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 ©2001 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Barry Cleveland, editor, "The Carmi Times."

Pioneer graveyards razed

The weather seems against us working any more in the cemeteries for a

As we are looking for the small cemeteries out on private property, we
come across a few that are well cared for by the land owner. In other
instances, it's discouraging to be told, "Yes, there was a cemetery
there, but it is gone now." Last week, when we were trying to find a
cemetery in Gray Township, several neighbors told us, "Farmer John Doe
brought in a bulldozer and cleared the land, pushed down the log cabin,
and did away with the cemetery so he could farm the area." We've heard
this story, with variations, many times. I could get up on a soap box
about this kind of irreverence for our pioneer forefathers.


Many moons ago, geography was one of my favorite subjects in school.
Now, I'm abysmally ignorant concerning the countries of the world. I
finally found a map with current names of the areas surrounding
Afghanistan. Some of the countries are Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan,
Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan. Nowadays, a geography
textbook is probably out-dated before it is printed.


In former President Carter's latest book, "An Hour Before Daylight," he
has written an interesting chapter on the genealogies of the Carter
and Gordy families (Gordy was his mother's maiden name). He had stories
of how the Carters started acquiring land in Georgia as early as 1764.
By 1805, the Carters owned land in ten different counties--the land
being available for $4 per hundred acres. This fee was to pay the cost
of surveying and deeds; actually, the land was free.

One story related in the book referred to the stepson of Wiley Carter.
His name was Sterling Gardner, and through genealogy, the former
president learned that Gardner had left Georgia and gone to Texas to
seek his fortune. There he served as sheriff and county judge and wooed
by mail and married a girl named Mary Cheves. After the first wife died,
Gardner traveled back to Georgia to court and marry his wife's younger
sister, Loua Eugenia. She, too, died. Gardner directed in his will that
he be buried between his two wives, but "tilted a little toward Loua."

We've been doing quite a bit of research for Margaret Wells of San
Diego. She has about convinced me that all the people with a Wells
ancestor in Posey, Gibson, Wabash, Edwards and White counties are
connected. There were so many of them once, but I have trouble trying to
locate anyone now who is researching the Wells line.

Winston Churchill once said, "Words are the only thing which last
forever." We have hundreds of volumes of words at the Genealogy
Library. Come in and read a few. Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10
to 2.

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

Copyright © 2001 by Cindy Birk Conley, all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercial use of the information contained in these pages is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright notice must appear with the information.