Jefferson County

The Prairie Historian

JUNE 1973

THE AGRICULTURAL REVOLUTION started with the invention of the reaperand the
threshing machine. The thrilling chug of the traction steam engine is indelibly
imprinted upon the memory of most farm boys. As the rumbling machine passed each
house a parade of children joined it, trotting along behind, and enjoying the feel
of the wide, smooth tracks of the huge grain seperator on their bare feet.


 The June meeting will be held at Millie's Cafe in Waltonville, on Wed. June 20,
1973 at 7:30 pm. Please note: It will be Wed. instead of Tuesday this time.
 No program has been scheduled for the meeting as there is a great deal of business
to be taken care of and the weather will be hot. Refreshments will be served following
the meeting and we can have a good visit with our fellow historians.

 There are no pictures in this issue of The Prairie Historian as the editor has been
sick and did not get them made.
 This issue of The Prairie Historian was produced mostly through the efforts of Connie
Sue (Green) King for the same reason. She spent hours and hours, writing, re-writing, typing,
re-typing, and arranging the the pages and finally typing the master carbons
which produced the pages on the duplicating machine. A great many people helped
run off and assemble the pages after that.
 In spite of my insisting that historic journalism reports only the facts as it really
was instead of as we'd like it to be, a more humane sentence occasionally
crept into Connie's writing, such as the Indian Corn Planting Song on page 2 and the fear of
the ghost in the Ward Graveyard on page 11. I wonder if a more gentle touch might
not benefit our little publication.
 There has been some changes in the editorial staff as noted on page 1 in order to
give credit where credit is due.
 Everyone is encouraged to submit manuscripts for inclusion in The Prairie Historian.
Most of us have something that would delight the readers of P. H. if it were made available
to them.
 The September issue will feature Wolf Prairie, so if you have any historic information,
stories, or other material about Wolf Prairie send it to the editors. Especially a picture
of one of the old schools, together with identification. 
 We may have two pictures in the next issue to make up for the omission in this one.

 The owners of the Old Baptist Church still have not made a committment, so negotiations
remain at a standstill.
 We must begin to give serious consideration to the reprinting of John A. Wall's History
of Jefferson County. It will be a very difficult task, but will stand
as a memorial to the Prairie Historians.
 The March and December issues of Prairie Historian are reproduced by the Business
Education students at Waltonville High School, but the June and September
issues must be produced by the Prairie Historians themselves.
 I have just received word that Connie King will soon be moving away, so she will not be
able to fulfill her duties as co-editor. Should any member wish to
help with the typing and laying out of the publication, please contact the editor.

June 1973
Volume 3 Number 2

 Issued by the Prairie Historians,
an organization dedicated to the preservation of
things of historic interest. Centered in, but not limited to, the
southwest four townships of Jefferson County, Illinois and contiguous regions without geographic
limitations. In this region lies Knob Prairie, Grand Arm Prairie, Long Prairie, Elk Prairie,
Horse Prairie, Wolf Prairie, and a number of smaller prairies.

founded 1971
membership fee per calender year



President: Jerry Elliston
Vice-President: Ileta Philp
Secretary-Treasurer: Estelle Holloway. Librarian: Dorothy Knight
Directors: Willard Fairchild, Betty Borowiak, Louis Norris.

Editor: Jerry Elliston, co-editor: Connie King, editorial assistants:
Margie Elliston,
Beatice Tutle, Inez Davis, Hattie Fairchild.

 Although every effort will be made to screen the material presented on the pages
of The Prairie Historian neither the editor nor the Prairie Historians
assume responsibility for errors in fact expressed by contributors.
 Comments and criticism are always welcome, but each member should assume the role
of reporter should anything of historical interest come to his attention.

1. Contents
2. Bald Hill Township
W. H. Perrin & others
3. Post Offices
4. The Scheller Post Office
5. Scheller, Ill, Jeff. Co.,
   by Walter Nowland
6. Scheller
   by Pearl Rainey Dodds
7. A Letter from L. J. Denton and Johnnie Hartley
8. St. Barbara's Church submitted by Sophia Skortz
9. The New Threshing Machine
   Alva Hulbert
10. The Legend of the Ward Cemetery 
    Connie Sue King
11. The Last Day of School

 Unlike most of the surrounding area, which contained numerous large prairies, Bald
Hill township was mostly timbered and speckled with only a few small
 A very prominent hill stood in the north part of the township with the crest of
the hill being completely varren of timber when the first settlers arrived.
 This prominent feature, from which the township gets its name, was located south
of the Bald Hill Church and Cemetery and was along the home of the Woodrome

 William Henry Perrin's History of Jefferson County Illinois has this to say about
Bald Hill Township.
 "The first settlement of this township is somewhat obscure. nor can the exact date
of the advent of the first pioneer be given.
 Among the first settlers were Abraham McGinnis, John G. Turmon, James Bellows,
Willis Hardwick, Isaac Smith, William Steerman, Samuel Irvin, the Scroggins',
Soloman Goddard, Nathaniel Morgan, etc., etc. McGinnis afterward went to
Texas, but left two sons here- James and Richard. Turmon went north, where he later died,
leaving a son named Grant. It may be that all the settlers mentioned above did
not settle in what is now Bald Hill township at first, but they settled in the immediate vicinity.
It is a difficult matter, after so many years, to locate every early settler upon
the proper section, and they were coming in now so rapidly that it is impossible to
keep track of them.
 The abundance of game was a somewhat mixed evil. When the crops of the early
settlers were first planted, they were subject to the attack of crowsm
blackbirds and squirrels, and when further advanced the thousands of wild geese and turkeys
threatened to take all that was left." (The Indians planted corn by the hand full
in mounds or hills, singing a little song as they worked. Can't you imagine them saying
"Two for the blackbird. Two for the crow. Two for the gray squirrel, and two to grow.")
 "Deer were numerous, so were wolves, while the timber swarmed with the chattering
game that found shelter there. "Painters" were numerous - too much
so for a very great feeling of security, though as a general thing they were easily frightened away.
A story is told of a person, on a certain occasion, riding along a trail on horseback through
the woods, when he was very much frightened and his horse considerably scratched by a panther
springing upon him from a tree, but it lost its hold and was soon lost in the distance. Woman
out picking wild berries were often startled by seeing these treacherous animals crouched in treesm
meditating the chances of an attack, but no serious results are known to have occured in this
immediate section. The people of this settlement, like those surrounding it, and which were
somewhat remote from other settlements, learned to depend early upon their own resources for
the comforts of life. This was especially marked in the clothing of the people and the adornment
of the home. Deer skins were largley utilized by the men, and even the women sometimes made
their own garments of them."
"Buckskin breeches and buckskin hunting shirts were more common then than
the farmers "overalls" are now. A buckskin suit was not a very inviting thing to jump into
on a cold morning, or to wear after getting wet, but these were minor discomforts, and were not
allowed to stand in the way of daily duties. This was the way the people lived in the early
days of the country - - days we know nothing of except as we gather it from the "traditions of
the fathers."
 The early settlers of Bald Hill township had the same hard times in procuring bread as
in other portions of the county. The mortar and pestle, the hand mill, and later the horse mill 
served them. Originally Bald Hill was a part of the Elk Prairie Election Precinct, but after
township organization, it became Bald Hill Township. Bald Hill township is diversified between
Woodland and Prairie. Horse Prairie lies mostly in Bald Hill while the four townships of Bald
Hill, Blissville, Elk Prairie and McClellan corner in Knob Prairie." 
 Some of the settlers who lived in the Horse Prairie area, such as the Lloyd Ward family,
some of the Hartleys, and some of the other early settlers in the Winfield
area may have lived in Bald Hill township. The Ward Cemetery on land given by Lloyd Ward is in
Bald Hill township. A story of the beginning of the Ward Cemetery is elsewhere in this issue
of The Prairie Historian.
 Scheller is the only community lying wholly within Bald Hill township. The original
survey of the town of Waltonville was limited to Bald Hill also, but later
additions have since extended it into McClellan, Blissville, and Elk Prarie townships.
 At one time there were five Post Offices within the township, Waltonville, Scheller,
Dryden, Meso, and Reform. The history of the smaller Post Offices is listed
Dryden..established August 20, 1886. Discontinued Sept. 15, 1893
 Postmasters were John F. Allen : August
20, 1886

Susan C. Allen : April 21, 1890
Meso..established March 9, 1900. DIscontinued July 30, 1904
 Postmasters were Oliver M. Strickland
: March 9, 1900

Daniel Ulery : June 7, 1902
Reform..established July 14, 1886. Discontinued Feb. 18, 1893
 Postmasters were W. A. Woodrome :
July 14, 1886

James Lemmon : Nov. 18, 1886

 DRYDEN Post Office was located
in the home of R. J. D. W. Allen where the maple trees still stand on the east side 
of the road about a quarter mile north of the land that leads to Dryden (Black Jack) Cemetery.
 REFORM was in the home of Uncle
Jimmie Lemmon on the corner west of the Lawtence Pitman place.
 MESO was south and west of Oak Grove Free Will Baptist Church in the southwest part of
the township, and received mail from Star Route # 35168 plying between Tamaroa and Spring Garden.
It was carried for many years by Henry Martin, father of Harl Martin.
 Just how Dryden and Reform got their mail is not known. Probably the Postmaster or a
messenger met the Star Route carrier at Laur, receiving a pouch and dispatching
one at a time. Records of Star Route or Mail Messenger service to the obscure little Post
Offices have not been retained by the Postal Service. With the establishing of rural free delivery
from Waltonville, Scheller, and Tamaroa Post Offices ( shortly after the turn of the century)
the little Post Offices were closed forever. ( without some drastic action by the rural
populace the Post Offices in small rural communities today stand to suffer the same fate in the near


The Scheller Post Office was established on December 31, 1892, but due
to a spelling error on the application it was given the official name Sheller by the Post Office Department.
The name was changed to Scheller on March 12, 1926.

Postmasters were... Andrew J. Black
Dec. 31. 1892

William M. Dudley Feb. 26, 1895

Andrew J. Black Oct. 1,

John M. Shurtz Jan.
22, 1899

Isaac L. Quinn Jul.
27, 1914

Sophia Skortz
Feb. 11, 1919

Raymond L. Nadolski Sep. 29, 1959

Gertrude Dressler Apr. 1, 1961

Raymond L. Nadolski Dec. 17, 1961

Rural service started in 1904.
The rural carriers were:
 Route # 1 Jan. 1,
1904 William Laur
27 miles.
 ROute # 2 Jan. 1,
1904 John Laur
25 miles.
 Route # 3 Aug. 1,
1904 Harold E. Martin
24 miles.

We have no records of succeeding rural carriers.


 Some things I remember about Scheller seventy years ago. The little village is located
about a mile East of the large hill known as Bald Hill from which the township
took its name. It is located on a rail road which at that time was known as the Wabash
Chester and Western, (WC&W) which was from Mt. Vernon to Chester. A very nice little depot
was on the North side of the depot. There were two trains which carried a passenger coach and a
baggage coach. They brought the mail. Each train made a round trip daily. One going East and
one going West in the A.M. and returning in the P.M. We could get on a train at Scheller in the
morning and go to Mt. Vernon and spend the day, as well as our money and return in the late afternoon.
The same was true going West or to Chester.
 Just North of the depot was an elevator where the farmers could sell grain and sometimes
have grain ground. West of the depot and located on the switching track
was a stock yard. There were some cattle dealers in the neighborhood who would buy up stock and
load them into a car going to St. Louis. I have also seen cars loaded with turkeys, geese, chickens
and ducks there at this pen.
 South of the depot was a two story building where Mr. Frank Hester operated a general
store and he and his wife and two children, Olen and Hazel, lived in the
upstairs apartment. Later the store was sold to a man from st. Louis who I have heard the oldsters
say was a Jew. He operated the store for a time and advertised a reduced price sale, then
a short time after the sale the store burned. Just West of this store was another small
store building owned and operated by Mr. Jack Black who was also Postmaster. It also
burned along with the other building. North of the RR was another store building where Mr. Frank
Hester with Mr. Henry Davis opened a store known as Davis and Hester. It was operated by
Mr. Hester as Mr. Davis owned and operated a store in Waltonville. Later this was sold to
a man from Tamaroa, whose name I do not remember. This man then sold the store to two men; Mr. Hickle
and Mr. Bennett. In the meantime Mr. Jack Black had built back a small building and continued to
operate a store and Post Office until he retired. The Post Office was then moved to the building
north of the RR and Mr. John M. Shurtz was appointed postmaster where he operated for a number
of years. In the building vacated by Mr. Black, Mr. Isaac L. Quinn operated a store for some time.
IN the meantime the store on the North side had been vacated and Uncle John Shurtz retired
from the post office, Mr. Quinn was our postmaster. Mr. Quinn operated the store and post
office for a number of years before moving to Waltonville with his wife and family. Mrs.
Quinn formerly was Lena Newbury, daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Logan and Anna (Shurtz) Newbury.
This property was then purchased by Mr. & Mrs. Max Skortz and Mrs. Skortz was appointed to
the post office and successfully operated it along with the store for many years. Now
Mr. Raymond Nadolski is the postmaster and Mrs. Skortz still operates the general store where articles
can be found that are scarce in many places. Going back to the location of the first
store building mentioned that burned. A Mr. Noah F. Hargas from around the Ewing area bought the
property and put up a new store and carried a very large stock of merchandise. He and his sons,
along with wife and daughter successfully operated the store for many years. The store
was then sold to Mr. (Lit) Hetherington, a resident of the village. The store was operated by
Mr. & Mrs. Harry Adams for a short time when again the store burned. The village had many fire.
Sometime back during these years the depot and elevator burned also. They were
never replaced.
 At the North of the village was the public school. The building still stands. Next to
the school was a church and a town house. The church is not there
now. Some of the school teachers that I remember are Mr. Ed. Hicks, Miss. Laura Rosenbarger, Miss.
Bertha Hartley, (Miss Hartley later became the wife of Dr. J. W. Wells.) Dr. Wells opened
his first office in a small building in the village. Later moved to Waltonville.
Other teachers were, Mrs. Nina Cherry, Mr. Galveston Reynolds. Mr. T. Jace, Mr. Carl Dalby, and MIss.
Grace Wright (later Grace Smith.) At the South edge of the village was a blacksmith shop and
across from it was the Catholic Church and School. Now it has been replaced with a beautiful
new building.
 Some of the old timers who lived in the village were, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Quinn Sr., Mr.
and Mrs. Jay Allen, Mr. & Mrs. William Laur, Mr. & Mrs. William Dudley, Mr. & Mrs. James Hester,
Mr. & Mrs. Abe Denton, Mr. & Mrs. Sam Quinn, Jr., Mr. & Mrs. Joe JOhnson, Mr. & Mrs. R. T. Wright,
Mr. & Mrs. S. C. Nowland, Mr. & Mrs. Frank Hester, Mr. & Mrs. N. F. Hargis, Mr. & Mrs. Cunningham,
John, Julia, Bell and Mary Scheller (brother and sisters), Mr. & Mrs. Seburn Weaber and in the
surrounding neighborhood were many Johnson and Quinn families. 
by Walter Nowland

Submitted by Pearl Rainey Dodds
(daughter of Lizzie Scheller Rainey)

 George and Gertrude (Kuhn) Scheller came to Illinois from Fayette County, Indiana. They
both came to this country from Germany. Gertrude Kuhn (Scheller) was about sixteen years old
and came with her family across the Atlantic in a sail boat. They landed in New York. She was
married to George Scheller in 1856, and they came to Illinois in 1857 or 1858, because her family
had settled in DuBois, Ill. and the land here was cheap. They made Scheller their home. They
cleared and cultivated the land and as they prospered, acquired more land.
 Then there was talk of a railroad, and in 1893 a deed was given to The Wabash Chester
and Western Railroad. The track to be built within 2 years of that date. The railroad was
built and business developed. Some of which was the buying and shipping of stock.
 In October of 1892 the land was surveyed and divided into town lots. Streets were
named as follows: North Railroad St., South Railroad St., Main Street, Evans St., Water St.,
Scheller St. The town was officially known as Scheller. Soon after this a lake about 3 miles 
west of Scheller came into prominense as a resort. It was known as Scheller Lake and people 
came by railroad from Mt. vernon to Chester to spend the day at the lake fishing and picnicking.
 The children of George and Gertrude Scheller, in order of birth were: Mary, John, Bell,
Julia, and Elizabeth (Lizzie). 
 Only one of the children married. Lizzie was married to John L. Rainey of Marion, IL.
He resided in Scheller a few years as telegrapher and agent at the W. C. & W. Railroad depot.
They later settled in Mt. Vernon, IL.

The following is a letter from Jay L. Denton and Johnnie Hartley.
Pinckneyville, IL

February 22, 1972
Mrs. Nelson McCormack
Scheller, Illinois

Dear Cousin,
 Your note received and contents noted with interest, of course I was surprised to
receive the same. Hope all is well with you and yours. I pass with sight of your home
frequently and wonder about you folks. I visited there several times when you were a small
child, thats been many years ago. 
 As to your request for information regarding churches and cemeterys in Bald Hill
township; my knowledge of that subject is limited however I will give you
what I have - Dryden Church and cemetery was built in 1892 the four acres of which it comprises
was given by my Grandfather Robert D W Allen. The first burial there was Ann Isom
wife of Henry Isom and the next was Mat Cline as their stones will show if my memroy serves me
correctly. The Ward cemetery was used prior to this. The Ward cemetery was given and
named by a Mr. Ward who at that times owned about 250 acres of land there which lies adjacent to the
land your father owned. Dryden church and Bald Hill church were served by a circuit rider from
Ashley having services on alternate Sundays with neither ever having had a regular minister.
After Waltonville had a church congregation these 2 churches were supplied from Waltonville.
I have no exact knowledge as to when Bald Hill church came into being but I believe it was about
the time Dryden came.
 There was at one time a Post Office known as Dryden, it was in Grandfathers home located
just north of the old Black Jack school, there are two or three maple trees
still standing beside the road on the right, the land now belongs to a Mr. Witges who
lives on the old Frank Smith Place. Mail was brought from Tamaroa three times per
week to Fitzferrell, later known as Winfield and to Dryden. I well remember the case of pigeon holes
for the letters that stood in the front room of Grandfathers old house, as we lived in it for
a while 70 years ago.
 People residing in the area now known as Dryden attended religious services at Old
Baptist, Bear Point, Green Briar and Paradise several hours driving in a wagon or surry.
There was in the first decade of the 19th century a church organization
known as Dunkards in the Meso neighborhood and the minister was a Rev. Daniel Ulery. It
desolved with the passing of Rev. Ulery.
 Families prominent in the Dryden neighborhood were: Hartleys, Allens, Smiths, Isoms,
Gilberts, Clampets, Benthels, Fitgerells and Stricklands.
 There is a church in the southwest part of the township known as White Oak. Its
date of its erection I do not know, but it was before the turn of the century,
I am sure. Families living in the vicinity at the turn of the century were: Wells,
Bob Clampet, Coffel, Dodge, VanHooreback, Dave Loucks, Hicks, Frank Ames that I can
name readily.
 There was a church located in Scheller which was Baptist and was erected between
1892 and 1900. It flourished for a while and then began a decline as people who
supported it moved away or died. It was not very active after about 1912 and is now
torn down. Families interested in this church were Johnson, Wright, Keller, Gilliland,
Hetherington, Wever, Dudly.
 There is St. Barbara Catholic Church at Scheller which I believe was organized
between 1890 and 1900. History of this church and cemetery can best be obtained from the
older parishoners now living in that area.

Jay L. Denton

Johnnie Hartley
P.S. On the old John Hartley place there was a few years ago a log
structure used as a corn crib, and if still standing some one interested in things of old should
take a picture of it as log structure of a hundred years ago are scarce. JOhn Hartley
tells me his father built that homestead in 1870 so it is over 100 years old.

Submited by Sophia Skortz

 The first St. Barbara's church was built in 1896 on a plot of land donated by the
late Gertrude Scheller and children. They migrated to Illinois from
Indiana being one of the pioneer families settling here. It served as church and school
until the new building was completed. Dedication ceremonies for the present St. Barbara's
church and school were held March 25, 1958. The following information was taken from the
leaflet distributed during the dedication ceremony.
 "The new St. Barbara's Church and School has been built to replace the frame church
built in 1896 and the first Church built here. The new Church is
of contemporary Gothic Design and contains the Santuary, mave, narthex, baptistry, mother's room,
shriner, two sacristies and the choir. The choir is located on the balcony which
is of antilever, "island" design. The exterior material include brick walls with stone trim
and asphalt tile roof. A beautiful rose window is located over the double entrance doors which
are surmounted by a soone canopy on laminated arched beams, an innovation in roof contruction,
decked with natural Hemlock timber. Floors are of ashphalt and rubber tile laid over
a concrete sub-floor. Interior walls are of haydite masonary units laid in stacked bond and painted.
The alter rises a reredos of St. Genevieve marble which is topped with a baldachino of marble whith
a baldachino of wood with bronze symbols ornamintation and with recessed light for illumincation
the alter table.
 The communion rail is wrought iron with a marble top. This and the crusifix have been
provided through the liberality of two of the many faithful families in the parish.
 The beautiful stained glass windows manifest the generosity of St. Barbara Ladies Society,
the school children of 1957 and 1958 and the several parishioners.
 The organ, a Wicks pipe organ, has been donated by the Parish of OUr Lady of Czenstochowa and has 
 been completely rebuilt by the Wicks Organ Co.
 The school unit included two classrooms, a sister's office, boiler room and snitary facilites. 
 Construction is completely fireproof with painted block walls, plastered ceiling and concrete roof. 
 Classrooms feature steel chalkboards and clothing hanging facilities.
 The entire structure is heated with forced hot water radiation which is zone controlled
so that any or all of the seperate units are heated independently as desired.
 The New Church and School is a fitting tribute to the unceasing effort and the charity of
pastors and faithful parisioners who have worked side by side for many years to see their dreams

by Alva Hulbert

 As a small boy I lived on a farm on the Jefferson-Franklin county line in southern Illinois.
I cannot remember anything more exciting to a small lad than a steam traction
 In the early spring of about 1912 or 1913, a salesman from The Russell and Company,
Massillon, Ohio, came to our house and my dad placed an order for a factory
rebuilt steam threshing outfit. As the time for delivery drew near, I could hardly
stand the suspense of waiting for the railroad company to notify of its arrival, but would 
walk the 2 1/2 miles to the town of Sesser about every other day to see if it had arrived. Finally
one day there she was, a wonderful sight in all her splendor, high upon the flat car, on the rail
siding. A big Port Huron, 22 HP, double tandem compound, with longfellow boiler. The large
head tank mounted in front of the stack. The shiny brass bands around the jacket, the bright red
wheels, and mirror finish on the face of the fly wheel. Also the big red 36 by 56 "Massilion
Cyclone" seperator impressing upon a small lad a vivid memory that would last a lifetime.
 I regretted to leave but had to go and tell dad the good news, so I tried to absorb enough
of the view to last until I got home, and away I went.
 The next day Dad and I, also one of the neighbors, went to town. We had a switch engine
spot the car and soon we had a collection of onlookers and volunteer help
to carry ties with which to build up a ramp for unloading. It fell my lot to unpack the brasses
and install them on the engine, which of course made me very happy. After the ramp had been
built and the water tank taken off so we could get water to fill the boiler, the old sun was swiftly
heading for the horizon, so we headed for home with everything in readiness to start unloading
the next morning.
 For some reason, I can't remember why now, I could not go the next day to help unload
and believe you me it was a bitter disappointment. 
 However, each Saturday morning my buddy and I (his dad was seperator man) would take off
and find that rig. We knew the general direction of the run so would
keep our eyes peeled for smoke in the distance, or watch the roads for Port Huron tracks.
 I never will forget one time when we were crossing a field. I stepped into a nest of
yellow jackets. I soon had a swollen ankle. My buddy tried to carry me on his back but I was 
about as big as he was, so I had to hobble along until we got to the machine.
Afterwards, the swelling soon went down.
 I can remember an incident on one really hot day in July the pitchers made it up to
try and slug the seperator. I suppose in was to get a rest while the machine was being unchoked.
Now this engine was equipped with another throttle whereby all 4 cylinders
could be simpled (similiar to the intercepting valve on the cross compound Reeves) and as
long as the boiler could furnish the steam something was going to move. It wasn't but
a short while until the pitchers began reaching for their bandanas, and wiping sweat, made for
the nearest tree.
 One year a fellow with a little Star engine took the contract to grade the roads from
the town of Sesser to the Keller mines, but he could not pull the grader so he made a deal
with dad to use the Port Huron to grade and he would pull the Russell seperator.
It was during this grading, the countershaft broke and we had a new one made at
the Mt. Vernon Car Mfg. Co.
 The story is that the people who bought the rig from my dad did not know much about
engines. So one morning they started a fire, but most of the smoke came out the back through
the firebox door. Finally they decided that the wind was in the wrong direction. So they
turned it around by winding rope around the flywheel, but to no avail. Finally someone who
had run engines happened along. He asked them if they had cleaned the flues. They said no, and
that they didn't know they were supposed to. He looked at the flues and they were nearly
clogged up with soot.
 I wonder what ever became of this engine, probably junked during the war.
 I now own a 65 HP J. I. Case steam engine and an Avery 28 by 26 Seperator, with which I thresh 
 each year for show purposes.

by Connie Sue King

 It is said that when the Lloyd Ward family came into Jefferson County, sometime
in the late 1830's or early 1840's, they settled in the north end of Horse prairie on land
that was extended into both Elk Prairie and Bald Hill townships. Owen Wilson, the brother of
Mrs. Ward, the former Catherine Wilson, stayed with them.
 One Saturday afternoon he saddled his horse and started out to court his sweetheart
who lived a few miles away. He never returned. It was not unusual for suitors to go a
courtin' and be gone for 2 or 3 days at that time, but when he had not gotten home by Monday
evening the family became worried. On Tuesday, when he had still not returned, a search
party was sent out. Wednesday morning a horse was seen grazing on the little knoll where
Ward Cemetery is now located. It was sadled and bridled and on close examination seemed to
be dragging something.
 When it was finally caught it was found that Owen had apparently been thrown from
the horse, catching his foot in the stirrup, and had been dragged to death. During the long
period since the tradegy had occurred the horse had continued to drag the body until it was
now in a very bad state of decomposition and the head and arms had been almost completely
torn away by the trees and brush.
 The menfolk, not wishing to shock the ladies with such a gruesome sight, wrapped him
in a blanket and hid him from view before the womenfolk were notified of the terrible tragedy
that had befallen their beloved kinsman.
 When Mr. Ward arrived he said they must lay out a burial ground somewhere and it might
as well be here. So an acre of land was measured off and Owen was buried where they found him
in the northwest portion of the chosen ground. The ladies brought flowers and assisted with the
ceremony, the body was laid to rest and thus the Ward Cemetery came to be.
 In passing it might be said that sometimes on a dark foggy night a large, dark, object
can be seen moving about in the cemetery. Some say it appears to be a horse dragging something
alongside, but who is brave enough, or curious enough to investigate such an eerie phenonmenon?


 On the last day of school at Four Corners when John Robinson was teacher nearly eighty
year ago, everyone was to say a verse of their own composition. Tom Newell (a brother to Hawk
Bill and Happy Newell) told some of his friends to hold the window open for him and he would
give them a very pleasant surprise. When it came his turn to recite, he stood up and said
"Oh Lord above look down with love, on us poor little scholars. It was Jack and Joe who served us so.
They hired a fool to teach the school. And gave him forty dollars." He then jumped out the window 
and ran home, never to return to school. The last day of school was full of surprises in those days.

Submitted by: Abby Newell
Sept 9, 2002


Visit RootsWeb
 HOME | Prairie Historian Index
Please send additions & corrections to 
Jefferson County Coordinator Cindy Ford
© 2005-2014 by Cindy Ford
All rights reserved