Smith L. Von Fossen was a Beardstown businessman dealing in pianos, musical instruments and burial monuments. He organized annual summer outings for the children of Beardstown, beginning in the mid 1890’s. The early excursions were by wagon, but in later years Von Fossen contracted a steamboat for an entire day to take the young people to nearby locations on the Illinois River for a picnic and entertainment. Mr. Von Fossen was a high-ranking official in the Knights of Pythias and was well-known for his philanthropic efforts on behalf of Beardstown and it’s children.
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