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Miscellaneous News Articles

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Celebrates Birhtday at Home of Her Son, G.C. Keyl

Mrs. Amelia Keyl celebrated her eighty-second birthday at the home of her son, G.C. Keyl, 1178 West Eldorado street, Sunday. While Mrs. Keyl is blind and deaf she is very active for a woman of her years. She has eight children and a number of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She received a good many presents, consisting of flowers, silver and china. A large number of friends called at her home during the day.

Two years ago, she celebrated her eightieth birthday and it was a grand affair. This year most of her children could not be with her but they remembered her by letters and presents.

Decatur Review, 9 Aug 1909, pg. 10


Sunday was a happy day for David GARVER, at which time about fifty children, grand- children, great-grand-children and a number of friends of the family assembled at the residence of his daughter, Anna DIEHL, in honor of his 81st birthday. The 'Squire is one of the pioneer settlers of Macon county, having come here in 1840, when railroads were unknown in this part of the country and provisions were hauled from Springfield by oxen. The lumber with which he built his house, and also the first school house in his locality, he hauled from Indiana.

In 1873 he left hte farm, since which time he has been a resident of this city. The old gentleman is somewhat feeble, but with good care, which none better than his daughter can bestow, he expects to see many more such days as this.

Dinner was served at 1 o'clock, which to say the least, was a sumptuous banquet and of which all heartily partook. Many handsome and useful presents were given him, and regrets were received from a number of relatives and friends who could not be present. Those from a distance were from Monticello, Cerro Gordo, Oreana and the surrounding country.

Daily Republican (Decatur), 12 May 1890

A New Year's Dinner

Mr. and Mrs. George Trimby entertained about twenty of their relatives at dinner New Year's day in honor of Mr. and Mrs. John A. Trimby of Danville, who have been spending the holidays with Mr. Trimby's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Trimby. Those present were Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Trimby, Mr. and Mrs. James Trimby and their children, Uriah, John, Raymond, Dorothy, and Baby Hugh Trimby, Mr. and Mrs. George Trimby and daughters, Kate and Helen and Mr. and Mrs. John A. Trimby and sons, Harold and Arthur, of Danville.

The Daily Review (Decatur), 4 Jan 1903


St. Louis Globe-Democrat, Aug 5th.

About 1:30 o'clock yesterday an old, dilapidated-looking farm wagon, covered with a white cotton top and drawn by a single half-starved horse might have been seen slowly wending its way northward on Broadway. The wagon reminded one of the vehicle used by emigrants who crossed the western plains in the '40s in search of gold. The poor animal, which in its half-starved condition was doing double duty, looked as if every step would be its last. Inside the wagon sat a lank-looking individual with a woe-begone expression upon his face, which, together with his surroundings, made him the picture of utter despair. Occasionally, as the breeze caused the loose white curtains to flap up and down, the pale face of a woman, with a babe in her arms, could be seen. Three more chubby, sun-burned faces peered through the hole in the cover at the rear and of the old schooner, talking in with wide-eyed wonder the strange sights as they crept at snail pace along the busy thoroughfare. This was the sight that had passed all along Manchester road and Market street and up Broadway, without a word of sympathy or an offer of Christian charity until they reached the horse market on North Broadway.

At the sale stables of Maxwell & Crouch quite a little crowd of horse-traders had gathered in the shade under the wide awning before the door to spin yarns and enjoy an after-dinner cigar. Jim Martin was in the midst of one of his best yarns about the days "afore the war," when the old schooner hove in sight. Martin stopped in the middle of a sentence. His eye was fixed on the sad face of the woman, as he said: "Boys, there's a pitiful sight, sure." By this time all eyes had observed the vehicle and its occupants, and every man seemed moved. Joe Maxwell was the first to act. He got up and walked out to the wagon, and after saying a few kind words to the occupants slipped a silver dollar into the woman's hand. She was so overcome with gratitude that she burst into tears as Mr. Maxwell hurried away to join his friends and hide his own emotions. The effect on the crowd was electrical. Every man was touched. "Call'em back, Joe," said one. "Yes, let's get them something to eat," said another, and every man began at once to chip in his mite to help the poor family. A stable man ran and called the man back, and in less than fifteen minutes the poor family were sittin gdown to a good dinner at Jack Pairn's residence, over Maxwell's office, and the old horse was storing away a peck of oats as rapidly as a hungry animal could.

While the family were enjoying the dinner so charitably provided the bystanders were not idle. A purse was raised sufficient to puchase another horse to take the place of the mate of the one they drove, which had died on the way. The old shafts were raken off and a pole put in its place. Mr. Hirzel, of the Globe Laundry, came over with a big bundle of clothing, which he placed in the wagon. Every one in the crowd donated something, and in half an hour the old schooner was loaded with provisions. Callahan & Lennon took the horses and shod them, and when the owner of the team, who had been purposely detained in conversation by a Globe-Democrat reporter until the arrnagements for his comforts had been completed finally came down to the stable he could scarcely believe his eyes. To add to his surprise Mr. Maxwell counted over into his hands $10 in silver, which he accepted with tremblinb hands and placed it in an old purse with the three dimes and a nickel which had been its contents when he arrived in town. While this was going on his wife and children were being fitted out with new shoes, and in a few moments they were once more started on their journey to Decatur, Ill., where they have relatives. The man is John Warnick and his wife's name is Laura. The four children are all boys, aged 6, 4 and 2 years and a baby of three months. They formerly lived near Decatur, but left there over a year ago to seek a home in southwest Missouri, in Vernon county. There was little or no work to be had there and Warnick decided to get back to Decatur, a distance of nearly 500 miles. They left Scholl City with barely enough money to get through, but the loss of one of their horses caused much delay and they landed in St. Louis with 35c. They crossed the river on the North Market street ferry, and started on the remaining 100 miles of their tedious journey with much lighter hearts and with a much more exalted idea of the charity of a great city than that usually carried away by a wayfaring stranger.

John Warnick is a member of the well-known Warnick family of Macon county. They were pioneers. John is about 35 years of age. He formerly resided in Blue Mound township, near Boody.

Decatur Daily Republican, 7 Aug 1893


While plowing in a field at his home in the Howesville vicinity, near Mattoon, Ill., Joel Anderson unearthed a box which contained $300 in gold. The money had been hidden by his father many year ago, and the younger Anderson had looked the farm over many times in an effort to find the money.

The Daily Review, Decatur, IL, 3 May 1907

81 Last Saturday

Samuel Allen, who was 81 years of age last Saturday, paid the Reupblican a visit last evening and chatted about old times. Sixty years ago he left his home and birthplace at Leesburg, in Loudan county, Va., and came west. He was then 21 years of age. He arrived in Decatur on horseback March 18, 1832, and cast his first vote here. He has voted nowhere else except in Decatur. He made two round trips to Virginia on horseback after he located here, and three years ago he made the journey on the cars. Mr. Allen is in remarkably good health for a man of his advanced years and loved to talk about old events and men of the long ago. He has heard Daniel Webster, Henry Clay and Thomas Benton speak in the United States Senate and has seen Martin Van Buren preside in the Senate. he also saw "Old Hickory" and can recall all important events in the history of the country in his lifetime.

Decatur Weekly Republican, 15 Oct 1891


Birthday Dinner Party at the Levi Towl Residence

George PECK is 84 years of age to-day. He is the oldest member of the well-known PECK family of Ohio and Illinois and his home is at Cerro Gordo, where years ago he served the government faithfully and well as Gordy's first postmaster. He is the father of 10 children seven of whom are living. He has been married three times. The old gentleman's natal anniversary was celebrated to-day at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Levi TOWL, northwest of the city, where a fine dinner was served. There were about 30 relatives present, children, grand-children and great-grand children of the old gentleman. Henry PECK, of Hidalgo, Ill., a son, was present.

Daily Republican (Decatur), 13 Dec 1895

FOR SALE - Or exchange, patent right on good household article; what have you? Mrs. Cora DOWNHAM, 250 W. Wood St.

Decatur Review, 16 Sep 1919

The Downham grocery at 235 West Wood, was sold during the past week to M. PHILLIPS of Decatur, who will continue to run the store in that location. Mr. DOWNHAM is moving to his farm in Missouri to retire. C.A. BURKE and W.O. WRIGHT handled the sale.

Decatur Review, 8 Apr 1923

I am searching for a gg-uncle that lived in Decatur, William Henry Harrison Downham. He owned and operated the Downing Grocery Store on Wood Street. He married Cora Pebernat and they had sons named Milton and Raymond, and a daughter named Lillian. He moved to Missouri and may have died there. Cora was in Washington State in the 1930 census.

Click here to view William H. Downham's wedding certificate.

Above items kindly submitted by Cindy Downham White

Mrs. W.L. SMITH Was Wed In Old House At 2051 East William

The old east end landmark at 2051 East William which is now being torn down, brings back memories to more Decatur persons, one particulartly interested being Mrs. W.L. SMITH, 302 East Center street, whose marriage took place in that house. The date of the marriage was Feb. 11, 1862.

The wedding ceremony took place at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and the couple expected to leave at 6 o'clock for Carbondale, where Mr. SMITH was then in business. However, train service wasn't as good in those days as it is at the present time, and the train was three hours late, so the bridal couple had a long wait.

COLEMAN Officiated

Their wedding ceremony was performed by Rev. J.W. COLEMAN, a Methodist minister, and also the guardian of the bride. Mr. COLEMAN was the father of Theodore COLEMAN of this city. Only the members of the family and a few friends attended the wedding among the guests being Mr. and Mrs. Jacob SPANGLER and their son Frank.

Mr. and Mrs. COLEMAN had not lived in the house very long before the marriage of their ward, as they had just moved in from the country a short time before. They rented the house from Robert ALLEN. Mrs. SMITH does not know who built the house, but at the time she lived there it was owned by Robert ALLEN.

Decatur Daily Review, 20 November 1929

Removal Of An Old Settler

Yesterday, Rev. Daniel Traughber and his family started for their new home in Wilson county, Kansas. Mr. Traughber emigrated from Kentucky to this county thirty-six years ago and has resided in Mt. Zion township ever since. His children, one by one, had married and emigrated further west, and in order to be near them the aged parents finally concluded to break up the associations of a generation and make another home for themselves on the frontier - just as they did thirty-six years ago when they settled in what was then the new State of Illinois. Mr. Traughber has led a useful and upright life and while we regret to lose him as one of our citizens we congratulate the people among whom he is to make his future home upon such a valuable accession to their society.

Daily Republican(Decatur), 15 October 1872

Dinner In Illini

Bradbury Clark Entertains at His Country Home

Bradbury CLARK, a well known farmer of Illini township celebrated Thanksgiving with a big dinner to relatives and friends at his home southwest of Warrensburg. Mr. CLARK is 81 years old and has resided on the quarter section which he owned for the past 37 years. Mrs. Julia FERGUSON of Ogden, Kansas, who was one of the guests, celebrated he 80th birthday on this occasion and a third member of Mrs. CLARK'S family, Mrs. Jane CLARK, is 83 years old. She resides on the old home place in New Hampshire and was unable to attend the celebration. All three of these octogenarians are hale and hearty. The three daughters of Mr. CLARK are Mrs. C.J. TUCKER of Warrensburg, Mr. E.L. ROBERTS and Mrs. T.G. WILSON, wife of Deputy Sheriff WILSON of this city.

Decatur Herald, 28 Nov 1902

One Of The Oldest Men In County

Bradbury Clark of Warrensburg

Bradbury CLARK of Warrensburg, who is at present making his home with his daughter, Mrs. M.J. TUCKER, 848 West William street, will be 94 years old Sunday, Oct 24. In spite of his age, Mr. Clark is in good health and is able to get around. He takes a walk every day.

No celebreation of his birthday has been planned as yet, though it is likely that some of the relatives may be here for that day.

Many Years Ahead

Mr. CLARK is a member of a long lived family and from all indications he will live many years yet. He was born in Barnstead, N.H. Oct. 24, 1821. His first vote was cast in 1843 and since then he has missed voting only two presidential elections. He has always been a staunch democrat.

Mr. CLARK is of Scoth descent. His ancestors came to America before the French and Indian war. Mr. CLARK came to Ill. and settled on a farm near Warrensburg in 1865. He lived there until about 7 years ago, when his home was destroyed by fire. Then he sold his farm and retired, moving to Warrensburg.

Daily Review (Decatur), 21 Oct 1915

Bradbury Clark's Birthday Observed

The 94th birthday anniversary of Bradbury CLARK of Warrensburg, who is at present making his home with his daughter, Mrs. M.J. TUCKER, 848 West William street, was pleasantly passed by Mr. CLARK Sunday. He had a number of callers during the day and he received a number of gifts from his friends. He had several guests at dinner and in the afternoon he went for an automobile ride with friends.

Daily Review (Decatur), 26 Oct 1915

NOTE: Bradbury Clark married Susie E. Brickford on 9 Dec 1897, Macon County, IL. He died on 5 Jan 1916 Macon County, IL

Roy M. Dawson

Roy M. DAWSON was born south of Decatur in 1877. In 1885 he moved to Decatur with his parents and later became associated with the Decatur Coffin company with which concern he remained for fifteen years. Mr. DAWSON was united in marriage with Miss Christina WAXWNBURG in 1903. After severing connections with the Decatur Coffin company he became a member of the directors of the C.E. DAWSON Funeral Home, which position he filled until 1919 when the present Dawson-Wikoff partnership was formed. Mr. DAWSON is a member of the Lions Club, the Masonic fraternity, Modern Woodmen and Odd Fellow lodges.

Decatur Daily Review, 24 Jan 1928

This short article was presented in the newspaper on the occasion of the opening of a new Dawson-Wikoff Funeral Home facility. This occurred near the tenth anniversary on the start of the Dawson-Wikoff partnership. The funeral home is still in operation today. Along with this short biograhy was included one about Mr. Forest G. Wikoff, Mr. Dawson's partner and a history of the funeral home.

Fight At Warrensburg

Wednesday morning Samuel RITCHIE had a fight with John CLARK in Clark's butcher shop. The occasion of the quarrel was that RITCHIE claimed a pair of ice tongs which CLARK said became his property when he bought the butcher shop of RITCHIE. When things began to look squally, CLARK locked the door in front and soon he and RITCHIE were having a little mill to the great enjoyment of those standing just outside. RITCHIE came out second best. He has a badly bruised hand and was bleeding about the neck where he had been chewed or scratched. CLARK still retains possession of the tongs.

Saturday Herald, 1 Jan 1887


Saturday evening, June 6, a pleasant birthday party on Miss Nellie REED was gotten up by her brothers, Albert and John, and sister, Fannie, at her home three miles southeast of Oreana. It being her eighteenth birthday. Ice cream, cake and fruit were served. The evening was spent with music and singing. Several beautiful presents were received. The guest present were: Misses Emma BORCHERS, Neva ANDERSON, Carrie SHULER, Nettie BETZER, Martha SCOTT, Alice TURPIN, Fannie SHRATER, Clara TURPIN, Hannah MULLER, Henrietta HOWELL, Hattie ERWIN, Mary SHRATER, Ella COLEMAN, Emma BETZER, Emma and Amanda STUART, Luetta COLEMAN, Carrie and Daisy HISER, Ida TURPIN, Nora BARNES, Nettle HULL, Frank STUART, Charles BORCHERS, Elmer COOLEY, William SHAFFER, William MITCHELL, Carl BETZER, Robert FORTNER, Jack BOWER, Clarence TURPIN, Robert STUART, Daniel SCOTT, Ed McKINLEY, Douglas WILLIAMS, James FULK, John HECKMAN, Lewis HERSH, Aaron SENSENBAUGH, James MITCHELL, Mark PENSINGER, Roy SEITZ, Oscar HULL, Alfred BETZER, Chester BETZER, James STUART, William DURHAM, David ALBRIGHT, John SEITZ, Lewis BETZER, John COLEMAN and Frank HISER, Oliver SPOONER, William HULL, William ZIMS, William DeLONG, Willikam HISER, Elmer DeLONG, Daniel SEITZ, Jesse FULK, John STUART and George BETZER.

- June 6, 1896


Oakley, June 3 - Frank STUART was pleasantly surprised by about 90 of his friends and neighbors Sunday in honor of his 36th birthday. A bountiful dinner was served at noon, all bringing well filled baskets. Those present were: Mr. and Mrs. John STUART, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver STUART, Mr. and Mrs. John FULK, Mr. and Mrs. Robert STUART, Mr. and Mrs. S. A. D. TIKINS, Mr. and Mrs. James SHEETS, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph REED, Mr. and Mrs. Amos ELLER, Mr, and Mrs. D. STROHM, Mr. and Mrs. Robert REED, Mr. and Mrs. Roy REED, Mr. and Mrs. J. W. FULK, Mr. and Mrs. John REED, Mrs. Lizzle HESS, Mrs. Frank DEVERS, Mrs. Grace KELSON, Cora STUART, Thelma STUART, Helen STUART, Pearl STUART, Beatrice STROHM, Fern REED, Mary ELLER, Russell STROHM, Homer REED, Orvil REED, Thelma REED, John SHEETS, Edith SHEETS, Raymond CURTRIGHT, Cecil FULK, Homer STUART, William STUART, Opal STUART, Herman STUART, Adrian HANKS, Melvin REED, Russell STUART, Edith ELLER, Rheba FULK, Cecil FULK, Ray FULK, Mildred FULK, Fern DEVERS, Hazel DEVERS, Roy DEVERS, Orgil DEVERS, Mark REED, Lester REED, May REED, Frank KELSO, Clarence KELSO, George KELSO, Russell FULK, Clyde FULK, Helen FULK, Kenneth REED, Wilbur REED, Fay REED, Emma STUART, John STUART, Melvin STUART and Carrie STUART.

Macon Co. newspaper, June 3, 1910

Submitted by - Sandra Wagner


Great Gathering Occurs Entirely by Accident.

Robert PATE and his sister, Olive PATE BUTTICAZ of 2235 North Edward Street, boarded a street car on Memorial Day to attend the memorial services. The two are twins, aged 65, and both have lived in Decatur the better part of their lives. The next stop the car made David RICE and his twin sister, Mrs. Mattie HAYES, were waiting to make the trip down town. The two are nephew and niece of Mr. PATE.


"As they came in I marshaled them into seats," said Mr. PATE in relating the unusual incident. "We hadn't gone very much farther when Ida ANDREWS and Ada LUNN boarded the car. They too are twin sisters and nieces of mine. We formed a club, calling ourselves the "Three Twins" and I decided that the best thing we could do would be to go and get a picture. "We trooped up to Wasson's studio and faced the music. 'We're all twins' we said, 'and this is the time to celebrate.'


And the queerest part of the whole affair is that when the photographer, who aimed his muzzle loader at us, came out from his barricade when I made the remark about the twins, and looked us over again. 'I'm a twin myself, said he, 'and this is Decoration Day and we're all here.' Then he went back into hiding and made a good picture." The photographer, John LINDQUIST, is one side of a twin sketch and considered his work on this picture a happy coincidence.


Mr. PATE was born and raised in Decatur, and is proud of the fact that he got by the enlisting officer of Company I when the call came for volunteers in the stirring '60's. He served with he 7th Illinois through the war, re-enlisting when the second call came. He is one of the prominent members of Dunham Post, G.A.R.

Decatur Herald & Review - June 20, 1915


Mr. and Mrs. Frank STUART, west of town were pleasantly surprised last Wednesday evening by about 60 friends and neighbors. The party was given in honor of Mrs. STUART'S birthday. The evening was spent in music and games, and refreshments were served. Those present were: Mr. and Mrs. James HITE and children, Vivia, Ruth, Minvera and Orgel; Mr. and Mrs. Levi BLICKENSTAFF and son, Johnnie; Mrs. Paul REINHOLD and children, Clara, Mae and Willie; Mr. and Mrs. HART and children, Hazel, Evyln, Brandt and Burley; Chas HOOKER and children, Elsie, Mary, Lee and Herman; Mr. and Mrs. LANE and son, Lemual; Mrs. John GRAY, Miss Maude KRAFT, Mrs. John HOYLAND, Miss Ruth HOYLAND, Mr. and Mrs. Bert STARE and little daughter, Louise; Mr. and Mrs. G. T. SHEETS, Mrs. Charles SHEETS and children, Mary, Martha and Albert; Misses Dessie SHEETS, Edith SHEETS, Opal STUART, Gertrude KRAFT and Albert MILLER, Carl MILLER, Roy MORVILLE, Melvin REED, Clyde BURLEY, Elmer SHEETS, Wilbur REED, Alfred LARSON, Cecil FULK, Wilber HALL, John SHEETS, Herman STUART, and Charles EICHOLTZ.

- June 1919


Total receipts at the Frank STUART farm sale near Cerro Gordo Monday amounted to $1500. The high price for horses was $110.50. Hogs sold fairly well, shoats bringing around $10. Milk cows ranged from $45 to $70. Hay sold at $30 a ton. Corn in the shock went for 65 cents a shock.

The farming implements were old but were in very good condition and sold very well. There was a large attendance. J. W. DOBSON of Cerro Gordo was the auctioneer.

Mr. STUART has sold out and plans to come to Decatur to reside within a short time.

My grandfather moved to Decatur in 1921 this was from his farm sale:

Submitted by - Sandra Wagner

Celebrate His 91st Birthday

L. P. Stollard Observes Day Quietly

Lewis P. STOLLARD, who makes his home with his daughter, Mrs. Mattie BRANT, 670 West Center Street, celebrated his 91st birthday Wednesday. The day was passed quietly at his home.

Mr. STOLLARD attributes his good health and long years of active life to regular and clean habits. He has never used tobacco or liquor. Mr. STOLLARD is still active and likes to keep up with the times. His eyesight is unusually good, and he loves to read. He likes company and especially young people, and always has a smile for everyone.

Mr. STOLLARD was born in Fairfield county, Ohio, in the year 1839, and came to Illinois when he was twenty-five years old. He lived in Piatt county until he lost his wife in 1922 and then he came to Decatur to make his home with his daughter. He likes to talk over old times, and remebers well the time he attended school in a log cabin and used a goose quilll pen to learn to write. He still has the Old Testament with which he studied his Sunday school lesson when a child.

Mr. STOLLARD has some interesting old papers of Civil war times, and some old money which includes a confederate $10 bill signed by Jefferson Davis. He served in the army during the war and has his discharge which was signed by Abraham LINCOLN and Secretary SCRANTON.

The Decatur Review, Sunday Morning, December 21, 1930

Submitted by: Jo Ann Brant Schmidt

Centennial Vote

To the Editor:

In these days of centennial celebrations the centennial of the Republican party has a special significance to me.

My father, Oliver L. STUART cast his presidential vote for Gen. John C. FREMONT, the presidential nominee, in 1856. I have heard him speak of it many times.

He must have gone to Decatur to vote because there were no polling places in Whitmore township so far as I know. Oreana village came into being after the Illinois Central line from Decatur to Champaign was put through in the middle 70's.

He was born in Decatur, Sept. 15, 1833, so was eligable to vote in 1856. I am the youngest child (1874) and in all probability I shall cast my last presidential vote in 1956, if I live until Nov. 6, 1956.

So father and I span the century.

Submitted by - Sandra Wagner

Miss Madge Lives On In Quaint Home

Romance Surrounds Old House Filled With Pioneer Treasures

By Edna S. Sollars

Asinith was the quaint and lovely name of the bride brought by E. E. McDANIELS to Macon County at the close of the Mexican war in which he served, to assist him in laying the foundations for a pioneer home, the original structure still stands and inhabited by Miss Madge McDANIELS, a granddaughter of the intrepid pair. Although this home to which several rooms have been added in the course of time, is easilyl within a stone's throw from the hard road, Illinois route 2. Its existence woudl never be suspected by passing autoists, for it is entirely screened from observation by a small grove of forest trees, and yet the whole forms one of the most interesting, romantic and historic places in the entire county. Four filling stations occupy as many corners of the slab near the approach to Elwin. Turning to the east on this approach, a few feet brings one to an unsuspected road winding its slow way through the above mentioned grove of trees. I followed the adventurous, twisting trail with increasing thrills of anticipation, and there all at once was the quaintest house imaginable and before it was standing Miss Madge, her face framed in soft, snowy curls.


The original ancestors of the family braved all the terrors of crossing the Atlantic in a sailing vessel, leaving Scotland and Ireland with prayerful lips but with fear in their hearts, a fear which was well justified, for they were captured by pirates, and only after long months of imprisonment brought to the southern coast of the United States from which they eventually made their escape. When Asinith and her husband came to wrest the land from Nature's grasp, it was necessary for Mr. McDANIELS to ride to Vandalia on horseback over roadless wastes, between great weeds higher than his head while seated on the animal, to file his Mexican war land grant claim. The bride's honeymoon was spent in one small room with a deep fireplace crossing one end, her only household equipment being an iron skillet and an iron tripod on which a receptacle for making coffee might be placed. These articles are still in the possession of Miss McDANIELS. But honeymoon days were happy days even to a pioneer bride, so great plans were made for a barn raising and quilting bee. Neighbors were few and far between, but few as they were, they must be made comfortable and how does one sit in comfort without a chair? But barn raising and quilting bee folks laugh at obstacles, and the chairs were produced.


The Sangamon river was not spanned by bridges, but across it lay a farm from which six chairs cold be purchased. Husky neighbor lads volunteered to bring the chairs across the river, and with this end in view, tied their scanty homemade garments on their heads in a compact bundle, plunged in the water although the ice had barely disappeared, swam across, donned their garments modestly, played rough and tumble games along the way to another pioneer home, were given the chairs, which they carried back to the river's bank, two to a lad, again tied their bundles of clothing on their heads, grasped a chair and swam back. I followed Miss McDANIELS up the narrow, steep and winding stairway to the upper floor of her home and sat myself down in one of these chairs, low and comfortable, with a springy splint bottom. These rooms were filled with pioneer treasurers, and I went from one to the other, rejoicing more and more that I lived in the very good year of our Lord 1929. There was a great horse pistol, as long as my arm, and old flint lock gun so heavy I could scarcely lift it from the floor. Men must have been Herculean in early days to have thrown such weapons lightly to their shoulders at the frequent presence of game.


A Dutch oven, long since discarded from service, reposed on the floor, but its first entrance into the home was a gala occasion. Up to that time there had been only the skillet, but Mrs. McDANIELS, being a woman, desired culinary conveniences. On one of Mr. McDANIEL'S rare trips overland to St. Louis, he brought as a gift to his wife, the long coveted Dutch oven. Upon the way home, he shot a deer and brought along the venison with the new utensil, and a great feast was made in the home. The Dutch oven is really an iron pot, six inches in height, fourteen in diameter, and stands on four inch high legs. It is provided with a bale and a heavy iron lid, and in this many a fine family meal was prepared.


Pioneer girls were natural mothers, and tucked away in a crude little cradle, is a china headed doll, a household treasure for many years. I looked about in vain for a spool bed, but was told that they had long since been sold or chopped up for kindling to make room for iron or brass bedsteads. The McDANIELS rode on the first car which slid along the Illinois Central rails, not the first train, but the actual first working car, the foreman being a friend of the family. People went to church when churches were difficult to access, and on one occasion Mrs. McDANIELS mounted behind her husband on horseback, and the pair started for "meeting." Suddenly a wolf sprang from the high weeds, Mr. McDANIELS had no gun at the time, so turned his stallion full upon the beast, and trampled it to death. Almost all of the simple family wants were supplied by the labor of hand and brain, but salt was one of the commodities which must be purchased. The family had been without this essential ingredient for many months, and were beginning to suffer in consequence, when Mr. McDANIELS and others made a trip to St. Louis for the precious substance.


Traveling with an ox team is not speedy however, and it was long before a return could be made. He knew that sickness would be eminent in the home if the salt were not forthcoming soon. Then came great rains resulting in floods, and then freezing. The oxen could not travel so one of the men buckled on skates and skated over the intervening miles carrying the salt, and arrived only in time, for the family were in the throes of violent hiccoughs. Some years ago the old fireplace was remodeled, the andirons removed, small windows placed about it, so that it now resembled an alcove, and is largely used for a small conservatory. Much to my surprise, I found that one of the rooms in this pioneer homestead had been fitted up as a library, twelve or fifteen hundred volumes reposing on many wide shelves. Miss McDANIELS is fond of reading, preferring stories of adventure and travel to those of romance and love. Since her brother's death, she lived quite alone, and rents the farm to a neighbor. For a number of years a faithful dog was her companion, but he too, is no more.


The old McDANIELS' homestead is the mecca for all the children in the neighborhood. Miss McDANIELS being "Aunt Madge" to them all. She really would like to have another dog both for protection and companionship, but fears she might not find one who would be kind to her little children visitors, and so lives on quite alone. Miss McDANIELS' real name is "Maggie," but she has scant liking for the Maggie of Jiggs, and so prefers "Madge," and as such she is known to her friends.

The Decatur Review, Thursday, February 14, 1929, p.16

Submitted by - Alan Jones

NOTE: Mr. Jones isn't related to this family but kindly donated the information with the hope that it would be found and enjoyed by members of the McDaniel family.

Mr. Ichabod Baldwin is repairing and improving his residence on West Main street. The old house, one end of which is a log structure, has been remodeled and improved in such a manner that no one would ever take it for a building nearly forty years old. The log portion of this house was built by John Hanks, about the year 1831, and it is said that within its walls Abraham Lincoln commenced the study of law.

Decatur Republican, 15 July 1869


Background by: The Olden Times Historic Newspapers Online

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