Notes from the White County Historical Society

By Charlene Shields

Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."

Copyright ©2000 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Tammy Knox, editor, "The Carmi Times."

Carmi native dies at 94 in San Diego  4/3/2000

From Susan Lee Cook comes a clipping from the San Diego Union-Tribune, March 18, containing a notice of the death of Eddie Wiegele, 94, and a long bio about his accomplishments. The article mentioned he was born and raised in Carmi and came to San Diego in 1935, where he began his career in the Probation Department. He received several awards for outstanding work down through the years.


From 1886 issues of The Independent, Grayville's newspaper: March--Jacob Shunk died. Andrew J. Frazier and Miss Emma Sullivan were married. The new tug, "A. Carey," was launched. John B. Moore, 87, was killed by a P., D. & E. train. Mrs. James Walsh died. April--Democrats were snowed under in the township election. The proposition to build the new bridge across the Little Wabash at Hite's Shoals carried. Mrs. Eliza Brewer died. S. D. Blair's barn was struck by lightning and destroyed, together with his machinery. Fount. S. Higginson died. W. G. Wheatcroft was elected school director. H. P. Bulkley and D. F. Orange bought the Bulkley dry goods and grocery establishment.


In the spring of 1913, Dr. Daniel Berry wrote for the White County Democrat of memories of his young days. One adventure was a trip out West with cattle herders. He bought a horse and started across Illinois from "the Wabash River on the east to the Mississippi River on the west." Berry stated he had but one outfit of clothing and no underwear.

Berry continues, "I did not know I was riding over untold wealth. I did not know I was going to live to see all that land punched full of holes to get out the coal oil. Fortunes have been made out of that land I could have bought for $1.50 an acre. It was a delightful trip in the month of May. The road I was on was known as the old St. Louis and Vincennes Trace. Vincennes, you must know, was the seat of an old Jesuit Mission founded a short ten years after William Penn started his work at Philadelphia. Vincennes was in Indiana, and St. Louis, another mission, earlier than the Vincennes one, was clear across the territory of Illinois. Most of the way I was in a sea of grass and flowers. Here and there, in that beautiful green sea, was what looked like a wooded island. On some of these islands would be houses built of logs. These were the homes of the few settlers. Around these houses, and in the prairie were cultivated fields, many of them lush and with the growing corn, or golden yellow of the ripening wheat.

"It was at such homes that I found food and lodgment. In most places I found large families, and I was often puzzled to know where they would find a place for me to sleep. There was the usual big fireplace with its crane, hooks and big and little pots and the universal Dutch oven; and there were usually three beds in the same room. The sleeping matter was easily settled--the boys were sent to the barn to sleep, while I occupied a bed with some of the smaller children. But when the supper was cleared away, the questions that were put to me were sometimes simply astonishing. You must know that most of these people could neither read nor write. Newspapers were very scarce. But I had a good memory, and I could talk, and I could sing. When I asked to pay my bill, as I left in the morning, I was not allowed to pay one cent. This happened all along that trip."
(Continued next week.)


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