The Rushville Times, August 18, 1999
The 72nd annual reunion of the John and Sarah Potter Sargent family was held July 14-18 at Mt. Vernon and Rushville. There were 150 in attendance from 16 states with six branches of the family represented. Of the remaining seven children, two died as teenagers, two families have been lost and members of the other three families responded, but were unable to attend.
The reunion started with registration at the home of Chuck and Mildred Tindle on Wednesday, July 14 and a tour of the Jefferson County Historical Village in Mt. Vernon, where the group was entertained by Ezekiel J. Johnson, Civil War entertainer. Ezekiel is a 16-year-old student at McLeansboro High School, Hamilton County. He takes the listener back in time to the Civil War era with a variety of Union and Confederate songs by singing and playing the violin, changing uniforms to correspond with the songs.
A skit was presented by the descendants of John, Jr., explaining their move to Mt. Vernon from Rushville, and why they returned to Schuyler County. This skit also revealed that "love conquers all" when Carl Milliner came to Rushville to claim Edith as his bride and that determination would get Ernest to Florida where he became a carpenter and Clara would fulfill her dream of becoming a nurse.
Those taking part in the skit were Dave Meyer, Robin Winall, Erik Tindel, Brandon Milliner, Stephanie Hunter, Ann Milliner, Wilma Diesen, Malcolm Milliner and narrator Chuck Tindle.
A "Circuit Rider" came by and welcomed the Sargent clan, as homesteaders to the community.
The walks on the museum grounds were made up of memorial bricks and such a brick was purchased in memory of the John and Sarah Sargent family.
Thursday morning everyone was up bright and early for a bus tour of southern Illinois, conducted by Sidney Milliner. Sid is well versed in the history of this area and has produced a set of tapes, recording this history.
In the winter of 1830-31, snow came early to Illinois and three feet fell over the state. In the spring of 1831, a late frost killed many crops in central and northern Illinois and an early frost in the fall of 1831 prevented crops from maturing, except in the extreme southern portion of the state. Many farmers formed wagon caravans to this part of the state and it reminded people of Jacob's son going to Egypt to get grain, thus the name "Little Egypt."
Woodlawn Cemetery located at Carbondale is the site of the first "Decoration Day." Jack A. "Blackjack" Logan organized the Memorial Day celebration to honor the soldiers who fought and died in the Civil War.
Carbondale was established in 1876. While constructing the first R. R. in central Illinois, a high grade of red sandstone called Borkydal Sandstone was discovered. It was used in the construction of "Old Main," the first building at S. I. U., and the old State Capital building in Springfield.
The Murphysboro area claims the first coal mining operation in Illinois which began in 1810.
The main lodge at Giant City State Park was the site chosen for the family style chicken dinner. Many of the caves in this area will show blackened roofs where runaway slaves hid during the Civil War.
The sighting of the bald knob cross was quite exciting and was even more impressive when seen up close.
A tour was made of Pierre Menard's home near Chester. It is the finest example of Colonial Architecture in the Mississippi Valley. It was built for Mr. Menard, who later became the first Lieutenant Governor of Illinois.
Nearby is the only covered bridge in southern Illinois, and one of three in the state. A visit to Chester would not be complete without a stop to see the statue of "Popeye."
The next stop was made at the Charter Oak School near Schuline. It is one of the few remaining octagonal shaped school buildings in the U. S. School was held here from 1873 until 1953.
Returning from the bus tour, the group reassembled at the West Salem Trinity United Methodist Church for the evening meal. They were entertained with a harmonica concert by "Uncle Floyd" Wilderman. Bill Corry won the attendance prize.
Friday morning, some of the group returned to Rushville and the rest visited the National Coal Museum at West Frankfort. This is the only vertical shaft coal mine open to the public in the world. Unfortunately, this group was unable to make the descent, but they enjoyed the lecture and tour of the museum.
Those returning to Rushville checked in at The Virginia, Scripps Park and were greeted by cousins who came only to the Rushville segment of the reunion. As they registered, they received instructions for a treasure hunt sponsored joint by the reunion committee and the merchants around the main street community square.
By 6 p.m., all cousins had arrived from southern Illinois and from around the U. S. to enjoy the dinner served at The Virginia, and the musical, "The King and I," presented by Pandora's Playhouse.
Saturday morning bright and early, the cousins were greeted from the bandstand in Central Park by Betty Sue Ford, vice president. She introduced Mayor Lynn Smith who welcomed the Sargents to Rushville and presented a proclamation from the city council.
Wilma Diesen invited eight cousins and one guest to the steps of the bandstand and presented them with WOW stickers. These persons were in attendance at the first Sargent reunion 72 years ago in Macomb. They were Kenneth Webb, Kenneth Sargent, Dwight Baxter, Donald Baxter, Bernard Sargent, Russell Sargent, Ruby (Webb) Wetzel and Earl Young. Henry Sargent, Louise (Baxter) McClelland, Ray Young and Mary Frances (Ellis) Cook attended the reunion but were not present for the picture. Maurine (Walker) Corbridge was present at the first reunion as a guest. Unable to be present this year but were at the first reunion were Virginia (Smith) Rogers and Walter "Pete" Sargent.
Steve Ford presented James Franklin with a T-shirt as encouragement to continue his campaign to make the turkey the national bird.
Mayor Smith helped with the drawing for the winners of the treasurer hunt. Winners were Brandon Milliner, Edna Sargent, Esther Baxter, Jackie Sargent, Kathleen Welton, Clarence Sargent, Katie Sargent, Kristin Seabol, Lydia Seabol, Bill Schaal, Marlys Englestad, Andrea Seabol, Betty Schaal and Dean Whitehead.
Quickly disbanding due to the threat of rain, the group attended a short business meeting at The Virginia. President Joan Sudbrink called the meeting to order. Leota Meyer, secretary, read the minutes. The officers for next year are: president - Betty Sue and Ron Ford, vice president - Robin Winall, secretary - Stephanie Hunter, and historian - Stella Kozanecki.
Deaths were recorded for 1999 were Sarah's family, Virginia Lean Farguson Dutcher, Virginia Stanzuka Farguson, Larry P. Parish and Venae Marie Oldenburg; Thomas' family, Harold Sargent, Marion Sargent, Evelyn Veronica Budde Sargent and Clyde Edward Leber; William Henry's family, Charles Wesley Tucker; and Ethel's family, Vickie Lynn Young.
A skit was presented by Betty Whitehead about a candy store which specialized in "suckers." She was assisted by the Montana Sargents as well as several others.
It was descovered that several people had been involved in an "accident." The Montana Sargents helped them to chairs as they had vision problems and after tending to the injuries, the bandages were removed from their eyes. The injured saw that they each had a "babe in arms."
Stella Kozanecki was presented with a Norwegian wedding cake inside of which was hidden her favorite fruit.
The meeting was adjourned for lunch after which the auction was held. Many items were sold with lively bidding, helping to provide funds to start next year's reunion. Dean Whitehead from Panora, Iowa, was the auctioneer.
A short drive to the McClelland farms was followed by a hayrack ride which led to the scenic Hilltop Shelter House Site. Following the wiener roast, entertainment was provided by two families from the Jacksonville area who specialize in re-enactment activities. They described the style of clothing worn and kind of equipment used during various early wars and time periods. One of the recreations of the early periods was the paddle dance which was demonstrated. Many of the cousins joined in and danced the evening away. The program was presented by Mark and Pat Bently, daughters Samantha, Erin, Heather, and Dale and Susannah Ford and son Joshua.
Church services were held Sunday morning at the Lions Shelterhouse at Schuy-Rush Park. David Haney presented the sermon and Marlys Engelstad led the singing, accompanied by Lotus Webb on the organ. After services, group pictures were taken and everyone said goodbye until next year when we meed in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Those in attendance were:
Alabama--Bill and Marian Barron of Mobile; Orvis and Marlys Engelstad, Kristin Seabal, Andrea and Lydia of Florence.
Arizona--Gene and Mary Leber of Peoria.
California--Bill and Milly Corry and Shirley Van Fossen of San Jacinto.
Florida--Don and Stella Kozanecki of Ocala; Malcom and Bonnie Milliner, Brandon and Brittany of Lake Worth.
Illinois--Mary Frances Cook of Colchester; Ray and Pauline Young of Galva; Janet Shelts of Meredosia; Michael Shelts and Suzie Ivy of Jacksonville; Kenneth and Lotus Webb of Macomb; Charles and Mildred Tindle, Sidney and Darla Milliner, John and Anne, Floyd and Mildred Wilderman, Ward Folsom, wife and two grandchildren, of Mt. Vernon; Donald and Esther Baxter of Kankakee; Andrew and Ruby Wetzel, Roger Wetzel and friend of Warsaw; Leota Meyer of Elgin; Ronald and Betty Sue Ford, Stephen Ford, Dale, Susannah and Joshua Ford of Chapin; Sarah Beth Hartman of Mt. Carroll; Vi Sargent of Browning; Mark and Pam Tindle, Erik and Leigh Ann Chinn of Valier; Mark and Pat Bentley, Samantha, Erin and Heather of Winchester; Henry and Maxine Sargent, Kenneth and Virginia Sargent, Curtis and Garrett Cameron, Lelin and Betty Sargent, Terry and Joyce Williams, Kraig, Susanne and Alexa Prather, Russell and Catherine Sargent, Martha Walker, Max and Cindy McClelland, Mike, Ashley and Andy, Chris Langwell, J. D. Buss, Jerry and Marilyn Prather, Herman and Louise McClelland, Dwight McClelland, Bernard and Jackie Sargent, Brandon and Joshua, Ryan Prather, Charles Miller, Dwight and Eloise Baxter, Morris and Cindee McClelland, Mark, Matt, Lindsey and Nick, Corey Boehm, Jennifer Baldus, Courtney Dean, Leroy and Dianne McClelland and Jeff, Jamie and Becky Salrin, Hannah and Rachel, Maurine Corbridge, all of Rushville.
Iowa--Dean and Betty Whitehead of Panora; Bill and Betty Schaal of Jefferson; Ava Waterman of Farmington.
Michigan--Ron and Wilma Diesen of Midland.
Minnesota--Lois Smith and Mary Marhula of Baudette; Clarence and Edna Sargent of Osakis; Ann Anderson of Maple Grove; Ken and Marilyn Whitehead of Crosslake; Carl and Joan Sudbrink of Glenwood.
Missouri--Darlos Aldrich and Kathleen Welton of Liberty.
Montana--Bill and Helen Pedula of Big Timber; Jim and Alice Sargent of Bozeman.
Nebraska--Paul and Judy Jewett and Nalini of Lincoln; John and Gertrude Sargent of Omaha.
New Hampshire--Charles and Marjorie Wheeler of Conway.
Ohio--Robin Winall of Cincinnati.
Oregon--Earl and Dottie Young of Newburg.
South Carolina--David and Ruth Meyer and Stephanie Hunter and Chip of Greenville.
Wisconson--Jim, Diane and Katie Sargent of Brookfield.
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