The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Compiled and Edited by Virginia Ross
Registrar for Daniel McMillan Chapter, N.S.D.A.R.1918
Stronghurst Graphic, Sept.19, 1918
CELEBRATED THE STATE CENTENNIAL: The magnificent celebration staged by the Federated Community Clubs of Henderson County at Oak Grove Fruit Farm was in every way in keeping with the importance of the event, the commemoration of the admission of the State of Illinois into the Union 100 years ago.
Things proceeded as planned except that ex-governor Yates was unable to attend due to the change of date and Henderson County's eloquent attorney and tireless worker in promotion of war activities, Hon. J.W.Gordon, delivered a short patriotic address which thrilled the audience to the highest pitch of enthusiasm.
The weather was ideal, being neither too hot or too cool and the natural setting of the celebration magnificent. The Hon. John F. Voigt of Chicago, who delivered the centennial address stated that while his home city had many beautiful parks, he did not believe that it had any which would compare in natural beauty with celebration ground.
The band stand and speakers platform was built at the edge of a lagoon which winds itself between the wooded hills of the Weir estate. Seats for the audience had been placed on the rising ground facing the stand and lagoon while on the opposite shore about 50 feet across from the stand, the stage for the pageant given in the evening had been erected. The stage was enclosed on its two sides with an evergreen covered frame work while the wooded slope in the rear formed a perfect natural background for the stage. When lit up at night by the "Delco" lights, produced a beautiful outdoor theatre.
The afternoon program was opened with the song "Illinois" rendered by a company of singers from all parts of the county led by W.C.Ivins, the musical director of the celebration. The Rev. Andrew Renwick of Gladstone followed with an invocation and the Mrs. A.W.Martin of Biggsville, the general chairman of the Federated Women's Clubs, made a few brief remarks and presented the Hon. J.W.Gordon who explained the manner in which the net proceeds would be divided amongst the various Red Cross branches in the county. He introduced the Hon. John F. Voigt who gave an interesting review of the history of the state and although it occupied nearly two hours, it was listened to with marked attention by the great audience. A short patriotic address by Mr. Gordon followed. The Orchard City band of Burlington interspersed excellent music through the entire day and evening.
The big spectacular feature of the occasion was the Centennial Pageant of Illinois presented in the evening on the outdoor stage. This production was probably the most elaborate spectacle ever staged in Western Illinois, ten townships vying with each other in their efforts to portray incidents and scenes connected with the various epochs in the past 100 years of Illinois history. Oquawka presented "The Wild Flowers of Illinois"; Raritan, "Indian Life in Illinois"; Bald Bluff, "The
French Explorers"; Gladstone, "British Occupancy of Illinois Yields to American Occupancy by George Rogers Clark"; Lomax, "Early Pioneers of Illinois"; Stronghurst, "Lincoln Period"; Terre Haute, "The Advance in Styles for 1818 to 1918"; Rozetta, "Parade of the 102 Counties of Illinois"; Media, "The Crowning of 100 Years as a State"; Biggsville, "The Growth of Our National Ideal." Carman Township was to have presented "The Blackhawk Period" but failed to appear.
The costuming and training of the participants (more than 400) must have involved an immense amount of labor and patience, but the result was a gorgeous spectacle viewed with delight by perhaps the largest gathering of people ever assembled in this section of the state. The crowd in the afternoon was estimated between 6000 and 7000 while in the evening it was augmented to the extent of another 1000.
Each townships had booths on the grounds where lunches were sold and all did a thriving business day and evening with little left at the close of the event.
In addition to the township booths were Red Cross booths: an "Orange Grove" booth, maintained by the Stronghurst ladies saw various articles wrapped in bright tissue paper and sold "sight unseen" at ten cents each; a "For Men Only" booth maintained by the Rozetta ladies featured a pair of man's size overalls hung on a line and rewarded the sight of the victim who had been inducted to part with 5 nickels at the entrance. This show had plenty of volunteer "barkers" in the persons of those who had been victimized insuring a thriving business.
Another feature of the celebration was the "Old Relic" tent in which were exhibited many articles of antiquity and reminders of pioneer days both of the nation and state. It was in charge of Mrs. Chas. Whiteman and proved not only an interesting exhibit but also a source of considerable revenue derived from the ten cent admission.
(The writer then notes that he could not possibly mention all who devoted time and energy toward making the event a success as it would involve printing the names of hundreds of Henderson County citizens.)
1893 GRAPHIC: Six million acres of land in the Cherokee strip in Oklahoma were thrown open for settlement and an estimated 200,000 men, women and children peopled the tract in 24 hours. T.A.Nichols purchased the "Racket" store in Stronghurst from Mrs. Harriet Cooksey. M.E.Kirby of Stronghurst and Miss Mary Berkshire of Terre Haute were married in Burlington on Sept.13th. The horse market in this country was described as being completely demoralized and good horses were said to be selling at auction from $40 to $50 each. Stronghurst's natural gas wells were beginning to fail and plans for sinking the wells deeper were proposed.
LOCAL AND AREA HAPPENINGS: Members of the M.E. church were pleased to learn that Rev. A. Jaggers will return to his charge here for another year. Lyle Graham, who recently began his duties as a carrier on mail Route No.3 from Stronghurst, has enlisted in the navy. Several miles of poles for the new Western Illinois Utilities Co.'s electrical service system have been set in Hancock County. Former resident, Mrs. Spence Stewart of Red Oak, Iowa visited with relatives at Biggsville and Stronghurst; she is a cousin of Mrs. John Gilliland and a daughter of John Curry. Misses Marie and Carol Rankin return to Monmouth College to take up their studies. Lloyd Chant and Francis Jaggers went to Abingdon to enter the boys' training classes at Hedding. Gene Wilson has gone to Galesburg to enter Knox College. Joseph Moore has purchased the machinery and equipment of the late T.D.Steffey and has taken a lease on the building south of the depot. T.N. Harden has given up plans to move to Fort Collins, Co. and has accepted a position with the American Express Co. at Peoria where he has purchased property and will move his family. Carroll Wax will enroll at Carthage College to continue his studies and military training. An eight pound daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Clyde McIntyre on the Edgar Rankin farm on Friday 13th. Mrs. Andrew Davis underwent a surgical treatment at a Galesburg hospital. Dr. Clarence McClellan of Chicago will succeed Dr. Bond who has been commissioned a lieutenant and will soon enter hospital service. Russell Brokaw, son of Mr. and Mrs. I.H.Brokaw, has been assigned to service in the concrete works at Mooseheart, Ill. by the Henderson County Exemption Board.
The scenes of last winter during the coal famine are again being repeated here as the chilling winds of autumn are beginning to blow. A car of coal no sooner arrives at the local yards than it is surrounded by wagons and teams, auto trucks and other conveyances and the coal quickly transferred to waiting bins. Much of what had been contracted in the summer has not been delivered and there are many empty bins. The situation here will be even more serious this winter than last. Dr. R.I.Findley is suffering from a wound caused by running a nail into his foot. Frank Woodside, former Stronghurst carpenter, is now working for an aeroplane factory at Buffalo, N.Y. Miss Martha Brokaw and her two nieces, Martha Lucille and Lois Brokaw, daughters of C.S. Brokaw of the Raritan neighborhood, left for Colorado to spend the winter. Mr. and Mrs. Harry Winter are sojourning for a time at the home of the latter's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Steffey. The Winters have leased the Wasson farm, formerly owned by John Fordyce and will take up residence there as soon as the house is vacated. AD:Get a Hawkeye Basket Refrigerator at Lovitt's Grocery; ideal for picnics and cross country drives.
GLADSTONE GLEANINGS: Mrs. Carmichael and daughter Bessie were given a surprise handkerchief shower; Miss Bessie goes to Macomb to attend the state Normal this winter and her mother will visit her daughter in Kewanee. Miss Margaret O'Connell of Galesburg brought her Italian harp with her in order to play in the Italian booth at the centennial picnic; her playing was a great treat to many at the dinner hour and all afternoon. Smith Morris is stationed at Camp Gordon, Ga. Dr. Gay of Winfield, Iowa, visited friends and relatives. Mr. and Mrs. Earl Watson were visited by the stork, which left them a fine baby girl to be proud of. A real treat for the village was the merry-go-round which came to town from the centennial at Weir's. A percentage of receipts will go to the war fund. Tom Clark received word that his son Cyril was severely burned where he is in training in Texas and is hospitalized.
***OBITUARY***ROBERT GILLIS, SR.: This morning about 7 o'clock word passed around town that Mr. Robert Gillis, Sr., a highly respected citizen of Carman, had passed quietly away with heart trouble near the section house. Mr. Gillis had eaten a hearty breakfast and had gone to his work and helped the section men carry their daily supply of water to the motor car and his son Rob, who is section foreman, had gone to the depot and told the men to wait till he returned. On returning, he heard his father moan and fall over dead. Dr. Emerson, the coroner, was called and the remains carried to his home where an inquest was held with the verdict death caused by heart failure. The sudden death of Mr. Gillis cast a gloom over the community.
He was born in Sisterville, W.V. Sept. 1, 1849 being 69 years old at his death. Forty-nine years ago he married Miss Annie Miller of Dallas City who survives him with the following children, Robert Gillis, Jr. of Carman, Mrs. Anna Mooney of Burlington, Mrs. Mattie Kemp of West Branch, Iowa, and Mrs. Mamie Newman of Quincy, Ill., besides 16 grand children and one great grand son. One son George, died about six years ago. Mr. Gillis had been section foreman here for a good many years and lately his son Robert accepted the work. He was a faithful member of the Woodman, I.O.O.F. and Rebekah lodges and will be greatly missed. The I.O.O.F. will have charge of the funeral to be held at the church.