Looking Into The Past – 2018

75 Years Ago – March 18, 1943
A surprise blackout was planned for an evening during the week of March 19-25. Beardstown residents were to turn off all lights upon hearing a single long blast of the city fire siren. This was planned to determine the effectiveness of the local Civil Defense organization.

90 Years Ago – March 21, 1928
“ASHLAND, ILL., (By U. P.) – Herman Osterholt, former carriage maker and at one-time driver of the stage coach between Beardstown and Chandlerville was buried here today. He often had as passengers Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas.”
The St. Louis Star and Times – p. 2
Note: Mr. Osterholt’s death certificate states that he was born in Germany on May 28, 1844, making him 17 years of age when Abraham Lincoln left Springfield in 1861.

100 Years Ago – March 19, 1918
A new 40 x 112, six and one half story fireproof building was turned over to the Schultz, Baujan Company by the contractor. The structure replaced a mill that was destroyed by fire in 1917. It would take several months to install the machinery.

150 Years Ago – March 19, 1868
“Another heavy storm visited us on Sunday night bringing the river still higher. The difference in the weather on the 18th of March of 1867, and that of 1868, is considerable. As given to us by Dr. Hoffman, who made a memorandum of the two occasions. He says that on the 18th of March 1867 the mercury stood at two degrees above zero, while that of March 1868 was eighty-two degrees above zero. –  – Two of the mills on the bay have commenced grinding logs again. Now is the time to get lumber, if you can get it through the mud.”
Beardstown Central Illinoian – p. 3.

75 Years Ago
With the repeal of Prohibition, the sale of beer in Beardstown became legal again on April 7, 1933. Mayor Floyd M. Condit received the inaugural case of beer delivered to the city, courtesy of local Anheuser-Busch distributor, Emil Rink. The first truckload of beer arrived early enough to be delivered before breakfast. The first deliveries sold out quickly. Many residents listened to radio broadcasts of “New Beer’s Eve” celebrations, covering the midnight excitement as breweries began shipping the beverage after the 13 year ban ended.

105 Years Ago – April 2, 1913
Earl Boyd was crushed to death in an accident at the C. B. & Q. railroad yards. R. H. Garm and R. B. Glenn purchased new Moline automobiles.

120 Years Ago – April 2, 1898
“The Belle of Ottawa made a round trip to Frederick yesterday, bringing some horses on the return trip. – Hagener Bros. are unloading a barge load of corn at the foot of Clay Street which arrived from Frederick Thursday. – While at work yesterday Fred Schlueter, the carpenter, fell from a ladder which was standing upon an insecure foundation injuring one knee quite severely. Dr. Knodle was called and gives a favorable report as to his condition.”
Tri-Weekly Beardstown Enterprise- p. 1.

50 Years Ago – April 16, 1968
Greg Wessel was awarded a scholarship given by the Illinois State Journal newspaper.

65 Years Ago – April 10, 1953
G. A. Berchekas, who organized the Beardstown High School Band, in 1927, attended the band’s annual spring concert. He was head of the department of instrumental music at Rock Island High School at the time. “Ber,” as he was known, directed a couple of numbers. Former band students and friends held a reception for the Berchekas family in the Home Ec room.

70 Years Ago – April 16, 1948
A 350 pound safe containing $200 and other valuable items was stolen from the Lucille Pettet Cafe, 610 East Fourth Street.

80 Years Ago – April 15, 1938
John Broeker, a Beardstown druggist, was born on April 17, 1870, an Easter Sunday. As his birthday had fallen on Easter two times since then, he was preparing to celebrate his “fourth birthday” in 1938.

100 Years Ago – April 21, 1918
“One of the oldest engineers on the Burlington running on the Beardstown division, James Besmesar, dropped dead while oiling his engine at Greenfield, Ill., Friday night. He had taken No. 51 out of St. Louis at 8:10 that evening, on the run to Beardstown. He had suffered a stroke before and this time it proved fatal. His home was at Beardstown.”
The Davenport Democrat and Leader, p. 9.
Note: While trying to find more information about the gentleman referred to in this story, I found that his name is likely James E. DeSollar, instead of James Besmesar.

125 Years Ago – April 18, 1893
“The old warehouse in the rear of the store room corner of Main and Jefferson streets was torn down yesterday. It was one of the oldest buildings in the city, being about sixty years old. It formerly stood upon the site occupied by the Kuhl Bros. and in 1861 was moved to its last location.”
Beardstown Semi-Weekly Illinoian – p.1.

61 Years Ago

April 29, 1957 – Internet Archive

A full size image of the above photograph, of C B & Q steam locomotive No. 4978 at the Beardstown’s Schultz Baujan Mill, can be seen at the Internet Archive website. In 1965, 4978 was donated to the LaSalle County Historical Society. It is on display at the Union Depot Railroad Museum, in Mendota, IL.

April 7, 2018

60 Years Ago – April 22, 1958
The Beardstown Broadcasting Company petitioned the F. C. C. for permission to build a new radio station.

65 Years Ago – April 22, 1953
Glenn Tillitt is elected mayor of Beardstown.

70 Years Ago – April 28, 1948
A crime wave struck Cass County the weekend of April 24-25, 1948. $2,700 was stolen from a safe in the offices of Zeller Trucking lines in Ashland. In Beardstown, the Tribbey Motor Co., Stucke Service Station, and Perry Garage were ransacked and robbed.

80 Years Ago – April 26, 1938
Two year-old Byrl Robbins was killed when his toy car was struck by an automobile.

125 Years Ago – April 27, 1893
While working near Bluff Springs, John Miller discovered the enormous teeth and bones of what was believed to be a large mastodon.
April 27, 1893

70 Years Ago – May 3, 1948
Henry Greve, President of the First State Bank, died at his home. He was born on January 11, 1872, in Beardstown.

80 Years Ago – May 3, 1938
The Park Hotel was the site of the first meeting of the recently organized Beardstown Lions Club.

100 Years Ago – May 7, 1918
Four Beardstown Boy Scouts earned the war emblem as a result of their efforts selling Liberty Bonds. They were Virgil Dowdall, Harlan Hagener, John Swan and Lawrence Lawler. A boy had to sell at least ten bonds to earn the award.

125 Years Ago – May 5, 1893
“The work of removing the old buildings of the Fourth street Lutheran church commenced this week. The old original building is being torn down, while the later addition will be removed on adjoining ground, and will be used as a place of worship during the erection of the new building, and after that will be used for miscellaneous purposes. The foundation for the new building will be put in as rapidly as possible while the plans and specifications are being completed for the superstructure, which will be let by contract.”
Semi-Weekly Illinoian – p. 1

130 Years Ago – May 1, 1888
“Last Friday night George S. Kuhl, at the Bee Hive, gave a grand opening of new spring goods. Every person who attended received a handsome souvenir. The Cadet Band enlivened the occasion by furnishing excellent music.”
Semi-Weekly Illinoian – p. 1

50 Years Ago – May 8, 1968
The Jaycees’ Broom Sale was continuing. Over 200 brooms had been sold, according to Dale Vancil, project chairman.

95 Years Ago – May 15, 1923
State Street’s Pappmeier and Sons jewelry store was purchased by John and James Dryden, bringing an end to a Beardstown firm that was born in 1856 at 4th & Monroe Streets.

130 Years Ago – May 11, 1888
“N. Parsons departed yesterday on his favorite saddle horse, Pompey for a visit to the Soldier’s Home, at Quincy. He is nearly an octogenarian and yet is as full of vitality and vigor as many men of half of his age.”
Beardstown Semi-Weekly Illinoian – p. 1

145 Years Ago – May 8, 1873
“WOLF SCALPS – On the 9th of April Mr. Howell, living in the eastern part of the county brought in seven wolf scalps. On the 30th of April Mr. Barr brought in two. On the 3rd of May Mr. Turner brought in three, and on last Monday Oetgen brought in seven. This shows the wolf crop to be pretty good in this county especially since that during the year 1872 a tax of one dollar was levied on each dog in the county. These parties each received a warrant for five dollars for each scalp, had they caught them while the dog tax was in force they would have received twenty dollars for each scalp.”
Central Illinoian – p. 3

70 Years Ago – May 24, 1948
Bridge tenders on the old wagon bridge received a static shock every time a customer paid a toll. Art Zeeck, City Electrician, determined that cars crossing the asphalt bridge deck built up a charge of static electricity. A “grounder,” which he devised from a long-pronged rake, solved the problem.

90 Years Ago – May 26, 1928
The ladies of the American Legion Auxillary had no trouble selling Memorial Poppies in the Beardstown business district. The sale, chaired by Mrs. E. Miller Dunn, benefitted disabled veterans. The supply of 1,000 poppies was sold out before 11 a. m. An emergency order was placed and an additional 400 poppies were purchased in the afternoon.

110 Years Ago – May 29, 1908
“While digging sand in the streets of Beardstown to be used in strengthening the levees, workmen uncovered twenty-five skeletons. The presence of the skeletons cannot at this time be explained, but it is supposed the place was once an Indian burial ground. The gruesome discovery created excitement for awhile.”
The Daily Herald(Chicago, IL)

120 Years Ago
The fifth annual Beardstown High School Alumni Banquet took place at the Park House. The address of welcome was given by Miss Emma Yeck.
May 30, 1898

145 Years Ago – May 29, 1873
“ICE CREAM – On Monday next, Mr. Ratcliff will open out in his new rooms on Second Street with ice cream, which will be served in the neatest style, and on all occasions. He has a nice place for business. The eating department has been moved to the old building, which leaves the new one for ice cream exclusively.”

“Capt. Ebaugh brought his new boat up last week, called the ‘Maggie P.’ He is now plowing the placid waters of the Illinois, ready to do any amount of service for anyone that should be so fortunate as to be a large shipper. Already freights have commenced to tumble.”

“GRAND EXCURSION – To-morrow is decoration day of soldiers’ graves, and for the accommodation of our citizens an excursion train will leave here at seven o’clock for Springfield and thence to Camp Butler. Returning, they will leave Springfield at four-thirty, arriving here at seven-fifteen. The fare for the round trip from here is but one dollar and a half, children under twelve years of age one dollar. The profits accruing from this excursion are to be used for the purchase of a library for the Congregational Sunday School of this city.”
Central Illinoian

80 Years Ago – June 8, 1938
B. W. Smith, agricultural instructor at Beardstown High School, was scheduled to accompany a group of students to the University of Illinois for the Illinois Vocational Agriculture Judging Contest. Those competing were: Dwane Pilger and Roger Avery, corn judging team; Melvin Rawlins and Steve Treadway, small grain judging team; and Ernest Carls, Glen King and Glen Wankel, fat stock judging team.


Robley Millard

Wagon bridge receipts for May amounted to $5,267.85.

Robley Millard earned a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science.

105 Years Ago – June 1, 1913
The funeral of Edwin Hulett, who drowned in the Illinois River near Valley City, was held in Beardstown. He died in an unsuccessful attempt to save a  man that had fallen out of the boat they were in. Hulett was an excellent swimmer who had previously rescued people, but was said to have been caught in a “death grip” by the victim in this case.

Since “the season opened,” Cass County residents had purchased fifty automobiles. Two-thirds of those were sold by Beardstown dealers.

120 Years Ago – June 9, 1898
“The Jack Frost, towing one barge loaded with ice, passed down Tuesday at 2:35 a. m.”

“F. A. Krohe returned home yesterday from Chicago, where he had attended the Missouri synod of the Lutheran church as a delegate the last week.”
The Tri-Weekly Beardstown Enterprise – p. 1

115 Years Ago – July 4, 1903
Independence Day festivities in the city of Virginia were marred by the death of Ernest Courtney, a Jacksonville aeronaut. Perhaps Courtney was not familiar with his new balloon, as he did not gain enough altitude and was dragged into the treetops. He tumbled to the ground, one block east of the city square, and died later that evening.

120 Years Ago – June 28, 1898
“George Saunders, who has charge of the river amusements for the Fourth of July, has purchased a boat of Geo. Swan which will be fitted up to represent the battleship Maine and will be blown up with six pounds of dynamite on the evening of the Fourth. It is needless to say this will be an interesting sight as Mr. Saunders will spare no pains to make it take on the appearance of a naval explosion as near as possible.”
Tri-Weekly Beardstown Enterprise – p. 1

128 Years Ago – July 4, 1890
Another balloonist, Samuel Black, lost his life during Beardstown’s 1890 Fourth of July celebration. Black, a Beardstown native living in Quincy, hurtled to his death when his parachute failed to open. “Stalwart men groaned with horror and women shrieked and fainted as he fell.” His mother witnessed the tragedy.

75 Years Ago – August 2, 1943
70 gallons of ice cream, 500 bottles of chocolate milk, and 70 cases of Coca-Cola were among the items consumed at the annual picnic sponsored by the employees of the Schultz Baujan Mill.

85 Years Ago – August 1, 1933
On July 29th, five marriage licenses were issued by Joe Bob Mullen, County Clerk, establishing a one day record for Cass County.

135 Years Ago – August 4, 1883
“Notice to all who have cattle and hogs to feed. A plentiful supply of slop can be had at the distillery for ten cents per barrel.  W. H. McCORMICK”
Illinoian Democrat – p. 1

150 Years Ago – August 6, 1868
“A direct and speedy connection is now offered between this point and Peoria,  in the route of the stage line from here to Virginia, and from there by rail to Peoria. Henry Murray, propietor of the stage line, has secured the advantage of through tickets which can be had by calling of Frank Hammer, at his office. The fare to Peoria is $5.00. “
Central Illinoian – p. 3

65 Years Ago – August 18, 1953
Beardstown’s Little League All-Stars defeated a team made up of their fathers by the score of 11-10. Roy Roberts kept score and Ray Baujan was the announcer.

80 Years Ago – August 12, 1938
The marker and plaque commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s historic speech in Beardstown’s city park was dedicated on the 80th anniversary of the event.

95 Years Ago – August 16, 1923
The four act comedy-drama, “Faith and Mary Ann,” was presented under the auspices of the American Legion. The show was performed under a tent at 6th and Wall Streets.

130 Years Ago – August 21, 1888
“W. C. Lightfoot, of Sangamon Bottom, brought in yesterday a head of a sunflower that measured 16 inches in diameter. That beats the 13 inch one at Virginia. Next.”
Beardstown Semi-Weekly Illinoian – p. 1

60 Years Ago – August 29, 1958
1,068 students registered for classes in the Beardstown school district. School principals were: High School, F. O. Miller; Lincoln School, Leland Schnake; Central School, George Conner; Beard School, Don Barker; Washington School, Mildred Blank; Brick School, Audrey Bins. Work was continuing on the new Washington School.

80 Years Ago – August 31, 1938
Director Robert Taylor’s Beardstown Municipal Band was preparing for their weekly concert on September 1st. The program was to include vocals solos by Miss Vera Lee, tap dancing by Miss Mary Clarice Minks, and xylophone solos by Miss Mary Alyce Maurer, along with several numbers by the band.

105 Years Ago – September 3, 1913
Mr. and Mrs. Puckhaber of Beardstown celebrated their first anniversary by getting remarried. At the time Illinois law required that a person wait one year after a divorce decree was granted before marrying again. Unaware of this, Mr. Puckhaber, who was divorced, and Miss Alma Bergman were married before the required time had passed. The couple was remarried in East St. Louis after being advised by a lawyer that their first marriage was illegal. (Information from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

140 Years Ago – August 29, 1878
“John Minges now has charge of the barber shop in Ratcliff’s building, with an excellent assistant. You don’t have to wait long for ‘next’ now.”
Beardstown Central Illinoian – p. 3

Note: When he died, on November 10, 1935, at the age of 81, John Minges was Beardstown’s oldest barber. He came to Beardstown at the age of 15 after his father was killed in the Civil War. Minges labored 67 years as a barber. For 36 of those years his shop was located in “Park Row,” beneath the Park Hotel.

65 Years Ago – September 16, 1953
Large crowds took advantage of afternoon and moonlight cruises on the steamer Avalon. It had been about 11 years since the citizens of Beardstown had the opportunity to enjoy a riverboat excursion. Hundreds of school children, chaperoned by adults, enjoyed the afternoon trip. Excursionists got an up close view of the early phases of construction of the Dieterich Bridge. The Rhythm Masters furnished music for dancing on both trips.

85 Years Ago – September 11, 1933
Elva J. Saunders, popular Beardstown teacher, passed away at the age of 83. Miss Saunders began teaching in 1879 and retired in 1931.

151 Years Ago – September 12, 1867
“The Beardstown Illinoian says: ‘The alligator belonging to Van Amburgh‘s menagerie, made his escape from his cage on Saturday night, after the show was over. He made tracks immediately for the bay, and commenced a series of manoeuvers which soon gave his whereabouts. Sunday morning, the showmen, assisted by some others, by the aid of a net, captured, to his apparent discomfiture, the joyful animal.'”
Quad-City Times (Davenport, IA) – p. 2

85 Years Ago – September 30, 1933
September ended with summer-like temperatures, as the 2 o’clock reading on the wagon bridge was 92 degrees.

Carl Harre owned a bicycle “built for five,” which he and friends rode in several Beardstown parades. After owning the bicycle for about twenty years, he sold it to a Chicago firm. It later became part of an exhibit at the “A Century of Progress” world’s fair in that city.

95 Years Ago – September 29, 1923
Virginia – Jule Darland appeared voluntarily before Police Magistrate S. W. Bailey and pleaded guilty to assaulting Mayor G. A. Aldredge. He was dismissed after Judge Bailey fined him $7.50 for knocking out three of the mayor’s teeth.

120 Years Ago – September 29, 1898
“L. C. Davis and Ed Kiehl were out fishing Tuesday and caught eleven hundred pounds of fish. This may sound fishy, but it is nevertheless true.”
Tri-Weekly Beardstown Enterprise – p. 1

100 Years Ago – October 16, 1918

Beardstown’s two theaters were closed due to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. At that time, Illinois reported 170,000 cases of the flu and 2,500 deaths due to the virus.

115 Years Ago – October 31, 1903

Walter Daniel Hamilton, a young man from Beardstown, was among those killed in what might have been the first tragedy involving the deaths of multiple college athletes. He, along with thirteen teamates and three others, died in a disastrous train wreck. His Purdue Boilermaker football team was traveling to meet the Indiana Hoosiers at a neutral site, Indianapolis. Some reports of the accident mistakenly stated that W. D. was from “Bridgetown,” Illinois.


125 Years Ago – October 31, 1893

The old building used as the Virginia high school since 1870, was sold at public auction last week, and was bought by R. H. Mann for four hundred dollars. It is given out that Mr. Mann expects to take it down carefully and use the best of the material in the erection of a new hotel, something greatly needed there. This building was erected in 1853 as a seminary for the Cumberland Presbyterian denomination. It is estimated that there are between two hundred and three hundred thousand brick in the building, besides a large amount of good timber for building purposes. C. S. Montgomery bought the steam heater for thirty-seven dollars and expects to heat several store rooms with it. Second hand buildings and material seem to be cheap there right now.

Beardstown Semi-Weekly Illinoian – p. 1

70 Years Ago

Beardstown enjoyed a white Christmas, as three inches of snow fell between December 23 and Christmas Eve. The day after Christmas, the mercury on the wagon bridge thermometer fell to 2 degrees, the lowest reading of the year to date.

Thanks to the Salvation Army, Beardstown’s elderly nursing home patients were not forgotten at Christmas time. Charles Harmon, of the local unit, said that gift packages were delivered to a total of eighty people, at all Beardstown nursing homes.

Mr. & Mrs. Dwight Fee and Mr. and Mrs. Russell Black were Christmas dinner guests of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Fee, on their private railroad car. Mr. Fee was the general manager of the western lines of the C. B. & Q. Railroad. The Fees were spending the Christmas holidays with their relatives in Beardstown.

December, 1948

110 Years Ago

Annual Christmas Dinner Was Well Attended
At Congregational Chapel
About 125 Take Advantage of Invitation Extended
By the Lodge’s Charity Committee

It was indeed a happy sight to the bright little faces gathered about the snow-white tables laden with turkey and trimmings at the Congregational chapel Christmas day noon. There were about 125 of the youngsters, and some older persons, who took advantage of the invitation issued by the charity committee of the Elks Lodge.

This was the second annual charity dinner and like the first affair, was a success in every particular. The diners gathered at the Elks hall over the Illinoian-Star office at 11:30 and proceeded in a body to the church.

The menu was prepared and served by the ladies of the Congregational church, and was a fine repast, as all will attest who partook of it. The ladies were assisted in serving by members of the lodge. After the completion of dinner the boys and girls were each given a sack of candy and an orange.

The money to defray expenses of the dinner was raised by the production of the home-talent play given at the Opera house in October. Thru the custom thus established by the lodge in giving these dinners, many a child is privileged to enjoy a good Christmas feast which would otherwise be deprived of it.

The Illinoian-Star– Saturday, December 26, 1908.

142 Years Ago

Having Passed over Minnesota it Appears in Illinois, and there Explodes.

The brilliant, blazing meteor which passed over Minnesota on Thursday evening and was observed by many people, is thus described by the pastor of a Congregational church in Chandlerville, Cass Co., Illinois.
Special to the Chicago Tribune.

CHANDLERVILLE, CASS CO. ILL., Dec. 21 – We this evening had a meteoric display exceeding anything we ever experienced. Between 8:30 and 9 o’clock a very large, blazing meteor started forth at a point a little below the moon (which was in its first quarter) about half way to the zenith, in a southwest direction. It passed up over a part of the moon’s disc, and went directly overhead, disappearing in the northeast. We here are on the Sangamon river, sixty miles south of Peoria, and twenty-four north of Jacksonville; and the direction of the meteor was rather W. S. W. to E. N E., as if from Quincy to Beardstown, towards Toledo or places south of Chicago. It was of great size, and very brilliant, exceeding many times the light of the full moon, illuminating the whole town, and making people generally rush from their houses to see what was on fire. When overhead, or a little past, it exploded into a thousand fragments, each part luminous, and all going on with slightly diverging angles, till they seemed to go down in the northeast. The whole display was as of a huge rocket scattering at last into stars, only immensely greater and farther off. This sight lasted some seconds (fifteen or twenty), the speed seeming swiftest overhead.

At the moment of the explosion, and for some time afterwards, no sound was heard; and we had many of us retired indoors, speculating upon the phenomenon. In just about five minutes (it could hardly have been less than that, – the most cautious would not call it less than three) there burst upon us a loud, deep thunder peal from above, sounding as if about where the meteor had burst. We started, and listened in doors, and rushed forth again. The deep, rolling undertone was still reverberating, like the booming of heavy artillery at an immense distance, and the slowly-diminishing reverberation seemed to move down from the zenith into the far southwest whence the meteor had come. We stood and listened for some time to hear the low, deep moan, as of a distant ocean surf, die gradually away to the horizon. And the people were generally abroad, taking in the sublime display. It was three or four minutes that the sound continued; and at its beginning, several citizens in brick stores remarked how the building trembled, and rushed out to see if some boiler had burst, or what other thing had happened. The moon was shining; but there was some haze and clouds in the southwest, whence the meteor emerged, and in the northeast also, the fragments seemed to disappear between two clouds.

The rate of sound is a mile in 43/4 seconds, – and, therefore, the meteor, when it burst, was distant vertically above us at least forty-eight miles, from that to eighty miles – outside the earth’s atmosphere as generally reckoned. And yet it produced such a concussion of the atmosphere as to give as that long, deep diapason(?) of sound.

Taken all in all, it was the most grand and startling display of celestial fireworks we ever beheld.

It seemed to take us into the very presence of Jehovah, flashing upon us and speaking to us earth-worms from outside the realms of unfathomed space!

Yours, truly,
Pastor Congregational Church.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota) December 26, 1876 – page 2

150 Years Ago

IMPROVEMENT – A couple of weeks ago, F. A. Hammer procured a coal-oil lamp for the benefit of his immediate place of livery business. Since that time two others have been obtained, one for the corner of the Park House, and one for the corner of the Congregational Church. These street lamps are a very decided improvement, and give a light superior to that of city gas. The original cost of the lamp is twenty-five dollars, and the expense of running one a year – burning until after midnight – is but sixteen dollars. We trust that many more of the same character will be introduced on the different streets of the city. We learn that our former fellow-townsman, Fred Rearick, manufactures them at Quincy, and has a patent on the improvement.

Beardstown Central Illinoian – December 3, 1868 – p. 3