It has always been impossible for me to understand what kind of warped, angry personality would enjoy vandalizing cemeteries; yet it happens repeatedly.
My faith in mankind was given a boost by a couple of men who were in the Genealogy Library recently. Both are from Mt. Vernon, Ill. Since their retirement, their hobby has become the repairing of old tombstones. Their before-and-after photos are almost unbelievable. They had numerous pictures of old stones broken in several pieces which they put into wheelbarrows and hauled to their workshop. There they drill holes and insert steel pins and glue to hold the pieces together, sometimes manufacture new pieces, sometimes deepen the lettering or paint it black and return the tombstone to its original place. This often involves setting it in concrete or making some kind of new base. The results are fantastic. They have re-done a number of stones in White County. They don't hire out; this is a hobby for them. It is their way of counteracting the ravages of time and vandals.
. Cindy Birk Conley brought in a couple of e-mail communiqu‚s. One was from Clearwater, Fla., from Barry E. Blood, who said, "I lived in Carmi from '59 to '62. I was the manager of Beckner's Jewelry on Main Street. I remember only three names of people back then: David Stanley, John Rice and Pat Finch. (She worked for me at the store). If any of these people are still around Carmi, please tell them I said, 'Hi.'...Does Carmi still hold 'Corn Day'?'"
A nostalgic letter came from Don Marsh. He told of living in the Sun Oil Co. camp at Phillipstown and going to school there. His parents moved to Houston in 1952 but returned every summer to visit his grandparents, Allen and Eunice Scott.
The last trip was in 1979, when Marsh "went to all my old fishing holes--Low-Water Bridge, Blue Hole, Grinnel Bridge, the old wooden bridge, Rattlin' Slough, and the Wabash....
"I could probably find a fortune in Phillipstown with a metal detector. I know where many of the old saloons, etc. stood. Just think how many coins must have been lost there in 1871, when the town burned to the ground.... "You might want to ask an old timer where Copperhead Cave is. I remember it as a child--back down the hill east of the newer cemetery. Back in the 1940s, there were 1800s names and dates carved into the rocks at the entrance of the shallow cave. Just up the hill from it, you could still see the old stage coach ruts from the stage coach that ran from Shawneetown to Vincennes...
. "Yes, I may have lived in Texas for 45 years, but my heart will always be in Phillipstown. I have a small business called Fox River Products. You can imagine where the name comes from..."
Overheard: "We do not live in our own time alone; we carry our history within us."
We continue to be comfortably busy with letters and visitors to our Genealogy Library. We're open from 11 to 5 on Wednesdays. Come join us.
THE CARMI TIMES
and CHARLENE SHIELDS