Genealogically Speaking....
January - April, 2001

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. Parry-Implements.
    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 researched.
    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.”  Unknown

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 Co.
    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 United States.
    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  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 Weil
–Edie Fishel

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 week.
“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
–Edie Fishel

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 really great!
     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.
–Edie Fishel

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 town.”
    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 us.
–Edie Fishel

Wednesday, April 25, 2001
    The board members of the Schuyler Jail Museum met Monday, April 23 and finalized plans for the annual spring open house.  Open house will be held Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6, from 1-5p.m.  At 1 p.m. Saturday, there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Schuyler Room.  After the ceremony everyone will have an opportunity to tour the new addition as well as the rest of the museum.  Refreshments will be served Saturday.  At 2p.m. Sunday, May 6, the annual history essay awards will be presented.  These awards are given each year to local history students for essays written about Schuyler County.  All of these entries are kept in binders in the museum for all to read.  These two days offer an excellent opportunity to view the many exhibits of the museum.  Many long hours of work have gone into cleaning and rearranging displays this last winter.
    Clarice Bartlett has generously donated about 50 patterns of depression glass, which she beautifully arranged in a display case.  Anyone interested in antique glassware will want to see this.  Also of interest to antique lovers is the new display of quilts in the reception room of the museum.
It was also reported that 93 visitors signed the registration book last month and that we now have 407 members.
The Schuyler Jail Museum recently purchased a new Canon Microfilm Scanner 400 that is now ready for public use.  This brings to three the number of microfilm readers available in the museum.  The new machine has an automatic film feed, zoom lenses and a printer.  It is truly a great addition to the microfilm room.
    There have been several new books donated to the library including: “Phelps County Cemeteries, Nebraska Vol. 1 & 2,” “Henry County, Illinois, 1837-2000,” and “History of Clay Co, IL, V.1" The museum also has several new publications for sale including: “Worthington Funeral Home Book, 1949-1999,” “Marriage Book D, 1890-1896,” “Marriage Book E 1907-1921,” and the following 1880 census books: Brooklyn Twp., Buenavista Twp. Bainbridge Twp. And Frederick Twp. These will be displayed and available for purchase during open house as well as other times.  There will be more new census and marriage books coming out soon.
    We invite you to visit the Schuyler Jail Museum.  If you can’t come during the open house, May 6 and 6, it is open seven days a week, 1-5p.m.
–Edie Fishel

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