A Grand Time at the Old Settlers' Reunion at Mt. Pulaski Yesterday

Addresses by Ex-Gov. Oglesby, J.R. Gorin, D.P. Bunn, Joab Wilkinson, D.K. Wilson and Others

Originally published in the Decatur Daily Republican, on 14 Sep 1882

The Old Settlers' organization, formed in 1818, held its grand annual barbecue and feast jubilee at Mr. Pulaski, on yesterday, and the day being fine for an out-door gathering, it proved an immense success socially for all present, and considerable money was left among the merchants and the hucksters in the ancient town on the hill, 22 miles distant, on the Peoria, Decatur & Evansville railroad. It is variously estimated that there were from 12,000 to 15,000 people on the grounds, among whom were 460 aged people registered as having been in the State since 1830, and nearly 700 who have been in Illinois over 40 years, and all these, no matter from what part of the country they came, were decorated with badges - blue for the 50 year settlers, and red for the 40 year settlers - on which are printed these words:

"Old Settlers' Reunion,
(State organized in 1818)
Illustrated Motto of State of Illinois,
Grand Barbecue and Feast Jubilee
Mt. Pulaski, Illinois, Sept 13, 1882"

The reunion was given under the management of D.W. Clark, president; Col. R.B. Latham, vice-president; Capt. Frank Fisk, secretay, and John F. Schick, jr., S. Linn Beidler and Charles S. Capps, members of the executive committee. The public exercises took place in the public square, beneath abundant shade, and during the day the following programme was observed:

Sept. 13, 1882 - FORENOON
Music by the Band until 10 A.M.
Meeting Called to Order
Invocation by Rev. John England
Address of Welcome by Col. Latham, of Lincoln
Oration, by Hon. J.H. Matheney, of Springfield
Music, by Danley's Choir
Addess, by Ex-Gov. Oglesby
Short Addresses by Others
Recess for Dinner


Music by the Band
Election of Officers
Music, by Danley's choir
Address, by Hon. J.T. Stuart, of Springfield
Five minute Speeches by Old Settlers.

Short speeches were made by Hon. J.R. Gorin, of Decatur, who also made fun for the old and young boys by playing "Money Musk" on a fiddle. Rev. D.P. Bunn, D.K. Wilson, Dr. Moore, and Capt. Joab Wilkinson, of this county, also made short talks, giving their experience in Illinois in the long ago. The other speakers were R.W. Diller, John T. Stuart, of Springfield, Jos. Moore, of Piatt county, familiarly known as "Buckskin Joe," and many others whose names our reporter did not obtain.


The 1060 old residenters were the honored guests of the notable occasion and tables were reserved for them. The tables were 90 feet long and there 24 and more of them arranged specially for the use of the old settlers, while there were others set apart for the convenience of younger portions of the crowd. The dinner was served in great abundance, and embraced beef cooked to a turn, chicken, corn and wheat bread, potatoes, stewed fruits, honey, pies, cakes, etc. None went away hungry and there was plenty left for the late comers. The coffee was made by steam in an immense vessel holding many gallons. The meats were cooked by steam in a house prepared for this purpose. There was no trouble at all about this part of the arrangement. The quarters were placed on shelves in the building which was about the size of the Republican sanctum, and then the steam was turned on.


Wooden pepper and salt cellars were used.
Jaob Wilkinson says he made the greatest effort of his life.
About 200 Decatur and Macon county people took in the Barbecue meeting.
Most of the 50-year settlers got hickory canes. There were not enough to go around.
Gov. Cullom was down on the programme for an address, but he was not present.
They had an "Old Settlers Song Book" at the barbecue. The only selections on the one page were "America" and "Sweet By and By."

J.R. Gorin met with an accident at Mt. Pulaski last evening while assisting a lady to get aboard the train. He slipped and fell into a ditch, and received a slight bruise near one of his eyes.

Nicholas Laux, of the Palace Hotel, which is headquarters for old settlers of every county, has the thanks of the reported for a 40-year old badge and special favors.

The hero of the day was Uncle Jake E. Capps, the oldest citizen in Logan county, having been a resident of Illinois for 62 years, and the earliest settler of Mt. Pulaski. He located in the town in 1836.

The grand stand from which the old settlers spoke was decorated in part by the head and horns of a Texas steer, the finest specimen ever seen in these parts. The distance between the tips of the graceful horns measured 5 1/2 feet.

W.H. Piatt, of Monticello, who came to Illinois in 1829, paid us a short call this forenoon in company with Mr. E.A. Jones, both of whom took in the reunion. Mr. Piatt had a blue badge and a cane, and Mr. Jones rejoiced in the possession of a red badge.

Among the curiosities exhibited was an old-fashioned hominy mill. The peculiar contrivance was a block of wood 18 inches high with a hole burnt out in the top, into which the corn was placed and then pounded with an iron wedge, which was kept bobbing up and down, crushing the grain. The wedge was tied to a limber limb of a sapling, which was so arranged as to bend part way over the top of the crude vessel, so that the wedge could perform its crushing work. The other relics of the olden days were a coverlet which was first used 98 years ago, exhibited by Mrs. Demint; a counterpane which had been used 48 years, shown by Mrs. Scroggins, and an antiquated copy book, dating back to the 17th century.

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