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(lis First 150 Years - 1818-1968) 

Published by the Sesquicentennial Committee of the Historical Society of Washington County, Illinois 

Grovf.r Brinkman, Editor 
Venice Brink, Co-Editor 
Lawrence Hood, Co-Editor 
Paul Sachtleben, Co-Editor 
David Watts, Co-Editor 

Appreciation: Trie editors wish to take the opportunity to sincerely thank the many, many 
people who have helped compile this book. You have all been wonderful, 
with your time, help, suggestions, contributions. We thank each and every 
one of you! 

The perfect history is yet to be written. An editor cannot trust to myths, le- 
gends, or traditions, but must rely on facts. There are instances when even 
facts are clouded and obscure. All that remains is conjecture. 

In compiling this book research has been as thorough as conditions and time 
warrant. Oftentimes the facts are pinned down to the point of happening, 
true, authentic, statistical. But there are statements, dates, names, that are 
not this factual. The editors have sifted through yellowed papers, old records, 
for long, long hours. Family trees, interviews with aged citizens, and vari- 
ous other sources have been resorted to, to bring you this compiliation of 
Washington County history that began long before record-keeping was the 
precise thing it is today. So if there are vague passages, debatable dates, 
or other inaccuracies, we beg your indulgence. The perfect.history, we'll re- 
peat, has never been written. 

The Editors 

Washington Countians Are Also "Egyptians 


There is no question that Washington County is 
part of that symbolical area of southern Illinois called 
"Egypt." The name, used as early as 1843. is voiced 
with pride by most southern Illinoisans, but in the 
northern part of the state, it is somehow looked down 
upon, as our own personal Appalachia. 

The exact boundaries of Egypt are in dispute. But 
most southern Illinoisans will settle for that part of the 
state lying south of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, 
which runs east from St. Louis, Mo. to Vincennes, Ind. 

Figuratively, Egypt would be the southernmost 
quarter of the state, that hilly, coal-mine-eroded region 
that is also rich in history. People are friendly in this 
grassroots society. 

Perhaps the origin of the name will always re- 
main a puzzle. There are as many as four versions: 

Egypt takes its name from the location of such 
old world cities as Cairo, Memphis, Thebes, Palestine 
and Karnak. 

The area bears a marked resemblance to the 
Nile's delta. 

The name originated in the folklore and illiteracy 
of the inhabitants, or possibly because at one time 
southern Illinois supplied corn to the rest of the state 
during a severe crop blight, playing good Samaritan 
to much of the upstate. 

A clash of dates discredits the first reason entire- 
ly. Cairo was not established until 1837, Thebes until 
1844 (even then it was known as Sparrhawk's Land- 
ing). Karnak also is far from a "very old" town. Alle- 
gation to the word, Egypt, appears as early as 1843, 
long before the influx of settlers at any of these places. 

Point two: Alleged similiarity between southern 
Illinois and the Nile's delta is totally absurd! The Nile 
delta is at least 150 miles long, 120 miles wide. The 
alluvial "tip" of southern Illinois called Egypt extends 
for only 25 or 30 miles northward from Birds' Point 
at Cairo, the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi 
Rivers. The rest of the area (northward) is rugged, 
hilly, an outcropping of the Missouri-Arkansas Ozark 
chain of hogback hills, and bears no resemblance to 
the Delta country. 

Point Three: No southern Illinoisan will permit 
the allegation that the name originated from "the intel- 
lectual darkness" of the inhabitants, or the folklore of 

a backwoods area. Southern Illinois had institution of 
learning well in advance of northern Illinois. For in- 
stance. John Mason Peck founded his Rock Spring 
Seminary near Belleville in 1827. Four years later it 
moved to the Alton community to become Shurtleff 
College. McKendree College, aged Methodist institu- 
tion of learning at Lebanon, was established in 1828. 
Vandalia had the first historical society in the state. 
We were not as "backwoodsy" as some would have us 

John W. Allen of Carbondale, southern Illinois' 
dean of historians, writing in the Chicago Schools 
Journal in 1955, cited earlier and more detailed testi- 
mony. Allen's source was A. D. Duff, prominent lawyer 
and judge of southern Illinois, wdio contributed an 
article on the origin of Egypt to the Shawneetown Ga- 
zette in the 1860's. According to Duff, the very long 
and severe winter of the "deep snow," ( 1830-31), de- 
layed planting. The following summer was cool, and a 
killing frost came early in September. The corn crop 
in central Illinois was a complete failure. The settlers 
needed corn for feed, for seed, and for the corn-bread 
that was staple fare. They resorted to the southern part 
of the state, where the crop had matured. As a boy liv- 
ing on a main road in Bond County, Duff said that in 
the Spring of 1832 he saw many wagons coming south 
empty and going back loaded with corn. These people 
were Bible readers, and were reminded of the sons of 
Jacob resorting to Egypt for grain. 

The Biblical reference is to the famine that struck 
the Mediterranean world while the tribe of Jacob re- 
sided in Canaan. Hearing of their plight, Jacob's son, 
Joseph, who held a high place in Pharaoh's court, sent 
money and raiment and "ten asses laden with the good 
things of Egypt, and ten she-asses laden with corn and 
bread and meat," so Jacob could lead his people to 
Egypt and eat "the fat of the land." If you care to 
check, you'll find all of this related in chapter 45 of 
the Book of Genesis in your Bible. 

The baleful effects of the winter of 1830-31 in all 
but southern Illinois is a matter of historical record. 
Whether or not you accept the above as an explanation 
as to why Washington Countians live in Egypt (with- 
out the pyramids), please don't say "Little Egypt." 
Little Egypt was a fiery belly-dancer at the World's 
Columbian Exposition at Chicago, and has no refer- 
ence to the geographical Egypt of which southern 
Illinoisans are justly proud. 

. // //, PALESTINE ' 



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There is a "new face" in Illinois today, and it is found in Egypt, of which Wash- 
ington County is a part. One of the finest shrines in America is the Bald Knob 
Cross at Alto Pass, shown here. 

Washington County as a Territory 

Today most of us think of our home county in terms of the present, 
as it is today, but turning back the pages of the history books, Washington 
County has quite a longevity record. For instance: 

1673 — Claimed as a French possession under military rule. 

1721 — Civil administration as part of French Louisiana. 

1763 — British sovereignty, part of the Western Wilderness Territory, 
military rule. 

1774 — British military rule, Province of Quebec. 

1778 — July 4 — Proclaimed part of Illinois Country of Virginia, 
civil and military authorities appointed by Gov. Patrick 

1773 — Ceded by Virginia to the thirteen colonies in common, still 
unorganized territory. 

1787 — Part of St. Clair County, Northwest Territory of the Confed- 
erated American States, Gen. Arthur St. Clair, Governor. 

1795 — Mostly part of Randolph County, a small part of St. Clair 
County, Indiana Territory, U.S.A. 

1800 — Part of St. Clair County, Illinois Territory. 

1818 — Made a separate county of State (Washington), including 
all of Clinton County, Illinois. 

1824 — December 23 — Clinton County separated, and Washington 
County began its existence in its present form. 


Southern Illinois has several round ( or octagonal) 
buildings of more or less fame, including Randolph 
County's historic octagonal schoolhouse, and a round 
ham in Marion County near Kell that once was used as 
a marker in early-day aviation. But perhaps the most 
unusual of all is the old octagonal house on the out- 
skirts of l\ieh\ iew. \s this is written, it was ready to he 
razed: perhaps by the time this sees print, it will 
be gone. 

One could go quietly mad. tracing the intricacies 
of this old house. It has a somber, haunted look that no 
doubt would raise even the critical eyebrows of Alfred 
Hitchcock, if he espied it. 

The house is the only "round" residence in the 
area. It is believed to have been built in 1871 by a 
man named Cooper. If his neighbors thought the un- 
conventional builder had lost his marbles, they could 
have been right, for later he did commit suicide in the 
strange house he built. 

It seems the original octagonal house was the idea 
of an eastern phrenologist, Orson Squire Fowler, back 
in 1854, Fowler pointed out to his critics that eight 
walls in the form of an octagon will enclose more space 
than four falls of the same length, at right angles, plus 
better ventilation and lighting. 

It is known that the Richview house was closely 
patterned after Fowler's ideas, even to the solid outside 
walls which were originally to have been covered willi 
stucco. At one time the house also had a two-story 

One interesting feature of this octagonal house 
plan was that one could enter any room with or with- 
out the use of the center hall. Upstairs, the four main 
rooms were narrowed somewhat, to make the two tri- 
angular rooms larger. 

\ full, deep field-tone cellar was under the house, 
and neighbors said it at our time served as a garage 
for the owner's one-cvlinder lieo automobile, one of 
the first horseless carriages in Richview. 

Back in the gingerbread era of Fowler's day, he 
was listed as a spellbinding crackpot who also wrote a 
book, "Sexual Science." a frank marriage manual of 
no less than 930 page- that really lifted the roof off the 
literary world at that time for its frankness. Putting 
into practice his theories on promoting sexual vigor, 
Fowler married three times, fathering three children 
when he was past 70. 

Washington County's only "round' 
house, once the pride of Richview. 

It's a bit sad to think that such an area monument 
to architectural genius is going the way of all old 
houses, but such is the case. There is no incentive to 
restore it. 

If ever a house had an "eight-sided rumpus 
room." this was it! 


The violent chapter in American lawlessness that in- 
duced author Paul M. Angle to write his sensational best- 
seller, "Bloody Williamson," a true, painstakingly research- 
ed saga of southern Illinois violence, did not entirely escape 
Washington County in spewing its death and mayhem. 

A front page story in the St. Louis Globe Democrat, 
dated May 22, 1921, tells in detail of the ambush of Ku 
Klux Klan chief. S. Glenn Young and his wife, enroute 
to East St. Louis in the big Lincoln car that had become 
almost as well known as he was. 

As he entered the lonely road through the Kaskaskia 
bottoms, west of Venedy Station, a Dodge that had been 
following him started to pass on the left. When it drew 
abreast, its occupants poured a volley of shots into the 
Lincoln. Mrs. Young slumped forward. Young skidded to a 
stop and jumped from the car attempting to fire at the 
speeding Dodge. Instead, he collapsed. He had been hit in 
the knee, and one leg was useless. In a short time a passing 
motorist found the wounded couple and took Mrs. Young 
to St. Elizabeth's Hospital at Belleville. Young followed in 
his car, with an unnamed man driving. Mrs. Young, hit in 
the face by shotgun pellets, lost the sight of one eye. Young 
had a shattered knee. 

The second violence in Washington County, came to 
public attention on the morning of February 5, 1927, when 
a farmer walking across a field near DuBois, inside Wash- 
ington County borders, came across a partly clothed body. 
Several bullet holes were visible. The man was Lory Price, 
state highway patrolman. Later the body of the patrolman's 
wife. Ethel Price, was found in an abandoned mine shaft. 

This violence, in and so near our county borders, was 
the result of an era of lawlessness that started in the William- 
son County coal field, back in September, 1921, when the 
Southern Illinois Coal Company opened a strip mine there. 
A miners' strike, and the importation of strike breakers re- 
sulted in the Herrin Massacre on June 22, 1922. when nine- 
teen men were killed and one fatally wounded. 

On May 20. 1923, the Ku Klux Klan made its first 
public appearance at Marion. A gathering of 2000 Klans- 
men, initiated two hundred candidates at a ceremony held 
in a nearby field. On November 1, 1923. S. Glenn Young, 
hired by the Klan to take charge of its law-enforcement pro- 
gram in southern Illinois, arrived in Williamson County. 
Bootlegging raids started, with more violence, pistol- 

whippings and death, with new hoodlum faces on the scene 
almost daily. A gang war was soon underway, with such 
familiar names as Art Newman. Charlie Birger. the machine- 
gun-toting Young, and dozens of others making the head- 
lines as violence erupted over a wide area. 

Armed men, bombings, killings, roadhouse raids, gang 
against gang, turned Herrin and Marion into armed camps. 
Joe Adams, mayor of nearby West City, was murdered. 
Shady Best, a hangout for the Birger gang, was bombed. 
Four bodies were found in the ruins. Carl. Earl and Bernie 
Shelton were sentenced to 25 vears in the federal peniten- 
tiary for mail robbery. 

Charlie Birger was arrested and charged with the mur- 
der of Mayor Joe Adams. With Art Newman and Bay Hy- 
land. Birger's trial opened at Benton on July 6. 1927. The 
jury found the three defendants guilty and decreed death 
for Birger. life imprisonment for Newman and Hyland. Bir- 
ger's hanging was delayed by a stay of execution by the 
Supreme Court. On October 21, 1927, another hoodlum 
named Rado Millich was hanged in the jailyard at Marion. 

The Supreme Court denied Birger's appeal for a new 
trial. The Illinois Board of Pardons and Paroles refused to 
intercede as well. Birger. accordingly, was hanged in the jail- 
yard at Benton on April 19. 1928. Looking up at the sky the 
budding trees, his last words were, "It's a beautiful world." 

Conclusion: S. Glenn Young and three of his henchmen 
were killed in a gunfight at Herrin on January 24, 1925. 
Carl Shelton was killed on his farm near Fairfield on Octo- 
ber 23, 1947. Connie Bitter died in the Menard penitentiary 
on January 6. 1948. Bernie Shelton was killed in front of his 
tavern, near Peoria, on July 26. 1948. Earl Shelton was shot 
but recovered. On June 7, 1950, Boy Shelton was shot to 
death on his tractor at his Wayne County Farm. A score of 
lesser hoodlums met their death before the carnage ended. 

The depression that followed the stock market crash of 
1929 accelerated the reign of terror, already under way, in 
Williamson County. It lasted for more than twenty-five years. 

With the exception of the two incidents mentioned 
above. Washington County escaped this feud and carnage. 
However, many a senior citizen here today remembers the 
many instances when Charlie Birger. S. Glenn Young, 
Art Newman, anil later the Sheltons were seen inside 
count) hinders, perhaps eating lunch or having a car ser- 
viced at a county garage. The guns were there, but they 
were never used. 



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Calamus Lake near Venedy, named after the Calamus lilies that 
grow here in profusion, is Washington County's lowest spot. 


When this writer was in his teens, and the road from 
Okawville to Nashville was dirt I or mud I instead of con- 
crete, there is a distinct rememberance of the remains 
of an old coal mine on a slope midway between \ddieville 
and the county seat, always pointed out as "highesl -p'>t 
in the county. This supposition is in error according 
to the Coast and Geodetic Survey, which goes to show 
that an image, planted long enough in the human brain, 
at last becomes "truth." 

That government bureau noted for its factual accurac) 
in measuring the terrain of the ' nited State-, reveals thai 
the highest spot in Washington County is near the Fairview 
Church, on the north edge of DuBois township, alongside 

Route 51, about three miles south of the \-hlev Wye, fhe 

elevation here is a Fraction above 591 feet, according 
to a recent survey. 

I he second highesl spot in the county is on the Harold 
Auld farm, west "I Oakdale, where the elevation is 583 
feet above sea level. I he site is known as " Quid's Hill." 

I be lowest spot in the count) is a bod) of tvatei 
known as * alamus I .ike. famous foi its annual paradi of 
lilies, located in the Kaskaskia Bottoms, about two miles 
southwest "i Vencd) Station. The elevation here is 395 feet, 

Vie don't havi an) mountains in Washington ' ounty, 
as .dl native- well realize, but we do have a topograph) \.n 
tnce "l 196 feet, which is ample assurance thai most of 
the rainfall in ihe count) eventually drain- into eithei 
the Kaskaskia "i the Little Mudd) Rivers. 


The Wood Tavern, shown here, was Nashville's most famous landmark, until it 
was razed in 1952, 130 years after it was built. 

Wood Tavern at Nashville Was 1822 Hostelry 

Without doubt many of the early records of Wash- 
ington County were lost in the fire that destroyed the 
courthouse in 1883, if indeed such records ever exist- 
ed. For instance, the only reliable history of Washing- 
ton County extant, published before that time, makes 
no mention at all of the old "Half-Way House," later 
known as the Wood Tavern, located on the old 
Shawneetown-St. Louis trace back when the city of 
Nashville was only a figment of the imagination in the 
minds of a bevy of terribly-agitated county commis- 
sioners. Yet the old tavern stood in the northwestern 
part of Nashville until 1952, when it was razed. 

Nor does this same history volume mention— ex- 
cept in a fragmentary way— the owner and builder of 
the tavern, Major John D. Wood, one of the keenest, 
most enterprising businessmen in the county at that 
time. Today, Wood's tombstone lies neglected about a 
hundred feet west of where the old building stood. 

The old Wood Tavern, until it was torn down 15 
years ago, was believed to be one of the oldest public 
buildings in the county, if indeed not the oldest along 
the entire Shawneetown-St. Louis trace. It deserved a 
better fate than it got. 

In the 1820's, and for about ten years afterward, 
the Shawneetown-St. Louis trace was the main east- 
west artery across the new state of Illinois. Its exact 
location in Nashville apparently is lost. 

Suffice it is to say it was somewhere north of the 
Courthouse square, to eliminate the hill on which the 
business part of the city stands. This accounts for the 
location of the old tavern, about two blocks north of 
Route 460. 

During that time it was the rendezvous and meet- 
ing place of politicians of every shade and leaning, of 
every party, for Wood was too keen a businessman to 
dip into the affairs of his guests. 

It was said, but cannot be verified, that on one or 
two occasions during those four agonizing years with- 
out a courthouse, court was held within the walls of 
the tavern. It was the stopping place of circuit-riding 
lawyers and preachers, and of the riders of the pony 

Dramatists have tried to weave into the story a bit 
of fiction that Abe Lincoln was a guest at the old 



tavern one night. However, as far as this researcher 
can ascertain, there is little truth to the belief. 

John D. Wood came to Washington County in 
1821, in his twenty-first year. In common with most 
settlers of that period be "squatted" on a piece of 
government land, built his habitation, took his own 
sweet time about ""proving up" on his holdings. Ac- 
cording to the available records he did not establish 
title until eleven years had passed. 

In the meanwhile the inference is that the home 

he built was a halfway house, probably in 1822 or 
1823. lie opened it up fur business as soon a-, the roof 
was on. For a year or so he farmed as a sideline but 
gradual!) worked up a real estate business. 

The next tin years were the golden age for the 
tavern. Hut when the surveyors laid out the city of 
\a-h\ die, thej e\ idendy disregarded the old Shawnee- 
town trace's meanderings, placed the courthouse 
square at the top of the hill, and thus relegated the 
tavern to an ignominious end. 

The Ice Cream Parlor 

One might long lament the passing of the ice 
cream parlor. The present generation, and perhaps 
the generations to come, will never know its deep 
significance, the niche it cut into the life pattern of 
people who now consider themselves approaching 
senior citizen status. 

Today we have the dairy drive-ins. the malt shops, 
the quick-freeze emporiums, shops of a hundred vari- 
ations that serve ice cream. But none quite had the 
decor and the atmosphere of the ice cream parlor, circa 
of 1900 and thereafter. 

The photo illustrating this bit of whimsy shows a 
typical ice cream parlor as today's senior citizens knew 
it in their youth. This one was operated by two 
brothers, the late John and Jules Faber in Okawville, 
who were known far and wide for the quality of their 
ice cream. 

No French creams, mousses or spumone, just g 1 

old vanilla, strawberry and chocolate on occasions! 
The ten-cent chocolate soda in those days was compar- 
able to a thirty-cent malt today. An ice cream sundae 
was served in a silver shell, topped with fruit that was 
often home preserved. 

Each town of any note had one or more ice cream 
parlors. Most of the establishments made their own ice 
cream. The freezer of the Faber Bros, was powered by 
a gasoline engine, and when its erratic "put-put-put" 
was beard downtown, everyone knew the brothers were 
making a fresh batch of ice cream. 

There was no refrigeration in those days a- we 
know it today. The freshly-frozen ice cream was pack- 
ed in vaults <>f ice, beavilj salted t" increase the freez- 
ing process. If you were in the ice i ream business, you 
"iced up" tin- cream at least once daily. 

The furniture of the ice cream parlor had its own 
place in the Americana of the country, the wire-legged 
chairs and round tables having a distinction all of their 
own. Even today, the distinction remains, capitalized 
upon by the antique dealers who have cornered most of 
the existing furniture of that period. 


What was once Faber Bros. Ice Cream Parlor at Okaw- 
ville is part of Seibert's Grocery today. 

Then one day, something new was added to the 
mi world— the Eskimo Pie. Folks were amazed, 
especially the children. How had the ice cream been 
imprisoned inside it- chocolate wrapper? 

The ice Me. mi parloi .i- grandfather knew it i^ 
gone. Perhaps it will return someday, under the guise 
. p f twentieth century technocracy. Hut whether it does 
or does not. it wrote a glorious chapter all ovei the 
land a- an \ rti.-t i< in institution enjoyed by all of 
the family. 


McKinley Station, 
County "Ghost-town" 

In southwest Washington County today, a big, 
square frame building that was once a hotel, is the 
only reminder of McKinley Station. If Alfred Hitch- 
cock saw the old hotel today, no doubt he would use 
it as a setting for some bizarre murder mystery to be 
filmed. It would serve very well, for it does have a 
ghostly, bizarre appearance and a crimson past. 

McKinley Station started as a dairy venture, 
about 1894. The farm itself was a large tract, well over 
a thousand acres. There were four large cattle barns, 
and a creamery that stood west of the hotel. 

The hotel had fourteen rooms, and catered to city 
people who wanted a rural weekend. The M.-I. Rail- 
road stopped at a crossing just south of the hotel, 
which gave the place its name. People who came to the 
hotel had saddle horses to ride, and indulged in var- 
ious rural activities. As many as 100 cows were milked 
here. There was also a general store. 

But the entire venture was ill-fated financially 
and discontinued about 1904 or 1905. 

Washington County does not have a bonafide ghost 
town, but this old hotel at McKinley Station is reminis- 
cent of a failure in a previous generation. 

Today, all that remains of the venture is the old 
hotel, a lone sentinel on the prairie, alongside the 
M.-I. tracks, southwest of Oakdale. 

Negro Slave Burials in Washington County 


David Watts of the Washington County Histor- 
ical Society, at a Negro grave, east of DuBois. 

Today, there are still two spots within Washing- 
ton County borders, attesting to a long-past Negro 
population. On a county road about four and one-half 
miles East of DuBois. a single gravestone reposes on 
a knoll, shaded by two large trees, a mute reminder 
that once this was a cemetery. The dimly-etched name 
on the stone is that of Henry Lewis. Lewis was a 
Negro, a freed slave, one of several farm families who 
settled in this part of Washington County about the 
time of the Civil War's windup. or perhaps even a few 
years later. Once this hilltop cemetery contained about 
twenty marked graves, all Negro, but time has almost 
leveled the scene to the original terrain. 

About a mile Northwest of DuBois, alongside 
highway 51. there is a second Negro burial, a man 
named Isaac Umphries, at Chapel Hill cemetery there. 

Mr. Adam Kerry, 80 -year -old resident of the 
Kerry School community, East of DuBois, distinctly 
remembers the time when as a boy he played with 
other Negro children who lived nearby. 

"Most of these Negroes were slaves, recently 


Freed," he said. "The) purchased wooded farm land 
here because land was verj cheap, each family acquir- 
ing a forty-acre tract. I he) were good people, elated 
by their new Freedom. They worked hard to make a 
living, cleared the land, helped their white neighbors 
H ith their crops." 

Mr. Kerry remembers several occasions when he 
drove a spring-wagon pulled by a team of mules which 
served as a hearse, at these Negro funerals. The last 
Negro burial in the old cemetery, Mr. kern believes, 
was that of Henry Lewis, possibly in the year I'M 1. 

Most of these Negroes, he remembers, died of 
tuberculosis or dropsy. Some of the family names 
were: White. Thomas. C.recn. I>a\i-. Merriwether. I'm- 
phries and Lewis. Lewis buried five of his children in 

the old cemetery before hi- own death and burial there. 

Mr. Kerry was quite certain, too. that at one time 

there were eight Negroes working in the DuBois coal 

mine, rated "oldest in Illinois." One b) one the fam- 
ilies died out. or moved to other communities. Today, 
all that remains of these former Maw-, are the old 

cemetery markers. 

Mr. Joseph I. Wagner, who operate- Traveler's 
Inn on highwa) 51 near DuBois, also remembers these 
Negro families. "The) were good people," In- -aid. re- 
miniscing. "We lived together without an) trouble 
w hatsoever. 

I Lit Washington Count) played even a -mall 
part in the emancipation of the Negro is of historic 

Famous Bridge on a Once-Famous Road 

If you were born prior to W orld W BJ I. and lived 
in Washington County, you remember the Cox Ferry 
Bridge that spanned the Kaskaskia River. At one time 
it was an important link between \\ ashington and Clin- 
ton Counties, and a gateway to St. Louis. 

This famous bridge, located on the Mud Lake-St. 
Louis Road, was at one time the only bridge spanning 
the Kaska-kia between Carlyle and New Athens. It 
bore the brunt of traffic enroute from southern Illinois 
to St. Louis. 

\ow the bridge is gone, and so is the old road. 

When the concrete was poured for Illinois Slate 
15. and a new bridge built across the river, north of 
the Cox Ferry site, the old one soon fell into disuse. 
Even the roail was soon forgotten. 

In 1030 a joint effort wa- made by Washington 
and Clinton County historians to save the old span, but 
to no avail. 

Before this bridge wa- erected, a ferry crossed the 
Ka-ka-kia here, known as Cox's Ferry. It was the only 
crossing for the pioneer with his Conestoga wagon, 
headed west, or for the early farmer whose wagon. 
loaded with grain and produce, sought the St. Louis 

The bridge was razed in L938. Today, on the 
Washington County side, nature has reclaimed the 
road. On the far side of the bridge is the tin) commun- 
ity called Wittenberg. You won't find it on an Illinois 
road map. but a cluster of house- on the river, about a 
mile southeast of New Memphis Station, give credence 

to the community. I tere a factoi \ once stood that made 

butcher blocks out of native timber. There also was a 

The old Cox Ferry Bridge, razed in 1938. 

sawmill and a small hotel called Stopovei House. W ben 

the traveler to St. I.oni- leached the CoX I eiT) 

on the Ka-ka-kia. he usually figured his journe) was 
half over. 


Washington County in Grandfather's Day 

Before the Civil War, Washington County was 
dotted with the one and two-room log cabins familiar 
to this age. The slow, yet dependable, ox team was still 
in the barn lot, as well as the wooden mold-board plow, 
the open fireplace, and the Kentucky (made in 
Pennsylvania) squirrel rifle. These conditions were 
part of life's pattern when the first settlers moved in. 
There was little change until a few years before the 
war of the states. 

The log cabin will last a long time as an image 
of pioneer America. It was picturesque to say the least. 
One end was devoted to the open hearth and fireplace; 

the chimney usually made of split sticks, mortised with 
clay, ran up on the outside. The clay was first made 
into a kind of mortar or adobe, and with this the sticks 
were freely plastered, to keep down the fire hazard as 
well as cement the chimney in place. It was referred 
to as a chink-and-daub chimney. 

Usually the fireplace was so large that backlogs 
for it had to be rolled in at the open door, too big to 
be carried. The forestick and other pieces of wood 
rested on the dog-irons, so as to be above the hearth 
level. At the sides of the hearth, on pegs driven in the 


A pioneer cabin prior to the 1850's. Once Washington 
County was clotted with one-room homes such as this. 

logs, hung the various blackened put-, kettles, skillets. 
There also stood the cupboard, usually made of 
smoothlv dressed walnut. The prized blue-edged dishes 
and pewter were kept there. In one corner usually was 
i rude shelf resting on <>ak pegs, upon which was a 
wooden bucket filled with water for drinking and cook- 
ing purposes. A liottle gourd, the pioneer's drinking 
vessel, hung on a nearby peg. The dining table was 
usually, a dextrousl) made affair with leaves that fold- 
ed so it could be pushed against the wall to save space. 

On the other side of the fireplace, generally about 

si\ feel off the floor, rested the long-barreled flintlock 
squirrel rifle, wooden pegs in the wall driven for that 
purpose. The stock ran the entire length of the long 
barrel, was made of white walnut. Incessant use, added 
to the original polishing of the gunsmith, made it 
smooth as ivory. The mounting always was of well 
finished brass. Near the butt of the stock was a cavity 
about an inch long, covered with a brass lid, held down 
by a spring. This was used to carry tallow with which 
to lubricate the "patchen" used in loading the gun. 

Also hanging on one of the hooks on which the 
heavy rifle rested was a bullet pouch and a powder 
horn. The pouch was made of leather, usually buck- 
skin, had two or three pockets to hold bullets and 
patchen cloth. The powder horn originally adorned the 
head of a cow. The larger end was closed and into the 
smaller end was fitted a stopper, easily removed. Pouch 
and horn were provided with leather straps, to be car- 
ried over the shoulder. A horn to call the dogs usually 
rested or was hung from another peg on the wall. If 
the family was prosperous, there was often a percus- 
sion type shotgun in a corner, to be used by the hoys 
who were not as accurate in their shooting as father. 

Another article of furniture in the cabin was the 
candlestand, upon which usually reposed a worn copy 
of the Bible and a dog-eared almanac. The small win- 
dows in the cabin usually contained -i\ (>\(t -inch panes 
of glass. 

The door of the cabin swung on wooden hinges, 
the only kind known, was fastened with a wooden latch. 
The latch was raised or lowered by a leather thong 
which passed through a hole and left the free end 
hanging outside. At nights, when the pioneer wished to 
lock his cabin, he merely pulled in the latchstring. 

The bed usuall) was softened by a feather tick. \ 

trundel heel rolled under the big bed in the daytime, 
was pulled OUt for the children at night. The flooi of 
the better cabins was made of unhewn oak. a great 
improvement over the puncheon floor- of an earlier 

period. The loft usually was reached bj a ladder, where 
the rafter- would be festooned with dried apples hung 
on strings: dried pumpkin, fruits, peppers, sage to 
season the meat: pennyroyal to "sweat" the sick ones; 
boneset to break "the ager"; strings of stuffed sau- 
sage, chunks of dried beef. 

Crowded as was this cabin, it had at times an- 
other article that took up considerable floor space, the 
loom to weave cloth. Cumbersome as it was, the house- 
wife was an artist on this pioneer contrivance, and 
from it came the jeans worn bj the men. linsey for the 
women, pretty coverlets, counterpanes and pillow cases. 
The spinning wheel was the running mate of the loom, 
and upon it the carded wool was woven into thread. 

Cooking was done almost entirely in iron pot-, a 
dextrous art for the housewife, who toiled with the 
heavy utensils, the spider, the iron tongs with which 
to pick up hot embers, the big shovel to manipulate 
the wood fire. Always in the cabin was the pleasant 
odor of burning wood. Old-timers insisted that no meal 
could ever approach the delicacy of one cooked at an 
open hearth. 

With the advenl of the fifties, matches started to 
come into more general use. But before this time, the 
fire on the hearth never went out unless by accident. 
If it did, someone went to a neighbor's "to borrow live 
coals." or if there was DO neighbor, or the weather 
was inclement, a bit of gun powder would be put into 
the pan of the flintlock rifle, a piece of cotton held 
beside it. then when the trigger was pulled, a spark 
from the flint would ignite the powder. It in turn would 
set Fire to the cotton, and while this was blazing, it 
would be hurriedly transferred to "shavings" or other 
easih inflammable material under the laid kindling 
in the fireplace. 

Food in pioneei days was relatively simple: corn- 
bread and salt pork were the staples. Wheat bread was 
practically unknown before the fifties. The children 
ate corn mush and drank their milk warm from the 
cow. unpasteurized. In winter, kernels of com were 
treated with lye. which removed the hull, after which 
the grains were boiled or fried. 'I hi- wa- a whole-ome 

food that was called "big hominy." With the coming 
of the fir-t frost, one neighbor would kill a hog. divide 
it with his friend-. Week- later another would kill a 

beef, divide it likewise. No one had a cellar in those 
daj s. 

The present method id preserving and canning 
fruit and vegetables did not come into vogue until 



The fence was called a stake-and-rider rail enclosure. Notice the chink-and-daub 
chimney, the prairie schooner (Conestoga type) wagon, the shake roof on the cabin. 

about the middle of the fifties. The woods and prairies 
were full of blackberries, wild plums, crab apples, wild 
grapes and persimmons. Pawpaws were the bananas of 
the pioneer. 

Soap was made with lye and fat, a custom that 
still prevails today in a few scattered rural areas. The 
lye was made by leaching wood ashes, and the fat came 
from saving all sorts of meat scraps. 

Many an early Washington County settler had to 
depend upon a nearby spring or the '"crick" for their 
drinking water. The only rain water collected was that 
in a barrel, set under the eaves, and generally full of 
■'wifrarle tails" as soon as the weather got warm. 

The manner of dress was simple. For everyday 
wear, men had shirts of jeans, cut loosely; trousers 
were called breeches, and vests were universally known 
as "roundabouts." An outer garment called a "warn- 
mus" was also popular with men. Boots came into 
fashion in the early fifties; working men wore heavy 
shoes referred to as brogans. Clocks and watches were 
rare, only professional people and ne'er-do-wells car- 
ried a timepiece. The pioneer told his time "by sun." 

This was that era of formative years in our nation 
before the days of hypertension and psychiatry. Look- 
ing at the period nostalgically, it might be called "the 
good old days." But that, too, is a matter of opinion. 


Sod and Soybeans 

Why did the first settlers of Washington County 
choose their homes along tin- timber edge rather than 
on the more fertile open prairie? There were at least 
three reasons. The late Charles Baldwin, an able coun- 
ty historian in his day. explained it this way: 

"First, the) were closer to fuel, water and build- 
ing material. Secondly, there was less danger from 
prairie fires, sometime- started by accident, by light- 
ning, and often l>> Indians for the purpose of burning 
them out. Thirdly . the plows of that day were not built 
strong enough to busl the tough Illinois prairie sod. 
The first plows brought in by the settlers had wooden 
mold-hoards faced with a few iron strips. They were 
man-killers, if nothing else. 

"'Time itself finally eliminated the first two rea- 
sons. Then a highly successful sod plow was invented 
by the first blacksmith of Nashville, a mechanical gen- 
ius named J. I.. Runk. who for some reason has gotten 
mighty little space in the history books. 

"Once he bad his plow perfected. Hunk joined up 
in a manufacturing project with a group of Sparta, III- 
inois men under the name of the Sparta Plow Com- 
panv. and thej put over the plow in a big way. The 
important feature of this plow was a long, sloping 
blade set vertically on the land side of the plow-shear, 
which ripped through roots and soil, taking the place 
of the rolling coulter that came later. The sharper 
this blade was kept the better it cut. A big, cumber- 
some tool, it was, and a man-killer too. but it turned 
the sod. 

"After this plow came into use. the prairies set- 
tled up rapidly. The B. & 0. Railroad coming into Illi- 
nois saw the influx of New Yorkers, many coming to 
the Hoyleton prairie, where the plow was first put to 
work. That is. all but one of them put it to work — a 
man named Marx. Marx' experience with this sod- 
busting plow is so unique it deserves a few paragraphs 
in this book. 

"He was a young bachelor from upstate New 
i ork, knew nothing of farm work. He came to the 
country with Mr. and Mr-. Ward Vtherton, a young 
couple also from \ru York State. The two men pur- 
chased adjoining eighties about a mile and a half west 
of Grand Point creek, near the present [rvington- 
lloyleton road. They were to alternate, using the plow. 

'" Vtherton's turn came first. Then the next day it 
was Marx 1 time. He fought the plow all day, with his 
Sunday shoes on. That night he slept, or tried to, on 
bis experience. Next morning he told Vtherton his 

land and interest in the equipment were for sale, 

'I don't mind the work." he explained, 'nor the 
two-inch roots that fly back and crack my shin-. I 
suppose I could get used to the snakes, and the field 
mice running up my pants' legs. But I've got a new 
corn on every toe, and both heels are blistered. Be- 
sides. I've ruined my shoes, so I'm quitting! 1 

"Atherton bought him out. Marx' mind still must 
have been on his feet and those ruined shoes, for he 
went into the shoe business in Chicago. Some years 

This composite photo is illustrative of Washington 
County's number one farm crop — soybeans! 

later he sent for Atherton'- oldest son, Frank, and 
between them they built the Marx Shoe Company into 
one of the largest firms in Illinois. 

"Looking at the rippling green of today's fields of 
soybeans in Washington County, the weedless black 
loam that was once prairie sod, the highly fertilized 
land, one seldom remembers that once this was virgin 

soil, with the brome-edge hip-high, and the "turf" 
SO lough that the fir-t plow- couldn't pierce it." 


Washington County's Social and Economic Characteristics 

Washington County was formed in 1817, includ- 
ing within its first boundaries the present County of 
Clinton. Ten years later that area was detached and 
made a separate county. Named for George Washing- 
ton, the county contains 565 square miles, or a land 
area of 362,000 acres, more than 85 per cent of which 
is farmland. 

The Covington area is the oldest in the county, 
the first county seat being located here; first court here 
dates back to March 9, 1818. The county seat was 
moved to Nashville in 1831 because a more centrally 
located site was needed. 

On June 25, 1831, the county commissioners con- 
tracted for the building of a courthouse, a frame struc- 
ture which was used until 1840, at which time a new 
building was built on the public square at Nashville 
for the sum of $4,385. The present two story brick 
structure was erected in 1884 at a cost of $24,999. 
With remodeling and some expansion, the building is 
still in use. 

Nashville, largest town in the county, was laid out 
on June 8, 1830. Records show that the proprietors, 
Robert Middleton and G. Brown, deeded a stipulated 
number of lots to the commissioners, Carter and 
Whittenberg, who were Tennesseeans, and reverenced 
everything relative to that state. By permission of the 
proprietors, they christened the town New Nashville. 
But the prefix was soon dropped. 

Sixteen townships comprise the county. Total 
population, last census, is 13,569. Six main highways 
crisscross the county: U. S. 460, and State routes 15, 
51, 127, 153 and 177. Its railroads are the Illinois 
Central, the Louisville and Nashville and the Missouri 

Farming: A total of 328,566 acres of the county 
is farmed, with soybeans the top crop, ranking six- 
teenth in the state, with an annual income of $4 mil- 
lion. More than IVi million bushels of wheat are raised 
yearly. Annual income from corn totals above $1 mil- 
lion. Dairying nets $2 million, and livestock income 
reaches the $5 million figure. The county also ranks 

second in the state's yield of strawberries, has more 
than 30 growers. 

Industries: Two major industries not related to 
agriculture provide employment. Largest is Hoben 
Candy Corporation at Ashley, with a yearly output of 
more than seven million candy bars. Seven warehouses 
are maintained in cities scattered from the East to the 
West coast, with exports going to Newfoundland, Can- 
ada, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, 
the Virgin Islands and Okinawa. 

The National Mine Service Company, located at 
Nashville, is the other large county industry. It manu- 
factures underground mining equipment, with a wide 

Among other industries furnishing employment 
in the county are the Nashville Milk Co., the Lorenz 
Bottling Co., the Venedy Coal Co., the county oil 
fields, and the quarries at Covington, DuBois, Bolo, 
Beaucoup and Nashville. 

Health and Welfare: The Nashville Memorial Hos- 
pital, made possible by a bequest in the will of the late 
Frederick W. Reuter, a Nashville resident; plus the 
two nursing homes now operating in the county, 
Washington Springs Nursing Home at Okawville and 
Friendship Manor, Inc. at Nashville, are important ad- 
juncts to the well-being of the people, and also supply 
jobs for various types of personnel. 

The Washington County Tuberculosis Association 
has a well-balanced control program, has done a com- 
mendable job in making available free tests and chest 
X-rays for early diagnosis as well as in providing sana- 
torium care for those requiring treatment. The county 
is fortunate in its number of resident physicians. 

Churches and Educational Facilities: There are 
41 Protestant and 6 Catholic churches in the county. 
Fourteen school districts serve the area, a reduction 
from 88 in 1940. All schools have either a lunch or 
milk program or both. All have bus transportation. 

Three public libraries, one at Nashville, Ashley 
and Richview; and three weekly newspapers, the Nash- 

Con tinned 


Washington County Lake is the county's largest recreational facility. 

ville News, the Okawville Times and the Ashley News 
serve the county. 

Wei/are: The Illinois State Employment Service, 
through its Mt. Vernon office, provides service in 
Washington County each Monday, with headquarters 
in the courthouse. Itinerant service from the Federal 
Social Security Administration for retirees under the 
Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance, provision 
of the Federal Social Security Act, is maintained the 
first and third Wednesday of each month. 

The Illinois Veteran's Commission also serves the 
county each Monday, as does driver license inspectors 
on Monday and Tuesday of each week. 

The American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and 
American Cancer Society provide some types of ser- 
vices, but all on a limited basis. \ arious other civic 
organizations and community groups do a notable 
work in their respective communities. 

Recreational Facilities: \ total of 1600 acres has 
been purchased by the State Department of Conserva- 
tion for recreational facilities. Fishing, boating, camp- 
ing and picnic areas are available. This is known as 
the W ashington County Lake and covers 365 acres of 
pool area. 

The Nashville Memorial Park District has a large 
picnic area, swimming pool, tennis court and a well 
lighted ball park. 

The fine shaded Community Park in Okawville is 
maintained by the Community Club and is a picnic 
area only. 

Rural youth in particular participate in the var- 
ious III clubs active in the county. Approximately 
310 county women participate in the Home Bureau 
I nil activities. 

\\ .i-hington County is a GOOD place in which 
to Live! 


-. < - 

The late Fred S. Russell, Okawville Teacher, digging out an old boat from the 
mud of the Kaskaskia, later identified as an old French bateau. 

French Coined Word "Okaw" 

To the Washington County resident, and the form- 
er resident, everything is interesting that pertains to 
his or her childhood stomping ground. As a native, or 
a former native, we have every reason to look with 
justifiable pride on our State, and on Washington 
County in particular. We have many ''firsts.*' 

Geographically, our pride has recently been up- 
dated in reference to the Kaskaskia River. It is being 
straightened, controlled, fenced off by a tremendous 
withholding dam, creating Carlyle Reservoir. For 55 
miles, the crooked Kaskaskia is getting its face lifted. 
The river we've known for over a century for its big 
catfish is now feeling the inroads of industrialization. 
Soon it will be navigable from its mouth to Fayette- 
ville. As a borderline stream of Washington County, its 
historic past has never been fully researched. 

The stream itself rises in Champaign County, near 
Urbana. In its erratic course, it flows through twelve 
counties: Champaign, Douglas, Coles. Moultrie. Shel- 
by, Fayette, Bond, Clinton, Washington. St. Clair, 
Monroe and Randolph. The tendency of its course is 
to the Southwest, until it empties into the Mississippi 
a few miles from Chester. Its entire length is, roughly, 
100 miles. In 1837, a small steamboat ascended as far 


as Carlyle. Within a few years, coal barges will use 
it as an egress to the Mississippi. 

Above us. at Carlyle, the state's largest man-made 
lake is now filling, spreading over 26.000 acres. Below 
us, at Baldwin, the Illinois Power Company is current- 
ly building a $200 million power plant. 

In its meandering, the Kaskaskia flows past a 
number of sizeable communities. Urbana, Tuscola, 
Sullivan, Shelbyville, Vandalia, Carlyle and Chester. 
The two first capitals of our state. Kaskaskia and Van- 
dalia, reposed on its banks. In its course it is crossed 
by a dozen or more railroads, is spanned by both a 
covered and a swinging bridge. 

Geographically, the river is the Kaskaskia. But 
it has been called the Okaw by Washington Countians 
for long, long years. Near the hamlet of Roots, down- 
stream, there are two bridges spanning it within sight 
of each other. The highway bridge calls it the Kas- 
kaskia and the railroad bridge labels it the Okaw. 

This appellation was derived in somewhat a pe- 
culiar manner. In the early days when Illinois was part 
of the Indiana Territory, representatives were chosen 
to attend the Territorial Legislature at Vincennes. The 
inhabited portion of Illinois at that time was mainly 


composed of the early-day French villages. Ancient 
Kaskaskia, now toppled into the river, was one of 
these places. 

A trail led through the state to the territorial capi- 
tal, known as the Yincennes Trace. Legislators and 
travellers rode along this famous trace on horseback, 
the only means of travel in those days except afoot. 

The customary salutation and response along ilii- 
route among the French finally gave rise to a new 
word. Okaw. Kaskaskia or Cascasquia was al>l>rc\ iated 
into ('as (Kah). This was not only true in everyday 
parlance but many of the old records are dated at 
"Cas." Hence, when the French travellers along the 
\ incennes Trace would meet, and inquire about their 
destination, those going to the old French village 
would reply that they were enroute to "au Cas" — to 
Kaskaskia: '*au" being pronounced as "o" and mean- 
ing "to," while "Cas." being pronounced '"kah" was 
the abbreviation of Cascasquia. 

The response to "au Cas." or "0 Kah" was taken 
up by the English speaking travellers, and being some- 

what broadened by the linguistic change of different 
tongues, finally became the word. Okaw. which has 
clung to the river for well over a century. 

That the early French used the Kaskaskia as a 
means of travel was very definitely proven at Okaw- 
ville. back in the days when the late Fred S. Russell 
was connected with the Agricultural department of the 
Okawville High School. Russell, an avid historian, 
solely by chance unearthed an old boat in a sandbar 
of the Kaskaskia north of Okawville one day. The 
more he dug, the more he realized that it was an old 
bateau, a type of earl) cargo boat used by the French. 
No doubt it had been imbedded in the mud of the 
riverbank for long, long years. A freak of the stream 
unearthed pari of the boat, and Kussell finally salvaged 
it in it- entirety to further prove his claim. The wood 
of the boat, its pegged construction, and general design 
all authenticated his theory that the craft one day had 
been manned by some early French voyageur using the 
river as a highway. A photo of Mr. Russell, digging 
out the historical artifact, is published herewith. 

Liquor and Beer Vaults 

That grandfather had his '"spirits" in pioneer 
Washington County days is attested by several physical 
remains of deep wine cellars and other spacious sub- 
terranean vaults that kept beer at drinkable coolness, 
even on the hottest of summer days. 

The wine cellar seemed to be inevitable in a Ger- 
man community, a carryover from Old W orld customs. 
The beer gardens are gone, but evidence of some of 
the cellars remain. The photo shows a well preserved 
wine cellar still in existence in the county, near the 
home of Mr. and Mrs. Otto McClane, who reside in 
Pinch, a suburb of Okawville. Once their home was 
known as the Staude property. The wine cellar dates 
hack at least three generations. It is quite deep, and 
currently is used for vegetable storage. It> unusual 
depth guarantees cool temperature despite the season. 

Recently a similar cellar was unearthed on the 
former Julius Temme farm, two miles west of Okaw- 
ville. At least two more wine cellar location-, are known 
here. These cellars, walled and roofed with brick, were 
known for their fine arched ceilings and tight masonry. 

Mr. Otto McClane standing in the wine 
cellar now used to store vegetables. 


Hoyleton Was Settled in 1858 

Hoyleton holds a distinction peculiarly different 
to other communities of the county: two Congrega- 
tional ministers, with a colony of ten families, surveyed 
and platted the town, contributed much to its early 
growth. Rev. J. A. Bent and Rev. Ovid Miner and 
their group came from New York state. Hoyleton, until 
1860, was called Yankee Town, an appellation sugges- 
tive of the group's heritage. 

Horace Wells had the first residence, part of 
which was used as a post office. The Congregational 
Church first stood on the site of the old village ceme- 
tery in the northeast part of town. 

Through the influence of the Central Railroad, 
the Hoyleton Seminary was erected by Rev. J. A. Bent, 
Rev. Ovid Miner, and Henry Hoyle, who donated the 
bell in the seminary belfry. In fact the town was named 
after Hoyle. 

Webb and Leslie had the first general store; Dr. 
Welborn conducted a small drug store, later built a 
second store. Horace Wells served as first postmaster. 

Hoyleton's English settlers were not adapted to 
the agricultural facilities of the region, and one by one 


Beginning as an orphanage, the Hoyleton Children's Home today is a specialized care 
home for neglected and dependent children. C. H. Struckmeyer served as superintendent 
from 1939 to 1952, followed by R. W. Bickham, (1952 to 1959), Gary W Dersch from 
1959 until 1961. Rev. Kurt W. Simon started as superintendent on September 13, 1961. 

sold out to the German immigrants pushing in. who 
incidently. were very much interested in the possibili- 
ties of the rolling prairie with its deep sod. By 1S80. 
the English were gone. 

Although Hoyleton was laid out in 1858, it was 
not incorporated until 1881. The first trustees elected 
were Christ Grabenkrueger. Wm. Grote. Henry Horst, 
Sr., Christ Krueger. Fred Pries. Sr. and Diedricb Rix- 
mann. Sr. The trustees then elected Christ Krueger, 
president: Wm. Weigel. clerk: \\ m. Heidler, treasurer: 
Fred Stallmann, constable, and Carl Dickmeyer, street 
commissioner. Trustee salaries in that day were three 
dollars yearly. 

Early streets were rough, muddy and dusty in sea- 
son: cinder paths were sidewalks. A favorite Sunday 
afternoon pasttime was horse racing, not too different 
from our dragsters today. 

\^ hat is now the village park was open prairie. 
First sidewalk, made of wood, was laid in 1883. The 
same year a log jail was built on the Clarence \^ diking 
property. But the following year, because it had not 
been used, the building was sold to Gottlieb Struck- 
meyer. who later moved it to his farm. 

In 1886 the village granted right-of-way through 
town to the Centralia-Ste. Genevieve R. R. Co., and 
first trains were operated in 1892 from Sparta to 

In 1892 the officers of the Hoyleton Cemetery 
Association appeared before the board and presented 
a petition, praying that the village board take charge 
of the Hoyleton cemetery, the petition being accepted. 

The first brick sidewalk was laid in 1896 on the 
east side of Center street, from St. Louis to Maple 

In 1896. Hoyleton donated $100 to the village of 
New Minden. to help its people following the tornado 
that struck there so disastrously. 

The village granted H. \^ m. Rixmann and Hy. F. 
Rixmann the right to build the first telephone line 
within the village limits. Time: 1901. 

On Dec. 1. 1903, the village granted right-of-way 
on the center of St. Louis street, from Fast to West 
limits of village (now Illinois state route 1771. to the 
Southern Illinois Flectric Railway Company, which 
was to operate from Irvington to Belleville, and also 
was to supply the village with electricity for private 
and commercial needs. The railroad never was built. 

In 1913 the village board decided that the citizens 
needed some kind of fire protection, anil an engine 

I a hand pumper I was purchased for $150 and placed 
in the village hall. 

In I'M 1. the board passed an ordinance to post 
speed signs near the corporate limits on all roads 
leading into the village, the speed of autos and auto- 
cycles to be 6 miles per hour. A year later the limit 
was raised to 10 miles an hour. 

An ordinance was passed in 1919 ordering that 
all autos he parked at a -15-degree angle, with rear end 
to curb. "Keep to the Right" posts were placed in the 
center of the streets in 1920, to be taken down four 
years later. 

In 1925. the village purchased a $1000 Missouri- 
Illinois Railroad Bond, to help put the road back into 

The following names of "First Settlers" were 
taken from the poll books, and headstones in the old 
cemetery: Alexander. Allen. Atherton. Benham. Bent, 
Benthgsen. Blakeley. Bounce. Braman. Briggs, Butler, 
Cartson. Carter. Clay. Chubb. Davis. Depug. Draper. 
Duncan. Eastman, Fimison. Ells. Ellsworth. Evans, 
Everest. Flack. Forbes. Gaylord. Griffin. Hann. Henry. 
Higgins. Hinckley. Holbrook, Hoyle, Houston, Jen- 
nings. Johnson. Jones. Kennedy. Kirk. Leach. Leslie, 
Liseman. Marsh. Miller. Miner. Miston. McAuley. Mc- 
Cracken. Nesbit, Rockwell. Rogers. Sanderson, Scott, 
Stevens. Steward. Tabb. Tiree. Watkins. Wayman, 
Wells. Wheeler. Wightman. Wellborn. Webb. 

An election was held on March 26. 1881 to in- 
corporate Hoyleton as a village under the general in- 
corporation laws of Illinois. 37 votes being cast. 25 for 
and 12 against. First officers were President. Christ 
Krueger; Trustees, Henry Horst. Sr.. Wm. Grote. 
Christ Grabenkrueger. Diedrich Rixmann. Sr., Fred 
Pries, Sr.; Clerk Wm. Weigel, Sr.; treasurer. Wm. 

As early as 1859 a tax was levied for School Dis- 
tric 29. First school directors were A. A. Briggs. J. B. 
Butler and C. N. Rockwell. First school was built at a 
figure '"not to exceed $600." At first school terms were 
divided. A winter term began in October, ended in 
March. A summer term convened in April, ended May 
31, a procedure quite different from our present school 
system. This division of terms was continued here until 
1882. when an eight-month term was instituted. 

Hoyleton's first high school consisted of a single 
room in a two-room building that also housed the . th 
and 8th grades. In 1936 the present two-room high 
school building was constructed with the aid of a l'\\ \ 
grant, operating as a two-year high school until 1952. 



The Congregationalists who came to Hoyleton 
considered education a first virtue and in 1860, with 
the cooperation of the Central Railroad Company, built 
the Hoyleton Seminary. It was used as a public school 
building from 1884 to 1894. In that year the seminary 
became the Evangelical Orphan Home. 

The old Hoyleton Mill. In the photo are Julius 
Weigel, Louis Weigel, Ed Brink, Wm. Weigel, 
Sr., Senator Brink and James Sikorski. 

In 1903 the building was enlarged, to make room 
for the expanding orphan family. Then on June 15, 
1915, fire broke out in the attic of this large white 
frame building, and it burned to the ground. Thus dis- 
appeared the last landmark of Hoyleton's first settlers, 
the English people who laid out the village and gave 
it a name. 

The history of Hoyleton's Zion Evangelical 
Church goes back to 1861 when a group of German 
immigrants met in the home of F. E. W. Brink to or- 
ganize a church of their faith, in the community called 
North Prairie. 

In 1862 the members decided to build a church 
on a site presented to them by F. W. Krughoff. The 
church was built, with a high tower that could be seen 
at great distances. The night following the completion 
of the bell-tower, a destructive storm leveled the build- 
ing, leaving nothing but a pile of twisted timbers. Un- 
daunted, the demolished building was rebuilt, and de- 
dicated in April of 1863. 

Immigrants from Germany kept settling in Hoyle- 
ton, and by 1866 preaching services begun there, in 
the building vacated by the Congregationalists. It was 
decided to establish a new Evangelical congregation at 
Hoyleton. In the summer of 1867 lumber for the build- 
ing was hauled to the site and foundations laid. Then 
a succession of crop failures halted the work for four 
years. Finally, in 1870 enough funds were raised to 
build a schoolhouse which also served as a church. In 
1879 the new church in Hoyleton was completed, a 
stately, beautiful structure. The church at North 
Prairie was torn down, its members coming into the 
Hoyleton congregation. The benches of the old church 
were brought here, and its bell presented to a congre- 
gation in Lawrence County, Missouri. 

The new church was dedicated in 1880. Rev. 
Frederick Pfeiffer came in the fall of that year. He is 
given credit for conceiving the idea of starting an 
Orphanage in 1894 in the old Seminary building. 

A church which at one time served the religious 
needs of a number of Hoyleton's early citizens was the 
English Methodist Church, which closed its doors about 
1890. The names of some of the early families adher- 
ing to this church are: Atherton, Clay, Edmiston, 
Hinckley, Sanderson, DePuy, Duncan and Wellborn. 

The Maple Grove Church was built in 1891. First 
trustees were Aug. H. Schnake, W. J. Livesay, J. W. 
Gillian, P. F. Farmer and W. H. Randell. This church 
served the community over 65 years, when on Sunday, 
March 11. 1956 its 38 members joined the Methodist 
Church in Hoyleton. 

The history of Trinity Lutheran Church is found 
elsewhere in this volume under an article giving an 
itemization of the Lutheran movement in the county. 

The Hoyleton Methodist Church was organized in 
1876. Since Nashville was building a new Methodist 
church at that time, the Hoyleton congregation pur- 
chased their building and moved it to Hoyleton. 

In 1902 a new church building was built here, 
and August Schmale bought the old building and 
moved it to his farm as a granary. 

The Hoyleton church separated from the Nash- 
ville church in 1878 and secured its own minister. Rev. 
Charles Rodenberg. 



W hen the St. Louis German conference was form- 
ed the next year, the Hoyleton church became affili- 
ated with that body. In 1925 it became a part of the 
Southern Illinois Conference, when the merger trans- 
ferred all German Churches of the area to this English 
group. In 1930 the church buliding was remodeled, a 
hasement and furnace added. 

Hoyleton 's present Evangelical Orphan Home was 
established in the old seminary building, being dedi- 
cated on June 3, 1895. Mr. and Mrs. Louis Beckmeyer 
were the first orphan parents. The Indiana District 
joined the Orphans' Home District in 1903. making 
necessary the addition of two wings across the end of 
the building. The renovated and redecorated home was 
rededicated on Sept. 27. 1903. The Evangelical Or- 
phans Association was organized to take care I legally | 
of the many children seeking admittance to the insti- 
tution. The Iowa District joined in 1911. 

On June 15. 1915 the home was totally destroyed 
by fire, and the children were cared fur bj various 
townspeople until the present structure was built. The 

name later was changed to Child Welfare Association. 

The first bank at Hoyleton was private!) owned, 
called, simply, the Hovleton Bank. On Nov. 3. 1906. 
the Hoyleton German Bank was organized, purchasing 
the private institution. Today it is known as Hoyleton 
State and Saving Bank. 

The American Legion Post at Hoyleton was or- 
ganized on Jan. 22. 1921. under the name of Claude 
Earl Post. No. 711. Department of Illinois. It was 
named in honor of Claude Karl, the first to die while in 
the service of his country in World War I. Die Post 
was discontinued in 1930. then reorganized on Jan. 5, 
l'l.-) as Claude Earl Post, No. 887. 

Hoyleton was the birthplace of the Washington 
County Farm Bureau, mainly through the efforts of 
the late Martin Schaeffer. After untold effort, the 
County Farm Bureau held its first annual meeting at 
Nashville, Vug. 3. 1926. The fir-t board of directors 

was composed of Gorge J. Hake. John Oroennert, 
H. D. Hake. J. R. Hood. L. F. Ochs, Bert Pitchford, 
Vmos 1 yons, D. \\ . Dawkins, Paul Beckmeyer. Edgar 
McLaughlin. E. \\ . Lammers, F. .1. Schleifer. The of- 
ficers of this board were President. J. R. Hood: vice 
president Ceo. J. Hake: secretary. 1). W. Dawkins. 
Offices were established in the Nashville courthouse. 

Hoyleton has an acthe \merican Legion Auxil- 
iary, a unit of the Home Bureau, a 1-H Club. Lions 
Club. Ground Observer Corps and once a Boy Seoul 

Hoyleton has the distinction of having a game 
that is purely local. It was invented by Prof. Peter 
Fasbender, years ago. still is played by many here. It 
is called Napoleon, and i- played with dominoes. 

Hoyleton had a brickyard, established in 1870. 
Back in 1912 it had a bakery. From 1925 to P>27 it 
had a community newspaper, the Hoyleton Hustler, 
published by Edwin Muenter. 

Grand Point Creek, east of Hoyleton. was once 
the site of a large Indian village. It was a very old 
village and i- said to have been abandoned at the time 
Gen. George Rogers Clark passed this way in 1779. 

Becords of the Post Office Department show that 
postal service was established at Hoyleton. Dec. 17, 
1857. The following postmasters served: Joe. A. Bent. 
1857: Wm. E. Webb. 1858; Horace Wells. 1859; 
Delos Steward. 1863; Horace W. Wells. 1867; Enoch 
E. Wellborn. 1JS77: Christian L. krueger, 1885: Jacob 
Keller. 1889; Louis Krueger, 1893; \.dolphus Grote, 
1897; Jacob Keller, 1901; Arthur C. Beckmeyer. 1915; 
Lawrence F. Hake. 1922: Gustav C. Michael. 1930; 
Paul II. Sachtlebcn. 1931. present incumbent. 

In 1902. two rural routes were established, car- 
riers being Theo. Schierbecker. John Seyler. Louis 
Racherbaumer, Arthur Rixmann, Harlan Gerstkemper 
and Paul Lockwood. Frank Stahmer, Wm. Breuer and 
Paul Maschhoff bad temporary appointments. 



The Great Shake, which rocked this area of 
southern Illinois like a bowl of jello, began on the 
night of December 16, 1811. It was the worst earth- 
quake ever to strike the Midwest. Had it occurred 
today, the loss of life might have been chalked up in 
hundreds of thousands, with property damage astro- 
nomically high. 

The only reason very little has been written, in 
relation to Washington County. Illinois, is explainable. 
The only pioneers here at the time were two hardy 
groups, the families of David Lively and John Hug- 
gins. If these families left any written words of their 
experiences near what is now Covington during the 
ominous winter of the quake, it was presumably lost, 
for the Indian massacre that wiped out these pioneers 
was complete and terrifying. 

But even today. 156 years after the quake, there 
are evidences of its fury still recognizable within the 
county. There are "'flats" and "sinkholes" that were 
caused by it. Some geologists even believe it changed 
the contour of streams, the Kaskaskia River and some 
of the larger creeks. 

This is borne out by air photos of Washington 
County terrain, taken at high altitude, that show the 
present stream beds, and old watercourses, where the 
streams cut new channels. Flood could have done 
this, of course. But there also is the possibility that 
this early earthquake was the cause. 

Remember that it fashioned Reelfoot Lake in 
Tennessee, dropping a large area of the terrain from 
six to twenty feet, into which water poured to form 
this gigantic inland reservoir. Even today, local fish- 
ermen who travel here annually for week-ends, will 
tell you of the many cypress stumps protruding from 
the lake, attesting it was once a cypress forest that 
sank in its entirety. 

This same earthquake, the epicenter of which 
was in the area of New Madrid, Missouri, cracked 
walls and chimed clocks as far distant as the Vir- 
ginias. It reversed the current of the Mississippi 
River for hours, formed new islands and sandbars. 
It sank other islands and even part of the town of 
New Madrid. 

The frontiersmen at that time were well acquaint- 
ed with the danger of losing their scalp to the Indians. 
But facing the "Great Shake" was facing the unknown. 

A great proportion of these early settlers had so 
little education that they could not even sign their 
names. Many were superstitious as well. In this era 

of the American frontier, religion portrayed the wrath 
of God as very real and very near. 

So it was that terror was almost universal when 
the scattered pioneers were routed out of bed at two 
o'clock in the morning of December 16, 1811. With- 
out warning the sleepers were awakened by cracking 
and groaning noises, the fall of stones from the chink- 
and-daub chimneys, the roll and pitch of the earth 
under their feet. The odor of sulphurous gases filled 
the air. 

The settlers rushed out into the night, and the 
ground weaved beneath their feet. Cracks opened up, 
widened into yawning chasms. Many dropped to their 
knees in prayer, thinking the end of the earth had 

Indeed, that night, and for many nights in the 
future (there were 172 separate earthquakes, all told) 
many were firmly convinced that God was visiting 
His wrath on them for their misdeeds. There had 
never been anything like the New Madrid Earthquake. 
Even after the passage of months, some of the settlers 
still didn't realize what had actually happened. 

Had that winter of earthquakes happened today, 
the loss in life and property damage would have been 
little short of amazing. Witnesses described waves in 
the ground like those of the sea. Whole forests tum- 
bled into the rivers. Landslides tore great hills and 
ridges apart. Banks of streams caved in: islands dis- 
appeared and new ones were formed. Cattle and horses 
fell into the great fissures opened in the earth. The 
air reeked of strange fumes. An unnatural darkness 
came over the land in the daytime. 

At New Madrid, Missouri, first center of the 
shock, most of the pioneer town was turned into rub- 
ble. After the first quake, only two families remained. 
The shocks continued, in an ever widening area. Ge- 
ologists who have since studied the evidence believe 
the epicenter moved from the original point of dis- 
turbance to a spot about twenty miles from the junc- 
ture of the Wabash and Ohio rivers, at the eastern 
perimeter. Most of southern Illinois felt the shocks, 
which includes Washington County, but at the time 
much of the area covered by the quake was virgin 
wilderness and empty prairie. 

There were no seismologists or geologists in the 
area at that time to make recordings of the quakes. 
But well educated men like Timothy Flint, John James 
Audubon, the naturalist, and Daniel Drake kept care- 




This aerial photo of the Kaskaskia River, in Washington County shows 
some of the original stream and the present channel. Many geologists 
think the 1811 earthquake was a factor in this shifting stream bed. 

ful records of the disturbances. Sir Charles I.yell. the 
great British geologist, came to the area in 1815 to 
study the many visible evidences of the quake, the 
fissures, the "sunken lands." and the "new channels" 
cut by various streams. 

The "Great Shake" of 1811 is all but forgotten. 
Since then, there have beer only minor earthquakes 
fell in llii- area of the Midwest. Hut geologists point 
to the fact that this i~ "earthquake country." So it is 
natural to ask a question: will it happen again? 


History of the Precincts of Washington County 

The first settlements in the county were made in 
what is now Covington township, 1810-11. It was here 
that the Lively family was massacred. Win. H. Bradsby 
in 1818 settled at the crossing of the old Kaskaskia 
and Peoria trail, where he cleared a small farm. When 
Washington county was organized, the county seat was 
located on this farm. In 1819 he was appointed circuit 
clerk by Gov. John Reynolds. For many years he held 

The first permanent settler in Plum Hill was Wm. 
Wheeles, who came in 1814 and settled on the Vin- 
cennes and Kaskaskia trace. He was followed by James 
Sawyer in 1819. In 1827 Thomas Atchison came, and 
John Weaver a year later. Hawkins Ragland came in 
1827. The first school house, of hewn logs with punch- 
eon floor, was built on the hill. It was not replaced 
with a frame building until 1852. Isaac Hale was the 

An old photo of the courthouse at Nashville, before the steel fence was removed. 

the office of circuit and county clerk, probate judge, 
county surveyor and postmaster. He died in Nashville 
in 1839. 

Hartshorn White settled at Covington about 1819. 
Jesse Moore came to the same area in about 1820. The 
first German settler in that part of the county was 
F. W. Hoffman, 1840. He was followed in 1841 by 
Frederick Prasuhn and F. Fllerbusch. 

first physician. Chills and fever were the prevailing 
diseases, and quinine, calomel and jalap were the 
standard remedies used by the knights of the pillbox. 

Pilot Knob's settlement goes back to 1818, when 
John Rainey was the first settler there. In the same 
year James Gordon settled there as well. The first 
schoolhouse was built in 1834, a traditional log build- 



ing. The first school teacher was Horatio Burns, a 
grandfather of the former Squire John Burns of Nash- 
ville. The first physician to administer antidotes for 
snake bites, chills and fever, was Joseph Brashin. 

Henry T. Easl was the first settler in Lively Grove, 
a native of Tennessee, who settled there in 1828. The 
following year came Jesse Lively, Wm. McBride and 
Absolom Tidwell. Samuel Gibson settled here in 1831. 
He was followed by Robert Stewart. John Wiley, James 
Gillespie and Archie Coulter in 1!!32. The first school, 
a primitive log building, was taught bj Daniel Morton. 
The first marriage occurred in L834, that of John 
Dickey and Jane Gibson. 

Death came quickly on the prairie and in the 
woodsland. \sa C. Fletcher, 29, a chain carrier for 
government surveyors, was bitten by a rattlesnake, and 
died a few hours later. He was interred on the spot, a 
hill south of the present bridge across Mud Creek. 

Prior to 1837. the following families were living 
at Venedy: Joseph Kinyon Sr.. who had two sons also 
living in this precinct. Daniel and Joseph Jr.. and the 
Richard Walton family. Anions: the early settlers there 
were families by the name of Jones. William, Wilson, 
Brown and Dr. E. Hale. 

As early as 1831. F. Nobles and a man named 
Mayberry made settlements in the southeast part of 
Hoyleton precinct. John Harr. Sr. settled in the north- 
east part in 1840. The first schools were taught in pri- 
vate homes. Edward Russel being the first teacher. In 

1858, J. A. Bent and Ovid Miner, congregational min- 
isters, established a colony near the center of the pre- 
cinct. New Englanders, they laid out the village of 
Hoyleton the same year, built the first church there in 

1859. Through the influence of the Central Bailroad 
Company, the Hoyleton seminary was built. 

The first settlers of the town were Easterners and 
it was called "Yankeetown." In 1866. C. Krueger and 
Wm. Grote purchased a lot and erected a store. That 
same year. German settlers began coming in. and by 
1870, most of the original English settlers had sold out 
to the incoming Germans. 

The first settlers of Irvington precinct were a Mr. 
Scott and family who came in 1827. The following 
year came Richard and \bnrr Joliff. John Lock came 
in 1829, and John Faulkner. Daniel Waller, John Wil- 
liam--. Thomas V Nichols and Wm. Crabtree the bil- 
lowing year. M. G. Faulkner came in 1831, and J. 
Williams in 1832. Mosl of these people were from 
Kentucky. Tennessee and Indiana, and were hardy, 
honest and industrious. The fir — t school was built in 
184 1 : first teacher was W m. I eeper. Prior to that time 
classes were held in any cabin that was vacant. Illinois 

Agriculture College was incorporated -it Irvington in 
1861. By act of legislature in 1867 the charter was so 
amended as to authorize the board of trustees t<i intro- 
duce the teaching of any and all branches of science 
usually taught in higher educational institution- of tin- 
country, and to confer degrees. This institution was 
discontinued and the propert) was later occupied by 
the rludelson Orphan Home. 

The Woodromes were the first settler- df Vshley 
precinct, coming in L825. W illiam and Burton Nichols. 
tun < Georgians, came the following autumn. Soon after- 
ward followed Elijah Smith. Thomas Howell and the 
widow McMillan. The first school taught in the pre- 
cinct was in a log building, in 1829, the teacher being 
Jan is Jackson. 

James Severs is regarded a- the first settler of 
Richview precinct, locating at Greene Point in 1828. 
Samuel White and M. Castelberry settled at Grand 
Point in ]!!:>'>. Other early settlers with their families 
were William Nichols. \sa Foster. F. Smith. Samuel 
White, Joseph Barber. John Tate. Josiah Thompson. 
Thomas Livesay. Wm. B. Livesay, Wm. II. White. 
Smith M< Williams. James (lore. Matthew and IT. G. 
Whittenberg. All the above came prior to 1840, most 
of them from Tennessee. 

Washington Seminary was projected in 1<°>56. 
later acquired by R. G. Williams for $1500. The at- 
tendance was large, but after graded schools were es. 
tablished, the enrollment decreased. Some of the pro- 
minent men in the county were trained here. Richview 
also maintained a fine public library, possibly the 
largest in the county. 

The early settlers of DuBois precinct were prin- 
cipally from Kentucky and Tennessee. First settler was 
George Palmer who came in 1IJ27. The following year, 
W. S. Anderson. Robert McCord, L. Stewart and L. 
Waters settled in this township. In 1829 came David 
Stilley. H. Stilley and Peter Sronce. From 1830 to 
1832 the following families located here: Hv. Bridges. 
Abraham Phillips. William Hilley. and Alexander 
White, a pioneer blacksmith. 

The first settlers of Nashville precinct were Sam- 
uel K. Anderson, John Morgan. Landon Park, a Negro, 
and Nicholas Darter, Orcenith Fisher. David Ramsey. 

John I). \\ I. Livesa) Cartel and L. D. I ivesay, who 

settled at various periods from L818to L833. 

Nashville «.i- laid out by the proprietors, Robert 
Middleton and •'.. Brown on June .".. 1830, and a report 
and plal of tin- city, was filed with the commissioners 
b\ \. W. Cassada, count) surveyor. The records -how 
that the proprietors deeded a stipulated number of lots 



to the commissioners for the use of the county, and 
used the remainder for themselves. David White, 
Joseph Whittenberg and Livesay Carter were the com- 
missioners. Carter and Whittenberg, Tennesseeans, 
christened the town "New Nashville," but the "new" 
was soon dropped. First house was built by Sam K. 
Anderson. First marriage was that of Rev. Horatio 
Burns to Mrs. Martha Morgan, on Nov. 22, 1831. 

The first settlement in Okawville precinct was 
made about 1825. Among the early settlers were the 
Harrymans, Pitmans, Wheelers, Gallraiths. Chorters. 
Middletons, Clarks, Johnsons, Kisers and Whites. An- 
other group, coming later, included the Staudes, Gar- 
vins, Hughes. Williams. Adams, all of whom had fam- 
ilies. Okawville was laid out as a town by James Gar- 
vin and James Davis in 1856. Previous to this, H. P. 
Morgan had laid out the town of Bridgeport, which 
was immediately east, across Plum Creek. First school 
was built in 1828. with Wm. Boyd as first teacher. 

John Raney was the first settler in Elkton pre- 
cinct, a Tennessean, who came in 1822. I A more de- 
tailed story of Elkton is printed elsewhere in this 
book. ) 

Washington County's first court was held March 
9, 1818, and called the Justice Court. 

First Board of Commissioners was composed of 
Wm. Rountree. John Kain and James Gilbreath, elect- 
ed in 1819. 

Wm. H. Bradsy was first clerk of the circuit 
court, appointed in 1818, serving until 1839. 

Daniel S. Swearingen was the county's first 
sheriff, appointed in 1818. served but one year. First 
assessor and treasurer was Rufus Recker, appointed in 
1819. He resigned soon afterward, for some reason. 

Wm. H. Bradsby was first county clerk (1818), 
also first probate judge ( 1821 1. Thomas F. White was 
first county judge, John Crain the first school com- 
missioner. Wm. H. Clayton was elected first county 
superintendent of schools in 1865. 

County Weather Man 

In the more than forty years that Robert 
Schleifer of near Nashville served as Washington 
County's official "rain gauger," he recorded more 
than 125 feet of precipitation that fell on the county. 
The late Mr. Schleifer, who worked under the jur- 
isdiction of the St. Louis Weather Bureau, had his 
testing equipment set up in the yard of his farm 
home, and kept a complete record of county rainfall 
for nearly half a century. 

In that time, his records show periods of extreme 
drought, and very unusual weather conditions, in- 
cluding the visitation of several tornadoes that roar- 
ed through the county. Down through the years, his 
meticulous methods in making a daily weather re- 
port is an example of a man dedicated to his job. 
Incidently, there was no salary involved, but with 
Mr. Schleifer it was a work of love. He was one of 
t'le unsung heroes of the county, whose memory will 
lone linger. 




Stacking wheat on a Plum Hill farm prior to the days of the wheat combine. 


Nostalgia is a word often used in the editing of a 
county history. This farm scene, photographed on the 
Ray Garlich farm at Plum Hill before the advent of the 
comhine, is nostalgia at its best. 

The younger generation have never thrilled to the 
chug-chug of an old farm threshing engine, coming up 
the farm lane, pulling its separator. Puffing black 
smoke to the tune of sizzling steam, it was a sight to 
thrill any farm boy. It signified a long-heralded event: 
threshing time. The stacked wheat, usually four stacks 
in a rectangular unit, spaced just wide enough for the. 
separator to be pulled between, were sent through the 
separator, bundle by bundle. The newly-threshed wheat 
was stacked in a conical strawpile that usually graced 
the barn yard for most of the winter. 

The threshing crew, following the "rig" from 
farm to farm, usually got five meals a day, lunch in the 
morning, and another lunch in mid-afternoon. Tin'-, 
lunch break was even belter than the coffee-break of 
today, for it was a meal in itself, sausage and home- 
baked bread, topped off with pie or cake. 

Farm Scene 

The water wagon was an institution in itself. The 
man who rode it had one very important duty to ful- 
fill: keep enough water on hand to feed the boiler of 
the steam engine. Usually water was obtained from a 
nearby creek or pond. \ hand pump on top of the 
water wagon was activated by hand. 

The water boy was also an institution at these 
threshing rigs. Carrying a two-gallon jug, usually with 
a corncob for a stopper, the boy made the rounds of 
the crew, several times daily. Augmenting the water 
jug at some farms was another jug. with slightly 
stronger liquid, "to cut the dust." before the swig of 
water. Kveryone drank out of the same jug. 

Wheal and oats threshing prior to the advent of 
the combine, was a community affair, an example in 
neighborliness and warm, continuing friendships. Each 
community had it- threshing rig. One of the most 
popular type rips was the Jumbo steam engine ai d the 
Harrison separator, both made al Belleville, \nother 
populai engine was the Gaar-Scotl and the .1. I. Case. 


New Minden, Town with an Old World Culture 

At the junction of Illinois routes 127 and 177 is 
New Minden, the one community within Washington 
County that reflects a noticeable Old World culture. 
Perhaps ninety percent of its populace of one hundred 
and fifty are of true German descent. Some of them are 
direct descendants of Fred E. Hoffman and F. W. Pra- 
suhn, the first German immigrants to settle in the 
area (1830-40). 

Like most of the early pioneers, these men chose 
homesites that were near timber, prairie and water. 
The prairie was here, so was the forest. Little Crooked, 
Big Crooked and the Kaskaskia were nearby. To the 

east and south the open prairie was hip-deep in grass. 
This area still is called New Minden prairie. 

Other immigrants soon followed Hoffman and 
Prasuhn. They built their houses true to European cus- 
toms, with the building close to the street, and space 
in the rear for a garden, chicken house, a smoke house, 
and perhaps a small barn. Soon the question arose of 
naming the new community. Since many of them had 
emigrated from Minden, Germany, they gave the name, 
New Minden to their village. 


The old mill slowly falling into decay at New Minden. 

i- \ JI;-vm v . i 

I \ 


^^../- lutgm&^&^.gi 


Followed the building of a church, a parochial 
school, a parsonage for the Rev. M. Finch, who led 
the Ev. -Lutheran congregation until he retired in 1899. 
The frame church was destroyed by a tornado in 1896. 
But by 1900 it was rebuilt, the center of a parish 
numbering 1.200 people, although the village itself 
contained less than one-fourth that number. 

The first settlers came to establish farms, as did 
those who followed. From the beginning, agriculture 
was the sole purpose of their lives. The only movement 
toward industrialization was the erection of two mills, 
a grist mill in the southeast part of the village, and a 
sawmill to the north, on Crooked Creek. The grist mill 
still stands, unused for years, but is slowly falling into 

The railroad passed New Minden by, leaving it an 
isolated town, just as it did Yenedy. to the southwest. 
[so] tion was even worse during the winter, when mud- 
dy roads were a barrier to all but emergency travel. 

But there was no starvation. The German house- 
wives canned and preserved all available fruits and 
vegetables in the summer, and wheat and corn was 
ground into flour at the mill. Crocks of sauerkraut were 
part of every cellar: smoke houses were amply stocked 
with home-killed meat, mostly pork. Each farmer 
slaughtered his own meat, and the village store traded 
produce for other essentials of life. The wood they cut 
in the timber tracts was used to heat their homes. 

Then, in 1896, a vicious tornado completely dis- 
rupted this peaceful community. leaving in its wake 
only a twisted, tangled mass of debris. The church was 
gone, so were most of the dwellings. Only the stone 
mill survived intact. 

But the people rallied, and started to rebuild. The 
wooden church building was replaced by a sturdier 
one. Then, in 1907, came a second storm, leveling the 
school and several houses that stood between the 
church and the store. And again the people rebuilt. 

The pattern of the Old World was still evident. 
The shuttered homes were again close to the streets. 
the auxiliary buildings to the rear. Today, new ranch- 
type dwellings along the highway have changed the 
pattern somewhat, but many of the old homes still 
stand. The German language i- rarely heard on the 
streets today but that doesn't mean that the Old World 
culture is gone. Fife patterns change more slowly in a 
rural community than in an urban center, and New 
Minden is one county town where Old World culture 
and habits still cast a very definite image. 

The County "Poor Far 111" 

It had an ominous name, and hack in grand- 
father'- day, many a youngster, admonished for some 
-pending spree, was cautioned that "he'd end up in 
the poor house!" But it had it- worth. It was the 
nursing home of yesteryear, with its own kind of 
Medicare. Dependent people of both sexes were 
eared for within its walls, fed and clothed at county 
expenses. Down the lane was the cemetery, with its 
simple grave markers. 

The Washington County Farm, south of Nashville, 
now falling into ruin. Here the county cared 
for its poor dependents in grandfather's day. 

The Washington County home shown here, is 
located three miles south of Nashville, i- no longei 
owned by the county. The building itself has fallen 
into decay since the abo\e photo was taken. Vet even 
in its presenl stage of ruin, it is pointed out as the 
"poor house." It- image will live long after the phy- 
sical property has returned to the dust. 



The Kinyon Cemetery as it is today. A church once stood 
on this site, located four miles south of Okawville. 



Very few of today's generation know of the exist- 
ence of Kinyon Settlement. But once this site, four 
miles south of Okawville, was the huh of a community 
of pioneers in which the Kinyon name dominated. The 
old cemetery, shown here, is slowly hut surely falling 
into decay. The stone of John Kinyon, left in the photo, 
shows he was horn in 1805. That of his wife, Elvira, 
stands adjacent to the north. Once this cemetery was 
the burial place of the Friends, Wilsons, and various 

others, hut no burial has been made here for at least 
half a century. 

The Grand Prairie Baptist Church, which served 
the community, stood just south of the cemetery. When 
it was abandoned, the building was moved to a nearby 
farm, where it still is being used as a farm shed. 

The editor of this book, luckily, has the old Bible 
used in this church, a gift of his mother, Mrs. Sarah 
Jane Brinkman. 


The - Meadow - in ■ the - Hole'' 

Perhaps you haven't heard of "The-Meadow-in- 
the-Hole." But you have heard debates, pro and 
con, whether George Rogers ("lark and his group of 
"Kentucky's Long Knives" ever marched through 
Washington County, in their trek from Kaskaskia to 
V incennes. 

In Clark's company was a young soldier, Maj. 
Joseph Bowman, who kept a journal of the historic 
band's daily exploits. Archer Hulbert. who studied this 
journal at length, writes in his "Historic Highways of 
America," Vol. 8, to the effect that Clark did cross 
Washington county. 

Hulbert concludes "that on the eighth day of 
February 1779, enroute from Kaskaskia to Vincennes, 
Clark and his men were out of Randolph County, 
through the northwest corner of Perry County and 
finally gained the prairie south of Oakdale, Washing- 
ton County, at which point Elkhorn Creek was crossed 
at the famous 'Meadow-in-the-Hole' of old French days. 

"This region was also known as Corne de Cerf, 
Elkhorn Prairie, Elkhorn Point and Ayers Point. Prai- 
rie, forest and bottom land were not for apart here. 
The 'Meadow-in-the-Hole' was a singular little mea- 
dow, fifty or sixty yards wide, located on a dry branch 
of the Elkhorn and thirty feet lower than the surround- 
ing forests— at what is now Oakdale on the Elkhorn." 

There has grown up about the area a legend that 
Clark and his men camped here overnight. But this has 
surely been based either on a wrong interpretation of 
facts or romantic fiction. The facts are that "the first 
night's camp was pitched probably in Flat Prairie, 
somewhere in the area surrounding Coulterville, likely 
south or southwest of it in Randolph County." 

The next campsite was close to the present town 
of Richview, as Hulbert again concludes from his study 
of the Journal: "The second night's camp may have 
been pitched on Grand Point Creek, near Richview: 
and that of the ninth on Raccoon Creek, near Walnut 
Point, one mile north of Walnut Hill." 

If one checks the incorporated map. it will be 
noted that these are somewhat Nimilar and reasonable 
distances for the wet. muddv conditions at that early 

part of the year when the weather could be exception- 
ally capricious in southern Illinois. 

On the other hand, the 'Meadow-in-the-Hole' 

could very well have been and probably was used as 
a camping place by either the Indians or the French. 
It will be remembered this was not a new trail ('lark 
was cutting across Illinois, but one already in exist- 
ence used by the French as a land route between Vin- 
cennes and Kaskaskia, which they in all probability 
learned from the Kaskaskia Indians, a tribe friendly to 
them in this era. 


William Ayers, founder of Oakdale, is buried on a knob 
overlooking the "Meadow-in-fhe-hole." George Rogers 
Clark marched through this declivity. 

Whether or not Clark camped at the 'Meadow-in- 
the-Hole.' or merely passed through the tiny valley "ill 
perhaps never he known for certain. But all indications 
point to the fact that the historic march did encompass 
this bit of terrain inside Washington County's borders. 

Any citizen of Oakdale will point out 'Meadow-in- 
the-Hole' today. It is much as it was. back in 1779. 


The First Families of Washington County 

By Cdr. Earl R. Smith 

On the following pages are the names of the heads 
of the families who lived in Washington County, Illinois, 
at the time of the taking of the 1820 census. 

This census was chosen for this publication for sev- 
eral reasons: 

First, it was known that some of the families listed 
here also appeared on the 1810 and 1818 censuses. 
These are identified by an asterisk. 

Second, the 1820 census taker, unlike some others, 
gave the name of the precinct (township) in which the 
family lived. Since Clinton County was not formed until 
1824, Carlyle, for instance, is shown as a precinct of 
Washington County, which added a note of interest. 

Finally, it was believed that any reader who found 
one of his ancestor's names among the pioneer families 
shown here might be moved to explore his personal his- 

tory still deeper, and, using this reference as a guide 
might be motivated to do some work on his family tree 
to be deposited eventually with the Washington County 
Historical Society. 

Any census or record as old as this one must, of 
course, be viewed with reservation. The original docu- 
ments now lodged in the National Archives at Washing- 
ton, D.C., are often hard to read. The handwriting is 
often illegible, the spelling quixotic. The early settlers 
were just as suspicious of census takers as they were of 
tax collectors, and were not above evasiveness. Thus 
there may be gaps, ommissions and mistakes. 

Cenerallv speaking, however, most of the names 
and families shown here are too well known in the cen- 
tury and one half history of Washington County not to 
be quickly recognized. 

1820 Census — Washington County, Illinois 

ABBOT, Christopher 

ABBOT, John 

ADAMS, John 
'ALLEN, Elizabeth 


•ANRDUS, Archibald 

ARTHUR, Samuel 
•APL1NG, Pleasant 

ATKINS, Henry 

AYERS, Rupel 

AYERS, William 

BAKER, Elizabeth 

BALES, Elijah 

BANDY, Elihu 
•BANKSON, Andrew 


BATES, Thomas 

BEGOLE, Joshua 

BERRY, Frederick 

BERRY, Nancy 

BERRY, William H. 
•BITTO, John 


BLACKMAN, William 

BOYD, Joseph 

BRAKE, John 

•BRADSBY, William H. 
•BRASELTON, Benjamin 

BREWER, Jacob 
•BROWDER, Jonathan 
•BROWN, Collier 
•BROWN, George 
•BROWN, John 
•BROWN, Samuel 

BUCK, James 

BURTON, Gideon 
•BUTLER, Charles 


Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Sugar Creek 

Shoal Creek 
Shoal Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Shoal Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Crooked Creek 

Sugar Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Shoal Creek 
Crooked Creek 


CARR, James 

CARR, Samuel 


CARRIGAN, William 
•CARTER, John 

CARTER, Lewsey 
•CARTER, Richard 

•CHAFFIN. Ellis 

CHANDLER, Anderson 

CHAPIN, Lounso 

CHAPIN, Samuel 
•CHESNEY, Alexander 

CHESNEY, Benjamin 

CLARK, John 

•COLE, Edward 

COLE, Richard 

COOPER, Herman 

*COX, Benjamin 
•COX, Charles 

CRAYTON, William 
•CREAL, John 
♦CROCKER, Arthur 

CROCKER, Elizabeth 
•CROCKER, Jacob 
•CROCKER, William 

•DARNAL, Isaac 
•DARNAL, William 
•DAVIS, Robert 
•DEAS, John 
DILLON, Thomas 

EASON, Pomeroy 
•EDON, James 

EDWARDS, Susanna 

•EVANS, John 

EVANS, John Jr. 

Sugar Creek 
Shoal Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Sugar Creek 

Sugar Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Sugar Creek 

Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Sugar Creek 

Crooked Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Sugar Creek 

FRENCH, Martha 

GODFREY, Hanson 
GORDON, James 
•GREEN, Bowling 

•HAGERMAN, Benjami 
•HANDY, John 
•HARREL, Theophilus 

HARRYMAN, Charles 
•HAWKINS, Lemuel 

HERBERT, Thomas F. 

HERRIN, Major 

HERRIN, Simon 

•HILL, Jonathan 


HITCHCOX, Stephen 



HOLM (Hulml, Peter 
•HUEY, John 
•HUEY, Thomas 
•HUGGINS, David 
•HUGGINS, Lewis 
•HUGGINS, William 



IRIE, William 

•JOHNSTON, John Sr. 

Crooked Creek 

Sugar Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Shoal Creek 
Crooked Creek 



Sugar Creek 


Crooked Creek 




Sugar Creek 

Shoal Creek 




Crooked Creek 

Shoal Creek 

Sugar Creek 

Sugar Creek 




Crooked Creek 



Sugar Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Sugar Creek 




JOHNSON, Joseph 
•JOHNSTON, William 
•JOHNSTON, William Sr. 
•JOHNSTON William Jr. 
•JONES, Benjamin 

JONES, Tepe 
•JORDAN, Briton 

KAIN, John 
KENNEDY, Demsey 
•KINYON, Joseph 
KNOWLAN, Nathaniel 
KRIEL, John 

•LARD, John 

LEE, Harvey 

LEWIS, William 

LINCOLN, Elijah 


LYONS, Thomas 

McCART, Edward 

MclNTYRE, Hugh 

McGIVER, Samuel 
•MclVER, Robert 

McCORD, Charles 
•MeCORD, David 
•McREAKEN, James 
•MADDUX, Alexander 
•MADDUX, Alexander Jr. 
•MADDUX, Gilles 
•MADDUX. Leonard 
•MADDUX, Levin 
•MADDUX, Wingate 
•MADDUX, Zachanah 

•MARTIN, Philip 
•MATHENY, Collins 



•MINSON, Abraham 
•MIDDLETON, William 

MILLER, Sarah 

MORE, Jepy 


MORTON, Joseph 

NEAL, Thomas 
NEWTON, Charles 

OATS, Mary 

'ORTON, James 
•ORTON, John 

Sugar Creek 
Shoal Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Shoal Creek 

Sugar Creek 
Crooked Creek 

Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Shoal Creek 
Crooked Creek 

Crooked Creek 


Crooked Creek 

Crooked Creek 



Sugar Creek 



Crooked Creek 



Crooked Creek 



Sugar Creek 



Sugar Creek 



Sugar Creek 

Sugar Creek 


Sugar Creek 


Crooked Creek 

Sugar Creek 
Sugar Creek 

OUTHOUSE, Hardy Sugar Creek 

OUTHOUSE, John Sugar Creek 

OUTHOUSE, Meredith Sugar Creek 

OUTHOUSE, Peter Sugar Creek 

PATMAN, Nathan 
•PEIRCE, Caleb 
•PEIRCE, David 

POSEY, Hester 
•POSEY, Leeaiden 


PIERCE, Elijah 

PRICE, Leonard 

PYLE, Nicholas 

RAMSEY, John H. 
RAY, Abram 
REED, Charles 
REED, John 

RICKERFUSE, Christopher 
RIDDLE, David 
ROBBINS, Joseph 
ROGERS, Elihu B. 
ROPER, David 
•ROUNDTREE, William 
ROWE, Hesekiah 
ROWE, John 
ROWE, Stephen 
RUPEL, George 
RYAN, James J. 

SAVAGE, Lydia 

SCOTT, Isaac 

SCOTT, William 

SHARP, Henry 

SHARP, Jonathan 

SHARP, Samuel 

SHORT, Bennett 
•SHORT, Patsey 

•SILKWOOD, Brazilla 
•SILKWOOD. Solomon 
•SIMENS, Daniel 
■SIMMS, William 

SLADE, Charles, Sr. 

SLADE, Charles 

SLAVINS, Steward 
•SMITH, Asahel 
•SMITH, John 

SMITH, William 

STRANG, Daniel 
•STEEL, William 
•STEVENS, Charles 

•STEWART, Samuel 

SYMS, William 

Shoal Creek 
Shoal Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Sugar Creek 

Sugar Creek 
Sugar Creek 

Sugar Creek 
Shoal Creek 


Crooked Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Crooked Creek 

Sugar Creek 









Sugar Creek 

Sugar Creek 

Sugar Creek 

Sugar Creek 

Shoal Creek 

Crooked Creek 
Shoal Creek 
Shoal Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Shoal Creek 
Shoal Creek 

•TAYLOR, Archibald 
•TAYLOR, William 

TEMPLE, James 

•THOMASON, Richard 



THOMPSON, William 

THOMPSON, William Jr 

TILTON, Enoch 

TILTEN, Richard 


TILTON, Thomas 

TOP, John 

TOWNSEN, Edmund 

•TURMAN, Jacob 

•USHER, Caton 

VIRGIN, Hyrem 


■WADKINS, Beverly 

WALKER, James 

WALKER, William 

WALL, William 

WARREN, Edward 
•WAT, Haden 
•WATKINS, Thomas 

WEBSTER, Francis 
•WELCH, John 
•WHELLES, William 

WHEELES, Elizabeth 
•WHITE, Alexander 
•WHITE David 

WHITE, David Jr. 
•WHITE, Hartshorn 

WHITE, Joseph 


•WILTON, Harry 

WITTEN, Harry 


WOODROM, John Jr. 

Sugar Creek 

Crooked Creek 


Sugar Creek 

Shoal Creek 

Sugar Creek 










Sugar Creek 

Sugar Creek 




Sugar Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Shoal Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Crooked Creek 
Shoal Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Sugar Creek 
Crooked Creek 



Crooked Creek 

•YARBOROUGH. Absalom Carlyle 


Sheriffs of Washington County 

Washington County is justly proud in having one of 
the lowest crime rates in the State. Even so, there is need 
for a county sheriff, always has been, always will be. Here- 

with are the men who wore the sheriff's bad° 
through the years, one of them to his death. 

Daniel S. Swearingen, 1818-19. 

Harry Wilton, 1819-20. 

Boling Green, 1820-22. 

Joel Madley, 1822-23. 

John S. Carrigan, 1823-24. 

Levin N. English, 1824-25. 

Thomas H. Moore, 1825-29. 

William C. Wallace, 1829-30. 

John Crain, 1830-36. 

John White, 1836-40. 

John H. McElhannon (resigned) 1840-45. 

John N. Vernor, 1845-48. 

Willis White, 1848-50. 

Isaac B. Jack (died in office) 1850. 

Francis D. Taylor (coroner) 1852. 

John White, 1852-54. 

Salem Goodner, 1854-56. 
James Garvin, 1862-1864. 
James H. Sawyer, 1864-66. 
W. H. Clayton, 1866-68. 
D. R. Meyers, 1868-70. 
John White, 1870-72. 
James Garvin, 1872-74. 
Jacob May, 1874-78. 
William Lane, 1878-82. 
Charles Gerstkemper, 1882-86. 
Charles Gerstkemper, 1882-86. 
O. P. Hallem, 1886-90. 
Daniel AA. White, 1890-94. 
Gerhard G. Schneider, 1894-98. 
August !H. Cohlmeyer, 1898-1902. 
J. M. Winfree, 1902-06. 

August H. Cohlmeyer, 1906-10. 
Henry F. Vogelpohl, 1910-14. 
Jacob K. May • 1914-17. 
Henry Klosterhoff, 1917-22. 
William H. May, 1922-26. 
Martin H. Petri, 1926-30. 
August H. Cohlmeyer, 1930-34. 
J. U. Spencer, 1934-38. 
Harry C. Anderson, 1938-42. 
Albert Gorman, 1938-42. 
Theo. F. Lehde, 1946-50. 
Albert Gorman, 1950-54. 
Lee Bowers, 1954-58. 
Freeman F. Kaser, 1958-62. 
A. Virgil May. 1962-66. 
Joe J. Berry, present incumbent. 

* Jacob K. May was killed while on duty, June 20, 1917, the only sheriff 
of Washington County to lose his life in executing his job as a law officer. 

Washington County's Schools 

In early county history, schools were conducted by 
churches or established by communities. In the latter case, 
buildings usually were constructed by donated labor, pupils 
charged on a per capita basis, teachers boarded free by 

In 1856, townships were divided into school districts, 
usually four, but later one or two more per township were 
added. Districts were named and numbered by townships. 
In 1903, district numbers were changed so no two numbers 
would be alike in any county. Washington County began 
with number 1 in the northeast, ended with 86 in the 
southwest part of the county. Hoepker, number 87, was 
added later, as were the present high school district num- 
bers. School terms were of different lengths, usually five 
or six months. Then came the seven month term, which 
was changed to eight months by state law in 1929, and 
nine in 1955. 

These early schools were governed by a three member 
board, each township had a three member board of trustees 
and a township treasurer. The County Superintendent was 
over the entire county. In 1889, the first state course of 
study was printed. Each county had a final examination for 

its eighth grade pupils, and a county commencement for 
those who passed. In Washington County, these were broken 
down to township examinations and township graduations 
in 1931. Today, each district has its own means of gradua- 
tion and commencement exercises. 

As late as 1937 we still had one teacher who taught 
in a one-room school for $37.50 a month, furnished his own 
firewood, did all of his own janitor work, and taught be- 
tween forty and fifty classes daily. 

School Commissioners 

John Crain was appointed in 1835, reappointed in 
1840: Jacob Goodner in 1842; Z. H. Vernor in 1843: Harry 
Nevill in 1847; Z. H. Vernor in 1853; Wm. H. Clayton was 
elected in 1861, re-elected in 1865. 

County Superintendents 

Alden C. Hillman. 1866-73; Samuel C. Page. 1873-77 
James W. Hudson. 1877-81; W. L. Martin, 1881-90; L. H 
Carson. 1890-94: Robert Pence. 1894-98; Jesse T. Gibbs 
1898-02: Charles L. Edwards, 1902-06: Robert Pence. 1906 
14; Lee A. Friend, 1914-19; T. E. Allen. 1919-31; C. A 
Reeder, 1931-39; Kenneth E. Frieman, 1939-. 


County House Part of "Underground Railroad" 

The old houses that played a part in the "under- 
ground" movement of slaves during the Civil War era 
are just ahout extinct, hut luckily, Washington County 
still has a house standing (and occupied) that was 
once used to hide slaves. 

It was huilt hy John Hood in 1843, and stands 
just off the blacktop road leading southwest from Oak- 
dale to Coulterville. 

Still in a good state of preservation today, the 
large two-story brick dwelling has two chimneys, each 

of which served as vents for three fireplaces. Each 
chimney has a fireplace in the cellar, one on the main 
floor, and another on the second floor. It is an estab- 
lished fact that slaves were hidden here during the 
time of the "underground railroad." 

There were other dwellings in the county that 
figured in the slave movement, but none exist today as 
an occupied dwelling. The house shown here is occu- 
pied by Mr. and Mrs. Hay Kohring. 

This house, built by John Hood, still standing, was once part 
of the underground slave movement in Washington County. 

•. i^H 


Attesting to the great age of the Oakdale com- 
munity is the fact that its cemetery contains the graves 
of two Revolutionary War soldiers; the grave of a vet- 
eran of the Blackhawk War; one of a Mexican war 
casualty; and no less than thirty-five marking the last 
resting places of Civil War casualties. The cemetery, 
three miles southwest of Oakdale, once the sight of a 
pioneer church, is still being used. 

The first church built in the Oakdale area stood near 
the present cemetery, about 3'/ 2 miles southwest of the 
town. This photo is a reproduction from a small painting 
hanging in the R. P. church today. 

The Missouri-Illinois Railroad was built through 
Oakdale in 1888. then called the Chester & Centralia. 
Trains started running over the new track in 1892, 
three trains each way daily. With the curtailment of 
railway mail service, the size of the train diminished 
to a single car and locomotive, nicknamed "The Doodle 
Bug." It made its last run on March 15, 1954. The 
road still does a flourishing freight business, but Oak- 
dale no longer has a depot. 

First all-weather road built out of Oakdale was in 
1933, ran west. Second road was started in 1937, com- 
pleted in 1938, ran southeast, crossing Route 127. then 
continuing east to DuBois. Third all-weather road led 
north to Route 460. The Oakdale-Coulterville blacktop 
was completed in 1954. 

In World War I, John C. Atchison was the county's 
first casualty. He was honored by having the Nashville 
Legion Post bear his name ( see item elsewhere ) . 

William Elliot died of influenza while in camp at 
Mooseheart. Illinois. 

In World War II, Army pilot Curtis Torrens died 
over Foster Field, Texas, on July 20, 1942, when his 
plane exploded, to become the county's first World 

War II casualty. I The Washington County Blue Book 
lists Pvt. Otto Stein of Lively Grove township as the 
first killed in action, which is correct, however Pvt. 
Torrens was the first war casualty ) . 

S/Sgt. James Howard McClay died in action near 
the Rhine River, Germany, on December 19, 1944. 

Dale Taft, ironically, was killed on D-Day. 

Robert Craig was killed in France in February, 

Elmer Shubert was killed in action on Leyte, in 
the Pacific theatre. 

Schools: The first school was located on the John 
Hood farm, section 27. Another was built in Elkton 
the same year. When the town of Oakdale was sur- 
veyed, the R. P. Church was built in 1868 and school 
held in the basement. It remained so until a grade 
school was established in 1875. Two years later 50 
pupils were enrolled, with J. C. Thompson, teacher. In 
1882. there were two teachers, W. R. Maxwell and 
Miss Lizzie Ramsey. A two-year high school opened 
in 1922, increased to a three-year school in 1924, was 
discontinued twenty years later. A new grade school 
building was built in 1961, consolidation of the dis- 
trict having taken place in 1948. Ed Hudspeth was the 
first bus driver, starting from that date. 

The U. S. Mail: The first mail delivered to Oak- 
dale was brought without doubt by the post riders on 
horseback, and then picked up by the settlers. Wm. 
Avers is thought to have kept some kind of post office 
in his pioneer store. 

History tells us that in 1830. Thomas Bird estab- 
lished a post office at Ayers Point ( later called Oak- 
dale ) . Isaac Perlie, the first postmaster, came this 
same year. 

Between this time and the date Oakdale was sur- 
veyed, it seems that post office service was discontin- 
ued. W. R. Ardery was postmaster in his store building 
in 1!',77. first reference to the resumation of mail ser- 
vice. Ray Kirkpatrick started in the Ardery building. 
1911-13. Kirkpatrick built the building just west of 
the bank, and moved the postoffice there in 1913, 
where it remained for five years. 

Agnes Maxwell was postmaster in a residential 
room where Chas. Brammeier now resides. Lester 
Guthrie had the office next in his drugstore (1922). 
Madge Guthrie served in same building (1927). Daul- 
ton Rohde. Jr. had the office in the front part of the 
Borcherding store in 1915. Ed Luczaj started here as 
postmaster. Dec. 1. 1947. then moved to the Woodside 
building in June. 1952. where he is postmaster at the 
present time. 



Rural Mail Carriers: Alonzo Robertson carried 
mail from Oakdale to Elkton. Following Robertson, 
I. on Hunter carried it I star route i. Hunter was also 
the first mail carrier after the rural free delivery was 
started, prior to L905. Ed Renter started in L905, re- 
tired in 1935. Daulton Rohde. Sr. served from Jan. 16. 
1915 to Aug. 23, 1947. His son. Daulton Rohde, Jr.. 
succeeded him. and is the present carrier. 

A Feu Firsts: Charley Bailey had the first car in 
Oakdale. a Stanley Steamer. Theo. Brown also was an 
early car owner, and before his death was in much 
demand as a man who could "witch" both water and 
oil. Charles Huston had an International 2-eylinder, 
with solid rubber tires, carbide lights, rubber bulb 
horn (about 19051. Conrad Bassler purchased a simi- 
lar car. later sold it to Dave Smith. 

Lawrence Hood owned the first radio, about 
1922. He also installed radios, the first one being a 
one-tube Crosley. at the Geo. Borcherding home. John 
Kleinschmidt had the second set. an Atwater-Kent. 
Robert Osborn had the first 3-tube set that operated a 
loudspeaker. Arnold Wilson owned the first TV, back 
in 1948. 

Doctors: Dr. A. D. W. Leavens. Dr. J. R. Beady. 
Dr. S. G. Arnett were the community's physicians 
i 1879). Dr. II. L. Cault served here in the eighties. 
Dr. T. G. Tibby was here for some time, moved to 
Kansas in 1890, later returned. Dr. Ceo. R. Hays 
served from L890 to 1906. Dr. Th. F. McConaghie, 
L905 to bis death in 1939. (Thomas Fulton Mc- 
Conaghie was born near Oakdale Nov. 30, 1 <"> 7 2 . join- 
ed the U. 1'. Church in his youth. He attended Pleasant 
Hill rural school and Sparta high school. After a course 
at Normal University at Carbondale, he entered medi- 
cal college at St. Louis I . Interspersed with his school- 
ing he also taught in the Stone Church area for a time 
Upon graduation in 1904 he started practice at Sornan- 
auk, III., then the following year bought the practice 
of Dr. Hayes at Oakdale and remained here the rest 
of his life. Few were the homes in this community that 
didn't at some time benefit by his ministry of healing I . 

Telephones: The year 1903 saw the first tele- 
phones in the community, and were locally owned. 
There was a gradual deterioration id service until 1953 
when it was discontinued entirely. The community was 
without service until 1955 when the RE \ installed 
modern dial service. Following served as switchboard 
operators: John Mckean. 1903-11; Mrs. Mary Jane 
Kirkpatrick, I'M 1-33; Chas. Brammeier, 1933-43; \1- 
bert Ibendahl, 194346; Mrs. Carol Krehr, 1947; John 
Brammeier, 1948; Bay Kirkpatrick to termination of 

Electricity: The middle 1920s saw a few privately 
owned electric system, but it was not until October. 

1930, that Illinois Power built a line into Oakdale. 
Later 1!L \ built power line- to serve the area farmers. 

/ eteran M ail Carrier: Daulton L. Rohde. Sr.. be- 
gan carrying mail on route 1 out of Oakdale on Jan. 
16, L915. The route ran to Elkton, Lively Grove, on to 
Casper's Point I also called Suzanne and Clapboard 
Town I. From there it went north to the crossroads, 
east to what is now Route 153, thence to the township 
line, finally to Rroadhollow. past the Hibbard school, 
then south and east past Oakdale cemetery, back into 

The winter of 1915 brought axle-dccp mud. often 
requiring two teams daily to cover the 28-mile route. 
A sheephide was used on the floor of the wagon as a 
foot warmer, with a lighted lantern set under the lap- 
robe to keep the carrier warm. By 1918, a car was 
used when the roads permitted. In 1934, when Fdw. 
Renter carried on route 2, and resigned, the two routes 
were thrown together, making it a 52-mile daily stint. 
Mr. Rohde carried mail for more than 32 years, his 
last trip on August 23, 1917. He died four days later. 


The William Ayers house, last used as a dwelling 
in 1900, was the home of Oakdale's first family. 
Ayers came to Washington County in 1823. 

Today this route, carried by Daulton Rohde. Jr., 
has 73 miles. 1 7t> boxes, serving 196 families. Ken- 
neth \\ . Hood is the assistant carrier. 

Hall Park: \flcr the Oakdale boys came home 
From Woild Wai II. they organized a softball team. 
played in the Nashville league for two seasons. Later 
thej leased ground and established a ball diamond 
with flood lights. |'la\ started here in 1947. They pur- 
chased a public address system in 1948. Iti 1950, the 



club purchased the six acres that now comprise the 
park. It was financed by donations, fish and chicken 
suppers that are now an annual affair. There are usual- 
ly games at the park five nights a week, everyone 
cooperating in this worthwhile sport for both adults 
and children of the community. 

Times Change! Back in 1937, the hitching racks 
at the W. C. Woodside store were lined with rigs, as 
farmers brought in their eggs, cream and chickens; 
often the store remained open for as late as 1 1 o'clock 
on two nights of the week. Mr. Woodside still runs 
this general store, however the appliance department 
has been acquired by Ed. Hudspeth. 

It is interesting to note that when M. Fox was tax 
collector in 1883, the amount collected was $526.29 in 
the township. 

When Herman and Orval Frieman purchased 
Charles Brammeier's garage and blacksmith shop in 
1934, they got alcohol for cars in 5 gallon cans from 
Mascoutah. Business was slow. One day's sale amount- 
ed to a single gallon of kerosene, sold at 10c. The 
garage ran a special on gasoline, 7 gallons for a dollar. 

The Camp Spring Milling Co. of Nashville open- 
ed a wheat buying station at Oakdale about 1890. 
Through a succession of different owners, the business 
is still operating. It is currently being operated as the 
Oakdale Grain Company. 

Each community, before the turn of the century, 
bad its village blacksmith. Oakdale had the well re- 
membered George J. Decker, who came in 1906. 

D. Rixman and four of his sons were the first to 
put the chain store idea into practice here, building 
and operating seven lumber yards, one of which was at 
Oakdale. The yard was sold in 1945 to a group of 
Nashville businessmen. Since 1956 the yard has been 
under the management of the Addieville Lumber Co. 

The late Edward F. Reuter, who carried mail at 
Oakdale for thirty years, went through an era that took 
him from horseback, to mail buggy and finally to an 
automobile on his rural route. A good Samaritan, he 
kept a diary of all the cherished events of his territory, 
including the exact number of births and deaths dur- 
ing his tenure as a carrier. 

Among the store owners at Oakdale, down 
through the years, were Dave McClay, Morrison and 
McKean, Dick Garnholz, Geo. Borcherding, a man by 
the name of Oats who later sold to Joe Maxwell; Dave 
Smith, Tom D. McClurkin, William and John Klein- 
schmidt, W. C. Woodside, A. J. Gamble, Lyle Torrens. 
First pioneer store was operated by Wm. Ayers. 

Stuart Carson operated a restaurant here in the 
1920's; Ralph Shreman once had a plumbing and tin 
shop here. 

W. G. Ardery and a brother built a general store 
at Oakdale soon after the town was surveyed, back in 
1879. A man named Smith operated a cream buying 
station, the building being destroyed by a fire when a 
stove exploded. This is the only building in the sur- 
veyed part of town destroyed by fire. 

Once Oakdale had a Woodmen Hall, used for 
many years. 

Farm Bureaus First President: Mr. J. R. Hood, 
father of Lawrence R. Hood, a co-editor of this book, 
was the first president of the Washington County Farm 
Bureau, elected in 1926, serving for three years. In 
those days the value of the county's farm crops ranked 
67th among the 101 counties, with corn ranking 81st, 
wheat ninth. There were only 225 acres in soybeans in 
Washington County at that time. There were still 8480 
horses in the county, with 13,390 milk cows. 

Present Pastors: Rev. Charles Starrett is present 
pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, and Rev. 
Philip Brunn at the United Presbyterian building. 

Coincidently, three of Oakdale's merchants, all 
died within a short time of each other, John Klein- 
schmidt in 1937, Jack Gambill in 1938, and George 
Borcherding in 1939. 

An annual Harvest Home Picnic that was started 
here in 1893 was held each summer for 53 years. 

A man named Lancaster started a private bank in 
the Ardrey building in 1914. The Oakdale State Bank 
started Dec. 28, 1920. 

John Brammeier operated a blacksmith shop in 
the Frieman garage building from 1936 to 1946. 

Nearby Elkton's present population is 25, repre- 
senting a gradual decline over the years. 

A tax receipt issued to Robert Keer, Pilot Knob 
township, in 1854 shows taxes for $1.07 for 80 acres 
of land. Ten years later it had jumped to $1.97. 

The Oakdale Covenanter Church (Reformed 
Presbyterian) is one of four in Illinois, a single church 
at Chicago, one at Sparta and Houston. There are 62 
in the nation. 

When Elizabeth McClelland, wife of James Mc- 
Clelland took ill and died of cholera on Aug. 28, 1852, 
her husband had to bury her himself. Neighbors would 
bring food to the lane, but all were afraid of the dread 
disease. The husband and two daughters survived. The 
ruins of the old house in which she died is still stand- 
ing, southwest of Oakdale. 




ill e III'Lili illTFn 

Okawville's medicinal springs also have a cen- 
tennial, for the first small hath house, after the dis- 
covery of the springs, was built here in 1867. A 
larger Original Hotel followed, in 1871. It was des- 
troyed by fire in 1892, and the present building shown 
here replaced it. It is the oldest, largest hotel-bath- 
house in the county. 

The Washington Hotel, for yen- a friendly com- 
petitor, has been converted into the Washington 
Springs Nursing Home. 

By analysis, the medicinal spring water of Okaw- 
ville is almosl identical to the water at the famous 
Arkansas -|>a. 


The Lutheran Movement in Washington County 

The Washington County Historical Society is in- 
debted to Rev. P. F. Harre, pastor at New Minden, for 
this short biographical sketch of the Lutheran congre- 
gations within the county. 

St. Salvador Lutheran, Venedy (1842) 

German Lutherans settled in the vicinity of Ven- 
edy, then called Elkhorn Prairie, in 1938-39. They 
were interested in obtaining a Lutheran pastor. Oc- 
casional trips were made to St. Louis to sell their pro- 
duce and buy supplies. On one of these trips they met 
members of a group of Saxon Lutherans who had come 
to St. Louis in 1839. Through these people they got in 
contact with Dr. F. C. Walther, who was instrumental 
in providing a pastor for them in the person of Rev. 
Ottomar Fuerbringer. Pastor Fuerbringer organized 
these Germans into a Lutheran congregation in 1840. 
The worship services were held in the village of Johan- 
nisburg, in a building that doubled for church and 
school. Dissension rose among the members on matters 
of Christian doctrine and practice: part of the congre- 
gation remained faithful to the Lutheran Confessions 
and seceded from this congregation in 1842, and or- 
ganized the San Salvador Lutheran congregation in 
the village of Venedy. 

St. John's Lutheran, New Minden (1846) 

Since 1 840, Lutheran settlers had come to North 
Prairie, a farming area north of Nashville. They, too, 
sought the services of a Lutheran pastor. These people 
also made occasional trips to St. Louis for business 
purposes, and there made contact with the Saxon Luth- 
erans. Through the services of Dr. F. C. Walther they 
obtained a pastor in the person of Rev. C. F. Scholz. 
The organization of St. John's congregation was ef- 
fected by Rev. Buenger of St. Louis, shortly before the 
coming of Pastor Scholz to New Minden in 1846. 

Ebenezer Lutheran. Okawville (Grand Prairie— 1853) 

Quite a few of the members who belonged to the 
Venedy congregation lived on the east side of Elkhorn 
Creek, some at great distances, in those days of the 
horse and buggy. Other Lutherans settled even further 
east on the open prairie. These people organized a new 
congregation in what was known as Grand Prairie, 2V; 

miles southwest of Okawville in 1853. This congrega- 
tion was dissolved in 1948 when the membership join- 
ed with \ enedy and Okawville Lutheran congregations. 

.S/. Peter Lutheran. Nashville (Hahlen—1858) 

Some members of the Ebenezer congregation lived 
as far distant as Plum Hill and beyond, much too far 
to attend church and school regularly. This group, with 
other Lutherans who had settled on farms southwest 
and west of Nashville combined and organized the St. 
Peter congregation at Hahlen in 1858. 

Olive Branch Lutheran. Okauville (1865) 

Lutherans living east of Okawville. holding mem- 
bership in Ebenezer congregation southwest of there, 
found it very inconvenient to negotiate the distance to 
church and school at Ebenezer, and organized their 
own congregation, giving it the name of Olive Branch, 
in 1865. This tiny community was also called Frogtown. 

St. Luke's Lutheran, Covington (1884) 

Quite a few members belonging to St. John's con- 
gregation at New Minden who lived on the west side of 
Crooked Creek, frequently found muddy roads and a 
flooding creek a hindrance in attending school and 
church. This group, with members of the Olive Branch 
Lutheran congregation who lived north and northwest 
of Covington, decided to organize a new congregation 

at Covington. This organization was effected in 1884. 
They called the new church St. Luke's. 

Trinity Lutheran, Hoyleton (1867 ) 

Lutherans in and near Hoyleton first held mem- 
bership in St. John's congregation at New Minden. As 
their numbers increased, they requested a peaceful re- 
lease from the New Minden congregation to organize 
their own church at Hoyleton. Their request was grant- 
ed, and the organization of Trinity Lutheran there took 
place in 1867. 

Trinity Lutheran, Nashville (1887) 

Some Lutherans had moved to Nashville and took 
out membership in St. Peter's (Hahlen) southwest of 





i* *** ■ »',ix ' 


Ebenezer (Grand Prairie) Lutheran Church, shown here, was torn down soon after the 
congregation dissolved in 1948. The site was about 2 T / 2 miles southwest of Okawville. 

the city. Others came, some from neighboring areas to 
spend their retirement years in Nashville: some fur 
employment. All of them found it difficult to attend 
services regularly at St. Peter's, and to bring theii 
children regularly to school there hecause of weather 
and roads. The pastor of St. Peter's began to conduct 
services in Nashville, and Trinity congregation was 
organized there in 1887 as an independent congrega- 

Immanuel Lutheran. Okawville f 1008) 

Some members of Ebenezer congregation lived at 
Okawville, and others nearby. Members of Khenezer 
and othei nearb) congregation members who had re- 
tired in Okawville found it difficult to drive out to 
Ebenezer church and school regularly, and requested 
the right to organize their own congregation in town. 
Their wish was granted and Immanuel Lutheran ecu. 
gregalion was organized in 1908. 



The first settlement in Okawville township was about 
1825. Among the early pioneers were the Harrimans, Pat- 
mans, Wheelers, Galbraiths, Charters, Middletons, Morgans, 
Clarks, Johnsons, Kizers, Whites. Later another group set- 
tled here, the Staude, Hugh, Gavin and Adams families. 

Evidently the first business man in Okawville precinct 
was Robert Hugh, who opened a store in his home in 1838. 
Early records state the location was "about one mile east of 
the present village." Hugh sold staples such as coffee, tea, 
salt, sugar and whiskey, then regarded as a necessity for 
malaria and snakebite. Hugh, a Kentuckian, remained at 
this location three years. He had served in the Black Hawk 
War, and in 1841 moved northeast of Okawville, where he 
became an extensive landholder. 


Mi mUmmv Tr 

Although there are no records to prove it, the building shown here, 
the Blumenhorst Bakery, is the oldest commercial building in 
Okawville still in use. It is past the century mark. Other buildings 
entitled to the "old" tag is the Hohlt building, once known as 
"The Blue Goose," and Old Rock Inn. The Tscharner Mercantile 
building and the Klauke store building were also in the "old" 
category. Both have now been leveled. 

Okawville township's first church was erected in 1844, at 
a site then known as Morgan's cemetery. The church build- 
ing was later moved about a mile west and converted to a 
school. Among the first recorded deaths in the township 
was that of John Morgan, the man who donated the ground 
for the cemetery. It was supposed that he was the first man 
to be interred in his own cemetery. But when his grave was 
dug, they came upon a coffin of a previous burial. 

The first steam mill was built by James Turnbolt, com- 
pleted in 1845. It stood on a hill, east of the village, later 
passed into the hands of Jack McNail, and he removed it to 
Mascoutah. A man named Alexander brought in the first 
crude reaper in 1839. James Garvin purchased the first 
buggy. James Lyons erected the first brick dwelling in 1847, 

making the bricks in his own kiln. The first saw mill went 
into operation in 1839. The first well dug in Okawville is 
now covered by the post office building. 

The town of Okawville was laid out by James Garvin 
and James Davis in 1856. Prior to this time, the town was 
called Bridgeport. Among the men responsible for the 
growth of Okawville in the early days were Judge H. P. H. 
Morgan, Julius F. Zetzsche, Hy. Wlecke, Job Harryman, 
Herman Schulze, Green P. Harbin. 

The community east of Plum Creek, now called Pinch, 
in the pioneer days was known as Okaw. At one time there 
were no less than seven bridges spanning the creek in the 
Okawville area. 

Okawville once had three flour mills, plus a small custom 
mill. The Lammers mill was built about 1855. The Stone- 
wall Jackson mill was erected on the Morgan land in Pinch 
during the Civil War era. The Harbke-Wright mill was near 
the site of the Original Hotel. The Lammers mill was later 
abandoned, and the others burned. 

Before the advent of wells, cisterns and city water, 
pioneer residents of Okawville washed their clothing at a 
"wash-hole" in Plum Creek, located near the present site 
of the Route 177 highway bridge. 

Rudolph Plegge lived near the present site of the 
Original Hotel. When he dug a well, the high mineral con- 
tent of the water was noted. Dr. James Mcllwain, Sr. had 
the water analyzed, and it was found to be very similiar to 
the famous Carlsbad waters of Europe. The small bath house 
that was started here at that time is a forerunner of the 
Original Mineral Springs hotel and bathhouse of today. 

The Methodist Church was started during the Civil 
War years, and its unfinished walls were untouched until 
the war ended. Next came the St. Petri Evangelical Church, 
in 1864, followed by St. Barbara's Catholic Church and 
lastly by Immanuel Lutheran. 

Oldest business building in Okawville. until its razing 
several years ago was the annex to the north of the Tschar- 
ner Mercantile Building, also a memory. The Blumenhorst 
Bakery building is conceded as the village's most ancient 
building today. 

The Biedefelt hotel and store was located at the spot 
where the Washington Annex was later built I now the 
Washington Springs Nursing Home ) . The drug store and 
office of Dr. R. C. Poos stood just south of the present Old 
Rock Inn building. Dr. James Mcllwain. Sr. and Dr. James 
Mcllwain, Jr. had joint offices in what is now the Winkel- 
mann building: Dr. H. Schmidt had an office in what is 
now the Pettersen Electric Shop. 

In 1871 the half-cent piece was still in circulation, as 
attested by an order made out to William Kugler for road 
work in the amount of $17.37%. In 1874. the town pur- 
chased a carload of "sidewalk lumber." attesting that the 
first walks were definitely not concrete. In 1876. S. C. 
Krebs charged the town one dollar for the use of his shop 



for election purposes. In 1877. the board of trustees made 
a motion to appropriate $25 t" purchase suitable fire Fight- 
ing equipment. Saloons For the first time were ordered to 

close on election day in 1877. 

The Okawville of today i- far removed from these pio- 
11, -t i efforts. \n admirable place to live, its low tax rate and 
freedom from financial difficulties attest to sound manage- 
ment. It- fine schools and churches are comparable to big 
city life, with an added friendliness found only in the -mail- 
er town. Government consist- ol a mayor and six aldermen, 
a police department, a fire department. The town is served 
by Illinois Tower Company, the Ulini State Telephone Co., 

a city-owned watei system, and a modern sanitary sewerage 
disposal system. Interstate M »ill soon augment it- present 
highway outlets. 

It- fine organizations include the Okawville Commun- 
ity Club, chartered in 1937; Okawville American Legion 
Posl 233, chartered May 1924; Okawville American I egion 
Auxiliary, chartered June 1926; Washington Count) Bai 
racks WW I. chartered in 1954; Washington County Bar- 
racks Auxiliary. Jan. 1959; Okawville Lions Club, Sept. 
I" 10; Okawville PTA, May 1956; Okawville Women's Club, 
chartered in 1926. 


The Catholic Parish of St. Anthony's at Lively Grove 
was started in 1868 at the time when its territory was under 
the Alton Diocese I Bishop Henry Junker), who was under 
the appointment of Pope Pius IX. The 1868 date is estab- 
lished bv testimony of Rev. Wendelin Gillin. 

\ndrew Johnson was President of the United States. 
Only three years before. Abraham Lincoln had been assas- 

St. Anthony's Parish began when the pastor of St. 
Libory. Rev. Henry Jansen. made a recommendation that 
the Low Germans who resided in the Lively Grove area since 
1860 should build their own church as they were complain- 
ing about the road leading to St. Libory Catholic Church to 
which parish these Catholics went to church each Sunday. 

Up to 1868. the Catholic families of Lively Grove went 
to church at St. Libory, and after the pastor there recom- 
mended that the 17 families of Lively Grove build their 
own church, they did just that. This was the start of the 
parish of Lively Grove; 1868 was the date when this first 
church was built. 

With aid from the St. Libory parish, the Lively Grove 
people built their own small wooden church which lasted 20 
years. They also built a small frame school for $100. After 
20 years, they turned this wooden church into a school and 
Sister's residence combined. The Sisters of the Ruma 
Motherhouse taught in this parish from time to time up to 
1963, when they left for other fields of work. The first 
school building had been removed from the scene at Lively 
Grove parish for some time. 

The first Priest to have services in Lovely Grove was 
Rev. Jansen. pastor of St. Libory. who took care of the new 
parish for the first year of its existence. His assistant. Fr. 
Tuerk, also helped out from time to time for Sunday Mass 
during the first year. 

During the span of one hundred years of this parish, 
there were consistently about l."> families listed. During this 

century, approximately five children were born in the parish 
each year. 

The first pastor to reside here was lather Ho-mueller. 
who came in 1860 and built the fir-1 pastoral residence. It 
was a small frame building. Constructed in 1869: it no 

longer exists. The present pastor's residence was built in 
1902 by Rev. W. Gillen. 

The Catholic school, which everyone in the Lively 
Grove area remembers, was built in 1912 during the pastor- 
ate of Rev. Wendelin Gillen. A -isters' home was built also 
at this time. The school closed in 1963 and both this build- 
ing and the si-ters' home were removed in 1965. The same 
year the new air-conditioned hall was constructed under the 
pastorship of Key. Paul W. Stauder. 

St. Anthony's Catholic Church at Lively Grove, and 
the two linden trees that Father Gillen brought from 
Germany 65 years ago, and planted himself. 

While all the old building- have -ince been removed, 
there still stands in front "f the present church (see photol 
the two linden trees "Inch I'athet Gillen planted there him- 
self, lb- brought these trees from Germany 65 years ago. 

The present brick church which towers over the corn 
field- id Lively Grove wa- built in 1887 under the pastor- 
ship of Rev. Longinus Quitter. At thi- time the Vlton Dio- 



cese was divided into the Diocese of Springfield and the 
Diocese of Belleville. Lively Grove continued its history in 
the latter. Bishop John Janssen was the first Bishop of this 
diocese (incidently, not the same Father Jansen who was 
pastor at St. Libory and who recommended that Lively 
Grove have its own parish). 

St. Anthony's is now under the spiritual leadership of 
Bishop Albert R. Zuroweste of Belleville, with Rev. Paul W. 
Stauder its pastor since 1963. 

During its century of existence, Lively Grove parish 
has been authorized by the following Popes in Rome: Pope 
Pius IX, who authorized the parish to begin in 1868; Pope 
Leo XIII, Pope St. Pius X, Pope Benedict XV, Pope Pius 
XI, Pope Pius XII, Pope John XXIII and the present Holy 
Father, Pope Paul. 

The following priests have served Lively Grove: Rev. 
Henry Jansen. pastor of St. Libory, with his assistant, Rev. 
Tuerk; Rev. Rosmueller, Rev. A. Busch (buried in the ad- 
jacent cemetery I ; Rev. Carl Roesner; Rev. Longinus Quit- 
ter (who built the present church and also is buried in the 

cemetery; Rev. B. Reusch, Rev. Wendelin Gillen (who built 
the present rectory ) ; Rev. Clemens Bellmann, Rev. Henry 
Alberg, Rev. John Jantzen, Rev. Bernard Kunkel, Rev. John 
Jantzen, Rev. Edwin Arentsen, Rev. Melvin Haas, and Rev. 
Paul W. Stauder, who built the new hall in 1965. 

Many of the pioneers of this parish have gone to their 
eternal reward. Their remains lie buried in the cemetery 
beside the church. Many of these people with their own 
hands helped build the present church. I'm sure that when 
the first member of this small parish was buried in the 
cemetery, Sophie Maxander by name, whose tombstone 
stands as evidence of her death in 1870, little did the people 
of this community think that this parish would survive one 
hundred years. May all the souls of the pioneers rest in 
peace, and may the present living witnesses of this church 
and God's truth carry the torch farther so that we in our 
generation can say that we took our turn in history to bridge 
the gap between our forefathers and our successors and con- 
tinued the span of time for great things to come in the 
future for this community of Lively Grove. 

Stone Church 

A Thumbnail Sketch 

Today, Stone Church is a small, unincorporated com- 
munity of less than a dozen houses, centered about its 
modern E. & R. Church. Once there was a large store, a 
creamery, a blacksmith. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Jasper started 
a general merchandise store there in 1877, moving into a 
building owned by the Zerse Brothers. They conducted the 
store for 55 consecutive years, surely a record of note. Be- 


Today, Stone Church community is cenferer.1 about its modern 
church, replacing an old sandstone building that burned. 

fore the rural mail service, a post office was also operated 
in the store. Mr. William Fox, who operated the creamery, 
also brought the mail from the L & N trains at Venedy Sta- 
tion to the Jasper store for distribution. 

This hamlet in southwest Washington County was first 
known as Elkhorn Prairie. Later the name was changed to 
Petersburg, a short-lived appellation because a town was 
already claiming that name, farther upstate. The final 
change gave the community the name. Stone Church. Its 
first church building, which was later gutted by fire, was 
of native stone, erected in 1858, so the new name was fitting 
to say the least. 

Despite its physical smallness, the Stone Church com- 
munity had a native son who won world-wide prominence, 
the late General Walter Krueger, who commanded the Sixth 
Army in the Pacific during World War II, and won the 
Distinguished Service Cross for his enviable record. Mrs. 
Fred Runge (the late Annie Jasper) recalled that General 
Krueger came to the Stone Church community as a boy, 
with his mother, a sister and a brother, from Germany. The 
family lived there for about eight years, and he was con- 
firmed in the local church, after which they moved to 
Indiana. Krueger and General Douglas MacArthur were 
bosom friends of more than 40 years' standing. 



As always, throughout the timbered sections of the 
Midwest, the first crop was corn, food for man and heast. 
Often it was planted between stumps by hand, the source of 
meal, hominy, the grains parched, and the green ear for 

As clearings expanded and more horsepower, or ox- 
power, was available, wheat was grown for a cash crop. But 
first there had to he a market, often as far distant as 75 

miles, reached by wagon trails only. 

Conditioning the land for crops continued. As more 
animal power and simple tools were available, the pioneers 
in this county also grew cotton, hemp, and finally oats for 
livestock feed. Between 1840 and the Civil War, horse- 
drawn tools were greatly developed. The first mowers or 
reapers and sulky plows showed up and farming was no 
longer merelv for subsistence but became an industry. After 
the Civil War. even bigger and better horse drawn imple- 
ments appeared. More prairie was put under cultivation. 
Cotton disappeared, oats became very important for in- 
creasing horsepower fuel; then rye and syrup sorghum as 
well as cowpeas first appeared on the scene. 

From then until about 1930. the three big crops in 
Washington County were soft red winter wheat, oats and 
corn, but livestock hay was important too. Cotton and hemp 
cntirelv disappeared, rye remained minor. The hay was 
first wild grass, then came timothy, redtop, red clover 
and cowpeas. 

In this period there were two fruits grown quite ex- 
tensively, apples and pears. Both fruits were dried, made 
into cider and butter. The wheat varieties included Red 
Sea. Turkey Red and later Fultz. In corn, the dent replaced 
the flint and it was often strawberry. Reid's yellow dent, 
Bloody butcher. Boone county white. Oats was black, white 
or red. From 1900. dairying grew in importance each year. 
Both corn and sunflowers were grown for silage, arid alfalfa 
first appeared as a hay crop. Dairying reached its peak 
in the 1930s. 

This period also marked the first big effort at fruit 
growing, winter apples, peaches and strawberries, all of 
which grew in importance until about 1925. when a gradual 
decline started. 

These years also marked the introduction of the soy- 
bean as a hay crop only. Liming the soil was started by a 
few experimenting farmers, and the first traitors appeared. 
Cowpeas outdistanced some of the minor hay crops. Ex- 
tensively grown in the count] were New Era, Whippoorwill 
and the Clay varieties. Another crop that had quite a vogue 
from about 1880 to 1900 was the castor bean, grown 
mostly for its oil. 

The introduction of Missouri Beardless barley led to a 
rapid increase of that crop in the 1930s for stock feed. 
Today very little is grown. The coming of better tractors 

and implements, and the combine as well, soon got rid of 
the horse as a work animal, and with it went the oats crops. 
The cowpea declined, and although this county developed 
a special market for seed along the Atlantic coast, that too 
declined and by 1945 a cowpea field was a rarity. Timothy 
hay also disappeared with the horse, leaving red clover and 
alfalfa as the hays for dairying. 

Harvesting wheat in the county fifty years ago. 

After 1930. hybrid vellow dent corn replaced all other 
corn. Sorgo became fairly important for silage, augmenting 
corn. Sunflowers as a silage crop and poultry feed practical- 
ly disappeared as a farm crop. After the second world war 
dwarf milo maize, a grain sorghum that can be combined, 
became an important crop for livestock feed, but is now on 
the declirre. \1iiiil: Beans, grown quite extensively in several 
townships, has also declined. ( In case you don't recognize 
the name, this is the type of bean so important in Chinese 
cookery, the bean sprout). Syrup sorghum in the county 
practically disappeared after 1950. This also is true of oats, 
cowpeas. hay soybeans, timothy and rye. 

Sweel clover was introduced as a honey plant in 
the 1900s. In the 1920s it came into great prominence as 
a "plow under" soil improvement crop. I.espedeza was 
grown a great deal for both -oil improvement and hay but 
has about passed from tin- scene. Two pasture grasses have 
achieved some use since I'M."), fescue ami bromegrass. As of 
this year i 1967 i the three big crops arc hybrid yellow dent 
lorn, light colore.! oil soybeans and soft winter wheat. New 
and improved varieties arc now much more frequently 
brought into general use for some specific reason, and cer- 
tain varieties often pass from the scene in a few years. \ll 
other crops have cither disappeared entirely, or have become 
verv minor in either acreage or value. 



Zion E. and R. Church, built for $25,000, still re- 
mains one of the outstanding edifices in the county. 


The village of Addieville, centrally located in Wash- 
ington County, on the L & N railroad and state route 15, 
was named after a woman, Mrs. Addie Morrison, whose hus- 
band donated the land upon which the town was built. 

Addieville is a residential community, its well kept 
homes and good streets is a mark of its German heritage. 
Population-wise, the village has seen little fluctuation. The 
1930 census showed 283 people; the 1940, 272; the 1950, 
the same; the 1960, 231. 

Its local school, now being expanded, is a consolida- 
tion, comprises the former districts: Grattendick 46, Half 
Acre 68; part of Black Jack 69; east part of Zetzsche 63; 
east part of Helbig 64, now all incorporated into the parent 
district 47. 

Life in the community centers about its spacious 
church, Zion E. and R. and its companion church hall, 
used for various parish activities. Rev. Kenneth Kramer is 
resident pastor. 

The Gaebe Elevator has been a landmark at Addieville 
since 1883, founded by the late Henry and John H. Gaebe. 
Senior citizens still remember the popular Bouquet brand 
of flour made here, widely sold up and down the L & N. 
Making of flour was discontinued in 1945. 

Ben H. Gaebe is mayor of the community. 

The memory of the late John Meyer, Sr., Washington 
County's last Civil War veteran, still lingers in the minds 
of many Addievillians. Meyer was noted for his auto driving 
facility, even past the age of 90. Dr. L. P. Schroeder was a 


doctor at Addieville for more than forty years. Another well 
remembered physician, Dr. H. Schmidt, later moved to 

One of the photos illustrating this article shows the 
L & N depot at Addieville, long a landmark. But by the time 
this book sees print, the depot will get the axe, according to 
present plans of the railroad. 

Addieville's t&N depot, shown here with the silos of the 
Gaebe Elevator in the background, is soon to get the axe. 


The late Emil Mottert of Hoyleton, with a violin he made 
of toothpicks, and a saxophone of corn stalks Both 
instruments are now in the Ripley Museum in Florida. 

The late Emil Mottert of Hoyleton. pictured here, 
won national acclaim in a very unusual way. Mr. 
Mottert ran a shoe repair shop, was a hobbyist of 
great patience and skill. In his spare time, he marie 
musical instruments out of outlandish material. For 
instance, the violin pictured here. ua~ made of tooth- 
picks. Thousands <>f ordinary toothpicks, all glued 
into a solid. The saxophone was made of cornstalks. 
Mottert also made various other instruments of 
equally "different" materials, a bass fiddle from a 
hull's hide, a mandolin from a gourd, and a flute 
from a pig's windpipe. 

His fame spread to Hollywood. Paramount News 
sent a camera and sound crew to Hoyleton, to photo- 
graph Mottert playing bis unusual instruments. Later, 
the newsreel, in color, had a "world premiere" at the 
Main Theatre at < ►kawville. 

latei. the u or Id-renowned Robert Ripley of 
"Believe It 01 Not" Fame, accepted Mr. Mottert's un- 
usual musical instruments for permanent exhibition 
in the Riple) Museum in Florida. 



Only Indian Atrocity in County 

The Massacre at Lively Spring 

People travel far to visit historic shrines, monu- 
ments and memorials, traverse a dozen states to stand 
at the foot of a mountain, a canyon, or a waterfall, yet 
paradoxically, only a very few people of Washington 
County have seen the memorial that for years has 
marked the site of the massacre of the John Lively 
family near Covington. 

Lively Spring, much the same today as it 
was back in 1810 when it was used by the 
Lively-Huggins family for their water supply. 

There is a reason for the above statement. All 
through the years, since the monument was erected 30 
years ago, only an indistinct foot-trail led to the spot, 
a condition the Washington County Historical Society 
hopes to amend shortly. 

Lively Spring, the site of the massacre, is located 
east of Covington, north of Crooked Creek. Roughly 
the spot is almost due east from the Covington quarry. 

Forget the present for a moment and let us grow 
reminiscent. Picture a hilly woodland of scrub oak and 
elm, ash and hickory, with a good-sized creek mean- 
dering through the valley. Even today it is as isolated 
as it was in 1810, when upon the slope facing the 
spring, a new settler's mud-chinked cabin greeted the 
morning sun. 

Historians differ on the Lively story and much 
must be left to the imagination. But here is the gist of 
the much-told tale. 

Two brothers-in-law, John Lively and David Hug- 
gins, residing in Randolph county, decided in 1810 
they would move eastward to find better grazing for 
their expanding herds of livestock. They were hardy 
pioneers, industrious and unafraid. 

The place decided upon was near Crooked Creek, 
about two miles above the spot where the creek emp- 
ties into the Kaskaskia river. The country was rolling 
timberland, interspersed with grassy prairies. A nearby 
spring provided ample drinking water. Here they built 
their log homes and barns, planted their small fields 
and began the busy life of a pioneer homesteader. 

Always there was the fear of an Indian uprising, 
but both Lively and Huggins were unafraid, relying on 
their guns and dogs. Nearby was an Indian trace, over 
which roving bands traveled north and south, but the 


The marker, erected in 1937. 



-<--4^*l. : jit * - ' .-- '*•'•' -' 

Gary Strieker of Okawville looks at the 
five crude stones that mark the graves. 

two pioneers disregarded any signs of danger at the 

In the spring <>f 1813 it became evident that 
trouble with Indian- was inevitable. For a time they 
were afforded protection by a small company of Rang- 
ers, but after a time this proved to be inadequate, and 
both Lively and Huggins began to discuss plans to 
move back to Randolph county. 

Remember, at this time these two families were 
the onlv settlers within the county. \t last Huggins 
decided to leave, but Lively said he would stay, despite 
the facl that the nearest settlers were at Shoal Creek, 
to the northeast, and Hill's Station, to the south. With 
Lively and his wife was a hired man. plus the four 
children. two suns and two daughters. 

After the Huggins family left. Lively lived un- 
molested at the spring. He had a corral into which he 
nightly drove his livestock. In July, the stock began to 
grow restless, and lively realized prowling Indians 
were the cause. He decided t<> move out at mice and 
sent the hired man and one son to round up the live- 

The hired man and the boy had gone only a short 
distance when they beard the sound of shots and yells 

of Indians, from the edge of the forest the) saw the 
carnage taking place, the burning of the buildings, the 

death of the family. The hired man and the one Lively 
boy made their escape, finally getting help from the 
rangers, who returned to the spot, buried the bodies, 
and pursued the Indians to a place called Buckingham 
Branch, where thej were supposedly killed. 

With the Indian trouble seemingly over. David 
Huggins and his f.imilv returned to the spring in 1816, 
and lived out their days there. He left a large family. 

As long as people can remember, the site of the 
massacre has been known as Lively Spring. I lie cabin 
sites are here, several marked graves. ;m old Indian 
wash pond, and the spring, still gushing forth dear 

Historians differ, too. as to which tribe killed the 
Lively family. The Illini were five tribes in a federa- 
tion, the Tamaroa. the Michigamies. K.isk.iskiis. IVor- 
ias and Cahokias. The red men frequenting this sec- 
tion were also known as the Meadow Indians. The 
Sacs and Foxes, farther to the north, were marauding 
redskins, and it is possible that a war party of this 
nation dipped this far south to test the mettle of its 

The tablet marking the site of the massacre was 
designed by the late Oren Brandis of Nashville. Funds 
were raised by public subscription. Recently Nashville 
Boy Scouts cleaned the site, an act that is commend- 


\\ ffl'Wr#i ' y\ \ ' til 

mm L'lfer t*! 

**' **i»Ut4 

tu «±. 

fry ,>r ***i?»»-X r . TTS * ,e ' 



The old Indian wash pond, north of the site, in use 
by the Indians long before the white men come. 



Arthur Lehde of Beaucoup, writing in the Nashville 
Journal, at the time that newspaper was so ably edited by 
Joseph B. Campbell, has this to say about the old Phillips 
blockhouse, southeast of Nashville: 

The blockhouse itself, back in 1954, when it was still in- 
tact. One of two wells was under the porch. Notice both the 
gun loopholes and the ventilation openings in the walls. 

Half-hidden in the high weeds surrounding a vacant 
farm house two miles south and west of Beaucoup, there 
remains a mute reminder of the defense program of more 
than a century ago — a thick-walled grayish-tan stone block- 
house. Since late in the first quarter of the nineteenth cen- 
tury, its 37 shoulder-high loopholes have stared — their gaze 
transfixed in stone — across the surrounding countryside as 
if seeking the whereabouts of some lurking red-skinned 
savage. It was this blockhouse that, approximately 120 years 
ago, made it possible for the earliest white settlers to estab- 
lish their homes in what was then a hostile Indian country. 

At that time the Indian menace here was especially 
pronounced because Washington County was not only the 
home of several Indian tribes, hut was passed through by 
trails which Indians living to the east and south used on 
their journeys to either Fort Kaskaskia or Fort St. Louis on 
the Mississippi river. Common to both the native and tran- 
sient Indians was the feeling that white men, coming from 
the East where the Great Spirit lifted the dawn, had come 
to push the Indians back, to cut off the timber and plow 
the prairies, to destroy the hunting grounds, and to other- 
wise glut the treasures of the earth; 

All of these things the red men resented and bitterly 
opposed. Often their resentment led to such brutal and 
bloody massacres as the Lively killing in 1813 in which five 
members of that family residing in the northwestern part 
of the county, lost their lives. Temporarily this massacre 
halted the tide of white immigration into Washington Coun- 
ty, a tide that was resumed with renewed vigor in 1817. 

During the next three years several families made 
Beaucoup the nucleus of settlement, but even in this com- 
munity numerically the strongest in the county, the pioneers 
were extremely Indian conscious. Noting this apprehensive- 
ness, Col. John Phillips, who located in 1819 just west of 
one of the much used trails of the day, built in addition to 
his home and log barn a sturdy stone blockhouse which 
went a long way toward convincing the red-skinned warriors 
that the white men had come to slay, and that if fight them 
they must, they were prepared to do so. 

Fashioned from irregular shaped blocks of the slabby 
limestone found outcropping in nearby streams and cement- 
ed with mortar made from lime burned at a surface lime- 
burning kiln located in the timber several hundred yards 
from the Phillips home, the blockhouse was truly a remark- 
able piece of masonry. 

The walls of the structure which is about 16 feet long 
and 15 feet wide, are 18 inches thick and are made of three 
vertical layers of limestone. Passing through each of the 
side walls at an angle of 30 degrees are 13 shoulder-high 
loopholes; nine others pierce the end wall at more nearly 
a right angle. Another row of holes 18 inches above the 
side loopholes was evidently put there for the purpose of 
ventilation since the blockhouse has no windows and only 
one door. 

This doorway, still framed by the original hand-hewn 
oak timbers, was strategically placed only a few feet from 
the rear door of the house. Moreover, the heavy blockhouse 
door was hung in such a way that it afforded protection to 
anyone drawing water from a well only a step outside the 
doorway. Thus insured, in the event of a siege, an adequate 


if; L 

' -V SK 

Today the old blockhouse is all but gone. The one 
corner of the walls still standing is being exam- 
ined by Randy Jones, St. Clair County historian. 



The Phillips residence, to »he south of the blockhouse is en- 
tirely gone today. This photo was taken about 25 years ago. 

supply of water at all times was within reach. And since the 
Phillips family used the blockhouse as a smokehouse it 
was always amply provisioned. 

When fully garrisoned with a rifleman at each of its 
37 loopholes, this structure, sturdy enough to resist the 
elements for well over a century, was doubtlessly well nigh 
impregnable, especially when it is remembered that anv 
potential attacker in that day. red or white, would have 
been armed with a bow and arrow or the long muskets 
of the frontiersmen. 

There is no record of this blockhouse ever having been 
used in a battle. a fait which is inconsequential because 
it served its purpose in giving the white man .1 sense of 
security in a frontier region, and it fully convinced the 
Indians of the futility of carrying on warfare against 
such heavy odds. 

\\ ith the passing of the Indian menace and the coming 
of more pioneer families, the importance of the old block- 
house naturall} dwindled. Some years after it was no longer 
needed a- a fort, is loophole- were plastered shut on the 

inside with mortar and clay. I hereafter it was 11-ed only 

a- a smokehouse. 

I Editor's Note: lodav. as the photos -how. the old block- 
li"ii-r 1- |ii-t about gone, a deplorable fact, for here is a 
landmark that bad vast possibilities at restoration. In (act, 
it i- the only ruin within Washington County that has a 
direct relation-hip to the counts'- earliest days when two 
enemies were present, the red man and the land itself, i 


The huge log barn stood to the northeast of the dwelling and 
blockhouse, possibly one hundred feet distant. Today it is no- 
thing but a ruin, although some of the hond-adzed logs are 
in a remarkable state of soundness, dry, hard, unrotted 

The Washington County Tuberculosis Association 

In researching the very creditable work of the Wash- 
ington Countv Tuberculosis Association, an interesting -ta- 
tistic was revealed: Washington County is second highest 
in the state in percentage of residents pa-t age 65. So it 
would seem that if you wish to live long, live in this county. 

The Washington Countv Tuberculosis Association wa- 
organized on June S, 1941 by citizens concerned with 
the report that, based on tbc county's tuberculosis death 
rate, it probably had as many a* 25 active TR cases in need 
of care. 

The major aim of the association i- to interest the gen- 
eral public in the solution of the TB problem for it- own 
protection. A Tuberculosis Ia\ promotion in the county 
was adopted November 3, 1942. 

The subsequent program of the association include-: 
TB education in schools, grades 8-12 inclusive; general 

education on TB; tuberculin testing with emphasis on 
adult-: maintaining a reactor register. Incidently the county 
was one of the first to sel up and maintain this service, 

and has been given state honor- repeatedly. 

The Washington County Tuberculosis Sanatorium Board 

ini/ed on Decembei 9, 1942. It consists of three 

members, appointed by the County Board of Supervisiors. 

Its responsibility: to administer the tuberculosis tax 
to provide sanatorium care for tuberculosis patients: chest 

\ i i\ - foi reai toi^ to tuberculin; after-care for patient- dis 

charged from the sanatorium; and prophylactic medication 
lor the infected v. hen indicated. 

The editor- of this volume -alute the dedicated men 
and women who have made tin- health program possible 

within this county, maintaining and building it stronger, 
down through the ye irs. 



Pilot Knob precinct takes its name from the high hill 
or knob which is situated near its center. It is well watered 
and drained by Locust Creek. It is one of the oldest settled 
portions of Washington County. The first settlement was in 
1818, and the first settler was John Rainey, who settled on 
the old Hood place, west of the Knob. In the same year, 
James Gordon settled on the Rainey place. Rainey and 
Gordon were the only settlers until 1819, when a man 
named Afflack settled at Three Mile Prairie, but remained 
but a short time. Benjamin Bruten settled at the same 
prairie in 1819, from which it took its name, being known 
as Bruten's Prairie for many years afterward. William Min- 
son settled there at about the same time. 

This photo, taken in 1939, shows Oak Grove cemetery, on the 
old Nashville-Pinckneyville road, where the oil boom started. 

In 1832 Robert Burns settled north of Locust Creek 
point; James Gordon near the Lane place, and John Frank- 
lin the old James Adams place. In 1828, Alexander Hodge, 
Jonathan King and Col. M. Hall settled near the knob, and 
in 1830 the McElhanon family came from Randolph county 
and settled here. The Maxwells came about the same time. 
Very few of these old families remained in the precinct. In 
1837 the Hutchings came, and in 1836 Hugh Adams made 
a permanent settlement. The first school house was built in 
1834, on section 27. It was the traditional log building with 
puncheon floors and greased skins for lights. The first school 
was Horatio Burns. The first spread of the gospel 
was made by Methodist circuit riders in 1833, preaching 
held at the home of settlers. The Baptists built the 
first house of worship in 1852; it burned in 1870 and was 
rebuilt in 1872. known as Concord Baptist Church. The 
first marriage was that of John Crane and Mary Gordon 
!. Wm. Rainey was the first storekeeper, starting 

in 1835, selling the usual staple articles, which included 
whiskey, then regarded as a necessity. 

Robert Curreck brought in the first reaper in 1854. 
First horse mill to grind wheat and corn was erected by 
Richard Cole in 1835. Joseph Bradshaw was the first 

In the late 1800s, Pilot Knob was divided into four 
sections, determined by geographical terrain. Cordes Prairie 
was the northwest portion of the township: Oakdale Prairie 
the southwest; the south pari to the east was known as Three 
Mile Prairie. The northeast portion of the township was 
known as Locust Creek Point, or merely "The Point." hav- 
ing derived its name from that portion of land that was cut 
off from the rest of the township by Locust Creek. 

Cordes was the only town in the township, deriving its 
name from the siding on the M. and I. railroad. Once this 
community had a store, a blacksmith shop and a church. 
The siding was used in the early part of the century to bring 
limestone, feeds and other commodities to the trading area. 

The early settlers were of German. Polish and Irish 
descent, all conservative, and very religious. They cleared 
their land and were among the first to make extensive use 
of limestone as a soil builder. Today it ranks as one of the 
three highest in the county in dairying. 

Pilot Knob presently is in two grade school districts, 
the west half in Oakdale District 1, and the east half in 
Nashville Consolidated 49. All of the township is in Com- 
munity High School District 99, and the Kaskaskia Junior 
College area. 

The township, located within one-half mile of the Wash- 
ington County Conservation and Recreational lake district, 
is serviced by Illinois Power Company and REA Tri-County 
Electric Cooperative for electricity: and Illinois Bell and 
Egyptian Telephone Cooperative for telephones. The oil 
revenues in the township has contributed substantially to the 
economy during the past 25 years. 

Three years ago, AT&T erected a large communication 
tower alongside the Oakdale blacktop (see article else- 
where), which contributes to the economy with an assessed 
value of over $400,000. The Oscar Decker and Son orchard, 
only one in the township, has been in operation since 1890, 
with over 1500 apple and peach trees. 

The township is partially in the Park District and the 
Rural Fire District; and all in the Washington County 
Hospital District. Its population in I960 was 364, with 
210 registered voters. 

An old landmark remembered by pioneers was the 
Lueker blacksmith shop on the old Pinckneyville-Nashville 
road, about a mile north of the Perry County line. The shop 
was started by Mr. Fred Lueker, Sr. in 1887 and served the 
area until 1924. The first post office was also at this point. 



Oldest farm home in the township i- the residence of 
Mr. ami Mrs. Fred Buhrman. The 160-acre trad of land on 
which the home stands u.i- claimed from the government 
mi April 24, L820 by Hugh Adams, with more acreage ac- 
quired Liter. The house was buill about L850 with an inter- 
loi king sandstone foundation. The two-story brick house has 
outside walls varying in thickness from I-' to Id inches. 
Bricks at the time were hauled from St. Louis by horse and 
wagon. Its location is <m the old Nashville-Pinckneyville 
road, a quarter of a mile south of Oak Grove cemetery. 

Later this land was purchased l>\ the late l>. B. Hol- 
ston's father and i- now owned by his grandchildren, the 
Holston-W ati- heir-. In the fall of 1885, Fred and Wilhel. 
mina Buhrman and their eight children moved from North 
Prairie to this farm. They were the grandparents of Fred 
Buhrman who now resides here. Three generations of the 
Buhrman and rlolston family have been tenants and Kind 
lords here for more than .'in years. Fred and Lottie Buhrman 
are the third generation living here, since their marriage 
32 years ago. 

The Churches: St. John'- L\ angelical Church of Conies 
Prairie was founded in the early L890s and dissolved in the 
mid-thirties. Later the church was sold and St. John'- Ceme- 
tery Association formed, including members of St. Luke's 
Evangelical Church of Nashville Prairie, which has pre- 
viously dissolved. Aftei dissolution, the Cordes membership 
joined St. Paul'- at Nashville, St. John'- at Plum Hill or 
United Presbyterian al Oakdale. 

Concord Baptist: \t the close of the Black Hawk war. 
eliminating threat of Indian trouble, pioneers came into 
southern Illinois. Sm. rlutchings was one of the early pio- 
neers in Perry county and an elder son, John R. rlutchings 
later moved to a community then called pound Prairie, mar 

the northern border of the county. \ brother-in-law, Thomas 
H. B. Jones, settled at Three Mile al about the same time, 
rhese two men. feeling the need of Baptist teaching in the 

fall of 1841, called Peter Hauler, then residing some 18 

miles south of this community, to hold a revival. Early rec- 
ords show that then- were -i\ charter members of the newly- 
organized Concord Church: John H. rlutchings and wife. 
Thomas 11. R. Jone- and wife and I. Stilley and hi- sister- 
in-law. John II. rlutchings vsa- the first pa-tor. Eli rlutchings 
gave land for the cemetery and \\ . \\ . Hutching- donated 
the church site plot. The initial church was a small log 
building which was destroyed by fire and replaced with a 

frame structure. \ third, -till larger church wa- later hnilt. 

served until 1924. 

Reminiscing about the early days of the church, it is 
interesting to note that the families did not -it together as 
they do today. Men entered at one door, women at another; 
they sal on opposite sidi - of the room. Stoves were two box 
stoves that burned wood. I he singing was different also. 
The preacher would read one line, then the people would 

sing it. I Stialh there were more o\ team- and wagons in the 

church yard thin cars today. Sti iw w.i- pul in the wagon 
hed- to keep the people warm, ["hey came from mile- a round 
to attend services; those who did not have rigs, walked, 
often carrying their good -hoe-, which were not put on 

until they reached the church. By the turn of the century, 
newcomers to the area were non-Baptist, and -lowly the 
church lost it- membership. In 1924 it moved to a new 
location at Rice. 

( >ak ( .ro\,- l'ie-|i\teiian: Mernlier s of this organization 
were taken entirely from the roll of the Nashville Presby- 
terian Church, mainly the families of Hugh Adams, J. nun- 
can. I. Wilson, Mrs. Anderson, John Boyle and George 
Hendi rson, a tol il of 25. Preaching by Presbyterian minis- 
ter- had been kept up at the residence of Hugh Adams for 
over 30 years. \ church building was erected, dedicated m 

the fall of 1872, wa- discontinued in 1911, the plat deeded 
to the Oak Grove Cemetery Association, for some time the 
old huilding served for funerals and special meeting-, then 

was dismantled in the summer of 1925. 

Rural Schools: There were live rural districts in Pilot 

Knoli township, Luney district 57. where the land wa- ac- 
quired from Robert and Margaret l.une\ in 1859. The first 
huilding here hurried. In 1948 the district was consolidated 
with Oakdale. 

Kerr district 56, where the land was acquired from 
[verson Jones in 1856. This school was known as the Central 
School until the turn of the century when the name was 
changed to Kerr. It. too, consolidated in 1948. 

Adams district 55. where the land was acquired from 
John C. Llwcll in L870. The fir-t school was a log huilding 


This huge fwo-story brick house, occupied by Fred and Lottie 
Buhrman, is conceded to be the oldest dwelling in Pilot Knob town- 
ship. Its bricks were hauled from St. Louis by horse and wagon. 

dubbed I Og I ollege." \ second huilding was luiilt in later 

years District is now consolidated w ith Nashville. The build- 
now owned by the township, serves as a town hall. 

Dolly Warden district fid. located on the Pilot Knoh- 

Bolo township Line; land was acquired from Amos and 
Rebecca 1 laxbeard in 1885. Now annexed to Nashville. 



Slade district 59 was the first school in the township, 
a subscription school. The log building was named after 
Jack Slade. who owned the land before it was later acquired 
from David H. and Mary Boyle in 1886. Slade was the last 
school to annex to Nashville in 1950. 

It is interesting to note that before the free school 
system, the only method of learning was the subscription 
school. If the parent couldn't afford to pay, there was no 
school for his children. At that time most of the land in the 
township was worth about $4 per acre. A good teacher 
earned possibly $30 a month. Most of them were limited 
in knowledge as well. The subscription school usually was a 
log building, about 20x24 feet. Seats were split logs. Stake- 
and-rider fences were used almost exclusively to enclose 
farm land. The Bible was usually used as a text book in 
many of these early schools. 

Township Government: First records of Pilot Knob 
township government date back to 1883. when Win. Miller 

was the first supervisor and Thomas Kerr the first town 
clerk. Money was very short, and the township roads were 
allotted as little as $200 yearly for their upkeep. Then when 
the oil boom hit Pilot Knob county, it enabled the road 
commissioners to buy a caterpiller motor grader out of 
tax funds, and today the township has some of the finest 
roads in the county. 

Oil Boom: The year of 1939 was the year of the big 
oil strike, when the famous "Cemetery Field," south of 
Nashville was stretching south for miles, with new wells 
going down at the rate of 30 to 40 monthly. Such names as 
Blankenship, Cochrane and Hubbard were suddenly house- 
hold words. The scene of Oak Grove cemetery, after the 
strike, was a country road with cars parked bumper to 
bumper for miles as thousands of spectators crowded into the 
area to see the oil strikes. Today, 28 years later, the field is 
still on the pump, although tapering off to a marked degree. 

The Illinois Agricultural College at Irvington 

In the present tumult about Federal aid to education, 
it may surprise some to learn that Federal aid to education 
I with some sti ings attached ) began well over 150 years ago. 
In 1816. the government with benevolent paternalism do- 
nated an entire township to the Territory of Illinois, to be 
used onlv for establishment of colleges or seminaries, and on 
entering statehood another township was presented in like 


Modern, fast-growing Irvington today. 

Our early politicians, taking rather a dim view of edu- 
cation in general, perhaps because of the pro-slavery lean- 
ings of many of them, immediately proceeded to sell these 

townships at the sacrifice price of $1.25 per acre to get 
some ready cash easy to their hands. They placed the nearly 
$60,000 thus acquired in a general education fund, and 
then proceeded to borrow from it for general state use at 
a very low interest rate. 

It may also be a little surprising that people with some 
interest in general education got organized and proceeded 
to do some very effective lobbying by 1830. Leaders in 
this activity were not only the rather few teachers and 
professors in the state but a number of prominent leaders 
of several churches, as well as one politician of note. Judge 
Sidney Breese. and later on. the Prairie Farmer, as well as 
an organization called the Industrial League of Illinois. 

Beginning in 1833, these groups staged a yearly edu- 
cational convention in the state capitol at Vandalia, and 
apparently made it hot for the legislators. In 1854 they 
won their first victory, the creation of the office of Superin- 
tendent of Public Instruction. Then in 1855 they won pas- 
sage of the basic bill which created public schools in Illinois. 
They had other goals as well, a state agricultural school, a 
state normal school for training teachers. 

In 1861 they attained the agricultural school when the 
legislature created the Illinois Agricultural College. Nine 
men were named trustees of a corporation chartered for the 
purpose of instruction in science and agriculture, practical 
and scientific, as well as the mechanical arts. The capital 
stock was fixed at $50,000 in shares of $100 each. The 
legislature also discovered that 1 \ 2 sections of the long-ago 
federal college gift-land remained unsold in Iroquois Coun- 
tv, and it was turned over to the corporation. They also 
provided for the corporation to make a full biennial report 
to the legislature when in session: financial position, pro- 
gress, number of pupils and the residence of each. 



It might be construed that tlii- was quite a project to 
undertake in the firsl yeai oi the ( i\il War, but the trustees 
never wavered in their ta-k-. even though then- were 
irritating delays. 

It seems one of the leading spirits on the board was 
Mr. Thomas Quick of Irvington, who very quick!) con\ inced 
his fellow trustees tint li i~ home town of irvington was jusl 
the place for the college, rathei a surprising thing consider- 
ing there were representatives from Mi. Vernon, Centralia 
and other enterprising towns, with Irvington a little known 
farming village of some 300 people. 

The gift land was sold foi (58,000, and a considerable 
sale of stock was made. Ml money was deposited in the 
hank of Mr. \. 1>. llav at Centralia, uho was treasure! of 
the trustees. \ "> |in ai re farm was purchased al the edge of 
Irvington, the idea being to provide jobs for worthy and 
need] students. It took time to erecl suitable buildings and 
secure a faculty, but fi\e years later, on September 10, 1866, 
the school opened with Rev. I. S. Mali. in as president One 

of the faculty of six was Mr. 11 a< Quick of Irvington, 

the guiding genius of the corporation who was to head the 
law department when, and if. it was organized. 

\ boarding ball and dormitory had been erected bul 
there was an overflow of students, numbering over three 
hundred, which taxed the capacity of Irvington to house. 
Suddenly then' was a building boom to accommodate par- 
ents who moved to Irvington to be with their children 
while school ua- in session. 

\t the opening of the second year, a new president, 
Rev. D. P. French, took charge. He was succeeded in 1 <". T 1 
by Rev. \. (". Hillman who served until 1874. \t that time 
Rev. P. W. Philips took over and remained until the un- 
timely demise of the institution in 1<">77. 

The trustees for some unknown reason never made the 
required biennial report to the legislature as required by 
the charter. Neither did the charter require the bonding 

of the treasurer. \ml now M>. Hay's hank failed and the 
nearlv $60,000 on deposit then- was lost not one cent 
being recovered. 

One assumes the impression that the corporation pre- 
sumed it could make ,i lot of money and continue practically 
independent of the state, snubbing the legislature. Bul now 
the onlv source of income was tuition and sale of farm pro- 
duce, which wa- nevei enough to pay the bills. Vnd now. 
instead of a benevolent legislature ready to fool these hills. 
that body began to \ iew the corporation as a very neglectful 
and negligent group who had not fulfilled their obligations 
as officers in what was at least a quasi-state institution. 

The upshot of it all was the enacting of a law by the 
legislature which stated thai if the treasure! of said board of 

trustees did nol make a full and complete report in three 
months to the state auditor, to account for all state gifts, 
other moneys and chattels, then the attorney general of 
the state should take steps to secure whal he could of 
the remaining assets. 

To add insult to injury, the snubbed legislature pro- 
vided that any such fund- secured were to be presented to 
a new southern Illinois Normal University to be presently 

T1h> Catholic Church 
in Washington County 

Although a Catholic edifice was nol the lirsl religious 
building to be built in Washington County, Catholicism it- 
self was administered as a religion l>\ the Jesuits in the 
Illinois Country long before any othei group started a Pro 
testant Church. Evidently these same French voyageurs 
used the Kaskaskia Rivet on the north borderline of the 
county as theii "highway" long before the Firsl white family 
permanently settled in the ana thai later became this county. 

Today there are Catholic ( hurches al Nashville, Okaw 
ville, DuBois, Posen. Radom and Lively Grove Hie aged 
Frame church building al Posen has recently been razed to 
make way Foi a new bi ick structure. 

St. Barbara's lOkawville): The early • atholii settlers, 
mostly immigrants From Germany and Ireland, arrived aboul 
l,".(iii. The nearest Mass al thai time was al St I ibory, In 
tin' group were such family name- as Schlich, [Yost, licit/. 
I Lilian-. McLaughlin, Rossel, Hughes, Koch, Wier, Voegele, 
Stuebe, Schott, Helfich, Sommer, Neunlisl and several 
others. The settlement in 1867 wa- attended L\ II. lanssen 
of s t. Libory, w In ■ celebrated Mass in the home of John 
licit/, a practice thai was continued until a church was built. 

The first resident pa-tor at Okawville was Ferdinand 
Mumborn, who move. I here from Mi. Vernon on May 30, 

1904. He u.i- succeeded by Henry \lthoff on Octobei _'<'. 

1905. The fii-t Catholic Church, a brick structure thai seat- 
ed 125, was erected in 1868 al a cosl of $800. It was re- 
modeled later al .i cosl of $700. \ new bell was a ;jift of 
('. Eschmann. In 1907 the church was reroofed and Frescoed. 

St. Barbara's new Catholic Church fthe current build- 
ing) was dedicated on October 18, 1921, when the Rl Rei 
Henry Vlthoff. Bishop of the Belleville Diocese, and a Form- 
er pastoi of this parish, conducted the services. It was quite 
an undertaking For a congregation of only 18 families to erect 
a church i osting (20,000, all of which is paid or pledged. 

established. In short, the treasurei didn't, and the attorney 
general did, and the Vpril HIT.", term of circuit court of 
Washington County vested the title to the land and build- 
the state. Vccordingly the state sold the farm. Vfter 
claim- against the school were liquified, the nel proceeds 

- 1.000, which was put in the endowment fund to the 
new university al < larbondale. 

The Rev. Mr. Clark, a Presbyterian minister, occupied 
the buildings foi a shorl time as an academy, bul it too 
failed. The Baptist Church later purchased it, to become 
the Huddleston Orphan's Home, until thai institution was 
moved to < enti I b the buildings were razed. 

Possibly the mosl noted person connected with the old 
school was Di sen French who began hi 

then and went on to long tenure at SI1 . where he pil 

in several scientific fields, achieving international fame. 
While al Irvington he began to systematically botanize 
this county, some of hi- original specimens still being in 
- e al • larbondale. 



When Clinton County was separated from Washington 
in 1827, it was decided to move the county seat nearer the 
center of the newly-mapped county. The commissioners 
chose a spot about four miles west of Nashville, to he called 
Georgetown. But all the new "town" ever had was a flag- 
pole, two wells and some platted lots. The county seat 
continued at Covington. 

By this time the county was fast being settled and this 
inauspicious effort to create a new town created a lot of 
dissatisfaction. It seems that the landowners at Georgetown 
expected to make a killing, but only produced a fizzle. There 
also arose a heated rivalry between the two largest settle- 
ments. Beaucoup and Elkhorn. and politicians had to tread 
warily on the county seat issue. Here the enterprising settlers 
of the central section proposed they lay out a town and 
make it the county seat. The first to settle were Tennes- 
seeans and they proposed the name. New^ Nashville. Their 
problem was: how to raise enough money to buy the govern- 
ment owned land. The stupendous sum needed was $100., 
almost as much as was collected in taxes in the county's 
first year of existence. 


This is downtown Nashville, offer the disastrous 
fire of 1912. (Taken from an old postcard) 

When a money-raising delegation journeyed south 
three miles to the cabin of David Pulliam. who was reported 
as a man with cash on hand, perhaps the men got too 
insistent in their entreaty for financial help. For at last 
Pulliam threw his old hat on the ground, exclaiming: "I 
wouldn't give my old hat for all Nashville will ever be!" 

Pulliam didn't help, but Robert Middleton and \^ m. G. 
Brown of St. Clair county did. They journeyed to Kaskaskia. 
purchased the ground from the government, and had a sur- 
veyor. A. W. Casad lay out the town. The date was June 8, 
1830. Twenty acres was donated for county use. and a free 
lot was offered to the first man who would build a home. 
Sam Anderson hauled in an old log cabin from the woods, 
but the judges ruled him out and gave the prize to the Rev. 
Orceni:h Fisher who in the meantime threw up a two-story 
dwelling. Sometime later he opened the first store, on the 
site of the present William Motor Sales building. 

The county commissioners then moved the county seat 
from Covington to Nashville, and contracted with Thomas 
Moore to build a courthouse, which lasted ten years. A little 
later. N. Mitchell began another store which he soon sold 
to John Wood. Later. Wood with fifty other men from the 
county, were mustered in to help fight the Black Hawk 
War. He returned as Major Woods. 

The Methodists started their church in 1832. The vear 
before, the town's first physician arrived. Dr. Maxwell Pep- 
per, who also served in the Black Hawk War as company 
surgeon. Joseph Dennis started the first hotel on two lots 
for which he paid $15. In 1833 Zenas Vernor opened the 
first blacksmith shop, and David Ramsev the first tannerv. 
The next year, Vi ood and Mitchell also opened a wool card- 
ing mill, and Stephen Oaston began operating his cotton 
gin. A little later. Murphy and \\ atts opened their grist mill 
on what is now the corner of Kaskaskia and Chester streets. 

The first child, a son. was born to Mr. and Mrs. David 
Underwood in 1932. The first school teacher was Rev. 
Horatio Burns, who also had the distinction of being the 
first bridegroom in the precinct, his bride being Mrs. Martha 
Morgan. But the first marriage in Nashville was that of John 
Woods' daughter. Susan, and Mr. Champness Ball. The first 
atlornev was Ephriam Kilpatrick. 

In 1840, Malachi Jenkins began a larger hotel. The 
same year. Jacob Runk invented the sulky plow and began 
his plow factory. But he wasn't apparently alone in the 
invention, and he lost a lot of money in patent fights. His 
plow was awarded first premium at the state fair in Decatur 
in 1063. He also made the first steel mouldboard prairie 
breaker plow, presumably for a customer. Mr. Forman. 

In 1848. a large contingent of men from the county 
served in the Mexican War. taking part in some of the 
longest campaigns. 

In 1851. with Amos Watts as financial backer, the first 
newspaper appeared, with a succession of editors. It had a 
meteoric career, first as the Monitor, the Democrat, the 
Washington County Herald, the Jacksonian. finally expiring 
in 1866 as the Constitution. One reason was that the victor- 
ious Republicans in 1862 began the Nashville Journal, with 
Sheriff James Garvin as owner. Later the first German paper 
appeared, the Nashville Zeitung. followed shortly by the 
Volksblatt, which survived until 1920. There was also for 
some years a German public school. John Huegely started 
his mill in 1853. 

The second courthouse was built in 1810. the third in 
1855. This being in the days of open range law. one of the 
duties of the sheriff was to impound stray livestock and ad- 
vertise them for sale. The pound was between the courthouse 
and East Court street. This came to an end in 18.70. In 1882 
the courthouse burned to the ground and was replaced in 
1883 by the present building. On a minor note, the first 



city dump was along the creek, easl oi the 700 block of 
South Kaskaskia. 

\. D. Haj and sons opened the first bank in L869. The 
first Masonic Lodge was organized in 1847. Ii\ 1871 Nash- 
ville had a large German population which supported .1 
thriving Turner Society and had theii own hall. In 1883 
they celebrated the bicentennial of the arrival of the ship, 
S. S. Concord al Philadelphia, which in 1683 brought the 
first German emmigrants to Vmerica. 

I. Henr) Duekei opened his implement and wagon 
shop in 1867, followed by the establishment of the Hassinger 
Carriage Works in ll'.TO. In |;;77. Petei Peters opened the 
Nashville Foundry and Machine Shop, and several main 
street buildings -till have iron posts marked "Nashville 
Foundry." Ihi- enterprise stood .it the northeast cornel 
of \\. Maple ind Grand. 

rhe Wagenhals Furniture Factory, steam powered, be- 
gan in 1870, located south of Chestei street, between Mill 
and Kaskaskia. Brick was made locally in al least five brick- 
yards, the last and largest of which survived until in the 
L920s, located south of the 1. S \ tracks, easl of the elevator. 
It was called the Nashville Pressed Brick Co. Oscar Brand- 
1 1< >t ~- 1 and II. 1 . Brink are the only persons -till living 
who worked there. 

\ the turn of the centry, Nashville had two hip 
Hour milk, tin- Huegely and the Camp Spring, which made 
~nfi wheat flcinr and exported it on a large scale to the 
southern states and even I entral Vmerica. This trade ended 
during the depression years of the 1930s. The old Huegely 
mill burned in 1935, and was succeeded by the Huegely 
elevatoi and the other by the Nashville Milling Co. 

Uso at the turn of the century a group "I Nashvillians 
organized and operated an electric power plant j n~t wesl of 

the Greemt I cemetery, also operated an ice plant. Ire 

making continued until the middle 1930s, but powei ceased 
to flow some years before that, and it ■ > r 1 1 \ served as a sub- 
station foi the Southern Illinois Powei Co. It i- said the 

fii-t automobile run in Nashville was Owned l<\ a Mr. 

Peeples, who was manage] oi the plant. I he same promoters 
used the powei house lake and a nearby mineral spring as 
a summei resort, and erected a large two story building, 
with an encircling porch, for a resorl hotel. ["hey secured 
contracts with several St. Louis fraternal organizations to 
provide vacations for their members, bul the Carlsbad, as it 
was e.dled. 1,,-t it- popularity and the building was destroyed 
h\ fiie erne wintei night in the early 1900s. The bottled 
mineral water somehow nevei made a large market. 

Mr. \\ m. Sieveking, win' ua- OV« 90 when h<- retired 

in 1938, f"i many years operati d a Feed mill ,n['\ i ider press 
on \\ esl Goodnei street. Being of an experimental nature, 

he once ran a batch of carrots through the mill and pressed 

them, discovering thai carrot juice was quite g I. and that 

it also made an excellent jelly, so perhaps Nashville was the 
scene oi the firsl vegetable juice extraction in the nation. 

To backtrack a bit, in L876 Nashville staged a monster 
I ourth oi luly celebration to celebrate the centennial year, 
with a great variety of at traction-, including athletic events 
and a reception al the Buckeye Hotel foi Vbnei Fai kson, a 
Negro resident of the city, born in 177i>. ulm was also cele- 
brating hi- centennial, the only man in the county to do 
so at that time: however since then, there have been several 
of both sexes who have made it. 

• tut on Easl St. Louis street was one of the firsl brick - 
yards, also the Nashville creamery, the Lungstraus Brewery 
and latei the -team laundry. \n old dwelling located at the 
-ite oi the presenl Bracy -tore was the location of a laundry 

i ited hef,, re World Wai I by the only Chinese residents 

of Nashville. Latei the old house was torn down and the 
present building was erected to house a branch of the 
Chestei Knitting Mill- in the early 1920s. Their chief pro- 
duct, cotton hosiery, soon suffered a fatal I, low when 
feminine tastes changed to -ilk. 

\l-o gone today are the cigai maker-, the harness 
makers; Grovei Hassler's father, who learned the trade as 
a boy in Germany, once made some ware- for Queen Vic- 
toria of England when -he visited some of her German 
cousins. Nashville al-,, had a shoemakei al one time who 
had nearly a dozen people working for him. 

During the presidential campaign between Blaine ami 

Cleveland in the L890s, politics became really hot hen-, one 
of the events being a huge all-, lav rally by the Republicans, 
with .1 torchlight parade. Hearing of the event, an enter- 
prising young man named Harry Sternberg, noting that 
Nashville had no restaurant, rented an empty -tore building 
on Main street, set it up a- a restaurant, hired no less than 
fifi\ women t" bake pie- f,,i him. -locked up on coffee, 
and at a price ,,f a nickel f.,i a hunk of pie and coffee. 
made a handsome profit. 

It i- -aid a wolf den ua- loi ale, I jii-1 northwest of the 

courthouse, in Nashville's infancy, ["here were -till a few- 
wild turkeys hen- in L898. In 1906, what wa- supposedly 

the la-i deei shol in the county ».i- -hipped from DuBois 
I,, ( III' 

Perhaps the rreatest military forces ever to pa-- through 
the county ua- the <li\ long passage "f the First Vrmored 
Division in the summei of 1939, on maneuvei from Fort 
Km ■ ■. Kentucky to Fort Riley, Kansas, with the first scouts 
coming through early in the morning and the last reai 
guard late in the evening, quite a contrast to the | 
of thai intrepid hand of men. the Kentucky I ong Knives, 
mi, lei General ' Rogers < lark, so many years before. 


The Icarians: Five French Families in Washington County 

In 1851, five French families banded together and 
came to Washington County, settling in Section 36. Lively 
Grove township, in the area that was later called West 
Grandcote. There is nothing too unusual about this immi- 
gration except they were Icarians. The county had a sprink- 
ling of several nationalities at this time, but these people, 
members of a society founded in the U. S. by the French 
social reformer, F.tienne Cabet. were definitely the first sect 
to settle within the county's borders. 


This copy of an old woodcut shows Nauvoo when it was 
at its peak, rated the largest city in Illinois The Temple 
was the most imposing structure in the Midwest. The 
Icarians who came to Lively Grove first lived at Nauvoo. 

At Nauvoo, Illinois, far upstate, the Mormons had been 
driven out, the Prophets killed by an angry mob. the Mor- 
mon Temple destroyed. The Mormon exodus was already 
underway, and the town they built on the Mississippi river 
was dead and vacant. The Icarians simply seized the oppor- 
tunity to move in before the weeds started growing in the 

But their system of government, under Cabet, didn't 
woik. The sect broke up. Some moved to St. Louis. One 
young couple, deeply distressed because their children all 
died in infancy, sought this county as their future home, far 
away from the river lowlands and the fever-infested swamps. 
Four more young couples joined this family, and they 
divided a tract of land so each received 80 acres, and built 
their homes here so they would be neighbors. They pros- 
pered, enjoyed their new democratic freedom. Three of these 
couples had ten children each. Musically inclined, they 
loved to dance, some of them still in possession of the 
violins they brought from France. 

Today, there is still evidence of these family strains 
within the countv. Mrs. Frances Karg and her family are 
direct descendants of these French immigrants. In the ceme- 
tery near Coulterville there are Icarian graves, and recently 
at St. Louis, the grave of Etienne Cabet. the early French 
leader, was honored by the St. Louis French Society, Mrs. 
Karg being an invited guest at the ceremonies. 

The original Icarians settling near Lively Grove were 
Mr. and Mrs. Benoit Favre. Mr. and Mrs. Victor Pertuisot, 
Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Bouas. Mr. and Mrs. Jean Bonnat, 
Mr. and Mrs. Baptiste Etienne and Mrs. Etienne's father, 
Mr. George Gobel. 

The Historical Society of Washington County, Illinois 

Winston Churchill once said: "Nothing is final; change 
is unceasing." This must be fact, for each generation 
records, by written work or photo what happens today, 
realizing full well that never again will the subject be quite 
the same. This desire to record for posterity the happenings 
of today began thousands of years ago, and will continue 
so long as man exists. 

In Washington County on November 2, 1965, a gather- 
ing of 28 interested citizens concluded it was time to estab- 
lish an organization which would encourage the study of 
local historv and attempt to obtain and preserve items of 
interest of this and past generations for the education and 
interest of generations to come. 

Mr. Ernst Michael, chairman of the Washington County 
Board of Supervisors, appointed Mr. Venice Brink, David 
Watts and Lawrence E. House of Nashville; Grover Brink- 
man of Okawville; Miss Claudine Coulter of Oakdale; Mrs. 

Edgar Ibeudahl of Pilot Knob township, and Mrs. Willis 
Coulter of Lively Grove to serve as the first Historical 
Society Committee with a request that the organization be 
properly incorporated in this State. This was accomplished 
on March 18, 1966, and "The Historical Society of Wash- 
ington County, Illinois" became active. 

The Board of Supervisors on July 12, 1966 appointed 
Mr. Lawrence E. House, Society President, and Mrs. Edgar 
Ibendahl, Society Secretary to act as a Steering Committee 
to establish the Washington County Sesquicentennial Com- 
mission, which is the organization responsible for the 
publication of this book. 

This Commission was chosen at a public meeting on 
January 10, 1967. with Mr. Arthur L. Koetting. Jr. of 
Okawville as chairman: Norman Karg of Lively Grove as 
vice-chairman; Mrs. Don Thompson, secretary: and Wilbert 
H. Sachlleben, treasurer. 


History of the First Baptist Church, Nashville 

On August 23. L873, a group of Baptists led by Rev. 
W. II. Carner met in the M. E. Church .it Nashville to 
organize a Baptist Church. Rev. \\ . II. Hutchings was 
elected moderator and .1. M. Mason, clerk. Tin- charter 
members were: K. I . Mason, EUen Mason, James lrvin. 
Lucy lrvin. N.mcy Wright, Lucj Walker, Laura J. Mason, 
J. M. Mason. Klizabeth Gozney ami Jan. II. Rountree. 

< in November 3, 1873, Rev. II. II. Carnei was called 
as tlir first pastor. Other ministers who have served this 
church arc tlir Rev. J. C. Wilson, I. \. Schofield, \. J. De- 
lano, J. C. Harris, I. S. Reynolds, \\ . I ■'. \\ i-e. Alexander 
Rhine. W. W. Williams, Charles E. Hut. R. II. I laxon, 
E. B. Hibbitts, T. M. Hire. John C. Kanarr, II. E. Pettus, 
Julian E. Vtwood, E. E. Rice, E. I . Wendell, .!. C. Meier, 
M. E. Powley, H. P. Spiller, W. \. Ward, 0. S. 1 ..\ lor. Rex 
Brown, Abraham Wright, 0. R. Steiner, W. \. Gray, R. W. 
Pruett. Ceo. B. Leathers. Walter Miller. Carl I •'. Newland, 
Paul Hall, Bertie Smith. C. E. Mclntyre, Leroy Marvel. 
Raymond Mc \fee. 

The first church building was erected in 1874 at a 
cost of $2,91 L68. In September of the same year the church 
was admitted into the Nine Mile Baptist Association. The 
first reference to a Sunda) School is election of officers on 
June 23. 1833. J. M. Thomson was elected superintendent. 
Others who served in this capacity to date are: J. C. I ade, 
J. M. Mason, Jos. Morris, Wm. Reidelberger, Harry Stern- 
berg, W. II. Hughes, I va I. Luke, W. L. Hendricks, Alonzo 
Small. \\ . C. Gholson, Royal Bryan, Floyd Oholson. James 
Gillespie. Howard M. I 'ox, K. \. Small, Calv in I '.ade. Chester 
Moss, Edward I . Kemper, Jr.. Chester Moss. 

In the summer of L925, a basement and other im- 
provements were made at a cost of 83,200. The church had 
ioriL' Felt the need of more room, and in 1948 an educational 
annex, consisting of 13 classrooms, pastor's study and 
church office was made possible by a legacy from Mr. W. L. 
Troutt, the entire building program costing about S26,000. 
I lie church today ha* 22 I resident members. 


This old photo, taken about 1904, has nostalgia 
that will be shared by mam senioi citizens. The man 
behind the bar is the late Henry Klauke, one of the 
pioneers of Okawville. 

Mr. Klauke was horn at Blutzen, Hanover. Germany, 
came to America as a young man. Foi a time he worked 
on farms in the vicinity of Okawville, and at one time 
also made his livelihood as a commercial fisherman at 
Reel Foot Lake. Tennessee. 

He remembered the time a siege ol i bolera broke out 
in the area, took a heavy toll of life. In one day. Okaw- 
ville had eight funerals. 

When a young man. he purchased a store at Okawville 
from Henry Temme. who was the father of the late Julius 
Tenune. long an assessor of \\ ashington County. For years 
the huge brick two-Story building near tin- depot was a 
landmark in Okawville. The front section housed the tavern, 
the remainder of the floor given over to a general store. 
The family resided on the top floor. The building was 
built by Mascoutah brick masons, who also laid the bricks 
at the Okawville grade school thai originally stood on the 
block now occupied by the city municipal building. 

Mr. Klauke -tailed in business in Okawville about the 
same time the L&JN railroad was built through the county. 
\t that time it was called the Southeastern. Between the 
Klauke store at the depot and "downtown" Okaw- 
ville, a mile to the north was virgin forest connected 
onlv with a dirt road. 

If you'll examine this photo with a magnifying glass, 
you'll see that one side of the beer cooler has various hits 
of writing on it. in chalk. This was the amount of money 

The late Henry Klauke behind the bor in 1904. 

certain customers owed Mr. Klauke, rather a novel 
method of bookkeeping. 

The Klauke sloie. built in 1873, was a landmark at 
Okawville until it was ra/cd in 1965. 



Hugh P. Green, grandfather of Atty. P. E. Green of 
Nashville, was at least one county man who went to Cali- 
fornia in the gold rush of 1819. accompanied by a Mr. Lane. 
Upon his return via boat, he turned in his gold dust at a 
U. S. Mint and purchased 160 acres of land in the county, 
which is still in the family name. 

Anson A. Hinkley. of DuBois township, one of the first 
growers and packers of fine fruit in the county, was also a 
Conchologist of note. In spite of his agricultural interests, 
Mr. Hinkley never forgot his work in this scientific field, 
and was known as one of the leading Conchologists of the 
world, making many extended trips to Mexico and Central 
America. Ironically, his death occurred of a heart attack 
while he tried to extricate his car from a mud hole on a 
rural road west of DuBois. He was also one of the organizers 
of the DuBois State Bank. 

The First Presbvterian Church of Nashville was organ- 
ized by pioneer Presbyterians of Scotch descent, in 1832. 
It was called Elkhorn Presbyterian, located at Sawyer's 
Point, four miles west of Nashville. After Nashville had been 
established as the county seat, the meeting place was re- 
moved to the nearby town and the name changed. Here a 
frame building was erected on the site of the present city 
hall in 1851, at a cost of $1,400. The present building was 
dedicated June 19. 1885. 

An item concerning the Nashville Creamery, dated 
May 20, 1887. shows the firm received 5.000 pounds of 
milk that day. Farmers received 80^ per hundred pounds. 
The butter churned from the milk was on the market at 
22^ per pound. 

A Dr. Lucas in 1853 had a small drug store in Ashley 
before the community was legallv laid out as a town. Tru- 
man Gilbert opened a store in 1854. P. M. and E. McNail 
built the first sawmill there: later a small grist mill was at- 
tached, and a woolen card-mill. In 1866. Coffey. Brown and 
Harrison erected a large mill, and in 1873 J. L. Post started 
a second flouring mill, as well as a fruit-drying facility. 
First bank was opened by Pace Bros, in 1877. First news- 
paper was the Ashley Gazette, started in 1857: Robert Flem- 
ing next started a paper called "The Experiment," and 
David Benton edited the Ashley Herald. A. W. O'Bryant 
took over the Ashley Gazette in 1876. First regular school 
was taught in a log building that had been the James Wood- 
rome residence, in 1829: first teacher was Jarvis Jackson. 

The original members of the Pilot Knob Methodist 
Church, which closed in 1961, were German immigrants. A 
tornado destroyed the first church building before it was 
completed, a second church was erected in 1890. Truman 
Brandt was the last minister to serve the church. In August, 
1965, a cemetery association was formed, to maintain the 
cemetery on the grounds where the church once stood. The 
original church bell has been enclosed in a shelter here. A 

marble slab bears this inscription: Bell mounted by trustees 
of Pilot Knob Cemetery Association in memorial of early 
Methodist founders. 

Mr. Jack D. Huggins. Belleville. Illinois public account- 
ant, claims as his great-great-great grandfather. Robert Hug- 
gins, and his great-great-great grandmother. Kate Lively. 
The Lively-Huggins family were the principals in the Lively 
Indian Massacre near Covington. 

Paul L. Poirot, of Irvington-on-the Hudson. New York, 
where he edits the national magazine. The Freeman, a form- 
er Beaucoup boy. writes the editors as follows: "Remember 
that the true history of Washington County is in the records 
of those who lived their lives there," then cites the fact that 
his parental grandparents fled oppression in Europe to settle 
and raise their family in Washington County, where his 84- 
year-old father. E. W. Poirot last year was visited bv the 
teacher who taught him in the first grade at Pleasant Grove, 
between Hoyleton and Beaucoup. 

A draw running through the southwestern part of Nash- 
ville was once called the Tennessee River because many of 
the city's first settlers came from that state. 

Long years ago. Peter Bieser was known as "the blind 
city clerk" at Nashville. 

Although only incorporated since 1929. Radom has 
been in existence since 1856. when the hamlet was laid out 
by two New \ orkers. on land purchased from the I. C. rail- 
road. One of these men was no other than General G. B. 
Turchin. The other was Nicholas Nichalski. The town 
grew to a peak population above 300, but gradually de- 
clined. Joseph Gloskowski was the first railway agent and 
postmaster. St. Michael's Catholic Church there is an out- 
standing edifice. 

Wamac, at the border of three counties, and getting 
its name from the first two letters of Washington, the first 
two of Marion and the "c" from Clinton, had the honor 
of having the first woman voter in Illinois. She was Mrs. 
0. W. Coleman, who voted on July 5, 1913 at the first 
election after Woman Suffrage was made legal in the state. 
This also was the first election held in the newly formed 
town of Wamac. 

In 1894. Coxey's Army camped on Crooked Creek, on 
its way to the capitol at Washington, in one of the first 
"protest marches" to make the headlines. Jacob Sechler 
Coxey. popularly known as "General Coxey," later ran for 
U. S. President, was defeated. Coxey's grandiose plan was 
to put all unemployed at building roads. 

\^ hen the Nashville Fire Department sold its old pump- 
er, back in the thirties, it was purchased by Oscar Decker, a 
farmer, who used it to irrigate his fruit orchards. 



The late Julius Temme, long an assessoi of Okawville 
township was conceded to be the tallesl man in the county. 

He stiMul six feet. seven inches in his stocking feet. 

St. Luke Church .u Covington was built in 1885; St. 
John's ('.lunch at I'lutn Mill was huilt in 1854, upon four 
acres of land given by J. I ■'. Mangenalker; St Paul's I . \ R. 
Church, southwest of Okawville, was built in 1850. 

Nashville was honored by a visit from Charles A. Lind- 
bergh, who stopped there to \ relatives -non after his 
record trans-oceanic (light in 1927. 

In llllil). \shlev had 1 dry goods stores, 2 grocery 
Stores, 3 hardware stores, a furniture store. .'? blacksmith 
shops, 1 nulls, a jeweler, meat market. 3 restaurants. 2 shoe 
shops, 3 livery stables and 3 grain dealers. There were also 

two Methodist churches, a Baptist, Christian and Universa- 
lis! church. 

Haley's Comet, still remembered by many of the 
county'- senioi citizens, was visible here in 1910. At the 
time, many predicted the end oi the world. 

Without doubt, Judge W. P. Green held the county 
record for elective judicial office, being elected in 1910 
and retiring in 1950. 

limestone, secured from the state penitentiary at Ches- 
ter, was first spread on the Minkley farm. Ashley, in 1907, 
inaugurating the movement of soil improvement that has 
continued ever since. 

St. Ann's Catholic Church at Nashville started as a 
mission from Okawville. Its first building was destroyed by 
fire. Today, its fine church and school is considered one of 
the outstanding achievements of a dedicated parish. 


The Okawville Baptist Chapel had its birth in the home 
of Thomas \Y. I.uker on Februarv 21. 1905. with eleven in 
attendance, under the leadership of Rev. John Wittmer, 
superintendent of missions of the Nine Mile Association. 
There wen- seventeen present in the meeting on the Follow- 
ing Sunday. On March 7. 1965 services were moved to the 
Riechman building near the depot, On September I. 1965 
this building was purchased. The Sunday School was of- 
ficially organized into classes and departments. (Ilher Bap- 
tist churches contributed to the development of this new 
charge. When the mission came under the sponsorship of 
the Beaucoup Baptist Church of Pinckneyville, the charter 
membership »a- established in this union with the mother 
church, ["here were 20 charter members. The mission con- 
tinued with supply preachers and an interim pastor, Ernest 
Queen of DuQuoin. 

In September, 1965, Rev. Bill Williams was called as 
pastor, assuming his duties on October 31. With his wife, 
Beverly and daughter. Julie, he moved into the newly re- 
rhodeled parsonage, above the chapel, in November. 

During the pasl I!, months. Sundaj scl I enrollment 

has grown from In to 65, and sixteen new members have 
joined the church, nine bv letter from other churches anil 
seven bv baptism. The chapel held its initial \ aealion Bible 
School in 1966, with 10 enrolled, anticipates an even larger 
enrollment tin- ve.u. \ strip of ground immediately ad- 
joining the chapel in the rear has been purchased. \ revival 
Was held in \pril. another i- anticipated. The mi — ion is 
looking forward to the d.iv when the body will be strong 
enough to constitute a church. 

The Okawville Baptist Chapel. 



We do not know who was the first Methodist to set 
foot in Washington County. It might have been Captain 
Joseph Ogle, one of Ceorge Rogers Clark's soldiers, who 
so well liked the land he had helped conquer from the 
British that, along with a group of veterans of that cam- 
paign, he returned and settled in Monroe and St. Clair 
counties, between 1782 and 1785. Ogle was a Methodist 
and one of the first zealous religious leaders in Illinois. 

It could also have been Rev. Hosea Riggs. an early 
Methodist preacher in Illinois. It is known that Riggs 
journeyed to Mount Gerizim. Kentucky, where the western 
conference of the Methodist Church was holding its annual 
session, and appealed for official help to meet the oppor- 
tunities and challenges in the new land. 

The conference, which at that time covered all Metho- 
dist endeavor west of the Alleghanies, responded by ap- 
pointing Benjamin Young a missionary to Illinois. The 
date was 1803, and Young could well have been the first 
Methodist. Also, it could have been the veteran sin-splitter, 
the Rev. Jesse Walker, who was appointed the first pre- 
siding elder of what was called the Illinois District of the 
Methodist Conference, in 1806. 

The first county records we have tell of Methodist 
class organization in Beaucoup township in 1819, led by 
three local preachers who had settled there, Mr. James 
Walker, Mr. Daniel Whittenberg. and Mr. Rhodum Allen. 
Soon there was an increasing number of Methodists here, 
and for years the Beaucoup community was a strong Metho- 
dist center. A camp meeting was annually held there on 
the spot where the present Beaucoup Mehodist Church 
stands, continuing for years. 

By this time. Methodism in Illinois had five circuits 
served by ordained ministers. Since 1815 the church here 
had been part of the Missouri Conference, Washington 
County being included in the Okaw circuit. Sometime 
later, Orcenith Fischer, local preacher, settled in Nash- 
ville township, built the first dwelling there in 1830. In 
1824, all of Illinois, had its own Methodist conference. 

The Nashville Methodist Church dates from 1832. 
Many of these first Methodists were people of Irish descent 
who came from Tennessee, and among their leaders were 
such men as Dempsey Kennedy, a well-to-do planter who 
came north to get out of a slave state because slavery had no 
place in his religion. After his arrival here, he freed his slaves. 

Washington County was part of the Mt. Vernon Meth- 
odist Circuit until 1837 when it separated to become the 
Nashville Circuit. Liberty Church in section 24. Beaucoup, 
was started in 1831. Richview Church in 1842 and Ashley 
in 1840. 

In the autumn of 1844. Nashville was the scene of an 
event which has had considerable weight on the Methodist 
Church nationally. Possibly this was the most important his- 
torical event that ever occurred in this county. 

In the Spring, the general conference of the church had 
met, with the slavery issue the focal point of contention. 
Soon an impasse developed to the point where it was clear a 
division of the church was inevitable. The southern section 
which threatened to secede wanted to take with them half of 
all the nationally-owned propertv of the church, its publish- 
ing house and colleges. No definite conclusion was reached, 
and it was left to the action of the various other conferences 
as to which plan should be approved. The Illinois delegation 
had been divided. 

When the conference met in Nashville, there was one 
noted person present, all prepared to sway the conference to 
the view that southerners would be secessionists if they 
broke the unity of the church. 

This was the Reverend Peter Cartright. the veteran cir- 
cuit rider, who had fled Kentucky years ago because it was a 
slave stale. Cartright was noted for never mincing words, for 
being a gifted speaker, an untiring servant of the church, al- 
beit in hot water at times for his propensity to mix religion 
and politics, having served as legislator for some years. 

The conference voted to sustain Cartright and demand 
that the church nationally defend itself against all secession- 
ists. As this was a first annual conference of the church, its 
action had a great effect on all the other succeeding ones, 
and a large majority followed suit. Thus, a first division was 
formed on a national scale over the slavery question in a 
large religious denomination. The form it took was influ- 
enced by the action of the Illinois conference in Nashville. 

In 1852 the Southern Illinois Conference was created 
bv dividing the Illinois Conference, and even before this, the 
German immigrants in the area started work for a separate 
district. The Rev. William Heminghaus was the first among 
these men in this countv. His group was organized in Nash- 
ville in 1853. with the Rev. Peter Hehners as pastor, includ- 
ing members from Nashville. Little Prairie, North Prairie 
and other nearby communities in the circuit. The Nashville 
First Church became a station, apart from the circuit in 
1857. Before the Civil War, churches had been organized in 
Irvington and Okawville. 

When the war broke out. the Southern Illinois Confer- 
ence was strongly pro-L/nion despite the fact that many of 
its members were of southern descent. Many of these fami- 
lies, be it remembered, had come to Illinois to flee slavery, 
and some strongly opposed it. 

The Southern Illinois Conference furnished more chap- 
lains to the Lnion Army than did many larger groups. When 
the war ended, however, a feeling persisted by many that the 
church had gotten into politics too much with its strongly 
pro-LJnion stand, these families banded into groups seek- 
ing separate organizations. They were about to effect a mer- 
ger when it was learned that the M. E. Church South would 
welcome them. This was an answer, and it was agreed they 



would become a pari of the Illinois conference of the M. E. 
Church South. A first session of this group was hold on Oc- 
tober 1<>. L867 at the Presbyterian Church in Nashville, 
Bishop I>. S. I toggetl presiding. 

County-wise, a group had been in existence since L864, 
and in L867 the) erected a building, Liter took the name of 
Forman Memorial Church. 

After the Civil War, Methodist churches were organized 
in DuBbis, Bethel (section 32, Beaucoup Township); Pleas- 
ant Grove (section -'. Beaucoup township); Locust Creek 
(section 35, Nashville township); an.! Maple Grove in (sec- 
tion 2''. Irvington township). I here also wa- .1 rather short- 
lived congregation in Hoyleton which wa- larger) sui 
1p\ Bethel Methodist Church of the German conference, due 
to the German infiltration in that community. German 
churches were also organized at North Prairie. 1 section 20, 
Hoyleton town-hip 1. ami at Pilot Knob. 

All of these various groups reflected an expanding pop- 
ulation atul the ilesire to have a church nearby, due to trans- 
portation \ ia horse anil Im 

The German congregations of Southern Illinois hecame 
a part of the Southeast German Conference in L864, and a 
feu years later joined the German Conference "f St. Louis. 

Assimilation into American life ami World War I 
brought about the en. I of need F01 such, ami in 1926 it was 
merged in the geographical conferences. The foui German 
Methodist churches in the county joined the Southern llli- 
nois conference. Changing time- ami especially the ail vent of 
the automobile brought about the end of some "f the -mall 
er churches. In I'M'' there was a union of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, 
ami the Methodist Protestant Church into the Methodist 
Church. Once again there "a- only one Methodist bod) in 
\\ ashington < lounty. 

In 1953, the three separate congregations in Nashville 
merged into one. named Grace Methodist Church. 

Toda) then- an- Methodist congregations in Nashville, 
Okawville, Hoyleton. Irvington, Richview, Ashley, Beaucoup 
and DuBois. 

Okawville's Post Office Through the Years 

I'niipie as it sound-. Okaw ville's fir-t po-trnastei was 
a woman. Mary \. White, who assumed office \ugust 1. 
1884. The post office at that earl) date was located in that 
segment of the community called "South Okawville," evi- 
dently nut within the town it-elf. Mrs. White served until 
Ma) '■! 1889, when -he was succeeded b) Hy. Strauss, 

whose term for some reason was "f -holt duration, \pril 1. 

1889 toll,,,,- L5, 1889. 

Herman Schulze assumed office June 1. 188'), served 
until June 30, 1893, "hen Mrs. White came hack into the 
service, starting July 1. 1893, terminating August 31, 1897. 

Thomas Cantrell was Okawville'- next po-tma-ti 
suming duties September 1. 1897, t.. December 31, 1907. 

The post office at that time wa- in a mom north of the 

Moehle-Tscharner store, the former hank building, Hanover 
and St. Louis streets. 

Geo. F. Tscharner succeeded Cantrell, assuming duties 

January I. 1908. I ntil June 1909, Okawville wa- a Fourth 
class office, hut in Jul) "f that veat it wa- advanced to third 
class, maintaining that status for 15 years. 

Tschamei -erve.l until lime 16, L913, when he was 
succeeded b) W m. I •'. Ilagehu-ch. who took office June 17, 
1913, continued in that capacity until August IT. 1921. The 

office wa- now in the W. < '.. Frank building, Front & Wal- 
nut -licet-, having moved there in 1915. 

I. \\ . Miller succeeded Hagebusch, serving until June 
2 1. 1930, whin he wa- succeeded b) Chester \. Bailey 
(June 24, L930 to lul) 31, 1934 I, when Frank H. Morgan 
took over the duties, sen ing until July 31, 1949. 

\rthur I . Koetting, Jr., the present incumhent. started 
his dutie- August 1. I'M'). The move to the new post office 

building on Nashville & High streets took place May 11. 
I960. The office i- now advanced to second class Mi 
Kathleen Grattendick ami Mr-. Bertha Schwankhaus are 
assistants. Stanley W . Garbs i- the rural carrier. 

b II. Strickei md Wm. I. Lohmeier, both de- 
ceased, -erveil long tenure- a- rural carrier- OUl of the 
local office, with I red Schorfheide a- assistant. August 

Grefe currentlv i- the assistant carrier. 



Washington County is one of the few counties in the 
state that can boast it has a $750,000 modern hospital, debt 
free. (Actual cost of hospital, including new equipment that 
has been added is $754,224.92 ) . 

No tax was collected to pay the hospital cost. The only 
tax is a small operational tax charged to people in the hos- 
pital district. All memorials, donations, and funds that are 
received go toward future expansion and added equipment, 
to better serve the medical needs of the entire county. 

Here is rather an amazing statistical tabulation: 

Hospital site I 5 acres I was donated by Amos H. Watts 
and Wadsworth W. Watts; Rueter estate, $194,283.88: 
pledges and donations from organizations and individuals 
of Nashville and Washington County, $287,613.97; Hill 
Burton Federal Crant, $183,000: City Government of Nash- 
ville, $97,500; Memorials. $17,943.73. 

The hospital has 37 beds with four extra in time of 
overflow. Several times during the past year all beds have 
been full. 

There were 112 births at the hospital in 1963; 104 in 
1964; 100 in 1965; 82 in 1966, and 48 (so far) in 1967, 
making a total of 446. 

Total patients average daily census: 16.5 in 1963; 21.8 
in 1961: 19.1 in 1965; 21.1 in 1966; 24.9 in 1967. Total 
admissions. 3,686. Total dollars medical service rendered, 
1966, $251,722.27. The hospital has 65 full time and five 
part time employes. Five county doctors are on the staff, as 
well as 32 consulting physicians, and three dentists. 

The Bridget Hughes Hospital 

Nashville's first hospital, started as a $5,000 corpora- 
tion in 1907. was through an initial gratuity of Bridget 
Hughes, whose will left most of her estate for that purpose. 
The hospital I now the Farm Bureau building ) was opened 
in the fall of 1910, with 25 beds. As an early hospital, it 
did an admirable job, but was forced to close during the 
summer of 1922. Bridget Hughes, whose life was the hard 
work of a domestic, also left small sums to several county 
churches and the orphanage at Hoyleton. 

Revolutionary War Burials in the County 

According to Harriet J. Walker's much-used record 
of Revolutionary Soldiers Buried in Illinois, published in 
1918, upon the anniversary of Illinois' first one hundred 
years, there were four recorded burials in Washington 

county, as follows: 

GEORGE BROWN was from Virginia, born in Chester- 
field county in 1752. He enlisted in Charlotte county March. 
1780, serving two months with Capt. Thomas Williams: 
again in 1781 for two months under Capt. Dudley Barrel 
and Col. Peter Muhlenberg: again he served for two months 
under Capt. Pickeway and Col. Holt Richardson. He re- 
moved to Washington county. Illinois, where he died March 
21. 1842. He was pensioned. 

JAMES CRABTREE was from Virginia, where he 
served in the war as ensign in the Washington county line 
of troops. He came to Washington county, Illinois, and 
died there. He was pensioned. 

CONRAD GOODNER was from North Carolina, and 
served from that state. He came to Illinois, settling in St. 
Clair county, but removed to Washington county, where 
he died. He was pensioned. 

THOMAS McCLERKEN was from Chester county, 
Camden district. South Carolina. He removed to Kentucky, 
and from there to Indiana, and thence to Washington coun- 
ty. Illinois, where he died, and is buried near Sparta. A 
stone tells of his being a Revolutionary soldier. Each year 
the Grand Army post places flowers on his grave. At the age 
of 95 years he applied for a pension, but doubtless died 
before it was granted. "County and Family Histories." 

There have been unconfirmed stories of other Revolu- 
tionary War burials in Washington County, in unmarked 
hi forgotten graves. Perhaps some of this is true, but 
as far as the editors of this book can attain, there are no 
records of the same. 


History of St. John's 
Church, Johannesburg 

Early in the 1800$, Napoleon had most of Europe 
anxious and afraid. Because of war, poverty and fear 
of the future, many German people came to America 
in an effort to find freedom and a better life. Some of 
these German- who came from Hanover and West- 
phalia in the northern part of the province, settled in 
the Johannisburg community. Their faith was that of 
the Evangelical Church of Prussia, which was a union 
of the Reformed and Lutheran faiths. 

These people organized the Independent Evan- 
gelical Lutheran St. Johannes Congregation here in 
1837. (The first written history, by Rev. \dolf Diet- 
rich, begins in L883, however judging by the first list 
of children who were baptized, it is concluded that 
the congregation existed as early as 111.37. I The first 
church building was of logs, erected on the northwest 
corner of the present park block. It also served a- a 
schoolhouse, where the children were taught the 
man language and the Christian religion from the 
Lutheran catechism and the Bible. 

In 1842 the church in Vened) separated from the 
Johannisburg congregation. \ disagreement about the 
hvmn books is given as the reason for the separation. 
This group, in turn, joined the Missouri Svnod of 
the Lutheran Church. 

St. John's congregation continued to grow. \ new 
church building was completed and dedicated on Palm 
Sunday, \pril L3, 1851. This building did ool have 
a steeple, and the bell was hung in a wooden frame 
alongside the church. 

In 1<357 some of the members of St. John's who 
lived in Elkhorn Prairie separated from the mother 
church and organized the St. Peter's Church and 
school there. This was a friendly separation, because 
of distances involved. This new community was fir-t 
called St. Petersburg hut later changed it- name to 
Stone Church. 

In 1865 the old log schoolhouse was found in- 
adequate and a new brick building was built. The 
present park was laid out in 1878. 

In 1883 the steeple, with two rooms, was added 
to the church building, increasing it to it- present 
length. In 1891 the building was renovated and arched 
windows set in. In the same year the fii-l pa-tor of the 
Evangelical Svnod of North \merica was called. I p to 
this time the pastors were "free" ministers. This new 
Evangelical pastor was Rev. C. I. Knicker, who in- 
troduced the Evangelical Hymnal and Catechism. 

In 189.3 the present parsonage wa- built, super- 
ceding a small building of two room-. Later a kitchen 


St. John's Church at Johannisburg, 
before the fence was removed. 

and two rooms were added. In I ' ' 1 2 the brick school- 
linii-e was partially destroyed in a heavy rainstorm. It 
was decided to huild a new frame building, larger 
than the old structure. 

In 1913 the Ladies \id Society was organized 
while Rev. Ih. I hilau was pastor. This group financed 
the renovation of the church interior in 1925. <>n 
October 3. ]"37. St. John's joined the South Illinois 
Synod of Evangelical and Reformed Churches. In 1918 
the church interioi was again redecorated, a utility 
room added and a furnace installed. 

In 1959 St. John's formed a "charge" with St. 
Peter's al Stone Church, in which they agreed to 
-hare one pastor. New E. & R. hymnals were pur- 
chased in L961. 

Herewith i- the li-t of pastors who served the 

congregation: Ottomar Fuerbringer, Vim. Frank. Wm. 
Flickinger, Christoph II. Erni, R. Knoll. Gustav Staig- 
er, Gusta\ Seydel, P. Lorentzen, Vdolph Von Menger- 
shausen, Carl Munter, P. \\ . Schaefer, Vdolf Dietrich. 
Adalbert Hammerschmidt, \\ . Weber, \. Ilauft, C. J. 
Knicker, I . Hugo, \. Seffzig, IV. Hempelmann, Wm. 
Schuessler, P. Krickhahn, Chr, Bendigkeit, J. Krause, 
Theo. Otto Uhdau, Theophil Wittlinger, Fred Hock. 
Dr. Theol. <'. Schieler, Herman Erber, Rev. I 
Rheinhold Schmiechen, Carl \. I. Buck, J. M. Hertel, 
Edwin Eigenrauch, \\.\u^ M. Nottrott. 

litor's Note: Photogenically, the Johannisburg 
church easilj i- a "prize" in the county, its simple 
yet dominant architecture reminiscent of an age that 
i- fast disappearing from the Vmerican scene). 



Coal has been part of Washington County's in- 
dustry for decades. The Number Six vein is too deep 
within county borders for the inroads of the big strip- 
ping shovels, but deep-shaft mines have tapped this 
vein at various spots, to consistent, long-lasting com- 
mercial profit. Some of the county coal mines have 
been short-lived, others just the opposite. The Bois 
Coal Company mine, closed in September 1961, long 
a Landmark at DuBois, was the oldest mine in Illinois. 


closed about 1939, after an old oil well flooded the 
tunnels, making operation unprofitable. This mine, 
alongside the L&N tracks east of the depot, once 
served as a coaling station for the railroad before the 
days of the diesels. Nothing remains of the mine today. 

Ashley had a deep-shaft mine, south of route 
460, but it has been closed for a long time. 

Okawville's first coal mine was sunk near the 
spot where the state highway building now stands. It 
went down to the No. 6 vein, but the coal here had a 
bad fault, about two feet of slag mixed in the vein, so 
really only about four feet of coal could be mined. 
The mine closed shortly after World War I as an un- 
profitable operation. It's hoisting engine and cages 
were purchased by the new mine at Venedy. 

Okawville's second mine, sunk southeast of the 
L&N depot, on what is now the Riechmann land, had 
a short life as well, closing in 1941, about two years 

The Venedy Coal Company Mine, only 
remaining mine in Washington County. 

The Clarkson mine at Nashville before it was dismantled. 

Nashville, currently without a coal mine, has had 
two deep-shaft mines in its past. The old Huegely 
Mine, south of present Illinois Highway 460, near the 
Missouri-Illinois tracks, is little more than a memory. 

Nashville's second mine, operated by the Nich- 
olson Coal Company, later selling out to Clarkson, 

after it started operation. The shaft here went down 
to the No. 6 vein, but a fault in the coal seam made 
mining unprofitable. All that remains of this mine 
today is a pile of rubble that was once part of the 
boiler room. 



The DuBois mine before if was abandoned. 

Washington County's only operating coal mine 
today is the deep-shaft mine of the Venedy Coal Com- 
pany, currently employing 22 men. The mine was 
started by the Adolph Brockschmidt family, Ed. Petri. 
William Bergmann and Herman Ma-chuff, back in 
1921, mining its first coal in 1922. The shaft here is 
260 feet deep, to the No. 6 vein, which at this point 
often reaches a depth of eight feet. The Scanlan 
Brothers took over the operation of the mine in 
July, 1946. Recently the mine set a production rec- 
ord of 210 tons of coal in a single day. 

The twin shafts of the Darmstadt Coal Company, 
started about L910, were so near the county line 
in \\ ashingon County that the mine produced coal 
from both this county and St. Clair County. 

The No. 5 Mine of the Centralis Coal Co.. locale. I 
just inside Washington County borders at Wamac, is 

the only mine within the county ever suffering a 
major tragedy. On Much 26, 1947, a dust explosion 
al 3:30 trapped nearly 130 men in the tunnel-. When 
the were brought up from the smoking death- 
trap, one by one. the total finally reached 111. rated 
as one of the worst mine disasters in Illinois. Operat- 
ing full blast in the war year-, with little thought for 
the safet) of the men. accumulation of coal dw-t in 
the tunnel- finally triggered the blast 

A county miner. Ted Keil of DuBois. labelled 
"No. U2" las between life and death for months, 
finalK recovered, and went hack to work in the -arc 

shaft. Later No. 5 was closed, it- shaft filled and all 
topside rigging removed. In Foundation Park, Cen- 
tralia, a bronze plaque todaj lists the name- of the 
111 men win. died in this holocaust. The Btorj of 



"Old No. 5," and the needless death of 111 miners, 
has been the subject of many articles in national 
periodicals, down through the years. 

If there is any romance connected with the grim 
task of mining coal, it goes to the little mine at Du- 
Bois, closed in 1961, called the oldest mine in the 

Ted Keil, survivor of the No. 5 disaster, check- 
ing names of the 111 dead on Centralia plaque. 

state. The shaft went down during the days of Lincoln, 
so narrow that the mine mules had to be set on their 
haunches to make the trip. Located alongside the Ill- 
inois Central tracks, the mine saw the birth of the 
famous Hayes ten-wheelers, and no less a personality 
than the legendary Casey Jones rode the high iron 
past it. The mine was never modernized. Miners op- 



*^*^ <•<-***.. ^ h ™ 

All that remains of Okawville's last coal mine. 



erated with open-flame lamps on their caps, used 
pick and shovel methods to mine coal. A serious 
cave-in at shafthead finally closed the mine. Today 
the shaft has been filled, all the top rigging removed. 

There have been several other attempts at coal 
mining within county borders, none of which reached 
the commercial stage. 

In addition to the mines mentioned here, there 
also is a "natural" coal mine in the county, almost 
forgotten today. At a spot on the Kaskaskia river, 
known as Coal Stone ford, Covington township, a 
natural out cropping of coal was mined by the pio- 
neers when the river was at low stage. The vein still 
is visible, but can be viewed only during mid-summer 
when the river stage is extremely low. 



By Cdr Earl R. Smith 

T. W. Smith opened a law office and announced 

he would take clients in Madison, Washington. Bond, 
and St. Clair Counties. May 2>). 1»19. 

Dr. John H. Lamhert of Carlyle in Washington 
County was agent to collect neighborhood news for 
the Edwardsville "Spectator" and to receive payment 
for subscriptions to that paper in his county. June 
5. 1819. 

Chester Ashley opened a law office in Wash- 
ington County. June 5. L819. 

The town of Carlyle advertised that it was very 
much in need of a shoemaker and cobbler. June 18, 

Harry Willton and Elizabeth Allen, both of Wash- 
ington County, were married by Lewis Laughlin, 
Esquire, on August 22. 1819. 

John I^ee and Beulah Burton were married by 
Mr. Laughlin on September 1. 181'). 

The property of Jacob Meyer, deceased, was sold 
at public auction. September 2.">. 181'). 

Nathaniel S. Benton. Attorney, announced that 
he would take clients in \\ asbington County. Feb- 
ruary. 1820. 

John Kain. a County Commissioner, approved a 

bill in bankruptcy filed by John Martin. Hi- assignee 
was Harry Willton. March I. 1820. 

Mr. Kain also approved a bill in bankruptcy 
filed by Joseph loss. His assignee was George Pogue. 
March 3. 1820. 

The Honorable William H. Bradsbv. Clerk of 
the County Commissioners Court of Washington Coun- 
ty, announced the sale at auction, on the 3rd Monday 
of April. 18.20. of the goods, chattels and credits of 
Walter Hull, deceased. 

The state census <>f 1820 -bowed thai Washington 
County bad a population of 1,514 whites and 33 
colored people. 

A group of Washington County citizens, headed 
by Thomas F. Herbert. Chairman, and Thomas Lawr- 
ence. Secretary, met in the Carlyle Hotel and adopted 
a resolution to wear crape on the left arm for thirty 
days to mourn the death of the national hero, Com- 
modore Stephen Decatur. April 1".. 1820. 

On June 13, 1820, it was announced thai one 
of the recent!) established post roads in Illinois would 
run from Kaskaskia, b\ the Irish Settlement. Coving- 
ton. Carlyle, and Penyville, to VandaJia. 

\ summons was served on Stephen Easton to 

appeaj in the Washington County Circuit Court in 
Covington to -bow cause why his wife, Polly, should 
not be granted a divorce. July 7, 1820. 

Benjamin Mills was a practicing attorney in 
Washington County. When in Greenville on business 
and while attending court be was the house guest of 
Doctor Perrine. August 9, 1820. 

On Thursday, August 17. 1820. Daniel McKinnev 
of Jefferson County was married to Fanny Williams of 
Washington County by William Vandergrift, Esquire. 
The wedding took place at the Eagle Salt Works 
near Carlyle. 

Washington County was represented in the State 
Senate by Zach Maddox and in the House of Repre- 
senatives by Charles Slade. September 12, 1820. 

Candidates for Congress were Mr. Cook and Mr. 
Elias Kent Kane. It was rumored that the latter had 
the support of the slavery party. October 10, 1820. 

Nearlj everybody in Washingon County read the 
Edwardsville "Spectator." The Editor announced that 
there would be no edition published for the first week 
of February, 1821, because he had loaned too much 
of his printer's ink to a neighboring newspaper and 
had not been paid back in time to go to print. 

On February 20, 1821, it was announced that 
the Honorable William H. Bradsbv had been elected 
Judge of the Washington County Probate Court. 

\n editorial dated February 20, 1821, expressed 

the view that entirely too many counties were being 

formed in Illinois and that several applications to form 
-till more had been "rejected by the good sense of 
the legislature." 

On Man h I I. 1821, there arrived at the Town 

of Carlyle in Washington Count] tin- elegant barge 
"Eliza Martin", burthen about 130 tons, owned by 
lain.- Strode of Virginia and laden with 75 tons of 
metal bu the Eagle "-aline. 

On February 15, 1822, Barton Gilbreath was 

married in Mr-. Tayloi in Covington. 



At Carlyle on May 7, 1822, John W. Skipmore 
was married to Sarah Ann Foss, daughter of John 
Foss, formerly of Baltimore, Maryland. 

William H. Bradsby, Esquire, allowed himself to 
be named a candidate for election to the office of 
Major General to fill the vacancy occasioned by the 
resignation of General Moore. June 22, 1822. 

On February 4, 1823, the Senate confirmed the 
nomination of James Temple as a Justice of the Peace 
for Washington County. 

It was learned, on April 19, 1823, that Colonel 
Bankston, Senator for Washington County, had suc- 
cessfully blocked a move to create a new county 
of which Carlyle would have been the center. The 
Senator's action was based on the fear that the move 
had been the result of an unholy bargain with certain 
members of the conventionist ( slavery ) party. 

It was discovered that the water from a certain 
well, situated on a high ridge in the prairie near to 
the road, leading from Carlyle to Shawneetown, had 
the same properties as sal cartharticus amarus (Epsom 
salts) and should be an excellent source of revenue for 
the community. November 8, 1823. 

On October 12, 1824, Colonel William H. Brads- 
by of Covington was a candidate for Elector of Presi- 
dent and Vice President. His instructions were to vote 
for Henry Clay for President and Mr. Sanford of New 
York for Vice President. 

On October 19, 1824, Henry Sharp, Esquire, of 
Washington County, was a candidate for Elector, with 
instructions to vote for Henry Clay for President and 
for "some tried Republican as Vice President." 

Representing Washington County in the Fourth 
General Assembly ( November 23, 1824) were Colonel 
Bankston, Senator, and Philo Beers, Representative. 
Mr. Beers was appointed to a committee to investigate 
other members to determine if each had satisfied the 
statutory requirement of residency in their respective 

On Saturday, December 11, 1824, Mr. Beers pre- 
sented a remonstrance of sundry citizens of Wash- 
ington County against a division thereof. 

On December 21, 1824, the public learned of the 
final outcome of the General Election for and against 
a proposed convention which had for its purpose an 

Amendment to the Illinois State Constitution to make 
it a slave state. The results showed that the citizens 
of Washington County had voted 112 For and 173 
Against the convention. 

On Wednesday, December 22, 1824, a bill was 
passed to form a new county, to be named Clinton, 
out of parts of Washington, Bond and Fayette. Among 
those voting in favor of forming the new county was 
Colonel Bankston, Senator for Washington County. 

In the Fifth General Assembly Washington Coun- 
ty was represented in the Senate by Joseph A. 
Beaird and in the House by Charles Slade. Septem- 
ber 29, 1826. 

The local representatives for collecting news and 
receiving payment for subscriptions to the Columbus 
(Sparta) "Herald" were David F. White, Postmaster 
at Beaucoup: John White, Sheriff at Nashville; and 
William Boyd, Postmaster at Nashville. September 
13, 1839. 

James McClurken. living in Elk Horn Prairie, 14 
miles west of Nashville on the headwaters of Mud 
Creek, offered a $5 reward for the return of a black 
mare which had strayed. Mr. McClurken was the 
owner of the steam mill. January 3, 1840. 

Several complaints were registered with the Post- 
master at Beaucoup because the Columbus (Sparta) 
■"Herald" had not arrived on time. Friday, January 
10, 1840. 

The local representatives for the Sparta "Demo- 
crat" were Z. H. Vernor, Postmaster of Nashville, and 
D. S. White. Postmaster of Beaucoup, Friday, May 
8, 1840. 

On March 6, 1841. Henry Huggins of Bolo was 
married to Elizabeth S. Curtis in Nashville, by Justice 
of the Peace James Burns. The groom was born in 
Illinois, the bride in Tennessee. 

On April 4. 1852, William Huggins was married 
to Margaret Bird by Samuel Pyatt, Justice of the Peace 
in Perry County, Illinois. I Ed. Note. Robert Huggins, 
who migrated to Perry County around 1800 from Pee 
Dee, South Carolina, and who married Kate Lively, 
was the father of James Huggins. This James was the 
father of William, who married Margaret Bird. Wil- 
liam had a son, David, who had a son. David, who was 
the father of Jack D. Huggins. CPA of Belleville, 
Illinois, who currently audits public accounts in 
Washington Countv. ) 



By the Ordinance <>f 17!'.7. the Northwest Terri- 
tory was declared free. Bui the existing slavery in the 
old French settlements was not touched, and in the 
days of the Illinois Territory slaver) was brought in 
from the south under the subterfuge of calling slaves 
"indentured servants." 

When Illinois sought admission to the Union, the 
only debate in Congress was over the question whether 
Illinois was actually a slave state. 1 be pro-slavery ele- 
ment was strong, and the first legislature passed a set 
of laws that were as oppressive on colored people as 
those of any southern state. Efforts were made to pro- 
tect and increase existing slavery. 

\i cording to the old records, there were a few 
slaves in Washington County, but most of the people 
who first settled here had done so to get away from 
slave territory. The slave element, realizing that most 
of the incoming immigration was anti-slavery, made 
a last effort to make the state slave. This clement, 
controlling the legislature bj political knavery, pushed 
through a hill to have a special election relative to a 
state constitutional convention which they expected 
to control. 

The election was held in Jul) of 1 ! .12 1 and was 
a very hot one. But when the votes were counted, it 
was defeated by almost four to one. in a total vote 
several times as hig as in the presidential election 
a few months later. 

Washington Count] voted against the convention 
173 to 112. Nevertheless, Illinois had many com- 
mercial ties with the South, and anti-slaver) views were 
unpopular in the large towns. But the tide of emigra- 
tion was rolling in. and most of the newcomers were 
anti-slavery, especially the Germans who poured into 
the county, starting about 1!',.!7. 

The old pro-slavery element gave them a cold re- 
ception. A political movement called the American 
Party began in the South and spread into the North 
as a secret society called the "Know-Nothings," whose 
aim it was to stop emigration, fostering slavery. It 
polled a fair-sized third party vote in \\ ashington 
County in two national election-. On the other hand. 
the German settlers were befriended l>\ some of the 
older anti-slavery families from Tennessee. 

The passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in the 
185()s brought the situation to a climax. The abolition- 
ists in the count) organized stations on the "under- 
ground railroad" to help slaves escape. One branch 
entered the count) and brought slaves to a station 
near I rom here the) wen- moved to a station 
just east of Nashville, operated by the Henry family. 

The next move was Elichview, where they were put 
aboard Illinois Central trains hound north. 

On the other hand, the pro-slaver) element and 
those who profited h\ it. sometimes threatened people 
who were outspoken abolitionists. They also tried to 
capture escaping slaves and return them to their own- 
ers for rewards. 

The late John Meyer of Addieville, la»t 
Civil War Veteran in Washington County. 

But as far as can be determined, the county under- 
ground railroad lost only one man in the area. He W8S 
shot, northeast of Nashville, and grisl) as it sounds 

today, his head was severed and sent hack south for 
the one thousand dollar reward. 

The outbreak of the <'i\il War revealed that the 
people of Washington Count) were overwhelmingly 
for the Union. There were <.\er 1,200 enlistments, a 



rather amazing figure for a small county. The list 
shows a very large number of Scotch-Irish and Ger- 
man names. 

Over two hundred soldiers from the county lost 
their lives in the war, either on battlefields, or from 
illness or accident. Battlefield promotions were com- 
mon in the Civil War. Thomas Seawell of Nashville, 
for instance, was promoted to brevet Brigadier General 
before he was 24 years old. The pro-southern element 
in all the bordering states north of the Ohio organized 
a secret group most commonly known as The Knights 
of the Golden Circle, an organization which engaged 
in various anti-Union and treasonable activities. 
Further south in the state they blew up railroad 
bridges, killed Union men, threatened their families, 
and in one instance even stopped court proceedings. 

The Army had to guard the Illinois Central bridge 
over the Big Muddy river the entire time of the war. 
When the draft began, they tried to obstruct it and 
sheltered draft evaders and deserters. 

In Washingon County, where they had very little 
support, they met at night in a clearing in the Elkhorn 
Bottoms, west of Plum Hill. Thus northern states were 
divided into military departments, with troops always 
present, and ticklish situations arose over the division 
of authority between civil and military. In the summer 
of 1864, the people of Nashville awoke one Saturday 
morning to find the city under martial law, held by 
a squadron of Union Cavalry, who invaded the town 
looking for deserters, draft evaders and others sus- 
pected of treason. It is said that several such hurriedly 
left town in women's garb. The troops took others into 
custody before leaving on Monday. 

What seems rather amazing today is the fact that 
the census of 1880 showed 800 Negro residents in this 
county, with a scattering in every township. One wo- 
man, a Mrs. Rivers, who had come through this county 
as an escaped slave on the underground returned to 
Nashville and for years worked for the Needles family. 
Another, still remembered, was Peter Parley, who 
lived in New Minden and for years was an engineer 
for a threshing crew. 

The returning soldiers organized a veterans' or- 
ganization called the Grand Army of the Republic, or 
GAR, with a women's auxiliary called the Women's 
relief Corps. This became a powerful group in both 
county and state politics, and was one of the chief 
mainstays of the Republican Party, which with few 
exceptions carried this county by a good plurality 
from 1860 on. Both groups lasted until after World War 
I, the Women's Relief Corps until the middle 1920s. 

The last surviving Union veteran in the county 
was John Meyer of Addieville, who lived an active 
life until well after ninety. 


The new A.T.&T. microwave tower is 
a landmark in Pilot Knob township. 

The Oakdale Microwave 
Radio Relay Tower 

The Oakdale microwave radio relay tower pic- 
tured here is located ten miles south of Nashville, in 
Pilot Knob township, a facility of the Long Lines 
Department of the American Telephone and Telegraph 
Company, a new landmark in the county. 

It is one of many similar installations spaced at 
twenty to thirty mile intervals along a route from 
Butler, Pa. to Oakland, Calif. 

The 307-foot-high tower, situated on a ground 
elevation of 535 feet, has been in service since 1965, 
and provides message and network video service to 
St. Louis and Kansas City. 

The poured concrete building adjacent to the 
tower is air conditioned to maintain a constant inside 
temperature of 75 degrees for the equipment. It con- 
tains a diesel engine alternator which, in an emer- 
gency, would provide it with three week's power sup- 
ply. Eight people are employed at the installation. 



Today's generation rarely sees a wooden shoe 
being worn. Hut at the turn of the century, up until 
the early twenties, wooden shoes were worn on many 
Washington County [arms, especial!) 1>\ the oldei folk. 
They brought the shoes from their native Germany, 
and the habit was deeply inrooted, slow to die. 

One of the artisan- who made wooden shoes in 
the eounty was the late Christ Lohmeier, who resided 
near Okawville. Mr. Lohmeier learned the trade as 
a boy in his native Germany, and when he settled 
in the eounty. he found there was a stead) market 
for his product. He made wooden shoes for nearly 
sixt) years. 

The photo showing him making a pair of shoes 
out of maple blocks was taken long years ago. He 
could fashion a shoe out of a block of maple in less 

than an hour. Some of the shoes he made are col- 
lectors' item- today. Hi- artistry died with him. and 
the clap-clapping wo.hI.-ii shoe toda) i- nothing hut 
.1 nostalgic memory. 

I he shoe-, had their purpose. The] wire easy 
to -lip into, or out of. I he wearer never brought) 
them inside, hut left them on the step. They were 

waterproof, and were worn until the patina of use was 
a dull sheen of darkness. They were excellent to ad- 
minister a swift kick to the side of some recalcitrant 
heifer refusing to stand still to he milked. Walking 
had its own impact when the -hoc- were worn. The 
initial wearer walked something like a 'luck because 
of the stability of the shoe, vet the user soon learn- 
ed the "swing" necessary to their use. 

The lafe Christ Lohmeier, who for sixty years made wooden shoes in the county. 

"The Plague" in Washington County 

On a blacktop road leading north from German- 
town is a huge cross standing in a pasture, a memorial 
to the dread years of a cholera epidemic in this part of 
the state. Many people pass here, but very few seem to 
know the story of the cross. Factually, it has been there 
for over a century. 

The story of this cross began in the terrible chole- 
ra epidemic years of 1831-49, when people died like 
flies in southern Illinois. St. Louis had 601 deaths in 
a single week. An entire farm family of ten were wiped 
out over night at Eagle Prairie near Lebanon. Coulter- 
ville, Fayetteville, Mascoutah, Okawville, Germantown, 
Breese and Carlyle, all had staggering death tolls. No 

one knew how to stop the epidemic. Called the Black 
Plague, it raced through the country like a prairie fire. 

People sprayed the premises with lime; fires were 
fed with sulphur; even boiling vinegar, tar and burn- 
ing coffee was used, all to no avail. 

It was during these days that John Altepeter, a 
Germantown farmer and father of a large family, made 
a covenant with God: spare his family, and he would 
erect a fitting monument for all time as evidence of 
his faith. 

Miraculous as it sounds, the Altepeter family were 
spared. The father went out to the woods lot, hewed 


Site of a cholera death in Washington County. 

out a cross from two stalward limbs, and mounted it in 
his farm pasture, facing the road, so all could see. The 
cross has been there ever since. Wooden ones rotted 
away and were replaced. Now the cross is of durable 

On this side of the river, in Washington County, 
the plague struck just as disastrously. It caught the 
pioneer, heading west in his Conesloga wagon; it trap- 
ped the pioneer in his log cabin. Many of the trailside 
graves, which were unmarked, have since heen lost. 
Many of the county's early cemeteries have burials 
that were the result of "the sickness." 

The disease struck hard in the Klkton community, 
where it was labeled as spotted fever, an eruptive dis- 
ease, accompanied by high temperatures. Today it 
might have fallen under the label of cerebrospinal 
meningitis and typhus. The date here was 1862. 

Rhoda Rountree Rohde died here on April 8, 
1862, leaving a small baby. Philip Reuter lost several 
children, two dying in one day. A son, Gustav, age 

time survived but was stricken blind. It was not un- 
common at that time to luuv two or even three chil- 
dren in a single grave. 

Oldtimers in the Rlkton community tell of the 
"death" of a mother who was being prepared for 
burial, when a faint pulse was noticed. The woman 

There is still standing in the rountv the ruins of 
an old house in which a woman, Mrs. Elizabeth Mc- 
Clellan, died of cholera in I <".."> 1 . The house, shown 

here, is a ruin, located between Mckinlev Station and 


Space does not permit the expansion of this article 
on "the sickness," exploring the many incidents of per- 
sonal loss as loved ones succumbed to the disease. 
Remember, there were DO antibiotics in those days; the 
practicing physicians knew little relative to a strange 
epidemic People fell sick one day, were interred the 
next. These were times of trial that will long be re- 
membered in history. 


There are a few senior citizens residing in V ash- 
ington County who will recall the sensational murder 
of Marcus Deitsh at Richview on the night of Decem- 
ber 26, 1891. Deitsh was an itinerant peddler who re- 
sided at Richview and hawked his wares in the area. A 
Russian Jew by birth, he was a familiar figure to 
many. He was genial, well liked, and didn't mind the 
name of "Mike, the little Peddler," that his customers 
pinned on him. He did a flourishing business. 

Then one morning his body was found in a path- 
way near his boarding bouse, his skull bashed in, and 
his throat cut. Evidently he had been murdered for 
his money, as he usually carried a sizeable sum 
on his person. 

In the course of time the guilty parties were 
arrested, Tom Davis and Henry Dicker-on. two ne- 
groes who lived in Richview. They were lodged in the 
county jail at Nashville, and the long prosecution be- 
gun. Thev were finally sentenced to be banged, and 
before going to the gallows, made a full confession 
of the crime. 

They bad waylaid Deitsh, beat him down with 
club-, before they robbed him. Eater, fearing he 

might regain consciousness, they crept back to the 
scene and cut his throat with a jackknife. 

The Iwo were banged at 11:2'' a.m., Saturday, 
Ma\ 1 1. 1802. from a scaffold built within an en- 
elosure in the courtyard at Nashville. Sheriff Sam 
W bite was in charge of the hanging. 

/// Earlier Death Sentence 

While this was the first judicial execution ever 
held in Washington County, it was not the first death 
sentence imposed here. In 1862, James Ambrose was 
Sentenced to be hanged in Nashville for the murder 
of an uncle in St. Clair County the year previously. 
Amos Watt- wa- then State's Attorney, and Salem 
Coodner was sheriff, \mbrose bad killed bis uncle 
with a shotgun. The county jail then stood in the 
southeast i ornei of the public square, and a- the scaf- 
fold wa- being erected in sight of the condemned man's 

cell, he swore repeatedlj that it never would be used. 

lie wa- right in hi- belief, for the day before the 
execution. <.o\. ^ ate- of Illinois commuted hi- sen- 
tence to life imprisonment. He was pardoned eight 

.. UTS later, and returned to work as a carpenter. Hut 

ironically, he was caught In a falling wall soon after- 
ward and killed. 



Let's turn the clock backward a century or more, 
and retrace the steps of those men and women who 
built our first communities, churches, schools and 
stores. Old Richview was laid out in 1839 by Wm- 
Livesay. In early days it was called Richmond. First 
settler was James Severs. Following close upon his 
footsteps came Joseph Barber, Asa Foster, John Tate, 
James Gore and H. 0. Whittenberg. They built the 
first school, a log structure, at Grand Point. 

Cornelius Dorsey opened the first store. Richview 
grew, soon had five stores, two blacksmith shops, a 
wagon shop, and three physicians. 

In 1852, when the Illinois Central Railroad laid 
their tracks through the county, the site was about one- 
half mile east of Old Town. In 1854, the railroad 
company started a new addition to the town, built a 
depot, and called the station Richview. One of the old 
residents who was living at that time told how the en- 


Presumably the oldest building still standing in Richview, still in use, 
is the Reed Grocery, shown here. Operated by Delmar Reed, who 
has been there for 57 years, the building is about 115 years old. 

tire populace of Old Town came down to see the first 
train pass through. 

The new town took runt, and in a short time the 
two separate communities, I 'Id [own and new. had a 
combined population of a thousand, with the following 
business places: House and Bingham, Joel Edmiston, 
C. W. Oppenlander, \\ . \\ . Shanks, Samuel G. House. 
Cooper and \\ all. and I.. II. Barners, all in the general 
store business. \\ . S. Merrill had a drug store: B. F. 
Willis, hardware: Wm. Sproul and John II. Vtkins, 
furniture: R. B. Keyes, undertaker. II. P. Ingram and 
J. Dillingham had meat markets: \. I', late. \\ n\. 
Sproul and James W ithchurch had blacksmith shops. 

L. Benjamin and Morgan Woolle) had a flour mill; 
S. J. Chapman, a castor oil mill: rlolcomb & Cooper 
ran the exchange hank: S. P. Cooper was proprietor of 
the Richview House: E. Harvev ran the \merican 
House, ami S. T. Howard and John Bell were lumber 

Professional men included Drs. W. H. Burns, 
H. B. Lucas. G. W. Downey and J. B. Houston. John 
Breeze was the town lawyer: K. Wright was police 
magistrate. Ceo. T. Hoke was justice of the peace and 
notary public. 

Grand Lodge No. 152. of the Illinois Order of 
Masons, was once the most flourishing lodge in the 

\nother historic institution at Richview was 
Washington Seminary, projected l>\ a few leading citi- 
zens who desired, as stated in their first deed, to es- 
tablish a school of elevated character to diffuse the 
fine benefits of higher education. \s an incentive, the 
Illinois Central donated 75 lots upon which the school 
was to be built. These lots sold in June, 1857. for 

The foundation was laid in October, 1857. The 
lower story was divided in two rooms, and a grade 
school opened. \. E. Way. assisted by his sister. Mrs. 
Cope, were the teachers for two years. Miss Minnie 

Graham, later Mrs. M ly, also taught. Prof. H. C. 

Hillman assisted Mrs. Cope, and a Miss Irwin followed. 
But the building was found to be too large and expen- 
sive, and by a vote of the district the trustees sold the 
seminary to l>. <>. Williams for (1500 on Vugust 22. 
1864. It was resold to S. J. P. Anderson, D. D., of St. 
Louis in 1870. later resold by his heirs to Re\ 
Clark of Sterling. 111. 

The seminary was incorporated in 1865 with a 
board of 30 trustees, with power 5 to grant de. • 
had a full college charter. It> students were taught cur- 
rent educational courses, as well as geometry, naviga- 
tion, survey ing, astronomy, chemistrj . Latin and Creek. 

The first church in Richview was the Methodist 
Episcopal, organized at the home of Samuel White. 

later the first Methodist Episcopal church was built 
in ( Md Richv iew. 

The first Baptist church was organized in 1855. 
Elder Wm. Mitchell was the fir-t pastor. Membership 

Was 53. 

The Presbyterian church was organized in 
original members being 25. The brick building they 

erected was dedicated in 1865. 

The Richview Phoenix, first newspaper here, was 
published by M. L. McCord in 1856, and continued 
until March 1858, when the press was moved to 

A Hamlet Called Plum Hill 

The small community of Plum Hill is without 
doubl the onl) hamlel of its size in the county with 
two places of worship. The ->t. John'- E. and R. Church 

building i-- in the renter of the photo as the camera 
[aces south, and the former Bielefeld t store, now a 
meeting place of Jehovah's Witnesses, is in the far 
right. Bus) route k>0 intersects the two. 



Washington County has several unusual memor- 
ials, but the one that really is unique is shown here, the 
Brockschmidt family anvil, now permanently mounted 
at the gateway to the Brockschmidt village park at 

The 700-pound anvil was brought to this country 
well over a century ago from Germany, the three 
months voyage across the Atlantic being by sailboat. 

The anvil has been in the Brockschmidt family 
well over a century, is heavier than those in use today. 
It also is shaped differently. 

The Joseph Kinyon family was the first to settle 
in the area that later became Venedy. in 1822. Fifteen 

years later, G. H. Brockschmidt bought out Kinyon's 
land interests, and became the first German settler 
here, if not the first in the county. 

Brockschmidt came from a little town in Germany 
called Vene. He merely added the "dy" and Venedy 
was born. 

There is no "spreading chestnut tree" shading the 
old anvil today, but it is reminiscent of the pioneers 
who labored hard to change the brome-sedged prairies 
of this county into fertile farms. The anvil in its gold 
paint is reminiscent of an age that is gone, growing 
more valuable with the passing of the years. 



The photo on this page shows all that is left of an 
old pioneer burial plat known as the Weaver Cemetery. 
When this writer was a boy, there were a number of 
graves here. But since then, vandals and time itself, 
have all but destroyed the old cemetery. 

The location is five miles south of Okawville, 
about a half mile south of Illinois 460, in what is now 
the Schuetz pasture, on tiie right side of the blacktop 
road leading south from what is known locally as Ead's 
Corner. The burial site was on a hill facing Weaver 

The creek itself was named after the Weaver 
families who settled on it. It is a tributary of the Elk- 
horn, and crosses Plum Hill township from east to 
west. Sometime ago, vandals threw most of the stones 
into the creek, but Mr. August Schuetz retrieved most 
of them and piled them back, under a tree where the 
original graves were located. The Weaver name has 
died out in the area of the county where these first 
settlers carved out their homesteads from the forest. 

The Weaver Cemetery — after a century of neglect. 

nH % 

., < 

. ,-■■ 





Beaucoup Once Largest Town in County 

Following closely upon the Lively Massacre near 
Covington, the settling of Washington County took on 
considerable speed. The most rapid growth areas cen- 
tered around Beaucoup, four miles east of Nashville, 
and in the Elkton-Oakdale area, in the southwestern 
part of the county. 

According to old-time records, there was con- 
siderable rivalry between these two settlements, both 
as to size and in religion. In the Beaucoup area the 
Methodists predominated. At Elkton, the Baptists had 
the plurality. At Oakdale, the first settlers were 

members of one or two branches of the Presbyterian 
Church, the Scotch Covenanters (the Reformed 
Church), or the United Presbyterian. 

On the whole, this was a healthy cleavage, al- 
though there were times when denominational differ- 
ences even influenced politics. For instance, in the 
political campaign of 1826, the candidates were asked 
to declare themselves in advance, concerning the site 
for the new county seat. 

The L&N depot at Beaucoup before it was razed. 



By the time Illinois was admitted as a State in 
L818, Beaucoup probably was the largest community 
in the county, although there are no existing records to 
prove it. Its roster is replete with such family names as 
White, Whittenburg, Livesay, Lyons, Henry, Ander- 
son, Jack, Walker and others. Many of these names 
have come down through the history of the county to 
the present day. 

In the Elkton-Oakdale area were the \vers. 
Evans, Rountree, Maxwell. MeClurkin. Hood, and Mc- 
Cord families, most of them represented in our present 

William Avers was the first settler I 1816) in the 
Elkton-Oakdale area, and among the fir-t in the coun- 
ts llr Stopped For a time on F.lkhorn Creek, near a 
road that led to present Fayetteville, and not far from 
the site that later became the village of Elkton. He 
afterwards moved to Vyers Point (Oakdale), which is 

located on an old Indian Trace that now is known 88 

the \ incennes-Kaskaskia Trail, [ncidently, this was 

the route traversed h\ early Pony Express riders be- 
tween \ incennes and Fort kaskaskia. 

The Organ in the Venedy Church 

Without douht, one of the most historic pipe 
organs in the state graces the balcony of the San 
Salvator Ev. -Lutheran Church at Venedy. Recently 

restored, the organ has an historic background that 
adds to its charm. 

Delving into the records of the Missouri Synod 
of the Lutheran Church, it was found that the organ 
was brought from Germany to St. Louis in Ui.'V) bv 
the Saxon Fathers, along with four church bells and 
three bolts of cloth to be used for vestments. In first 
destination was the Old Trinity Lutheran Church, then 
located on Fourth Street near the St. Louis riverfront. 

Evidently it was the first organ used by the Mis- 
souri Synod of the Lutheran Church, a fact that en- 
hances its value today. 

When a new. larger Trinity Church was built in 
St. Louis at Grand and Soulard, it was found the 
organ was not large enough for the new building, so 
it was put up for sale. San Salvator Church at \ enedj 
purchased it. through the efforts of its pastor, the late 
Dr. C. F. V . Walther. 

Six Venedv farmers volunteered to -end over 
wagons and teams to St. Louis, to bring the organ to 
its new home. The year was 1<>65, and our counti \ wa- 
in the last days of the Civil War. The trek to St. Louis 
via horse and wagon was a momentous journe) for the 
six farmers, involving a week'- time and several over- 
night stops enroute. 

The organ has been at Vened) ever since. 

Back in L963, the congregation was about ready 

to scrap the ancient musical instrument. Pipe- were 
off-key, some didn't even respond. Tin- organ hadn't 
been tuned since World \\ .11 i. I In- debate LTOSe 

whether it should be rebuilt or replaced with a new 
electronic type instrument. 

Then an organ specialist. Richard Hosier, exam- 
ined the ancient organ and labeled it '"finest." It was 
rebuilt, its 891 pipes cleaned and re-glued. Inside its 
mechanism were found the skeletons of four birds, 
main insects, and the dust of years. Hosier set a value 
of S2u. (10(1 on the organ. That's a tidy sum for an art 
object that almost went into the junk pile! 

The late Rev. E. J. Saleska. former pastor at Venedv 
the keyboard of the historic pipe organ. 


Where Two Railroads Cross 

Ashley Once "Trail's End" For War Refugees 

If Ashley hadn't been exactly 98 miles from 
Cairo, it still might be nothing more than a whistle 
stop of the St. Louis Division of the Illinois Central 
Railroad. But in that statistical fact lies a story, musty 
with age, but most appropriate for this history of the 

During the Civil War, with most of the South 
devastated, refugees started the slow trek North. Real- 
izing there was a better future for these luckless peo- 
ple north of the Mason-Dixon line, the Government 
promised free railroad fare for one hundred miles 
north of this line. 

Ashley, strung along the newly-laid tracks of 
the Illinois Central, was the ''jumping off" place for 

many of these refugees. Daily they came in droves, 
riding freight trains, and huddled in cattle cars, to 
get away from the poverty of the South. 

The people of Ashley suddenly found themselves 
responsible for the care of a long line of refugees. 
Feeding them was the big problem; finding housing 
was another. Most were penniless, with their meager 
belongings in carpet bags. 

At the time, the John Robinson Shows, one of 
the larger circuses of the day, heard about the plight 
of these people and donated two hundred dollars 
worth of food, which saved many a life until an ad- 
justment could be made in this strange territory. 


Where the L&N and the Illnois-Central cress at Ashley. 

■$*B!£&'*-* r 



Today, the I. C. and the L. & X. Railroads cross 
at Ashley, the only place in the county where two 
major railroads cross. 

Men toiled with wheelbarrows and spades to 
build the right-of-ways through virgin forest and un- 
broken prairie sod. An old record at Ashley shows 
that a crew of about a hundred men worked for weeks 
to complete the earthwork at Double Rock Creek, to 
the north. 

The first locomotives were fired with cordwood, 
which was stored at convenient spots along the right- 

of-way. \t fir>t the newly laid road was without rock 
ballast, and mud splashed over the coaches during the 
wet runs, while in dry seasons, the passing of a train 
set up a dust cloud that could be seen for miles. 

The train consisted of two or three freight cars, with 
a combination baggage-passenger car. 

Even today, more than a century later, one finds 
names sprinkled throughout the Ashley area, reminis- 
cent of those early way days when the most important 
item in the day was a morsel of food. 


St. Charles of Borromeo Roman Catholic Church 
at DuBois has been visited by tourists from all over the 
nation because of its unusual beauty. Its twin spires 
rise 116 feet and dominate the tiny town. The brick 
structure is 131 feet long, 80 feet wide, and 58 feet 
high. A combination of Roman and Byzantine archi- 
tecture, its pictorial windows are art treasures. The 
present pastor. Rev. Paulin Dobkowski. succeeds the 
late Msgr. Jos. Ceranski, who served the parish for 
61 consecutive years, until his death in 1962 at the 
age of 88. In fact, Msgr. Ceranski helped build the 
huge church, working with the carpenters and masons, 
day after day. 

The name of the town, DuBois, is French, but the 
community is predominantly Polish, with a slow infil- 
tration of Cerman. In fact, the town has two names. 
On the Illinois road map it is listed as DuBois. But 
until the Illinois Central Railroad razed its depot here, 
it was called Bois. The Post Office directory of Post 
Offices spells DuBois as one word, as do several map- 
makers. But the new official highway map of Illinois 
spells it Du Bois. 

The community, first called Coloma, was formed 
by a tight group of ten Polish - Catholic families, who 
fled Europe to escape the Prussian Kulturkamph, and 
the religious persecution imposed by the Cerman 
Chancellor, Bismarck. Even today, the Poles predom- 
inate. The names on the rural mail boxes are tongue- 
twisters. But the younger generation rarely use the 
mother tongue. 

St. Charles Church towers over the town like 
some giant. About 200 families in the farm area sur- 

rounding it are its mainstay. Currently there are 126 
pupils in its school, taught by three sisters of Notre 
Dame. \ arious writers, enthusiastic about the church, 
have labelled it "The Cathedral of the Prairie." 

St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church af 
DuBois, and (inset) the late Msgr. Joseph Cer- 
anski who served that charge for 64 years. 



This volume is devoting considerable space to old 
Washington County cemeteries for one reason if noth- 
ing else: a matter of historic record, long neglected. 
One of these pioneer burial grounds is Old Salem, 
described here. Located in the extreme southwest part 
of Washington County, seldom visited except by area 
residents, it is nonetheless, a large cemetery, replete 
with the names of many veterans of the different wars, 
and once the site of a church. Burials are still made 
there. The cemetery is fenced, and given more care 
than most old burial plats. 

The oldest document pertaining to this cemetery 
and church is in the possession of Willis Coulter, ceme- 
tery trustee, and is dated February 17, 1838, showing 
its great age. 

According to the Cyclopedia Manual of the United 
Presbyterian Church of North America, the Salem 
Church once standing adjacent to this cemetery, was 
organized in 1844 as an Associate Reformed Church, 
and disbanded in 1867. 

The Mud Creek congregation of the United Pres- 
byterian Church was organized on June 1, 1871, dis- 
banded in 1880. Evidently both these congregations 
used the same church building, although there is no 
record to prove it. 

The late Dr. S. Cameron Edmiston of Los Angeles, 
California, reminisced at length about ihe Old Salem 
Church, which he had attended as a boy: 

"The old church on Mud Creek is no more, but 
the cemetery is still there, occupied by many of our old 
neighbors. In a recent visit there, it wasn't difficult to 
close one's eyes and visualize those scenes of long ago, 
the farmers' rigs, the horses tied to the trees, tails 
swishing at the insects bothering them; the drone of 
the preacher's voice, and the singing of the Psalms. At 
intermission, the old folk would huddle together in 
eager friendship, telling of their joys and problems. 
Perhaps a boy and a girl would walk down the hill, 
hand in hand, the beginning of a romance. 

"It was an attractive church for its day. had three 
windows on two sides, with a double door at the front, 
and a wide aisle up the center, with pews on either 
side. There was a raised dias for the preacher, and to 
his left was a chair for the precentor who lined the 

Psalms for the congregation to sing, two lines at a 

Five soldiers of the War of 1812, James C. Ken- 
nedy, Daniel McMillan. Sr., John Wylie. Francis B. 
Green and James Gillespie, Sr. are interred here, show- 
ing the age of this burial ground. 

Following are the list of Civil War soldiers in- 
terred here: Thomas J. Smith, Joseph Mulholland, 
William E. Paul, William C. Crain, John Dickey, 
Samuel W. Dickey, James Riley Coulter, Christopher 
Kingston, David Slater, Daniel Gibson. James K. Mc- 
intosh, Joseph Patton, Travis Thompson. Samuel Gib- 
son, John Paul, J. M. Skelly, James B. Lyons, William 
Gibson, David East, Silas East. John Hair. William 
McMillan, David McKinley, Samuel Dickey and W. H. 

There are no World War I soldiers buried here, 
and a single interment of a \S orld War II casualty, the 
grave of James Gillespie, 1913-1965. 

One of the oldest stones still standing here is that 
of Martha Hemphill, wife of William M. Hemphill, 
who died January 4, 1839 in her 33rd year. 

It is interesting to note the mistakes in grammar 
on the epitaph. The word Heaven, for instance is spell- 
ed "Heven." Several other words I if you use a magni- 
fying glass ) you'll find are spelled phonetically. 

Services are still held at Old Salem on Memorial 
Day. under the auspices of the American Legion of 
Marissa and other interested persons. 

A document dated January 10, 1848, in the pos- 
session of Miss Clara Mathews of Marissa, is of inter- 
est. It reads as follows: 

"We. the undersigners promise to pay the sums 
next to our names for the ministerial labors of the Rev. 
Mr. Harshaw at the Salem Meeting House on Mud 
Creek: John R. Lyons $5.00; Henry L. McGuire $8.00; 
Thomas Gillespie $5.00: a man named East. $3.00; 
Arch McFie $3.00; James Mclntire $5.00; Anny Mc- 
Guire $1.50: John Craig $2.00; William McKee $2.00, 
H. L. McGuire for 1849, $5.50." 

There are over 300 stones in Old Salem. Herewith 
is a list of the family names taken from the stones 
still in existence: 



Anderson, Brown. Campbell, Grain, ("arson. Case, 
Curtis, Coulter, Dickey, Daniel, East, Elliott, Green, 
Gibson. Goodman. Gillespie. Hamilton. Hair. Hemp- 
hill, Howard. Henderson, Hill, Kane. Kennedy, Kings- 
ton, Lyons, Logan. McMillan. MacFie, McGuire, Mc- 
Dougall. McDowell. McLaughlin. McKinley. Mcintosh, 
McClinton. Morrow. Mulholland. Morton. Mearns. \e- 
vin, Patton. Prest. Rainy, Paul, Steward. Stephenson, 
Smith. Slater. Skelly. Shankland. Shanklin. Thompson. 
Wallace, Wilson and Wylie. 

On Mud Creek, which is an east-west stream 
through Lively Grove township, is still visible one of 
the largest Indian mounds in the county, mute evidence 
that a prehistoric culture thrived here, long before the 
first white pioneers moved in. 

Geographically. Old Salem Cemetery is slightly 
northeast of Marissa, within Washington County 

Old Salem Cemetery, in the extreme southwest corner of 
Washington County, is a spot very few residents know even 
exists, although Memorial Services are held here yearly. 



■ c t *k 



■- . yii 

- .-v\* IK ^1 

Washington County, with the rest of the nation, 
went through a depression during the tumultous thir- 
ties that still shows its scars. Perhaps you're too young 
to rememher. But many of the readers of this book 
still poignantly rememher. There were bread lines 
and bankruptcies. Financiers jumped out of windows 
when the stock market crashed. 

Photo shows Supervisor John Grattendick and 
helper, with a shipment of food for the indigent. 

Yes, it got that bad! 

But Washington County, staple and economically 
conservative, got off lightly. No one actually starved 
to death. There were no jobs. And then the WPA 
came along. America pulled itself out of the muck 
by its own bootstraps. 




The late afternoon of March 15, 1938 will long 
he remembered in \\ ashington County. For suddenly 
there was a cry of "Tornado!" and there it was, roar- 
ing and hissing, rolling up from the southwest. The 
funnel was pronounced, a spiral of death from the 
hlack cloud above to the ground below. 

People at Okawville stood enthralled, watching 
the whiplash of the funnel, spewing up debris as it 
moved over the prairie. Each time it struck a farm- 
stead, there was a whirling mass of debris and sliat- 
tered buildings. 

Death was moving over the prairie, inexorable, 
cutting a swath of destruction as the storm moved 
into the northwest. 

And then, miracle of miracles, as the funnel ap- 
proached the L&N section houses on the southwest 
outskirts of Okawville. it suddenly whipped up into 
the cloud-mass, disintegrated. There was the clatter 
of falling bricks from chimneys, the roar of wind 

high in the cloud, then a great silence, as if the town 
itself was suddenly wrapped in a giant vacuum. 

But death had passed it by! 

Soon the reports drifted in. of farm damage to 
the southwest: the church was leveled at Darmstadt; 
Belleville was hard-hit. 

On a farm near St. Libory, a cow moved about, 
with a long piece of wood impaled in her back: straws 
were driven deep into tree trunks; chickens were 
alive, but denuded of their feathers. The freaks of 
the storm were amazing. Death and destruction told 
of its fury. But by the grace of God Okawville escaped. 

Such is the fury of a tornado. 

There have been other tornadoes and storms in 
W ashington County, down through the years. There 
will be storms iti the future. Man talks much about 
the vagaries of the wind, the weather, but somehow 
it is bigger than he is, despite all his twentieth-cen- 
tury technocracy. 


Venedy Mill still a County Landmark. 


The large flour mill, now being updated at Ven- 
edy, is a product of another century. The first mill was 
erected in the year 1859 by J. F. Brockschmidt and 
company. It was operated by this firm for two years, 
then became the property of the Brockschmidt Broth- 
ers. It was destroyed by fire in 1873, rebuilt the same 
year. The substantial brick structure still stands, and 
is used daily. 

From 1873 to 1879 the mill was owned and oper- 
ated by the firm of J. F. Brockschmidt and Son. Dur- 
ing those years it had a capacity of 200 barrels of flour 
in a day. After 1879 the property stood idle for about 
ten years. Then in 1890 it was remodeled to a roller 
system and was operated by Herman Rede and Wil- 
liam Meyer. When Rede died two years later, Peter 
Jost took his place. 

During the five years that Jost was in the firm 
William Sieving was a miller apprentice. In 1897 the 
firm dissolved and William Meyer became the sole 

On January 7, 1898, disaster struck the mill when 
the twin boilers blew up. Fortunately the blast occurred 
when the mill was idle, and there were no casualties. 

The mill stood idle until the turn of the century. 
On July 1, 1900, the work of remodeling and repairing 
was started, and by August 15 the mill was back in 
operation. From this time until 1923 it operated on a 
reduced scale of about a hundred barrels of flour daily. 

Then came World War I, and again the mill was 
idled. Finally acquired by Wm. Noser, the mill was 
sold to the Huegely Elevator Co. of Nashville in 1946. 
Today, the same is operated as a feed warehouse and 
service institution by the Washington County Service 
Company, with Stanley Schuessler as manager. The 
huge brick building is a landmark in Washington 
County, and seems about as rugged today as it was 
when it was built. 



A county history would not l>e quite complete 
without mention of its native water witches, irre- 
gardless of whether or not you believed in the 

"science.'" Washington County had its share, down 
through the years, still has a few devoted followers 
of the willow twig. 

Pictured here is the late Joe Palek, Sr., who 
was known as one of the best. With a peach twig held 
before him, as shown in the photo, he would start 
walking. And suddenly the peach twig would dip 

sharply downward, quiver and twitch in his hands. 
Invariably there was water where he indicated. 

There were a dozen, more or less, all with 
a certain degree of fame. Some people scoffed, others 
believed. But whether or not you believed, the water 
witch was often called. \\ ashington County, rural as 
it is. has more than the usual number of wells. Each 
farm has at least one. most of them quite deep, to 
assure good, cold, germ-free water. The water witch 
of the past century located many of these subter- 
ranean streams. 

The late Joe Palek Sr., witching water on a farm near Plum Hill. 

w"gw^ \ 




< 1 

: i 


1 N 


The community life of Elkton today centers around this church. 

Elkton Once Was Thriving Community 

Although Elkton today is a small roadside com- 
munity, almost forgotten in the southern part of the 
county, its life centered around the Union Church, it 
once was a thriving place. 

The town itself was laid out by Henry H. Talbot 
and James Steel, Jr. in 1837. John Raney was the first 
settler in Elkton Precinct in 1822. He located on the 
old Vincennes-Kaskaskia Trace about two miles from 
Mud Creek. He was followed by William Rountree. 
St., a year later. Rountree, a Virginian, settled in sec- 
tion 16, present site of the village. He died at his 
homestead there in 1859, left a large family. 

A first settler in Elkhorn Prairie, the Hon. James 
M. Rountree was later state's attorney of Washington 

His father, Greenville Rountree, came to this 
same prairie in 1816. lived there all his life, had eight 
children, died in 1860. 

A post office was established by Thomas Rird in 
1850 at Ayers Point, to the east, now Oakdale. 

Elkton once maintained three general stores, kept 
by J. Blum. August Fisher and Henry Dunkhorst, who 
also was an early postmaster. There also was a harness 



shop, two blacksmith shops, a hotel. The two physi- 
cians were Dr. R. E. \ ernor and Or. S. F. Wehr. A 
later (and final I physician at Elkton was Dr. Jack. 

There also were two churches. The old brick Ev.- 
Lutheran church stood just west of the Lathrup pro- 
perty. The I nion Church i still in use I was built in 
1875. Trustees at that time were L. R. Kinyon. Dr. 
J. J. Troutt and C. M. Hawkins. The last trustees elect- 
ed were John Reinhardt. A. C. Shubert and Charles 
Rezba. Sunday School is still held lure, with John 
Reinhardt as superintendent. 

West of Lively Grove was a church known as the 
Baptist Church of hlkton. Later it was reorganized and 
services shifted to the Elkton L nion Church. 

The Elkton Lodge No. 153, I.O.O.F., was organ- 
ized Oct. 10. 1871. Charter members were M. Fox, 
R. B. Mane. H. F. Dancke. Hy. Bollmeier. E. Hulse- 
mann and H. Hahne. 

The land, now the Yenedy Coal Company, was 
once owned by John Kinyon in L833. He sold out and 
went to Missouri, then returned and settled in Elkhorn 
Prairie, in the area that is now the Yenedy community. 
Joseph Kinyon was another pioneer settler in the Elk- 
horn Prairie. He once operated a horse-driven mill. 

The first store in Elkton was opened in the resi- 
dence of William Rountree by H. H. Talbot; the last 
store in Elkton was owned and operated by George 
Rezba in the old Blum building. — Contributed by 
Mollie I Kinyon I Rezba. 

"Long - Sweet en in" 

Great-great-grandmother called it "long - sweete- 
nin'." Grandmother referred to it as sorghum. Grand- 
father called it molasses, and planted the sugar cane 
needed for its making. 

\t one time. Washington County had several 
sorghum mills that operated each Autumn, squeez- 
ing juice from the sugar cane brought in to the mill, 
then cooking it into sorghum. Very few county homes 
were without it. 

But today, sorghum has lost much of its pop- 
ularity. The mills are sone — at least most of them. 
If you look long enough, you might find sorghum on 
the supermarket shelves, but only in limited quantity. 

America's taste for cane sorghum has waned, for 
no apparent reason. It is a healthy product, tasty too. 
But corn syrup has taken its place on the breakfast 

Other legumes have taken the place of sugar cane 
on most farms. If it is raised, it is a minor item. 

The photo illustrating tlii- page was taken years 
ago, when the Juenger Sorghum Mill, in the south- 
wot part nf the county, was at its heydey. Farmers 
brought their sugar cane, stripped and topped, to this 
mill in great quantity. \n old steam threshing engine 
supplied the power, a- well as steam fur the cooking 

vats. The cane was first fed into a crusher that ex- 
tracted the juice. Then the juice was cooked, and by 
a process of evaporation, turned into a golden syrup. 
Some day. perhaps, the cane syrup will come 
back in a dressed-up can or bottle. But today its pop- 
ularity has waned. What a pity! 

Ill Memoriam 

Check any obituary column, and you'll find the 
great and near-great, those rugged individuals who 
through faith and hard work, undying enthusiasm, 
and the will to "build a better mousetrap," find them- 
selves at last on that enviable plateau called success. 
The people listed on this page deserve our respect, 
even though the recognition is posthumous. Perhaps 
we've missed some. If we have, the editors assure 
you it was not intentional: 

Louis L. Bernreuter, who served as Circuit Judge 
in southern Illinois for over thirty years. 

Major Herrin, first purchaser of government land 
in Washington County, settling near what is now 
Plum Hill, in 1815. 

Reuben Wheeless, early settler of Nashville 
ship, first cousin of President Andrew Johnson. 

William Bradsby, first circuit clerk, county clerk, 
probate judge, surveyor and physician in Washing- 
ton County. 

Ptolemy Hosmer, attorney and representative in 
the State Assembly. 

Andrew Bankson, one of the county's earliest 
settlers, delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 

Major John Wood, one of first settlers of Nash- 
ville, builder of the Wood Tavern, long a famous half- 
way house on the Shawneetown-St. Louis Trace; vet- 
eran of the Blackhawk War. 

Thomas Seawell, made a brevet Brigadier Gen- 
eral on the Civil War battlefield, died at the age of 
25, while home on furlough at Nashville. 

Abner Jackson, a freed slave, native of North 
Carolina, who celebrated his 100th birthday in 1876, 
and had a part in the 4th of July Centennial Celebra- 
tion in Nashville that year, as one of the oldest men 
in the county. 

William A. Rodenberg, son of a German Metho- 
dist minister, spent his boyhood in the county, served 
as Representative in Congress prior to World War I. 

John Calvin Atchison of Oakdale township, the 
first man from Washington County to lose his life in 
World War I. He enlisted in the Second Marines on 
May 27, 1917, and embarked for France in Septem- 
ber of that year. On April 13, 1918, he was hospital- 
ized, having been the victim of a German gas attack. 
He returned to action after several weeks, and was 
seriously wounded on June 3. A leg wound necessi- 
tated amputation, and eleven days later death 
claimed him at the age of 23. He is buried in France. 

June Smith, native of Irvington, who rose to the 
high office of Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. 

Thomas B. Needles, first Republican County 
Clerk, U. S. Marshal, Indian Territory, member of 
Dawes Commission which terminated tribal govern- 
ment of the five civilized Indian tribes in Oklahoma,- 
state representative, state senator and auditor. 

Ralph L. Maxwell, orphaned when his father 
lost his life in a Nashville coal mine accident, be- 
came a Circuit Judge, later Justice of the Illinois 
Supreme Court; died in office in the sixth year of 
his term. 

Zenas H. Vernor, pioneer settler of Nashville,- 
State Representative and member of the Constitution- 
al Convention of 1848. 

Francis G. Blair, native of Nashville, served as 
State Superintendent of Public Instruction in the 

Frederick E. W. Brink, who emigrated to Wash- 
ington County from Minden, Germany in 1845; resi- 
dent of Hoyleton; served two terms as State Senator. 

George H. French, one of the faculty at the Ir- 
vington State University, later going to SIU at Car- 
bondale; noted botanist and authority on insects,- 
served as Assistant State Entomologist, holder of 
many scientific degrees and author of numerous sci- 
entific books,- did pioneer research on cause and treat- 
ment of epilepsy and Bright s disease,- lived to be 

John Meyer of Addieville, last surviving Civil 
War veteran, who lived to the ripe age of 97 years, 
four months and 26 days. He died December 9, 1 939. 

Dr. Simeon P. Schroeder of Nashville, first phy- 
sician in Illinois to successfully operate on an ab- 
cessed lung. 

Morris A. Kugler, Okawville, president, Illinois 
Telephone Association,- director, Lions International 

Homer Edmonds, Ashley, first reported casualty, 
World War II (Bataan). 

General Walter Krueger, former Stone Church 
boy, Commander of the Sixth Army in the Pacific, 
World War II, awarded the Distinguished Service 
Cross by General Douglas MacArthur. He was one- 
time commandant at Jefferson Barracks. The Krueger 
family lived in the Stone Church area for about eight 

Dr. Paul Schroeder, Nashville — served under 
the Gov. Henry Horner administration as State Psy- 
chiatrist; served as psychiatrist in the Nuremberg 
trials of World War II. Before his death, won national 
and international fame in the field of neurology and 




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