of Christ is now located. This plant was under the supervision of a Master workman, Joe Freeman, and turned out work which went to all parts of the surrounding territory. Across the street was the machine shop belonging to George Erfft, and operated by himself and his boys. Hope Beecher did a thriving trade as blacksmith and wagon maker and conducted the business in the same shop up to the time of his death.

At the extreme south east edge of the village, was the woolen factory owned and operated by T. C. Alexander and Wyatt Mills. This factory did a thriving business for several years being quite a factor in the prosperity of the community at that time. Further down,on its present site was the Miehenhelder flour mill, then in a flourishing condition and still being operated by the son and grandchildren of the then owner.

Having transacted all my business and taking in all the sights of the village we returned to our hotel and prepared to take our departure. With a " rig" from George Walker's livery barn we drove to the river landing at Bristol from which point we took a steamer for Vincennes. Upon our arrival at Bristol the landing was a scene of activity, there being steamboats to load for both up and down the river. It being the last of the season and the dealers getting ready for the new harvest, it was quite a long time before the last of the products were placed upon the boat, and it was near the end of the day ere we finally cast off the gang plant and headed the steamer down the majestic Wabash, as behind the distant hills the setting sun with its ribbons of light placed its golden seal on a page of our life's records attesting to a day profitably spent in the land of milk and honey.