Weekly column published in The Rushville Times with information furnished by officials of the Schuyler Jail Museum.
Transcribed by Amanda Detrick.
Wednesday, January 3, 2001
The Heritage Room of the Schuyler Jail Museum will reopen Jan. 7 from 1-5 p.m. Each Saturday
and Sunday thereafter until April 1, the Heritage Room will be open from 1-5 p.m. Membership renewals are now due.
Do you know what county Schuyler was a part of before it’s organization? It was a part of
Pike County, which comprised most of what is now known as the Military Tract. When was Schuyler County organized?--- January, 1825.
In 1917, the village of Bath in Mason County, had a population of 450 and was served by
Chicago, Peoria and St. Louis Railroad, and also had a landing on the Illinois River. Businesses listed were the Bank of Bath, two implement businesses,
Brunning Lumber Co.; Jno. H. Keith-drugs, L.F. Keith-general store, Mrs. Anna Lacey-millinery, William Lacey & Bro.-general store, LeTissier &
Co.-fish, D.L. McCarthy-groceries, W.F. McCausland-Mfr. of cement, Jesse Miller & Co.-lunch, etc., John Miller-groceries, M. Morris-grain, and Frank
Roloff-shoe repairs. Bluff Springs in Cass County was served by the Baltimore and Ohio Southwestern Railroad and had a population of 162. Its businesses were
Bluff Springs Farmers’ Elevator Co., Albert C. Briding-blacksmith, George F. Carls-groceries and drugs, John W. Matthews-general store, and C. W.
A reminder that Neva Bartlett would appreciate donations of funeral memorial cards. She is
compiling these in a book. Several volunteers go to the museum one day a week during the winter and work on special projects. These projects result in new
material for the researcher.
Wednesday, January 10, 2001
The winter of 2000-2001 will be remembered as one “like we used to have.” In the
past few winters, we have been spoiled for having not very much snow and mild winter temperatures. The Fall 1998 issue of The Schuylerlite contains some
Schuyler County weather statistics from a record book in the Orr family file. “Christmas Dec. 25, 1936 - Christmas Day was the warmest ever known here.
Thermometers marked 64 degrees. Weather bureau records dating to 1879 do not show equal for Dec. 25, 1936. Christmas Day throughout Illinois was the warmest
ever known during the 57 years of official records that have been kept by the U.S. Weather Bureau at Springfield, Illinois. The 1936 Christmas will be
remembered as a day when the bees left their hives for a mid-winter jaunt, while people let their furnace fires smolder and opened doors and windows or sat on
their porches to be comfortable. William Illman killed a snake Christmas Day, Dec. 25, 1935 on a hill by Everhart’s. Then Jan. 7 1937, an ice-sleet storm
completely paralyzed Rushville. Telephone and electricity poles were knocked down, fallen trees blocked streets and damaged homes and business was virtually
halted. The Rushville Times termed it as “the twenty-four hour ice and sleet storm, which has never been equaled in the history of this more than
100 year old city.” Thankfully, no deaths or injuries were reported. So it is with Illinois weather.
Researchers don’t forget the many family files and family histories we have in the
Heritage Room. These families are not only from Schuyler County but from the surrounding counties as well. You may find that your family has already been
The museum family misses Lillian Hoover at the museum. She has recently taken a fall. Lillian
is one of the Schuyler Jail Museum’s co-presidents and also our exchange editor.
“A genealogist is someone who is always in search of a good dead man.”
Wednesday, January 17, 2001
There have been several inquiries from people concerning them not receiving their fall and
winter 2000 issues of The Schuylerlite. These are usually mailed out in early December. This year, due to uncontrollable circumstances, the issues did not get
finished. The fall issue is almost ready and hopefully, the winter issue will soon be ready.
In the Nov. 17, 1892, issue of The Rushville Times, we find that the Schmoldt Bros. of
Beardstown were building a new ice house. “Schmoldt Bros. are building a new ice house and will put in an endless chain for hoisting the ice. The ice
trade is a fine thing in Beardstown, and if the season is favorable there will be more ice packed here this winter than ever before.” Aren’t
we glad we don’t have to depend on the Illinois River for ice now!
Here are a few items you might want to look at when you visit the museum this spring. There is
a huge copper ball that was on the old court house in Central Park, 1831-1882. There is also a lady’s side saddle that belonged to Barton Campbell
Carrick and Eliza Bradley Carrick. It was used from 1865 to 1875. We have two lap robes, a brown buffalo one from the early 1800s and a black steer one from
the Joseph Geiman farm, dated 1900. These are just a few of the interesting items to be seen in the museum.
“There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children – one is roots; the
other, wings.” Genealogy... Life in the Past Lane.
Wednesday, January 24, 2001
The Schuyler Jail Museum board met Monday afternoon. Melba Brocksieck, our membership chairman,
reported that we have 284 members and Maxine Shelts reported that there were 32 visitors since last report, including two from Japan. The Heritage Room is open
from 1-5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, for researching, but the museum section remains closed until April 1. Our librarian, Judy Ward, reported several new
additions to our library. These include: “Digging Up the Family Roots” and “It’s Branchline” (includes the lines of Orr,
Berquist, Samuelsson, Thomas, Burnside(s), Vaughn, Lawler, and Allen), “Hardy And Hardie Past & Present” by. H. Claude Hardy and Rev. Edwin
Noah Hardy (a 1,322 page Hardy family history), “The Family of Martin Burrus” by Martin Burrus, Funeral Home Records, Vol. 1 & 2, of the Banks
& Beals Funeral Home-LaHarpe Ill. Hancock County.
Researchers, don’t forget the exchange quarterlies and newsletters we receive. The new
ones are now coming in. The new Fulton County quarterly has many pictures of school classes and church groups from throughout Fulton
Looking at the 1917 Business Director of Cass County, Ill., we find that Arenzville had a
population of 562 and the following businesses were listed: Arenzville Hagener Farmers Elevator Co.; Arenzville Light & Power Co.; Arenzville Lumber Co.;
Arenzville Produce Co.; two banks; Bates & Bartelheim-implements, vehicles, brick; Mrs. E. Beauchamps-millinery; Fred Bolhorst-rugs and carpets; H.A.
Bridgman-groceries; Brockhouse Bros. Furniture and hardware; Miss E.H. Cire-millinery; Frank B. Graham-livestock; F.D. Hammer-blacksmith; Hierman &
Bros.-restaurant; Anna S. Hoagland-printing; Home Telephone Co.; F. Lippert-restaurant; John F. Lovekamp-harness; W.L. McCarthy-groceries and drugs; Oscar
Mallicoat-livery; R.J. Ommer-groceries and men’s furnishings; Onken Bros. & Meyer-general store; H.E. Palmer-bakery; H.W. Reckamp-barber and cigars;
J.H. Stock-garage; J.F. Thyem-jewelry; Harry Triebert-barber and billiards; Weeks Bros.-General Store; Williamson & Brockhouse-furniture and undertaker;
and Wood & Nieman-general store.
For the researchers who have access to the Internet, I found a very interesting genealogical
site, titled “Palmer List of Merchant Vessels.” It contains a list, with pictures and descriptions, of many of the immigrant ships that came to
America. I found a picture and description of the Bremen ship, Rebecca, the one my maternal ancestors arrived from Ostfriesland on in 1851. These “little
finds” make genealogy more real and interesting. Try genealogy.
Wednesday January 31, 2001
Have you found new information for your family tree? These cold winter days are a good time to
do so. It is a good time to write letters to courthouses, relatives, genealogical societies and libraries for information on your ancestors. It is also a good
time to dig into those old photographs and see how many you can identify or find out who the unknown ones are.
It is interesting to find out how the naming of certain areas of counties happened. Such
as with Guinea in Brooklyn Township of Schuyler County. The Schuyler Citizen, June 22, 1859, had the following account of the naming Guinea. “Many
years ago at an election in Brooklyn twp. A man from this area came into Brooklyn to vote. When asked where he lived he had difficulty explaining, partly due
to few settlers then, partly due to good spirits. He finally said ‘Guinny,’ but after further questioning it was decided the man didn’t live
in Brooklyn twp. so he couldn’t vote. This angered him to the point he threatened to go home and create his own state and vote when and where he pleased
- henceforth Mr. McCorkle’s farm was called Guinea. These names were given long before any barns were to be seen or reapers heard - now (1859) you would
be surprised to see the number of log houses scattered around.”
Following are a couple more medical hints from “My Grandmother’s Cook Book.”
“To stop bleeding - apply wet tea-leaves, or scrapings of sole-leather to a fresh cut and it will stop the bleeding, or apply a paste of flour and
vinegar.” "Wound from rusty nail - smoke this or any inflamed wound over the fume of burning woolen cloth, wool or sugar, for 15 minutes, and the pain
will be taken out.”
Remember, the winter museum hours are now in effect, those being, Saturday and Sunday from 1-5
p.m. An indicator that you’ve become a Gene-Aholic: You have more photographs of dead people than living ones.
Wednesday, February 7, 2001
February has several dates that we commemorate, or, at least, remember. Those being Ground Hog
Day, Feb. 2; Boy Scouts were founded Feb. 8, 1910; Thomas Edison was born Feb. 11, 1847; Abraham Lincoln was born Feb. 12, 1809; St. Valentine’s Day is
Feb. 14; President’s Day is Feb. 19; George Washington was born Feb. 22, 1731; and, this year, Ash Wednesday is Feb. 28.
Until 1971, Feb. 12 and Feb. 22 were observed as federal holidays to honor the birthdays of
Lincoln and Washington. In 1971, President Richard Nixon proclaimed the third Monday of February as President’s Day, to honor all past presidents of the
Our presidents are usually remembered by something they did, something they said or by
something that happened to them. Do you know who the following presidents were?
1. Who was the only bachelor president? His niece Harriet Lane, fulfilled the role of hostess
in the White House.
2. Name the president who was impeached?
3. Who was the first president to talk on the radio?
4. What president was the first to appear on T.V.?
5. Which presidents won the Nobel Peace Prize?
6. What president suffered an attack of polio at the age of 39?
7. What president was a prisoner of war?
8. What president is called “The Father of Our Country?”
Answers: (1)- James Buchanan; (2)- Andrew Johnson; (3)- Woodrow Wilson; (4)- Franklin D. Roosevelt; (5)- Theodore
Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson; (6)- Franklin D. Roosevelt; (7)- Andrew Jackson; (8)- George Washington.
The latest Jacksonville Area Genealogical and Historical Society Quarterly has some interesting
topics, including “Early Funeral Establishments in Jacksonville and Nearby Areas,” and “Morgan County’s Earliest Settlers.” The
Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly has topics on “Peoria Co. Probate Index 1825-1887,” “Family Bible Records; Zimmerman, Friesen,
Murry, Darnall, Dillon, Ebert, Elmore, Gumbel” and “The 1752 French Census of Illinois.” The latest Peoria County Quarterly has topics on
“Trinity Lutheran Church Baptismal Records,” “Hines Family Info.,” and “Hines Grade School, Peoria.” You are encouraged to
come and browse these and other quarterlies in our library. They are usually an overlooked source of genealogical information.
Remember the Heritage Room is open for genealogical research on Saturday and Sunday afternoons
from 1-5 p.m. until April 1.
Wednesday, February 14, 2001
February 14, Valentine’s Day, is a special day that is celebrated by people in most
Western countries. The old and young alike exchanged Valentine’s Day cards, schoolchildren have parties and dances while the older, as well as younger,
exchange candy and flowers.
In Britain and Italy, some unmarried women get up before on Valentine’s Day, stand by the
window and watch for a man to pass. They believe that the first man they see, or someone who looks like him, will marry them within a year.
In Denmark, people send pressed white flowers called snowdrops to their friends. Danish men
also send a type of valentine called a gaekkebrev (joking letter). The sender writes a rhyme, but does not sign his name. Instead, he signs the valentine with
dots, one dot for each letter of his name. If the woman who gets it guesses his name, he rewards her with an Easter egg on Easter. Some people in Great Britain
also send valentines signed with dots.
There are several different versions as to how Valentine’s Day started. Some trace it to
the ancient Roman festival Lupercilia. Some people attribute it to one or more saints of the early Christian church, and others link it to an old English
belief that birds choose their mates on February 14. Actually, Valentine’s Day probably came from a combination of three sources.
Many Valentine’s Day customs involved ways that single women could learn who future
husbands would be. In the 1700's, English women wrote men’s names on scraps of paper, rolled each in a little piece of clay, and dropped them all in
water. The first paper that rose to the surface supposedly had the name of a woman’s true love. Also in the 1700's unmarried women pinned five bay leaves
to their pillows on the eve of Valentine’s Day. They pinned one leaf to the center of the pillow and one to each corner. If the charm worked, they saw
their future husband in their dreams.
Commercial valentines were first made in the early 1800's. Esther A. Howland of Worchester,
Maine, became one of the first U.S. manufacturers of valentines. In 1847, after seeing a British valentine, she decided to make some of her own. She made
samples, took orders and set up an assembly line to produce the cards.
For whatever reasons Valentine’s Day began or the many customs that have evolved from it
over the centuries, it will remain a good time to tell those special to us how we feel about them. Did you remember your Valentine?
Wednesday, March 21, 2001
The April 3, issue of Family Circle magazine, page 11, sites a new internet source of immigration records for the genealogical research or those
interested in history. The web site address is www.eiilislandrecords.org. For over 40 percent of Americans, Ellis Island holds the key to their
ancestral past. Now, after five years of development, the American Family Immigration History Center is opening its database of Ellis Island records to
the public via the Internet. The database will hunt for spelling variation to gain access to 11 fields of information: immigrant’s given name,
surname, ship name, port of departure, arrival date, line number on manifest, gender, age, marital status, nationality and last residence.
For a fee, you will also be able to obtain a reproduction of the actual ship’s manifest on which your
ancestor’s name appears and/or a photo of the ship on which he or she arrived in the United States. For those who do not have internet access,
there are researchers who will search for them.
When I checked this page the first part of March 2001, the immigration records were not yet activated. The
page states it is to be activated in the spring of 2001. A person could type in a surname and see if it is listed on Ellis Island’s Wall of
Honor. It is a site worth bookmarking.
Getting information on the immigrant ancestor is a very important part of the genealogical researcher’s
records. Local researchers, don’t overlook the Schuyler Jail Museum’s large collection of immigration books. We have: the Complete Book
of Emigrants in Bondage 1664-1775, Immigrant Ancestors, New World Immigrants, I and II, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index(I-III), Passenger Arrivals Port
of Baltimore 1820-1834, Passengers to America, Ships Passenger Lists(4 Vols.)., Passenger Ships Arriving in New York Harbor 1820-1850, The Famine
Immigrants(I-VII), Irish Passenger Lists, and British Aliens in the United States 1812, to name a few.
“To be rooted is perhaps the most important and least recognized need of the human soul.”–Simone
Wednesday, March 28, 2001
Are you superstitious? In 1927, Dr. F.C. Hayes of Camden, wrote of superstitions of the day. The following are some superstitions, taken from
his article, “Dark Age” Superstition, printed in V. 14 of The Schuylerite. “During the past week I have heard a dozen persons cite
individual cases were amputated arm, legs, fingers and toes had to be disinterred, turned over or straightened out because of the pain the unfortunate person
was suffering.” “A man places his shoes under his bed, upside down, to prevent cramps in his legs.” “A man carries a
buckeye in his pocket to prevent rheumatism.” “A person entering a home by the rear door, objects to leaving the home by the front
door.” “In a home where the family lay a corpse, all the mirrors and pictures are turned to the wall and the clock is stopped.”
There were people who had the reputations of being able to blow the fire out of a burn or stop a bleeding. “No one thinks he is
superstitious. But really don’t you cringe when you pass under a ladder leaning against the side of a house? Would you move on a
Friday? Would you not refuse to sit at a table with thirteen seated?”
“These things I have enumerated are relics of the times when ignorance and superstition reigned
supreme. I repeat, with our advanced education and boosted civilization, we are but a step from the ‘Dark Ages.’”
Sunday April 1, the Schuyler Jail Museum will begin its summer schedule of being open from 1-5p.m., seven days a
“Some family trees have beautiful leaves but some just have a bunch of nuts. Remember it is the nuts
that make the tree worth shaking.” Lois Ann
Wednesday, April 11, 2001
The Schuyler Jail Museum will be closed Sunday, April 15, in observance of Easter. We will resume our summer hours, 1-5p.m., on
Monday, April 16.
The Heritage Room has several new additions to the library for researching needs. The new
additions are: Cass County, Illinois Marriages, Vol. III, 1900-1905; Henry County, Illinois, History and Families, 1837-2000 and the Worthington Funeral Home
Records, 1949-1999. We also received the Pension File for Daniel R.P. Johnson of Oakland Township. I’m sure the researcher of area surnames
will find these to be valuable sources of information.
The first quarter quarterlies and newsletters have also been arriving weekly in the Heritage Room. The
McDonough Co. Genealogical Society New Quarterly has an interesting article titled “The History of Our Spring Creek Settlement.” The Pike
County Historical Society Newsletter has articles on the Brown Shoe Factory Fishook and Montezuma Township and the Hancock Co. Historical Society Quarterly has
articles on the Nauvoo Temple and Steamboating on the Mississippi. The Great River Yellowjacket-Quincy, IL. has a listing of Burials of Civil War
Soldiers from Military Hospitals in Quincy, IL., and the Versailles Area Genealogical and Historical Society has an article on “Early Days in Brown
Co.-1830,” also, “1911 Deaths Appearing in Brown Co. Newspapers” and “1911 Marriages Appearing in Local Newspapers.” All of
these contain valuable information for the area researcher.
The floor of the museum section of the Jail Museum has just received a much needed new coat of
paint that improves the appearance 100 percent. Almost all of the display cases have been totally stripped, cleaned and redone. Everything looks
There are a couple of events coming the first part of May, that should be of interest to
area history and genealogical people. The Schuyler Jail Museum’s open house will be May 5 and 6. There will be more information on this as
details become available. Also, on May 5 the Cass County Historical and Genealogical Society are hosting an antique appraisal from 9 a.m. to 1p.m. at the
Lions Building on the square in Virginia.
Wednesday, April 18, 2001
Around us there is constant change. Neighborhoods change, customs change and entire towns change. Nowhere is this more
apparent than looking into the history of our small county towns, some of which are now extinct. The following is a description of Bluff City, taken from
an 1883 issue of The Rushville Times.
“Bluff City has a population of 300, of which 50 are adults, 200 children, and 50
dogs. It is situated in the southeast part of Schuyler County, and is noted for its beautiful scenery and prehistoric relics, the most interesting of
which is Rock-house and the numerous and extensive mounds. The mounds are being defaced by the professors and teachers from the high schools and
neighboring towns, who are digging them down searching for relics of that long extinct race, the Mound Builders.
“Bluff City covers an area of about 2,500 acres. The city is abundantly
watered, as there is a beautiful lade within the city limits covering an area of about 2,000 acres. The lake, with the scenery surrounding the city,
makes this a place of resort for the wealthy seeking pleasure, the sportsman seeking the duck and the literary seeking knowledge from this picturesque page of
nature’s great book.
“The business of this city is not so extensive as in many other towns, as most of the
citizens have retired from active business. The wealthiest of our citizens live on beautifully improved villas outside of the hurry and bustle of the
city. Among these may be found Jacob Fisher and John Curless in the east part of townl; Tuck Shaw, L.J. Severns and Daniel Louderback in the west part of
A common mistake some genealogical researchers make, especially someone just starting to
research their family, is to assume that no one else has researched a family name or family line. We have many people who look in the family files in the
Heritage Room and discover that research has already been made on a certain family line.
Some people are also surprised to find a complete family history published in our Family
History section. So, if you are starting to research your family tree, whether from Schuyler or a nearby county, stop in and visit the Schuyler Jail
Museum. You might find just the material you need to get started.
The Jail Museum’s hours are from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Stop in and visit