Tuesday, November 6, 2007

After the Poultry

Fulton Journal: February 15, 1884

R.P. Considine was going home Tuesday night and met a couple suspicious looking men. He watched them and saw one of them enter John Stuart’s hennery about 11 o’clock. He awoke Mr. Stuart and they captured Cornelius Mosher, with a sack in which was a duck. Moser was locked up for the night, and Wednesday morning was examined before Justice Terwilliger for burglary under the law of 1877. He could not give $500 bonds and so J.W. Farley, constable, took him to the county jail for safe keeping. Mosher is a hard looking citizen more than fifty years old. He had colored his hair but the gray was visible. He came to Fulton last Fall and has made his home with Chris. Rheinhart, who bears a bad reputation. It was probably Rheinhart who was with him at the time and has not materialized since.

Paving Brick Arrived

Fulton Journal: September 17, 1915


Four carload of Purrington brick arrived today over the C., B., & Q. and tomorrow the first brick of Fulton’s new street paving will be laid at the corner of Ninth avenue and First street.
Nearly three hundred feet of concrete foundation has been spread along First street, and allowing this forty-eight hours to harden, the paving work can then be begun.
The brick is the Purrington standard, a vitrified paving block, nine inches long, four inches deep and three and one-half inches in thickness, with edges rounded to a radius of three-sixteenths of an inch. The joints are to be filled with sand, on a two-inch sand cushion upon a four inch concrete base.

1887: Fulton Fire Department

Fulton Journal: Jan. 28, 1887

The only appliance that the city has for fighting fire, an old hook and ladder cart and outfit, has been standing out in the snow for several weeks. We do not believe that there is another town of the size of Fulton in the U.S. that would be as completely helpless in case of a fire as it would. If there should be a fire in any of the business blocks all that could be done would be to get out what goods there was time to save and let the property burn. If the wind should carry a fire into the lumber yard and mills all would be lapped up. And in that case the people here might as well move away and go west and start again. Located as advantageously as Fulton is, it looks as if something ought to be done towards a system of water works. A reservoir on the hill, a system of pipes along the streets with a dozen or so hydrants and a few hundred feet of hose and a suitable pump would be the principal items of expense. Arrangements could undoubtedly be made with the L. & H. Lumber Co. to use the engine for pumping the supply of water from the river into the reservoir. However, it is not to be expected that anything will be done until a destructive fire wipes out half of the business part of town. It would increase the taxes, you know.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Mabel Barrett: Fulton Librarian

Fulton Journal
August 30, 1921

Miss Mabel R. Barrett, a highly respected woman, who for many years had been a resident of Fulton, died Sunday evening at 6:30 at her home on Tenth avenue. She had been in feeble health for more than a year and for the past month had been confined to her home and under the care of the best of medical attendance. Her death came as the result of a complication of diseases.
She was a woman of wide acquaintance and held in the highest esteem by all who knew her. Miss Barrett was a graduate of the Fulton high school in the class of ’91, and for several years afterwards was a successful teacher in the schools of Whiteside county. She was for a time employed as a clerk in the office of the supreme secretary of the Mystic Workers, and served for nearly eighteen years as librarian of the Fulton public library. On account of failing health, she resigned as librarian about two years ago. Miss Barrett was a direct descendant of Rev. Cotton Mather, the noted American theologian, who died in 1728.
Miss Mabel R. Barrett was born in York, Carroll county, March 19, 1873. Her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Barrett, became residents of Ustick about forty years ago, and over twenty years ago moved to Fulton. They died several years ago.
Miss Barrett is survived by one sister, Cora, the wife of D.C. Waite of this city, and an adopted brother, Dwight Barrett, of Springfield, Ohio.
The funeral was held this afternoon at the house at 2:30. The services were conducted by Rev. E. P. Westphal. The burial was in the Dunshee cemetery in York, Carroll county.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Billy and Jim

Fulton Journal: May 8, 1885

William Fields and James McCloskey have fitted up the first floor of Abbott’s brick building in good shape for a saloon and are ready for business. The walls and ceilings of the room are decorated, the bar, mirror and fixtures are first-class, and everything will be done to make the place first class in every way. They invite all their friends to come and see them.

The city council has granted four saloon licenses. The license fee is $500, making a total of $2,000 and as it is payable in advance it is collected and safely deposited by the City Treasurer. Three of these saloons are located on three of the corners at the intersection of Cherry (10th A.) and River (3rd) streets. The other saloon will be kept at the King’s House.

Wednesday, Ed. Vervarin, a wandering, working, periodical drunkard sixty years old, came to town, got drunk, talked loud and bad, was arrested, taken before a justice and fined $4.50 which he paid. The same old party was arrested on a like charge a year ago.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Irish in Fulton: 1860

The 1860 census shows that although most of the people who were part of Fulton’s very early years had been born in the United States, a large ethnic portion came from Ireland. At least 250 people are listed as having been born in Ireland. Most of the occupations for men were either laborer or daylaborer but other occupations were drayman, blacksmith, newsboy (age 25), woodsawyer, mason, miller, and farmer. For females it was servant, seamstress, housekeeper, or domestic.
There were three Pat Hurley’s: Pat Hurley and his wife, Mary, Pat Hurley and his wife, Bridgett, and Pat Hurley and his wife Lutetia.
First names for females showed twenty women named Mary with the next most popular being Catherine. Bridgett, Ann, and Margrett were next in popularity. Two women were named Honora, one married to John Crowley and the other to James Cotter. The most unusual name for a female born in Ireland but living in Fulton was Saboyla. A wife was usually listed without an occupation but there were two Irish families with two incomes: Pat Collins laborer and his wife, Mary, housekeeper and Pat Cusic and his wife Sarah, housekeeper.
Most Irish attended the Immaculate Conception Church formed at an early point in Fulton’s history. A building was erected in 1862. Bent’s History of Whiteside County states, “More teams can be seen standing at this church on Sunday, than at all the other churches in the city combined.”
Last names in 1860 match some current names in Fulton. In 1860, there were the Bennett’s: William Bennett and his wife, Ellen, John Bennett and his wife, Eliza, and Pat Bennett and his wife, Jane. Daly’s lived here: John Daly and his wife, Catherine, John Daly and his wife, Mary, Thomas Daly and his wife, Ellen, John Daley and his wife, Mary. John Considine and his wife Hannah have relatives with connections in Fulton. Was Bridgett Fields related to Gene Fields or John Loftis to Don Loftus? Was Bridgett Cain related to the Blys?
And I am most interested in knowing about those Irish people, John Flack, miller, and his wife Nancy.

Asylum Children

“Asylum children” are detailed as a social practice in two issues of the Fulton Journal in May of 1878.
Mr. E. Wright was an agent for the New York Juvenile Asylum and he arrived in Fulton on a Friday morning with six boys for whom homes were wanted. With little difficulty he found homes for the boys. They were taken by the following people: J.E. Jordan, Albany, one; Mr. Huffman, Garden Plain, one; Ira S. Burch, Garden Plain, two, one for himself and one for his mother; Hiram Parker, one; and one by a gentleman living in Albany whose name remains unidentified. The next Journal issue said that Mr. Wright was in Fulton again and Ira S. Burch of Garden Plain returned his boy to him because he was subject to fits. This time Mr. Wright brought with him a brother and sister who were taken by a Mr. Jordan living a few miles from Albany. Mr. Jordan kept the girl and was looking for a home for the boy.
The conditions upon which the children were apprenticed were:
1. Each child may be taken upon trial for a period of two weeks.
2. At the end of the trial period, both employer and child must meet the agent and if all parties were suited, the child was then to be apprenticed until of age, boys (21) and girls (18). If any of the parties should not be suited, the child must be returned to the agent, but all cases must be kept through the trial period.
3. The amount required to be paid towards the passage expenses of each child was $12.
4. The articles of indenture provide:
a) that the child be cared for in sickness and in health with proper medical treatment, food and clothing. b) instructed in some business, c) sent to school four months in each year until it can read and write and cipher through compound interest; d) trained in moral and religious precepts and habits; e) paid in money at the end of the term of apprenticeship, boys $100 and girls $50.
5. Each employer must make a written report concerning his apprentice semi-annually to the agent in reference to its health, conduct, attendance at school and advancement in the several branches of study and also to notify the agent in case of desertion.
The children from New York were generally under 12 years of age and had been put in the asylum upon the complaint of a parent or guardian. They were children on the “orphan trains” who were sent to the west to work on farms in hopes that their lives would be better. Since they were paid for their work, they were not considered indentured.
Some social scientists label this as the beginning of foster care.
Oh, the stories to be told…

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Tea Party

Fulton Journal: Oct. 3, 1879

The Presbyterian Church in Fulton in the 1870’s was a hub of social activity. This Fulton Journal article highlighted a gathering with children.

“The Baby’s Tea Party in the basement of the Presbyterian church last Friday afternoon and evening was a pleasing entertainment. Thirty children under three years of age were present. Their names and ages were as follows:
Jimmie Bennett, 6 mo; Louis H. Bally, 5 mo. Pearl Bryning, 17 mo; Ulah M. Chapman 3 yrs; Nora Almira Conly, 2 mo; Ruth Dutcher 4 mo; Helen Downy, 3 years; Florence E. Fay, 3 yrs. Hettie Filkins, 9 mo; Charlie Herrold, 3 yrs; Roy Herrold, 1 yr; Baby Hardin, 6 mo; Jane Kirk, 7 mo; Laura Loomis, 9 mo; Helen Lachmund, 1 yr; Baby Larue, 2 mo; U.S. Grant Morgan, 3 yrs; Louis Ehrich Morgan, 7 mo; Ivan Mitchell, 6 mo; Mary Mitchell, 3 yrs; Irene Mitchell, 9 mo; Ruth Parker, 7 mo; Baby Reed, 5 mo; Ruby Summers, 13 mo; Ruby Smith, 2 yrs and 6 mo; Harry Smith, 2 yrs; Spencer Williams, 20 mo; Nellie Curtiss Kinney, 3 yrs; George Rogers Kinney, 5 mo; Maud Edith Kitel, 7 mo.
A very pleasing feature of the “tea party” was the arrangement of fifteen of these children around one low table fitted up for them.
A large company of parents and friends of the children participated in the social features of the occasion. Oysters, peaches, ice cream and cake were served. Jennie and Arthur Griffith gave recitations in their usual happy style, for the entertainment of those present.”

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Smallpox 1903

January 17, 1903

As yet Fulton is free from smallpox, but the neighbors on all sides have it and the greatest care should be exercised to prevent this city from suffering with the contagion. New cases are being reported every few days in Clinton and Lyons, and Rock Falls has become so badly infected that all public meetings have been forbidden. In that city the disease seems to be of a more severe nature and some deaths have already resulted. Many are opposed to vaccination and think it is of no value in stopping the spread of the disease, but it is a fact that if one member of the family is suffering with smallpox the other members seldom catch it if properly vaccinated, and it is universally acknowledged to be the most contagious of all diseases.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Obituary: 1874 Early Dutch Settler

April 22, 1874
In Memoriam

Geert Nanenga who died on Sunday morning, the 5th of April, 1874, was one of the most God-loving people I have ever known. It is not strange that the death of such a person, especially one of the most important members of our church, has made a deep impression on our hearts. At the funeral ceremony last Tuesday you could feel the effect his life and death had made on us. The whole church was behind the corpse coach. They walked in mourning behind the elders. It was a heavy mourning and if someone asks why the mourning is so great, while we believe our loving brother is living forever, the answer is in three points.
First, our loss. He was a man with a special influence in the church and was well respected. He had special qualities in speaking with those who were not converted and they respected him. He was quiet and polite as he spoke with them.
His pleasant fondness for God’s house was obvious. He was hesitant to boast of his devotion, but preferred as I said in his funeral oration, “He was quiet in his devotion to the church, but the walls of the church spoke his message.” As such people die, it is heavy on our hearts, the same as when Dorcas died. When she died, the clothes she made for poor people were displayed.
His walk through life had a positive tone with both God and the people. He was such a good example for us. We can see clearly that when we look at a new naked human being, he was complete. Jesus has the fame, but in Brother Nannenga you could view his soul-saving and it was special.
Secondly, his death is so difficult because for all people on earth who must travel to eternity and have not prepared, Mr. Nannenga has led the way. He was ready for it just as corn in the field should no longer be in the field when the grain is ready to be harvested. His last disease prepared him for eternity. At first his disease affected him seriously (bile fever and then liver disease). He was so sick, he wished for death. The world no longer had charm for him. The last words he spoke to a friend were, “I battled the war of life.” It took about 3 hours for his death. After speaking these words, he lapsed into a coma. They thought the end had come and he must have thought it, too, because he said good-bye to the people around him, but he revived because his soul remained in his body. For him came a last temptation because he said, “I fear I have cheated death.” After a few minutes they asked him if he was afraid to die and he said, “I desire it.” With calmness, he drank from a bottle which he held himself.
Now he drinks forever from the river of life out of the throne of God in the new Jerusalem. Now the battle is over and the faces of all who knew him looked sad when they said, “Geert Nannenga is dead.” The world is poorer for it. What a difference it makes who it is that dies. Some people are calm about death and no tears will be shed, but how this reaches people’s hearts and especially the God-loving, so they cry, “How great it is in the eyes of the Lord the death of his brother.”

John Van der Meulen
Fulton, Ill., 16 April, 1874
DE HOPE, April 22, 1874
Holland, Michigan

1902 Fulton New Year's Dinner

Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Broadhead gave a splendid six-course New Year’s dinner to the faithful clerks in the former’s store at the family residence on Cherry street. Those who sat around the festive board were Mr. and Mrs. Broadhead, Miss Bertha Fischer, Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Sterenberg, Mr. and Mrs. B.H. Pruis, Almet Chapman, Will Cochran, John Reagan, and Claus Buis.

1900 Fulton City Ordinances

From the Revised Ordinances of the City of Fulton, 1900: Owned by Fred K. Bastian.


Section 2. No person being naked or having the person indecently exposed shall swim or bathe in the Mississippi river, or in any place exposed to public view, between the hours of one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset.

Section 10. If the owner or keeper of any disorderly or gambling house, or house of ill-fame, or any house or place reasonably supposed to be such, shall refuse to permit the mayor, or any alderman, the city marshal, or any police officer to enter the same, it shall be lawful for the mayor, or any alderman, the city marshal, or any police officer, so being refused entrance, to enter or cause the same to be entered by forcibly breaking the doors or otherwise, and to arrest, with or without warrant, all persons found therein violating any law or ordinance, or subject to reasonable suspicion thereof.

Section 14. No person shall in said city store or keep more than one hundred pounds of gunpowder, at any one time, within one hundred and fifty feet of any other building.

Section 15. No person shall ride or drive any horse or other animal in any street or other public place at an immoderate speed.

Section 16. No person, upon turning the corner of any street, or crossing the intersection of any street in said city, shall ride or drive any horse or other animal with greater speed than at the rate of six miles an hour.

Section 23. No person shall use or propel by riding the same, any velocipede or bicycle upon any sidewalk of the city of Fulton.

Section 27. No person shall erect or maintain on or near the line of any public street any fence constructed in whole or in part of barbed wife.

Section 36. No persons shall play at ball of any description, or engage in other out-door games or athletic exercises within the corporate limits of this city on Sunday.

River Rats

Fulton Journal April 20, 1923:


Business Men Employ Harold Blodgett to Take Charge of Extermination Effort



A city wide drive against the rats will be on in Fulton next Wednesday and Thursday, and on those days poison designed to bring many of the rodents to their end will be placed at the dumps nearby and about town generally where it is thought results can be obtained. The business men have contributed a fund and employed Harold Blodgett, who will have the work in charge. He has recently taken a course in the science and art of exterminating rats.
This work is similar to that being undertaken with good results in other cities. Nearly every merchant has been making his own campaign against rats for years, and it has come to be understood that a general drive is the thing that will really rid the city of these pests. Fulton is no more troubled with them than any other place, but there are enough of them here to make well worth while to try to eradicate them.
W.H. Mitchell and John E. Ferry made the rounds of the business houses this morning and obtained the required amount in subscriptions to make the drive effective.
They said it would be well for owners of dogs and cats to look to these animals next week and keep them away from the dumps and other places where poison for rats will be placed.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Liquor Licenses

May 8, 1885: Fulton Journal

“The city council has granted four saloon licenses. The license fee is $500 making a total of $2,000 and as it is payable in advance it is collected and safely deposited by the City Treasurer. Three of these saloons are located on three of the corners at the intersection of Cherry and River streets.” (10th Avenue and 3rd Street).
“The other saloon will be kept in the King’s House.”


April 21, 1885: Fulton Journal.

“The whole number of votes cast at the school election held last Saturday was 139. George S. Sardam received 138 and H.C. Fellows one. This large and unanimous vote is conclusive that our citizens consider Mr. Sardam the right man in the right place.”

New City Hall

City Hall 1879
Fulton Journal: October 31, 1879

Mr. E. D. Chapman is progressing rapidly with the brick work on the new City Hall building. Should the rest of the work go on as rapidly as Mr. Chapman is pushing his, the City Hall will be an accomplished fact before the snow flies, and our Aldermen can enjoy their Thanksgiving dinner of turtle soup and steak in their elegant council room.

Women's Suffrage Movement in Fulton

Fulton Journal
March 19, 1880

Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s Lecture

The Baptist church was well filled on Friday evening of last week to hear the lecture of Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The subject announced was, “What Home Life consists of,” but upon consultation she decided to substitute her deservedly popular lecture, “Our Girls.” At the appointed hour Mrs. Stanton was introduced by Mrs. George Terwilliger, and for over two hours held the closest attention of her hearers. She is a lady of imposing presence, a fluent, graceful speaker, mingling argument, advice, invective, appeal and humor with the hand of a master, and all without oratorical effort or ostentatious display. The great trouble we think with most of our female speakers, is, that they speak in an unnatural tone, and gesture and act as though they were upon the stage instead of in a lecture room. Not so with Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She both speaks and acts in a perfectly natural manner, much to the delight and we may add benefit of her audience. It will be impossible for us to give anything like a fair sketch of her admirable lecture on Friday evening. Such lectures need to be heard to be fully appreciated. We wish that every parent in Fulton who has growing daughters could have been present and heard the excellent advice given in relation to the education, mode of dress, manners, and occupations of girls, and to their rights as citizens also. Mrs. Stanton holds that girls should be allowed the privileges of our Colleges, and other higher institutions of learning equally with the boys, that they should be permitted to enter the trades and professions upon equally as favorable auspices as the boys, and mentioned a number of instances where this has been done that the girls have far outranked the boys in scholarship, and in proficiency in business life. Women should no longer be looked upon as the drudge or the plaything of man, but as a human being equal to himself in intellect, in force of character and business capacity. In matters of dress and manners her remarks were pointed and reasonable, and cannot fail of having a powerful effect in aiding the abolishment of the present unhealthy mode of female dressing, and in inaugurating a more rational system of manners. The last of her lecture was devoted to what we have long been accustomed to term “Woman’s Rights,” but her arguments in behalf of her sex being entitled to the elective franchise as citizens the same as other citizens; entitled to representation because they are subject to taxation, and entitled to stand equal with man in all the affairs and business of life, were so clearly, forcibly and kindly put that the results of allowing these rights were robbed of the terrors which the great mass of people have thrown around them. But few of the large audience went away we think without being convinced that she was pretty nearly right. The lecture as a whole will be long remembered. In this connection it is but proper for us to say that the people of Fulton are greatly indebted to Mr. Leslie Williams for the privilege of hearing this winter two of our most celebrated lecturers, Mr. Geo. R. Wendling and Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton. That this privilege has been appreciated we can fully attest.

April 2, 1880: Fulton Journal

Miss Susan B. Anthony, the distinguished lecturer, will be in Fulton on May 17. The bare statement that she will be here will be sufficient to attract a large audience. Miss Anthony has devoted her life, in spite of jibes and sneers—the reproaches of the press, and the revilings of would be moralists—to one great object. None doubt her sincerity, none dare deny the power of her reasoning and her rare gifts of oratory. Her subject at this place will be, “Woman wants Bread and Not the Ballot.”

May 14, 1880: Fulton Journal

Everybody knows that Susan B. Anthony will deliver her great lecture “Woman wants Bread, and not the Ballot,” at Music Hall on next Monday evening, the 17th, but we cannot help announcing it once more. If any one has not secured a seat as yet, it will be well to go at once to Williams City Drug Store, and get a ticket.

June 4, 1880: Fulton Journal

A large list of names of ladies of this city was secured to a petition in favor of Woman’s Suffrage on Monday and Tuesday and on Wednesday afternoon sent to the Woman’s National Suffrage Committee in Chicago.

FULTON, ILL June 1880
Chicago Historical Museum

We the undersigned believing in the justice of the proposed measure of the N.W. S.A. for procuring the enfranchisement of women pledge ourselves to aid by our voice and means in attaining that end.

Mrs. Hearmuthis A.Hudson
Mrs. Susan Starckman
Miss Annie E. Snyder
Mrs. Elizabeth Parker
Mrs. Anna Williams
Mrs. B.A. Conger
Mrs. Sarah Powell
Miss Nellie E. James
Mrs. Sarah Fredericks
Mrs. May Whitemore
Mrs. Laura Sutherland
Mary E.L. Herrold
Hannah Lusk
C. Broadhead
Mrs. B. Wallace
Mrs. Hattie Hudson
Mrs. Adie Chaptman
Mrs. Jennie Rofs
Mrs. J.P. Jacobs
Mrs. E.W. Gerrish
Mrs. E.J. Hotern
Mrs. M.B. Terwilliger
Mrs. L. Lusk
Mrs. E. Summers
Mrs. W. Culbertson
Mrs. A Hall
Mrs. B Smith
Mrs. Wm. Gay
Mrs. M Loyas
Mrs. J. Bryning
Mrs. C Eckert
Mrs. G. Bevens
Mrs. G. Hall
Mrs. E Southerson
Mrs. H. Morgan
Mrs. Emma Puffer
Mrs. Myra Wythe
Miss Anna Wythe
Miss Sarah Wythe
Miss Mate Green
Mrs. Elisabeth Robinson
Mrs. Eleanor Myers
Miss Florence Myers
Miss Aggie Myers
Mrs. L.N. Reed
Miss Lizzie Baker
Emma H. Reed
Mrs. M.E. Mitchell
Miss C. Eddy
Mrs. Luisa Holmes
Mrs. R.L. Jenks
Mrs Robinson
Miss E. Marcelus
Mrs. G. Jones
Mrs. M. Downey
Mrs. E. Marsh
Mrs. J.P. Legim
Mrs. N. Butchern
Miss Sims
Mrs. N. Roberts
Miss R. Langford
Mrs. J.C. Snyder
Mrs. E. Smith
Mrs. Bryning
Mrs. Barrett
Mrs. Alice Mercereau
Mrs. Georgie Terwilliger
Mrs. Mary Loudrin age 83
Mrs. H C Fellows

Monday, September 3, 2007

Pointer Beer

Fulton Journal: June 22, 1934

Kiwanians Visit Pointer Brewery

Wednesday noon twenty-two members and guests of the Fulton Kiwanis club were guests of the Pointer Brewery Company at Clinton. The guests were seated at a long table heaped with all the delicacies of the “Dutch Lunch” and foamy mugs of Pointer beer were placed at every plate.
After the bountiful repast the guests were divided into three groups and conducted through the brewery, where the different processes were explained.
From the boiler room where the great boilers fired by modern power stokers furnish the steam for the various machines throughout the entire plant one was impressed by the immaculate cleanliness that is maintained. Two great ice machines, one of twenty-five ton capacity and another of forty-five tons capacity, are used to keep the temperatures correct in the various rooms and tanks.
Great bins on the top floors store the barley and malt and feed through tubes into the mixing vats where the hops are added and the mixture processed before going to the enormous kettle where the brewing is done. From the kettle the beer is pumped to huge cooling vat and from there it drains slowly over an immense cooling rack of pipes where it drains into another vat. From there it is pumped to the fermenting rooms where it is processed for seven days and then pumped to aging tanks. The rooms containing the fermenting and aging tanks are kept at about forty degrees at all times.
After the beer is properly aged it is filtered into finishing tanks on the ground floor. These tanks are kept locked by the U.S. government locks and when one is filled a government inspector will collect the tax and remove the locks. From these tanks the beer goes to the bottling and keg departments where it is packed for delivery. Throughout the entire plant rigid inspection and cleanliness insure the utmost purity in Pointer beer.

Willow Chairs

Fulton Folk Art: Willow Chairs

Travelers along the Lincoln Highway coming or going to the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair bought children’s willow chairs made by men in Fulton who peddled them near the Lincoln Highway bridge where travelers stopped to pay toll. It was the depression and paychecks were slim for most Fultonians. Abundant were the willow trees that grew on the riverbanks and islands. An interview with Henry Musk revealed that willow chair income for local inhabitants increased because of a man named Carl Senkel.
Carl Senkel and his twin sons, Bob and Rollie came to Fulton in 1931 and taught local people how to make children’s willow chairs. Carl had a shop in an old boat factory. Rollie Senkel said that the willows grew tall and straight along the river. The willows were cut into pieces with an old tobacco cutter and nailed together. Archie Cowan had a small willow chair factory in the 300 block of 9th Avenue and his factory operated until 1933. At the age of 18, Henry Musk began copying the technique of willow chair making from the people assembling these chairs. Musk said he improved the quality of the chair by letting the willow dry two weeks before construction and by making a tighter chair.
The chairs sold from $.35 to $.75 depending on whether they were rustic, varnished, or painted. Some chairs were rockers. Musk made them and sold them for two years near the tollbooth at the Fulton Lyons bridge. Musk continued to make chairs until 1987 and he estimated that he made 3000 of them in his lifetime. The cost of the chair when he finished his career was $10.
Henry Musk shared detailed instructions for his chairmaking. He said that he preferred river willow three years old or 8 to 10 feet tall. Three trees are needed to make one chair. Willows cut from the first week in May until the first week in September have bark that will strip easily. During the other months, the willow needs to be soaked to remove the bark. Soaking weakens the willow. Bark needs to be removed immediately. A husking pen works well for stripping. The tree needs to dry in the sun for one day before it is put in the shade to dry for one week. Then the chair maker can cut the wood into the desired lengths and let it dry another week.
In the 1930’s, Fulton flourished with folk art. The willows still grow by the river…

Sunday, August 5, 2007

1896 Fulton Cookbook

“The Favorite Cookery” is a cookbook published by the Ladies of Fulton, Illinois, in 1896. It was the second edition of the cookbook and was described as “revised and enlarged.” It is divided into sixteen headings, the final chapter entitled “Food for the Sick.”

Fever Drink
Pour cold water on wheat bran, let boil half an hour; strain and add lemon juice and sugar.
Another—Pour boiling water on flax seed: let stand until it is ropy: pour into hot lemonade.

Toast Water
Toast 2 slices of stale bread, on both sides, a rich brown: cut in pieces and pour on 1 pint boiling water. Wine or other stimulant may be added.

Indian Meal Gruel
Mix ½ cup of meal with a very little water, stir until perfectly smooth: to 3 cups boiling water, salted, add the meal, stirring it in slowly: let it boil ½ hour. It can be retained on the stomach when almost everything else is rejected.

Beef Extract
Chop lean beef very fine and put it in a wide mouthed bottle. Place the bottle in a sauce pan of cold water. Heat very slowly and keep near the boiling point 4 hours. Pour off the juice, pressing the meat to extract every particle of juice. Season slightly with salt.

Don Carlos Knight

Don Carlos Knight

Emma Hale Smith spent the winter of 1846-47 in Fulton, Illinois, and had traveled upriver from Nauvoo with the Wesley Knight and Lorin Walker families. I became particularly interested in the Knight family when Steve and Linda Stuart shared a letter with me written by Joseph Smith III to Emma Knight Wythe Puffer, the daughter of Wesley and Louisa Cowles Knight. Emma’s sister, Mary Knight, married Daniel Hollinshead.
The first census recorded for the City of Fulton lists a Don Carlos Knight. I knew that Emma Hale Smith had had a child in 1840-41 named Don Carlos Smith. He was named for the brother of her husband, Joseph. Could her close friends the Knights, have had a son they named Don Carlos after the child of Emma and Joseph?

Mystery solved by THE FULTON WEEKLY: April 18, 1873.
A Sad and Fatal Accident
“Don C. Knight, formerly of this city, and brother of Mrs. L.F. Puffer, was so severely injured at the corner of Seventh and Poplar streets in St. Louis, on Sunday evening, the 5th inst. by a freight train of the Pacific Railroad backing into the street car which he was driving, that he died on the Thursday following. This news will make many hearts sad in this city and vicinity, where he had so long lived and was so well known.
It seems that he was driving his cars along 7th street, going south, at the same time a freight train was being backed up Poplar street, going west. The watchman on the Pacific railroad was lounging in a saloon at the time, and consequently no warning was given him of the approach of the train. There was a blinding storm also raging at the time. The car had scarcely touched the track before it was struck by the rear car of the freight train, staving in the forward end of the car, and throwing it and the horses from the track. Mr. Knight was found horribly mutilated lying under the car. The wheels had passed over his legs, which were both broken, two fingers of his left hand were cut off, and he sustained other injuries about the head and face. He was taken to the Hospital immediately where he lingered until the 10th inst. That the Pacific Railroad Company are to blame for this sad occurrence was established beyond doubt by the evidence at the Coroner’s inquest. Indeed everything connected with the matter tends to show it.
Mrs. Knight, mother of the deceased went down to St. Louis, where she was kindly treated by Col. Madison, the President of the street railway Company, and everything done to assuage her grief. The body was taken charge of by Col. M. and properly buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery. Mr. Knight was born in Hancock county in the State and was 29 years of age at the time of his death. He came to this city with his parents at an early age, and remained here until about eight years ago when he started for Kansas. He endeared himself to all with whom he became acquainted, by his many good qualities of mind and heart.
Mr. Puffer visited St. Louis a day or two since, and brought Mrs. Knight back with him. He says the Pacific Railroad Co. refuse to pay her any damages, taking the ground that they are not responsible for the acts of the employees. If that is their only defence, it is a very flimsy one.”

Helen Wythe

Helen Wythe

Helen Wythe, daughter of Frank and Nellie Daley Wythe, sister of Leroy Wythe was connected to Fulton for nearly 100 years. She was born August 10, 1893, and died in March 1993. Her obituary says she was born in Clinton, but a photo inscription says “The house I was born in. Fulton. Helen Wythe.”
Helen completed her formal education at FHS in 1910, 2 years after Roy had finished. The class was comprised of four females, Priscilla Lockhart, Hilda Opheim, Helen Perry and Helen Wythe, and one male, Bert Sterenberg. The commencement exercises were held in the Opera House on June 10, 1910. The speaker was Dr. William A. Colledge, for many years a scientific instructor in the Armour Institute of Chicago. His 50 minute speech was entitled “Second Fiddles” The Fulton Journal reporter lamented that the members of the class had no part in the program as a separate class day had been set aside for the class will or prophecy and for a speech by the valedictorian. The reporter said, “Good lectures are invaluable for instruction and as an aid to an up-lift in life educationally and otherwise, but they do not as a rule reach the common people and the schools are for all the people and the closing exercises offers a great opportunity for arousing and maintaining interest in our public schools and fostering a proper pride in them.”
The two Wythe children Roy and Helen had successfully completed high school, one in 1908, the other in 1910. Obviously, formal education was a family value.
In 1917 at age 24 when her mother Nellie Daley died, Helen lived at home. Frank remarried two years later and when Frances Wythe died in 1934, Mrs. Helen Wythe Pope had come from her home in Los Angeles to assist in the home. (Roy was also living in LA at that time.)
Between 1934 and 1947 Helen divorced, resumed the name of Wythe and returned to Fulton. Her father, Frank, was ill and confined to his bed for nearly five years and Helen cared for him.
Helen was a bookkeeper for Noble Garage and Baker Ford. She was a member of the Fulton Presbyterian Church and a 75 year member of Eastern Star. One Fultonian also remembers her as a waitress at Bush’s restaurant. Another says she was outgoing, friendly, and fun.
Helen (Barney) Sikkema cared for Helen in the years preceding her nursing home stay and the Sikkemas bought the Wythe house on 13th Avenue and tore it down.
From 1947 until she died in 1993, Helen built her family around people other than immediate relatives for Roy was in California, her parents were dead, and she was divorced. Cousins, friends, co-workers, and neighbors became her family as she shaped her life and life shaped her in Fulton, Illinois.

Roy Wythe

Roy Wythe

Carpenters tearing into the plaster at 1107 4th Street discovered a letter dated 1909 written by Frank Wythe to his son Roy.
Roy A. Wythe, was president of his 1908 Fulton High School class. The commencement exercises were detailed in the Fulton Journal in May/June of 1908. The junior class gave a reception for the senior class in the Odd Fellows’ hall (500 block of 12th Avenue ?) on Thursday evening. On Sunday evening, May 31, the baccalaureate sermon was delivered by Rev. Armin H. Ziemer in the Presbyterian Church. Class day was observed on Thursday evening, June 4, in the Fulton Opera house (This was located where the Fulton City Hall/Police Station now stands.) At that time Roy A. Wythe presented the class will. Peter M. Starck was the valedictorian. The commencement lecture was by John W. Cook, president of the Northern Illinois State Normal school in DeKalb, whose speech was entitled “Tendencies of Modern Education.” The motto of the class was “Out of School’s Life into Life’s School.” Six people were in the class of 1908: Roy A. Wythe, Irene L. Mathers, Zella Rathgeber, Joseph W. Ferry, Peter M. Starck, and William J. Rice.
In 1917, eight years after the “letter in the wall” was written, Roy’s mother, Nellie Daley, age 55, died. Roy is listed as a survivor living in Dixon.
In 1934, Roy’s stepmother, Frances, died and both Roy and his sister, Helen, were living in Los Angeles.
When Frank Wythe died in 1947, the obituary read, “Mr. Wythe’s son, Roy Wythe, of Altadina, California., was unable to be present.” Roy of Altadina, California, was listed as a survivor along with a granddaughter of Sherman Oaks, California. Since Helen Wythe had no children, it is assumed that Phyrne Wythe was the daughter of Roy.
Roy lived to be 88 years old. A tombstone in the Fulton Cemetery in the Wythe plot has a stone for Leroy A. Wythe 1889-1977. An examination of all of the Fulton Journals for 1977 yielded no obituary and a relative of Roy’s said that he thought Roy was buried in California. It is likely that his sister Helen had the Fulton stone inscribed with the year of his death.
If there were only more letters…

Frank Wythe

Frank Wythe

The 1909 letter which appeared in last week’s Fulton Journal was found on the plaster lath at 1107 4th Street. It was written by “Dad” or Frank Wythe. Frank, born on the 4th of July, was a lifelong resident of Fulton who resided here from 1859-1947.
Frank had some interesting relatives preceding him. George Wythe, one of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, is part of Frank’s family tree. Also, Frank’s mother was Emma Knight Wythe who traveled to Fulton with Emma Hale Smith and her children in 1846. Frank’s relatives have an 1855 letter from Joseph Smith III to Emma Wythe. Joseph Smith III later became the President of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. Emma Knight’s sister, Mary, married Daniel Hollinshead an early pioneer to this area.
Frank had two marriages. On December 17, 1885, at the age of 26, he married Nellie Daley who was 22 years old. They had two children who survived infancy, Roy (1889-1977) and Helen (1893-1993). Nellie died in 1917. Several years later, Frank married Frances Bank of Chicago. They had no children and she died in 1934.
In the 1913 Fulton phone book, Frank is listed as proprietor of a pool hall at 1109 4th Street. Frank was postmaster when the post office was at 1009
4th Street. Later, he had a paper and paint business on 4th Street. He served as Town Clerk and held offices in the Order of the Odd Fellows. He was actively involved in the business life of Fulton. The Wythe home was at 1016 13th Avenue.
Frank lived to be 88 years old. He was survived by his daughter, Helen, at home, his son, Roy of Altadina, California, and a granddaughter, Fyrne Wythe of Sherman Oaks, California. Frank had one sister, Miss Eva Wythe.
What happened that the letter returned to Fulton? The envelope contains no return address. Did it ever reach Roy? Did he, at age 19, return briefly carrying the letter with him? Did the post office return an undeliverable letter to the Fulton post office and subsequently put it back in Frank’s hands?
“The palest ink is better than the best memory” for the letter in the wall breathes life into Frank Wythe who chose Fulton as his place to live.

Obit: Emma Knight

Emma Knight

When the Retail Development Group purchased two buildings in the 1100 block of 4th Street, research began on the buildings and owners. At that time wonderful stories emerged about the Wythe family, the Stuarts, and the Knights. A letter was found from Joseph Smith III to Emma Knight, but the connection to the Wythes was not perfectly clear. Last week’s discovery of an obituary for Emma Puffer explained the relationship.
Emma Knight with her parents and siblings were on the steamer Uncle Toby when Emma Hale Smith and her family came to Fulton in 1846-47.
Fulton Journal: January 8, 1895:
Friday afternoon Mrs. L.F. Puffer died at her home in this city, after an illness of but ten days. The cause of her death was an abscess in the right lung. Her maiden name was Emma E. Knight. She was born in Charleston, Illinois, January 24, 1839, being fifty-five years, eleven months and ten days of age at the time of her death. She was one of the old residents of Fulton, having come to this city with her parents in 1847, and resided here since, excepting a short time spent in Colorado. She was married to Monroe C. Wythe, in Sterling, in 1856. To this marriage two children were born, Frank A. who resides in this city and Eva who died in infancy. Her married life was not a happy one and in 1866 she obtained a divorce from Mr. Wythe. At Black Hawk, Colorado, November 25, 1868, she was married to L.F. Puffer and soon after Mr. and Mrs. Puffer returned to Fulton. To this marriage two daughters were born, Nettie, now Mrs. Martin H. McGrath, of this city, and Daisy, now Mrs. Clayton Snodgrass, of Iron Hill, Iowa. About twelve years ago her sight failed and she had been practically blind since, but through it all she was ever patient and uncomplaining, thinking more of others than herself and cheering those about her with words of encouragement, sympathy and love. When quite young she became deeply interested in the teachings and philosophy of modern Spiritualism and soon became not only satisfied in her own mind that its claims were true but became herself a medium and through all her life her faith in, or as she claimed her knowledge of, the truth of continued life and inter-communion of friends here and hereafter was a source of great comfort to her and that faith sustained her in the closing hours of her life. She was fully conscious throughout her final illness, but could speak only with great difficulty. The funeral services were at the house Sunday held at 2 o’clock p.m. Rev. Frank S. Arnold officiating, and the remains were buried in Fulton cemetery. Thus another old resident of Fulton sleeps in the silent city of the dead. Mr. Puffer will reside for the present with his daughter, Mrs. McGrath, in this city.


Emma Knight Wythe Puffer, Clairvoyant

Fulton Journal: March 27, 1876

“Editor of the Journal:
A little more than two months ago our community was shocked by the sad loss which one of our most respected citizens suffered in the sudden death of his only son. The whole community, as one person, was stirred by the keenest sympathy with the bereaved parents, and one and all, expected to aid in the recovery of the body of George Hall. I, acting under the same impulse which led others to search for the body, tried what I could do with my one talent, clairvoyance toward directing others where to search. In the presence of John Wilde and his wife, and Mrs.Wetzell, and Mr. Puffer, I laid my hand on a coat that George had worn, and from the clue given by the magnetism in the coat (as I understand it) I saw George leave his father’s house, put on his skates at the bank of the river and skate up above Smith & Culbertson’s mill, and described the place he disappeared from view. Told them what I saw, and told them that I could not see that he came back down the river, either on ice or land. This was about nine o’clock Saturday evening. They all went out and left me alone, and while I was alone I saw clearer that George’s body was under the ice.
About ten o’clock Billy Stuart came to the door as representive (sic) for a party of men that started to examine the ice in the vicinity of the Elevator. Stuart said, “Mrs. Puffer, we have about made up our minds that George is not drowned at all, that he has gone off somewhere because he was seen at five o’clock near home with a bundle under his arm, now what do you think about it.” I answered, “Billy, George Hall is dead, is under the ice up above here. You need not go near the Elevator.” There was one other person near the door, so I think he heard what I said, but in the darkness I did not see who it was.
There were others that I told about it before he was found, but this should be sufficient and my story is getting lengthy. Now, this would all be worth my time in writing it, but for the fact that for that act of kindly impulse on my part, there is an effort on the part of some person or persons to call my name in question. Last week the word came to me indirectly from Lyons that it was said there that “a clairvoyant pretended she had traced George Hall, after he was found,’ and this morning a gentleman came and introduced himself, and asked me if I was Mrs. Puffer. I assented. He then asked me if I could give the names of any persons not spiritualists as references to prove that I saw where the body of George Hall was before he was found, saying he had heard in Lyons that I did, and then it was contradicted by those who should know something of it, who said I pretended to have seen it after he was found. Now, right here I am going to let the human in me find expression. I will say to the magnanimous public that has made such a charge against me that I have never, as a clairvoyant, asked them for one cent’s worth of patronage in any manner. I have depended upon the wages of honest work for support, my husband being a well known mechanic in this community. I have never in any way or at any time thrust either my services as clairvoyant, or my religious opinions, unasked, upon any person or persons, and now I want to know what evil influences are at work in our community, that makes it necessary for me to defend myself, or rest under the accusation of being an imposter? Who will benefit to misrepresent me, and the facts of the case? My opinions are my own. My gift as clairvoyant is my own, and never has been made the property of the public by advertisement or otherwise, and although I am a woman, I claim the rights of citizenship enough to defend myself when there have been false accusations made, and for the use of your columns through which to do so, you have my thanks. EMMA E. PUFFER

As a simple act of justice, we certify that Mrs. Puffer’s statement, to the effect that she traced George Hall clairvoyantly to the locality where he was afterward found, Saturday evening before he was found, our presence is true and correct.
Mrs.J.V. Wilde,
Jno. V. Wilde,
Mrs. W.Y. Wetzell
I certify that the conversation related by Mrs. Puffer in the foregoing article is correct, both as to the time (Saturday night before George was found,) and the words used.
William Stuart”

(Emma Knight Wythe Puffer was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wesley Knight and a member of the party of Mormons, including Emma Hale Smith and children, who took the steamer Uncle Toby from Nauvoo to Fulton in 1846. Her sister, Mary, married Daniel Hollinshead.)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Fulton: Ancestral Home of Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan’s Great-Grandparents:

Michael Reagan: Buried in Fulton in March 1884.

Michael O’Reagan was born in Ballyporeen, County Tipperary, Ireland in 1829. He married Catherine Mulcahey October 31,1852, in London. In England, his occupation was soapmaker. They emigrated to Carroll County, Illinois, in 1858 and farmed in Fair Haven, Illinois. At age 54, he died from congestion of the lungs. He is buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Fulton.

Catherine Mulcahey Reagan: Lived in Fulton 25 years.
Buried in Fulton April 1908.

Catherine was born in the county of Tipperary, Ireland, in 1829. She and Michael had five children who lived to adulthood: Thomas, John, William, Margaret, and Mary. Only one of the children, Margaret, was living at the time Catherine died at the age of 70. Catherine also had five grandchildren: Will Reagan, John E. Reagan, Will Chapman, and Margaret Chapman, and Josephine Baldwin Wittle. One year after her husband, Michael, died, Catherine moved to Fulton and lived here 25 years.

Their children:
Thomas: (1852-1889) Buried in Fulton. Drowned at a 4th of July picnic at the age of 37.
John: (1854-1889): Born in England. Grandfather of Ronald Reagan
Margaret(1856-1947): Married Oscar G. Baldwin
William (1858-1883): Died at age 22, TB. Sick for 8 years.
Mary (1867-1908): Married E.D. Chapman and Dr. G.W. Clendenen

Ronald Reagan’s Paternal Grandparents

John Reagan and Jennie Cusic(k) married and buried in Fulton
John and Jennie Cusic(k) Reagan were married in Fulton in 1878 at the Immaculate Conception Church. In 1885, John was building a house in Fulton for the family of four children. The husband and wife had short lives both dying of TB. In 1886, Jennie died at age 30 and in 1889, John died at the age of 35. John’s mother, Catherine, age 60, and John’s two sisters, Margaret and Mary raised the four children, Katherine (1879), William (1881-1925), John Edward (1883- 1941), and Anna (1885).

Ronald Reagan’s Great Aunt Mary

Lived in Fulton from age 17 until death at age 43. Buried in Fulton.
Mary A. Reagan was born in Fair Haven, Illinois, March 13, 1865. At 17, she came with her mother, Catherine Reagan, to live in Fulton. She took a two year business course at Northern Illinois College and then with her sister Margaret engaged in the millinery business for 22 years. Her first marriage was in 1890 to Edward Chapman whose accidental death occurred six years later leaving her a widow with two small children, an invalid mother, and the four orphan children of her brother, John. Her second marriage was in 1904 to Dr. G.W. Clendenen, the founder and supreme medical examiner of the Mystic Workers of the World. Their beautiful home (710-11th Avenue) welcomed many guests. Four years after this marriage, Mary became ill and died suddenly at the age of 43. The Chapman children and the children of John and Jennie Reagan were then cared for by their grandmother, Catherine, and their Aunt Margaret.

Ronald Reagan’s Great Aunt Margaret

Margaret is the aunt who lived a long life and spent much of it as a caregiver. Margaret and her sister, Mary, were partners in the millinery business in Fulton. At age 38, Margaret married Oscar G. Baldwin. He operated dry goods stores in Bennett, Iowa, and Prophetstown, Illinois. They provided a home for the four orphan children of Margaret’s brother, John, who had died in his 30’s and her sister, Mary, who died at 43 with two Chapman children. She also cared for her mother, Catherine, who was paralyzed for two years prior to her death in 1908. In the 1930 US Census, Margaret (71) was living in Clinton, Iowa, with Marguerite Chapman (Mary) who had married Allen Lockhart in Fulton. Margaret died in California in 1947.

Ronald Reagan’s Great Uncle William

William spent most of his life in Fulton where he was a cigar-maker. He died at age 45 and had problems with alcoholism and mental illness.

Ronald Reagan’s Great Aunt Anna

Anna attended the school for the deaf in Carbondale, Illinois.

Ronald Reagan’s Maternal Grandparents

Mary Anne Elsey Wilson had been born in England and immigrated to the US to work as a domestic servant.
Thomas Wilson was born April 28, 1844, in Whiteside Co.
Thomas and Mary Anne were married on January 25, 1866, in Morrison and had the following children: Emily, John, Jennie, Alexander, George, Mary, and Nellie Clyde. In the 1900 US Census, Mary Wilson lived with Nellie, a student, on Base Street in Fulton. Mary Anne died on October 6, 1900, and is buried in Fulton. Thomas died December 12, 1909.

Ronald Reagan’s Parents

John (Jack) Edward Reagan and Nellie Clyde Wilson born and married in Fulton.

John (Jack) Edward Reagan was born July 13, 1883, in Fulton. He lived with his Aunt Margaret in Bennett, Iowa, after the death of his parents. On his return to Fulton as a young adult, he worked as a clerk in J.W. Broadhead’s dry goods store. He was a salesman with particular success in the shoe business. He lived in Tampico, Dixon, Chicago, Galesburg, and Monmouth. In 1941, he died in California at age 56.
Nellie Clyde Wilson was born July 21,1883, in Fulton the youngest of seven children of Mary Ann Elsey and Thomas Wilson. Nellie’s father left them when Nellie was 7. Her mother died when Nellie was 17. Nell(i)e worked as a milliner in Fulton. In November 1904 when Jack and Nelle were 19 years old, they married at Fulton’s Immaculate Conception Rectory. They had two children: John Neil, 1908, and Ronald Wilson, 1911 both born in Tampico, Illinois.

In Fulton: Places to Visit With Reagan Connections:
Broadhead’s Dry Goods: SW corner of 10th Avenue & 4th Street
Millinery Shop: 1003 4th Street
Cigar Shop: 1005 4th Street
Immaculate Conception Church: 703-12th Avenue
Catholic Cemetery: North 4th Street (Reagans are on highest hill).
John & Jennie’s house: 907-12th Avenue
Dr. G.W. Clendenen’s house: 710-11th Avenue

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Patent Novelty Company: Toys

One of the lovely Christmas window displays in Fulton during December 2000 was in the Musk Building on 4th Street. Among the many wonderful toys was a boat and rower with box marked Fulton, Illinois, Patent Novelty Company. The Fulton Journal, December 8, 1916, records the history of the company to that date.
“A splendid industry that has built up within the past ten years in Fulton is the Patent Novelty Company, engaged in the manufacture of advertising novelties and hardware specialties.
The enterprise was founded by C.L. Passmore in 1905, and among the articles of utility that was first made was a handle dustpan invented by Mr. Passmore. It was not long before the factory sold a million of the “So E-Z” dustpans in one year.
In 1906, Mr. Passmore sold out to Frank W. Dana for a nominal sum, and soon afterward L.A. Lemke became Mr. Dana’s partner and the business was expanded and a building was purchased on the corner of Tenth Avenue and Fifth street and machines installed and a japanning oven constructed.
In 1907 Edward H. Downs was added to the firm and the company incorporated with capital stock of $20,000. The business proved wonderfully successful and, finding lack of room in the Tenth avenue factory, the company purchased a block of lots on Eighth avenue, paralleling the C,B.&Q railroad, which enabled it to have a side track. A new factory was built in 1910 and many new articles added to the list of manufactured products. Several traveling salesmen were employed and the factory was enlarged, and in 1912 the large brick building on the northeast corner was erected. Business increased so rapidly that the company increased the capital stock to $140,000 and decided to build a new brick factory, which was commenced in July and is just completed. It is a model plant and the building cost about $20,000 with the new American Blower heating plant.
The new structure is ninety feet wide and two hundred and forty-two feet long, built of brick and steel and contains 26,000 square feet of floor space. The building is admirable planned and lighted for factory purposes, and scores of machines, operated largely by electricity fill the floor space. It is, in fact, a model manufactory with fine equipment and now rushed to fill orders to the full capacity with over ninety people employed. The line of goods made embraces fifty different articles, the greater part of which have a regular and increasing demand.
Frank W. Dana is president of the company; E.H Downs, secretary and treasurer.
There are nineteen people in the office force.
T. A. Landa has charge of the salesmen in the large cities.
S.C. Coman is general sales manager.
C. J. Harned, manager of sales in the premium department.
Miss Catherine J. Dugan has charge of the bookkeeping and collections department, and has proved highly efficient.
George H. Reimer is superintendent of the factory.
S.H. Wilson is foreman of the metal stamping department.
Sika Poel is foreman of the finishing department.”
According to Wayne Bastian in his book A HISTORY OF WHITESIDE COUNTY, the Patent Novelty Company produced toys as early as 1908 when the Little Nemo Popgun and Mocking-Bird whistle were made. In 1927, the assets of the O.K. Toy factory of Sterling were purchased and moved to Fulton. In 1929, 410,000 toys were manufactured and part of them exported to 14 countries. The new line included Whirling Maypole, Tick Tack, Twirlo and Ben Hur. The company developed new toys and produced them for years.
Such fun it would be to see both the catalogs and the toys produced here in Fulton!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Considine Family

From the Fulton Journal
January 1/31/08

One paragraph from the obituary on Stephen Considine:

“The Considine family is among the oldest of the old residents of Fulton. The stone cottage on the river bank is one of the first dwellings built here and is over sixty years old, and is often pointed out as of historical interest.”

The Considine family also owned a stone quarry on 4th Street and the assumption is made that the stone on their house came from their quarry. The stone was used to build two Catholic churches in Lyons, Iowa, and is part of the old Presbyterian Church in Fulton.

Researching the Considine cottage on the river led to phone calls to Mary Catherine Considine Sanderson and some cemetery tromping, but details of the lives of John and Hannah Considine were slim. John had died in 1899 and we have no Fulton Journals on microfilm for that time period. Now I’ve found Hannah’s obituary in the March 17, 1916 Fulton Journal.

Death of Aged Resident
Mrs. Hannah Considine, for Nearly
Sixty Years a Resident of Fulton,
Is dead.

“Mrs. John Considine died at her home in this city Thursday afternoon, March 16, after a lingering illness. Mrs. Considine had been an invalid eight years and was confined to her bed the past two years, during which time she was carefully cared for by her daughters and other members of her family, who mourn the loss of a kind and loving mother who was devoted to her home and family.
Hannah Flanigan was born in County Clare, Ireland in 1835 and came to America with her parents when about eight years of age settling in /Ellicettville, N.Y., where she was united in marriage to John Considine in 1851. The young couple came west a few years later, settling in Fulton, where they made their home and raised their family and were classed among the early residents of this city.
Mr. Considine died in Fulton in 1899. To this union were born ten children, who all lived to maturity but five of whom have now passed to their home beyond. The children are R.P. Considine of this city; William J. who died in 1900; J.J. who died in 1893; Frank M. of Clinton, Iowa; Mary, who married James Martin and died in Chicago in 1893; Edward H., who died in 1901; Daniel of Savanna, Dennis of this city; Julia, who married Edward Lee and resides in Fulton; S.A. who died in 1908 and Margaret, who has been a faithful daughter to her mother at home during her long illness.
Requiem high mass will be held to the Catholic church in this city Monday morning followed by the funeral services conducted by Rev. J.J. Clancy with burial in the Catholic cemetery.
A large number of relatives and friends from away are expected to be here to attend the funeral and the pall-bearers will be selected from her grandsons.”

The first census done for Fulton was in 1860 and listed are John Considine, 28, born in Ireland, Hannah Considine, 25, born in Ireland, and children Pat 7, Wm. J. 5, and John 3, all born in Canada and Michael F. 9 months born in Illinois. That would put the Considines in Fulton sometime after John’s birth in 1857 and before Michael’s birth in 1859. Now how do we come up with a date for the Considine cottage that still sits on the river bank in Fulton? Did they build it or move into it? If only we could ask.

I wrote recently about Hannah Considine and speculated about her family’s arrival date in Fulton. Also, the 1860 census listed their oldest child as “Pat” and I had a difficult time locating him later. The 1880 census listed the following Considines: John, 60, Hannah, 44, Patrick 27, Frank 20, Mary 18, Edward 16, Daniel,13, Dennis 11, Julia 10, Augustus, 6, Margaret, 4 and John 6 months. The Pat problem has been solved with a new lead, a book listing death dates, causes of death, places of birth of the deceased and places of birth of the parents of the deceased. The oldest Considine child, “Pat” was Robert Patrick and his obituary says the family came to Fulton in 1857. His mother is listed as “Hanna Flannigan.” The undertaker was Doran.

Fulton Journal: February 23, 1934:


Funeral services for the late Dan Considine were held Thursday morning in Savanna, with burial in Riverside cemetery in Prophetstown, Ill.
Daniel Considine was born in Fulton, Ill., August 3, 1867, the son of John and Hanna Flannigan Considine. His death occurred Tuesday morning at 1:15 o’clock after an illness of several weeks duration. He had one foot amputated recently and his death was attributed to gangrene.
He spent his early life in Fulton, but before going to Savanna to reside, he made his home in Prophetstown for several years. He lived in Savanna for nearly thirty years.
He is survived by his wife, Myrtle Clifton Considine, two sisters, Miss Margaret Considine of Chicago, and Mrs. Julia Lee of Fulton, and several nieces and nephews. The following brothers and sister preceded him in death: Robert; William, John, Frank, Edward, Dennis, Gustav, and Mrs. Mary Martin.

Fulton Journal: April 17, 1936


The many friends of Mrs. Julia Lee, were grieved to learn of her death, which occurred Wednesday morning at 6:20 o’clock in her home on North Fourth street. She had been ill about three weeks suffering from pneumonia and complications. Her condition had been critical, but she seemed to rally and her sons who had been called here because of her condition, returned to their homes a week ago.
Funeral services will be held in the Immaculate Conception church at 9:30 o’clock Saturday morning, the Rev. J. Egan singing the Mass. The remains are reposing in the home of her sister-in-law-, Mrs. Kate Considine, until the funeral hour.
Julia Considine was born June 22, 1870 in Fulton, in the stone house on North Fourth street which has been the Considine homestead for many years. It was there that she passed away.
She attended the Fulton schools and in 1889 was graduated from the Fulton high school. She was a member of the Altar and Rosary society of the Immaculate Conception church.
On May 28, 1891, she was married to E.J. Lee, the ceremony taking place in this city. To this union five children were born, all of whom survive. They are Mrs. Gardner Lawrence (Hannah) of Ustick, John of Pittsburgh, Pa., the twins Ed and Will, of Hollywood, and Joe, also of Hollywood. Others who mourn her death are her husband of Perth, Ontario, Canada, one sister, Miss Margaret Considine of Chicago, who has been with her sister during her last illness, and six grandchildren, Hannah, Bill, Jack, and Dick Lawrence of Ustick, Jack Lee and Patricia Lee of Hollywood, Calif.
Mrs. Lee was one of eleven children, all of whom, with the exception of Miss Margaret Considine, have preceded her in death.

Fulton Journal: January 22, 1922.

Death of Pioneer Citizen
Robert P. Considine, Old Resident of Fulton, Died Sunday Morning.

“Robert Patrick Considine, who for over sixty-five years had been a respected and continuous resident of Fulton, died unexpectedly Sunday morning, January 22, after several days’ illness of pneumonia at his home on Fourth street.
Mr. Considine was born in New London, Canada, August 20, 1852, and was the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. John Considine, who with their children located in Fulton in 1857. Prior to the dismantling of the Culbertson, Smith & Co.’s saw mill in the north part of the town, he was employed by that company. When the mill ceased to operate he found employment with Gardner, Bachelder & Welles Lumber company’s mill in Lyons and became head sawyer. He remained until the company ceased to operate the mill, about twenty years ago. Mr. Considine then secured employment with the Clinton Lock company, and later was promoted to superintendent and remained with the company until the time of his death.
About forty-five years ago he was married to Miss Mary Maher, who died a year later. Mr. Considine’s second marriage was to Miss Catherine Cleary.
For a period of fifty years he worked in Lyons and during that time, when the Mississippi river was navigable, crossed the river twice each working day, rowing a skiff. Without exaggeration, it can be said that Mr. Considine made more trips in a skiff across the Mississippi river between Fulton and Lyons than any other man in Fulton, Lyons or Clinton.
When less than eighteen years old he became a charter member of the Roman Catholic Temperance and Benevolent society , which was organized in Fulton August 14, 1870, and remained a member until it dissolved twenty years later. During all these years Mr. Considine remained true to his pledge of total abstinence. He was a man of exemplary habits, true to his friends at all times and proved to be a worthy and reliable citizen holding the respect and esteem of all who knew him.
He is survived by his wife, two sons, Robert P., Jr. and William J: one daughter, Margaret F., wife of Archie D. Cowan: three brothers, Frank of Clinton, Daniel of Savanna and Dennis of Fulton, and two sisters, Mrs. Julia Lee and Miss Margaret Considine of Chicago.
The funeral will be held Wednesday morning at ten o’clock with a requiem high mass conducted by Rev. J.J. Clancy with burial in the Catholic cemetery.”

Fulton Journal: Sept. 5, 1941


Mrs. Katherine Considine, age eighty-three years, passed away suddenly at her home on North Fourth street at 4:15 o’clock on Monday afternoon. She had been in failing health for several years, but her death at this time was unexpected and came as a shock to her family. A heart attack about three o’clock the same afternoon was the cause of her death an hour later. Throughout her illness she was cared for by her daughter, Mrs. A.D. Cowan.
Funeral services were held at nine o’clock Thursday morning in Immaculate Conception church, with the Rev. J.T. Egan singing the requiem high mass. Many relatives and friends attended the last rites to pay their last respects to one whom they held in high esteem.
Pallbearers were Walter Field, Gardner Lawrence, James Jones, and Frank Daley of Fulton, Edward Dolan of Albany, and Daniel Martin of Chicago.
Interment was in Calvary Hill cemetery in the family lot.
Katherine Cleary was born in Sterling, Ill., July 17, 1858, the daughter of John and Bridget Fahey Cleary. On December 27, 1892, she was married to Robert P. Considine of this city, the ceremony taking place in Clinton, Ia. They immediately located in Fulton and this city has been the family home ever since.
To this union four children were born, Mary, who died in infancy; Margaret, now the wife of A.D. Cowan; Robert P. Considine and William C. Considine, all of Fulton.
Others who survive are four grandchildren, Patricia, Robert, Mary Katherine, and William C. Considine, Jr., and two sisters, Miss Mary Cleary of Clinton, Ia., and Mrs. Margaret Irwin of Milwaukee, Wis.
Mr. Considine passed away in January, 1921, and she was also preceded in death by her parents, five sisters and one brother.
Mrs. Considine was a devout member of the Immaculate Conception church, attending the services as long as her health permitted. She lived her life in keeping with the teachings of her church and lived an exemplary life. She had many friends for, to know her was to love her, and she will be truly missed. Her children and grandchildren were devoted to her and while they know she had been spared to them much longer than the allotted three score and ten years, it does not assuage their grief.
“Life’s work well done,
Earth’s course well run,
Heaven’s crown well won,
Now comes rest.”

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Early History of Fulton Schools

Fulton Journal, November 28, 1905:

From the time John Baker settled in Fulton in 1836, little effort was made to secure educational advantages until 1840, when James McCoy, then a young lawyer, who located here a year previous, opened a select school. From that time until 1847 independent schools were taught at different intervals.
In 1847, School District No. 1, now 111, was organized and through the efforts of James McCoy the first school house was built. The building was a one story structure, about thirty feet square and located on Base street, the present site of the city hall. When completed, it was considered the finest school house in Whiteside county. When the Galena and Chicago Union railroad, now the Northwestern, was built into Fulton in 1855, the population increased and the stone building was no longer adequate to accommodate the large enrollment of pupils. Finally on April 27, 1857, the school board voted to sell the old school building and to purchase the site where the high school building (Park school) now stands. A special election was held July 11, 1857, when it was voted to bond the district for not less than $8,000 to build a new school house. Forty-two votes were cast, and only one was against the project.
The bids awarded were A Fellows & Company for painting, $130; H. Fuller, carpenter work, $3, 240; William Price, masonry, $4,850. The total cost of building when completed was $14,643.45. The present high school building was not completed until the spring of 1858. The first superintendent was G.G. Alvord, who taught from 1857 to 1858, a term of six months at a salary of $350 for the term.
The superintendents who have served to the present time are: G.G. Alvord, S.M. Dickey, W.E. Bradley, Mrs. M.T. Scott, Ivan T. Ruth, George G. Manning, J. Thorp, J.R. Parker, George C. Loomis, R.V. DeGroff, J.E. Bittinger, A. Ebersole, W.A. Pratt, M.A. Kline, J.D. Rishell, and Lewis Eigel is the present superintendent.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Fulton's Black History: Mitchell Family

Fulton’s Black History: Mitchell Family

The 1860 census is one of the first records we have of the people living in Fulton, their ages, occupations, and offspring.
That first census lists Harvey Mitchell, age 28, born in Indiana, a barber and a mulatto. His wife, Beljamey was 27, born in Virginia and a mulatto. Twenty years later, the 1880 census lists Harvey Mitchell, 48, his wife, Jane, 46, and six children: Henriett, 18, Robert, 16, Jessie, 15, Nellie, 9, Harvey, 4, and Albert 2. All of the children were born in Illinois.

Fulton Journal March 22, 1910:
Mrs. Harvey Mitchell is Dead
Aged Colored Woman, Over Fifty Years a Resident of Fulton, Died Friday Evening

Mrs. Jane Strather Mitchell, who had been a resident of Fulton for over fifty years, died Friday evening, March 18, at her home in the north part of town, death having resulted from stomach troubles coupled with the infirmities of age.
Mrs. Mitchell was born in Kentucky, August, 1833, where she was bound in servitude until she was twenty-one years old. When she completed her term in servitude she left her southern home and came to Clinton, Iowa, where soon afterwards she was married to Harvey Mitchell. Since their marriage, they have made their home in Fulton.
Those who survive her are her aged husband, two daughters, Mrs. Tena Young of Fayette, Iowa; and Mrs. Nettie Epps of Los Angeles, California, and three sons, Jesse of Fulton, Harvey of Sioux Falls, S.Dak., and Albert of Peoria, all of whom were present at the funeral with the exception of Mrs. Epps.
The funeral services were held at the house Monday afternoon at two o’clock, conducted by Rev. Taylor of the African Methodist church, Clinton, with interment in the Fulton cemetery.

Fulton Journal: January 19, 1915

Death of Jesse M. Mitchell

Well-Known Fulton Barber Died Saturday Evening in Clinton
Jesse M. Mitchell, a life-long resident of Fulton, died Saturday, January 16, at the home of his wife’s parents in Clinton. He had been in failing health for several months, death resulting from Bright’s disease. About ten weeks ago, on the advice of his physician, he went to Agatha hospital in Clinton for treatment. He remained there about five weeks and then was taken to the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Henderson. The treatment did not benefit him, and after leaving the hospital he failed rapidly until the end.
Mr. Mitchell was born in Fulton about fifty years ago. Early in life he learned the barber’s trade with his father, Harvey Mitchell, one of the oldest residents of the city. When, several years ago, his father retired, Jesse purchased the shop and had since conducted it.
He leaves his wife, four sons, his aged father and two brothers.
The funeral will be held Wednesday afternoon at two o’clock with services conducted by Rev. Slater of the A.M.E. church, Clinton, and the burial will be in the Springdale cemetery.

Fulton Journal: September 6, 1918:

Harvey Mitchell, for over sixty years a continuous resident of Fulton and who since the death of his wife a few years ago had been living with his daughter in the north part of town, Wednesday left for Chicago to make his future home with his son, Harvey, Jr. For over fifty years Mr. Mitchell conducted a barber shop in this city. Of the names of the men that appeared in the city directory for Fulton for the years 1857 and 1858, Mr. Mitchell is the last survivor to move away.

Fulton Journal: July 8, 1924

Death of Former Fulton Resident

Harvey Mitchell, a former Fulton resident, passed away in Chicago Friday, July 4, at the age of one hundred one years, five months and six days. Mr. Mitchell is well known in this city, having conducted a barber shop in the building now occupied by J.C. Ernest, for many years. Mr. Mitchell came to Fulton in 1855. He is survived by several sons and daughters. The body was brought to Fulton Monday morning and burial was made in the Fulton cemetery beside his wife and several children. His sons, Harvey, Jr. of Sioux Falls, S. Dakota, and Albert, of Chicago accompanied the body of their father to Fulton.

Underground Railroad

Fulton Journal, Friday, May 25, 1917

Under Ground Railroad
Famous Method of Assisting Slaves to Canada Through This Section.

Hazelhurst, Ill., May 18, 1917
J.M. Eaton, Fulton, Ill.:

Dear Sir and Friend:--Your letter gave me much pleasure. We are not writing concerning a generation of our race that have passed away who were in any way superior to the average men and women that are now living. We can not tell whether we are making progress toward a higher moral and mental plane only by comparison with past conditions.
”The thoughts we are thinking our fathers did think;
From the stream we are drinking our fathers did drink;
We view the same scenes and see the same sun;
We run the same race that our fathers did run.”

You request me to state something concerning the Under Ground railroad, its plan of operation, etc.
Some twenty-five years ago I wrote for the Mt. Carroll Democrat a statement of the manner in which the abolitionists aided fugitive slaves to escape to Canada. I may have forgotten some names of agents, but the method of running the road is as fresh in memory as though it was but yesterday. Yesterday the news reached me from Iowa that one of the conductors on the Fulton and Byron section of the road, or, rather, from Eagle Point to Byron had passed over the “silent river.” His name was Frank G. Yeoman. This leaves but Charles B. Noble of Polo and myself that are living who dared to violate the fugitive slave law (as far as I know) in this part of Illinois.
The U.G.R.R. had no organization and was not bound together by oaths, bonds or written agreements. It kept no records other than what could be stored away in memory. No court could convict a “nigger’ thief of being associated with others in running slaves to Canada. And there were no fixed stations or even fixed routes of travel, and no general manager or treasurer, no time-table or compensation to conductors.
But you will understand its workings better if I describe my personal knowledge of scenes and events. Some of the parties named will be known to you, I think.
In 1855-6 I lived in Fulton, Ill. I arrived from England in 1849, and the first lessons in life in a free land were learned from “black abolitionists” and from Harriet Beecher Stowe. In Fulton I lived in the family of Frank Dodge, the village blacksmith, and worked for one season for Todd & Dement in their sawmill at the mouth of the cattail creck. The description of the escape of Eliza and George from Kentucky, the aid rendered them by the Friends (Quakers), who passed them along from place to place, always toward Canada, was fresh in my mind, and I was ready for business in that time if a chance offered. It came when I least expected it.
Frank was big-hearted, had been a hard drinker, was an ardent follower of John B. Gough, the great English temperance advocate. In later years and when he learned that the fugitive slave law forbade his giving aid or comfort to a slave fleeing from his master he became a radical abolitionist.
It was not uncommon to see notices posted up offering fifty or a hundred dollar reward for the arrest of run-away slaves. Deck-hands would escape on dark nights from steamboats, and many of the boats were owned by men who owned many of the boats’ crews.
My First Work on the Under Ground Railroad

It was dark, when Frank came into the house, and threatened rain. “Hank,” said he, “You know where Mr. Fairchild lives south of town?” “Yes.” “Well, I want you to make yourself useful. Go down to the river west of Fairchild’s house. There in the tall weeds and willows you will find two slave boys. Whistle softly and they will know you are a friend. They were brought over from the Iowa side this evening. Take them along the river bank to the willows where our fishing boat is tied in the creek above the old dam.
“Old ‘Pinkeye” Wright is watching for them, so you must work sly or you may get Franklin Pierce and his pack of two-legged blood hounds after you.
“Cross the creek and guide the slaves to the ‘Bluff road,’ and stay with them until a team and wagon comes along and picks up the black boys, then come home and tie the boat where you found it.”
“Pinkeye” Wright kept a tavern and was surrounded by a gang of patrons who were watching to catch fugitives. Mrs. Dodge put some bread and butter in a package for the slaves and all things worked o.k.
It was about midnight when the wagon arrived and nearly morning when the writer got to bed.
Why go to all that work to aid the “niggers”? will be asked
Whenever notices of runaway “niggers...
(Here four paragraphs of the Journal are missing.)
Sol Shaver was a counterpart of our John Brown, both in looks and acts. He was rash and we feared trouble, but the fortune favored us and the line through Whiteside, Carroll and Ogle counties was never broken by United States officials.
The writer took two of General Harneys slaves from Eagle Point to Byron when there was a $2,000 reward offered for them and men from Dixon, Oregon, Polo and Elkhorn Grove were watching every avenue they knew of, but followed the wrong clew.
Sol Shaver kept a free negro that he brought from Delhi, N.Y., and he borrowed another free negro that lived with Samuel Waterbury near Polo. In a double-seated carriage he placed the two “darkies” and after dusk he drove like Jehu through Old Town, stopping in Oregon a few minutes so that the loungers at the Schryver House could see them, then on the run toward the east. Couriers on horseback scattered the news that “Uncle Sol” had the “niggers” with him. It was a cheap lot of hounds that overtook “Uncle Sol.” In the meantime the black boys were goin east from Byron under the care of Jared Sanford.
It would take much time and space to record the many numerous events in Under Ground railroad work.”
Mr. Shaver carried a flag in his whip pocket at public gatherings. It was composed entirely of white stars on a blue field.
“Hey! old man.” The crowd would yell, “where are the stripes?”
“You idiotic ass,” Uncle Sol would reply, “the stripes are on the slave’s back.”
We call up in memory many of those grand old pioneers who settled upon the prairies when there was not a fence or furrow in sight. They gazed upon old Elkhorn Grove when it stood in all its native glory.—just as it had come from the hand of God. I recall to mind those pioneer men and women who braved public opinion by denouncing laws that held any portion of the human race in bondage.
It is a source of joy to me to know that I have lived to see the Stars and Stripes float over a free people. No longer are the children of a deceased planter, ranging in color from black to white and from mulatto to octoroon, sold on the auction block regardless of the tears of the slave mothers.
We, you and I, are nearing the sunset shore and soon others will fill our places, and we hope that our race will grow wiser and better by avoiding the errors we have made. I shall be eighty years old July 9. I am suffering nearly all the time from the wound in my right thigh caused by a musket ball November 3, 1863.
I hope to live to see the day when monarchial government is wiped from the earth. In the meantime:
I long to hold communion with all that is divine.
To feel there is a union ‘twixt Nature’s heart and mine,
To profit by affliction, reap truths from fields of fiction,
Grow wiser from conviction and fulfill each grand design.

Write when you feel like it. Yours very truly.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Some of Fulton's Irish Roots

Irish Roots

The Fulton Journals of 1905 record the Irish birthplaces of three interesting Fultonians. The obituaries of these people with Irish roots shed light on the personalities that made up this small town.
Michael Hargan: “Michael Hargan, who had been a resident of this county for forty-one years, died at his home in Fulton, Sunday evening, February 5, 1905, aged eighty years, two months and twenty-four days. The deceased was born in Killarney, county Kerry, Ireland, November 11, 1824. There he grew to manhood and February 10, 1859, was married to Miss Mary Curren. They resided in their native country until 1864, when they came to the United States and located in Fulton. Three weeks ago Mr. Hargan sustained a stroke of paralysis and owing to his advanced age he gradually grew weaker until the end came. All of his children were with him when he breathed his last. Mr. Hargan was a man of many excellent traits of character. He was devoted to his home and family.”

Margaret M’Gowan: Mrs. Margaret Riordon McGowan was born in the county Mayo, Ireland, December 25, 1823, and when eighteen years of age came to this country. In 1851 she was married to James McGowan at Saukville, Wis. Three years after their marriage they located in Albany and have been residents of this county the greater part of the time since. She is survived by five sons, Daniel, James, John, Thomas and Patrick and one daughter, Mrs. Nellie Crawford. The deceased is also survived by twenty-one grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren. Services were a high mass at the Catholic church with interment in the Catholic cemetery north of town.

Rosa McAvoy McMahon: Mrs. McMahon passed away February 20, 1905, aged 76 years and 18 days. The cause of her death was pleuro-pneumonia from which she had suffered for the past two weeks. She had been born in Belfast, county Monahan, Ireland, February 2, 1829. When but 14 years of age she came with her parents to Prince Edward’s Island, where in 1851 she was married to Francis McMahon. After their marriage they remained in Prince Edward’s until 1869 when they came west and located in Fulton, where Mr. McMahon died April 12, 1894. She is survived by daughters, Ellen, Anna, Kate, and Irena, and three sons, C.C., Francis and John.

Commonalities: The three were born in the 1820’s in Ireland. They all died in February 1905 in Fulton and are buried in Fulton’s Catholic Cemetery. They were Roman Catholic with several descendants.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Concealment shoes at Fay home

Subject: Concealment Shoes

A major house remodeling has been taking place in Fulton, Illinois, in the 500 block of 15th Avenue. Interesting items have been found in the ceiling and walls including concealment shoes, stockings, letters, and more. Evan Davis of Fulton identified the four black shoes as “concealment shoes” and GOOGLE illuminated the find.

The house dates prior to 1855 when it was owned by Dr. Daniel Reed. He and his wife Cinda were major landowners in Fulton’s early history. They sold the house to Bradstreet Robinson in 1855. Robinson sold it to J.M. Fay. The Fay family owned it until 1939 when Frank Boonstra bought it.
Four single shoes were placed in the ceiling, probably during an early remodeling project rather than at the original construction time. Two shoes belonged to children and two to adult females. No buttons or ties remain. The practice of concealing shoes in a building is an old Western European tradition. The rite is thought to come from the prehistoric custom of killing a person and putting the body in the foundation of a building to make sure it holds together. Concealment shoes became a substitute for bodies.

Why shoes? Shoes take on the shape of the wearer’s foot, so it has been thought that the owner’s spirit remained in the shoe. June Swann, former curator of the Boot and Shoe Collection in England, writes, “It is the only garment we wear that retains the shape, the personality, the essence of the wearer. The shoes have been used as a talisman to ward off evil spirits. People put them in houses to prevent evil spirits from entering.”

Abeltje Nauta Kolk Akker


In the town of Hornhuizen, the municipality of Kloosterburen on December 2, 1832, at 1 a.m. a daughter was born to Jakob Pieters Nauwta, age 27 and Margarita (Grietje) Tjaarts Bottema. Her name was Abelje. Her parents were dayworkers.

Abbie had two sisters. Remke “Annie” was born on April 6, 1837, in the Netherlands. She immigrated in 1864 and in 1865 married Peter Van Dyke(died 1906) who had been born in the Netherlands in 1828. Annie died in 1916 and is buried in the Fulton cemetery. The other sister, Jantje Jakobs (Jennie), was born Nov. 13, 1844. She married Dennis Feldt (Tonnis Veld) January 14, 1865, and is buried in the Fulton cemetery.

Abbie had a brother, George, born December 1, 1839, in the Netherlands. He moved to the US when he was 16 years old and was a captain of sailing vessels and steamboats on the Great Lakes. His obituary in 1923 said he had four brothers and one sister.

Abbie left the Netherlands in 1856 at the age of 24. She was identified as a servant girl. There are no other Nautas listed as traveling in that year. Who were the traveling companions for this single woman?

Abbie settled first in LaFayette, Indiana, and she was married there on July 8, 1857, at the age of 25 to John Kolk. Her name on the license is spelled Abetze Nota.

The minister officiating was Fredrick Koening, a Lutheran Minister. Abbie’s obituary says that she was married to Jacob Kolk who died in 1861 in Chicago. The first census done for Fulton was in June of 1860 and on that are listed:
John Kolk, age 40, daylaborer
Awell age 28
Margaret 9 months, born in Illinois
Child # 2: The obituary for John Kolk, son of Abbie and John, said that he was born November 22, 1860 in Fulton.

We think we know the following about Abbie’s first husband, John Kolk. Jan Jochums was born on December 5, 1817, to Jan Jochums Kolk, age 34, and Anje Berends. He had a brother born on September 25, 1822, Jacob Colk, who was born to Jan Jochums Colk, age 39 and Anje Berends. These births took place in Usquert, Groningen. They had two sisters, Jantje and Grietje. Jantje was born January 17, 1812, who married Harm Gerrits Heethuis in 1836. Grietje Colk was born February 14, 1821 and she married Lubbert Klaassens Werk in 1840.
Jantje 1812
Jan 1817
Grietje 1821
Jacob 1822
The last two dates cannot be correct because there is less than 9 months between the two births.

John Kolk’s immigration is thought to have occurred on April 30, 1852, when he and his brother traveled on the Victoria from Rotterdam to New York.

Husband # 1, John Kolk died in 1861 in Chicago. Rumors: He was found floating in the Chicago River. He was very good looking. He was a heavy drinker.

At age 30, Abbie was a widow, living in Chicago, with a one year old son and pregnant. Abbie gave birth to a second son, George Kolk, in Chicago on June 22, 1862. She was 30 years old. There is no record of Margaret, so the assumption is that she died.

In 1863, Abbie married John Akker (age 28) in Chicago. John Akker was born in Den Andel, Groningen on November 20, 1835. They moved to Fulton and lived their lives there. Children born to them were Ellen (Alice) in 1864, Margaret in 1866, Kate in 1868, Josie in 1871, and Seba J. in 1873. Abbie was 41 when Seba was born. John Akker died October 31,1892, at the age of 57.

In 1898, Abbie bought thirteen acres of timber in the northeast part of Fulton for $1400. “ December 6, 1898, George DeBey sold his residence in Fulton to Mrs. John Akker . The consideration was $2,000 cash.”

A directory of Fulton inhabitants in 1905 lists Abbie Akker living on Genesee and Bluff Streets. Also living at the same address were George Kolk (born in Chicago in 1862) and Alice Kolk (nee Boot).

On Saturday morning, Christmas Day 1915 at the age of 83, Abbie died in her home (Genesee and Bluff or 417 15th Avenue). Abbie was at the Christmas dinner table sitting next to 13 year old granddaughter, Sylvia, when she collapsed and died.

Living in that home in Fulton have been five generations of Kolks:
Kevin, Dan, Mike

Fulton Journal: December 11, 1914: Joseph Nauta of Holland, Mich. who represents a large Chicago publishing house was in Fulton a couple of days this week and visited at the homes of his cousins George and John Kolk.

Fulton Journal: December 11, 1914: Mrs. Abeltje Akker, who makes her home with George Kolk, was eighty-two years old last Sunday, and she is in good health and fairly active. Mrs. Akker is one of the oldest residents of our city, having located here over fifty-five years ago. A nice family dinner was given in honor of her birthday.

Fulton Journal: September 14, 1915: Mrs. A. Akker, an old and respected resident of Fulton, is confined to her home by a serious illness.