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 ©2002 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Tammy Knox, editor, "The Carmi Times."

Wood lice took their share of Egypt's pioneers' grain

(This is a continuation of the speech made by the Rev. Braxton Parrish
in Benton in 1874. The describes his life as a young man in Southern
Illinois. In our most recent story, he had taken corn to be ground into
meal to a Carmi mill and had lost most of the load on the return trip

"We then concluded we would go back there no more and had to resort to
other means to make meal. For the most part we beat out our meal in
wooden mortars but finally I rigged up a kind of hand mill of my own
out of a couple of old stones I procured down at the Old Jordan Fort in
Williamson County. The only objection I had to the arrangement was that
I had to grind before eating. It was either grind or no bread! During
one summer the meal that we ground on our little hand mill got to
tasting bad, and it was a long time before we found out what the matter
was. At first we attributed it to the corn, but upon taking up that
stone we found furrows of them full of white wood lice that had gone in
between them to eat the meal. They had been shortening our bread for a
long time. I have heard since that these lice are good for the yellow
jaundice, and I suppose they must be, for we have not to this day been
troubled with that disease.

"Among the most prominent settlers when I came to this county were
Alexander McCreery, Henry Yost, Nathaniel Jones, Nathan Clampet, John
Crawford, James Aiken, Herrin Taylor and two old men named Webb, living
in Webb's Prairie. West of Benton lived John Browning and Mr. Hutson.
Frizell and Estus lived in Frizell Prairie, Michael Rawlings in this
Prairie above, which now bears his name, and in Garrett's Prairie lived
the man whose name it bears, and in Frankfort a few families, together
with Simon Hubbard, who was the circuit clerk, county clerk and probate
judge, and I believe, also master in chancery. We were all peaceable,
friendly and happy, and neighbored...attending log rollings and house
raisings. Most of these men have passed away but their descendants are
worthy of their noble sire, and I feel the...descendants are, to this
day, the pride of our country.

"The first Methodist class meeting was 1822 and was composed
of seven persons. We had rails for seats and on one occasion when more
came than expected, Mr. Crawford rolled some large pumpkins and made
seats of them. I can remember when the first school house was built. My
children went to the Dillon settlement school, a distance of four miles.
When I was elected judge, about 1832, the county was $300 in debt, and
we thought that terrible. We had no court house then, nor was there a
bridge in the county, and it was a question of how to raise funds and
pay the debt and build a court house. We finally raised the taxes from
20 to 25 cents on the $100, which created much dissatisfaction." (The
conclusion next week.)

NOTE TO CEMETERY VOLUNTEERS: Are you all hard at work? A few of the
readings are being turned in, and we'd like a lot more.

The Genealogy Library is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to
2 p.m.

Address letters to Genealogy, White County Historical Society, PO Box
121, Carmi, IL 62821.

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The Coordinator for the White County, Illinois ILGenWeb page is Cindy Birk Conley

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