3/05/1998 NOTES From The White County Historical Society Library

White County Historical Society Library
by Charlene Shields!
This article appeared in THE CARMI TIMES
March 05, 1998

In the early days of the White County Historical Society

In the early days of the White County Historical Society, meetings were sometimes held in various towns with the local historian being in charge of the meeting.
Mrs. Chalon Land was in charge of the Enfield meeting in October 1961.
It was an observance of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. There was a display of war relics and pictures.
Appropriate music was presented by Mrs. J. L. Willis, Mrs. Samuel Williams and Mrs. Oscar Funkhouser.
Those assisting Mrs. Land in arranging the meeting were Mrs. Harold McCurdy, Mrs. W.W. Wright and Mrs. W.B. Lyon.

In the archives of the historical society is the complete text of Mrs. Land's address.
Her speech will be serialized in this space for the next few weeks.
"...Many of you are aware of the fact that the early settlers in what is now Enfield Township were from the South--the Millers, McLins, Rutledges, Gowdys, Orrs, Veatches, Andersons, Hawthornes, Johnsons, Jordans, Fields, Trousdales and other families that came here soon after the turn of the 19th century.

In 1861, there were men and women still living who could recall their childhood in Virginia, the Carolinas or Georgia, and the long migration through Tennessee and Kentucky as they followed the Indian trails to the Illinois Territory.
Their traditions were deeply rooted in the South, and before the war, some of them were in sympathy with the South. However, when the war came, they were loyal to the Union, and so many volunteered to help preserve that Union that it was never necessary to draft a man in Enfield Township.

"Enfield was a very small village 100 years ago. Eight years had hardly elapsed since the forest trees had been cleared from the original site.
In the spring of 1861, the scholars were finishing their first term in the new two-room frame school house, and there were still no churches in the village.
Bethel was a log church east of town, where a congregation of Methodists worshipped. South of the Old Graveyard was Hopewell Meeting House, the log church of the Cumberland Presbyterians.
Another Methodist congregation met in the houses of Samuel Kirk and William Fields northwest of town, and the St. Joseph's congregation was southwest of the village.
"When the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter and Lincoln called for volunteers to maintain the existence of the Union, the news was probably brought from Carmi by way of a man on horseback, for there were no railroads in the county at that time and no telegraph lines.
The stage coach that brought word from the outside world to Carmi by-passed our village.

"Alex Jordan and John Milledge Gowdy had a blacksmith shop on the site of the First National Bank.
They answered Lincoln's call by locking the door of the shop and enlisting in the 14th Cavalry.
Cynthia Jordan and Nancy Gowdy were left to keep the home fires burning.
Richard Nance had a blacksmith shop where the drug store now stands.
Remember, blacksmithing was a necessary and greatly respected craft in those days. Richard Nance left his anvil and joined the 7th Calvary.

"On Hazelip's corner, Gipson Gowdy had a cobbler's shop where he made shoes of leather from John Danniston's tannery.
The tanyard was where the grade school children now play.
Gip Gowdy said he had to go fight for his country, but he would be back before folks in Enfield were barefooted.

"Yearby Land's two sons, Robert and George, kept store on Marlin's corner. The building was quite small and built on posts because of the swampy ground.
A board side walk in front was elevated, too, and four or five steps went down to the cross street. This was a favorite place for the children to play as they went to and from school. George W. Land was postmaster at Enfield at this time, making a salary of almost $5 a month, but he gave it up to enlist in the 87th Infantry.
Major George W. Land died while in service late in 1864."

(To be continued.)

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