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."

Burnt Prairie books will arrive Dec. 15

The second printing of the Burnt Prairie books is due to arrive Dec. 15
or before. They were so popular we sold out immediately of what we had
of the first printing.

Already chock full of pictures, another 30 pages of material has been
added. The price will be $20 (because the authors lost money on the
first batch). If you have any interest in that area of White County,
you'll like this book.


Those of you who take The Navigator or The Prairie Post have no doubt
read articles by Herschel Groff, Grayville resident historian. This
week's Post carried another of Groff's articles, this time about the
notorious Mike Smith, who made a fortune operating saloons in Grayville.
It made no difference whether the law said Grayville was dry. Mike never
slacked off in his business endeavors.

I was interested in what Groff had to say about the Smith burial plot in
Oak Grove Cemetery, as I had recently read those tombstones. Mike
Smith's wife, Pauline, died in 1879. Smith then married her much younger
sister, Whelmina, who died in 1946. I had those dates written in the
notebook in which I recorded names and dates from the tombstones.

As I started to put them in my computer, I thought there was too great a
discrepancy in the dates, and felt I might have made a mistake. When I
went back and checked, the dates were correct. Although the cemetery
records say Mike Smith was buried in this plot, there is no stone.

However, there is a slab of concrete measuring about 4 x 9 feet with no
name or dates. I couldn't figure what that was all about, but Groff
surmises Mike Smith was buried there. Groff says, "If so, why is his
grave unmarked? What other secrets are buried there?"

As we have read tombstones, we've come upon many interesting and
strange names and dates about which we can only surmise. As someone
used to say, "Dead men tell no tales."

GENEALOGY IN THE 21st CENTURY: A modern mother is explaining to her
little girl about the pictures in the family photo album. "This is the
geneticist with your surrogate mother, and here's your sperm donor and
your father's clone. This is me holding you when you were just a frozen
embryo. The lady with the very troubled look on her face is your aunt.
She's the family genealogist."

-From Cleveland Family Chronicles, December 2001

Dec. 22 will be the last date for the library to be open this year.
The library will not re-open until Feb. 5, 2002. Experience has shown
Christmas time and January to be times of low usage, and closing gives
the staff time to work on other projects.

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.

Return to the Notes from the White County Historical Society Page

Return to the White County ILGenWeb Page

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.