The Autobiography of William Theodore GlassBy WILLIAM THEODORE GLASS
The Life Story of a Harrisburger
HARRISBURG, Ill. (1927) William Theodore Glass, the subject of this sketch, was born at Metropolis, Massac County, Illinois, September 4, 1855.
At the age of three and one-half years my parents moved to Pope County, Illinois, and settled in what is know known as the Hodgeville neighborhood, located on the old Golconda and Vienna road four miles west of Golconda. In moving to Pope county, the trip was made in a road wagon drawn by a yoke of oxen or steers, and not by a Ford motor truck. The first memory I have of life was on this trip, and was this: My oldest sister was seated on the load of plunder with her face looking back, carrying me in her lap. Our old milk cow was tied to the back of the wagon and on coming to quite a large creek or stream of water, the old cow (I guess from the fact that my parents were of the Presbyterian faith) did not want to take to the water and so broke her tow line.
Soon after settling in Hodgeville, the Civil War broke out and my father, along with most other men, volunteered and was off to war; so there I spent my boyhood days, and I can remember the many anxious days and nights that were spent by my mothers and many others — very unpleasant days for them.
One of the most vivid recollections of my boyhood days was after the Civil War when there was such an exodus of people going west from Kentucky, Tennessee and other states east of us. to western Missouri and Kansas. I have seen as many as 100 covered wagons pass along this road in one day, and in the course of a few years you would see quite a lot of them on their way to old Tennessee to get a drink of good cold water.
I have also seen flocks of as many as 5,000 sheep being driven over this road to the western plan of Kansas.
I lived with my parents in this neighborhood until I was 12 years of age. I attended what then was called a public school in an old log house which was about 24x 28 feet, with a fire place in one end six feet wide and three feet deep. In the other end of the house was a log cut out full length. This opening, or window, had a table near which was used as a writing desk hence, my inability as a scribe. Instead of having steam heat, the school was heated only by the old fireplace, and boys had to cut and get the wood to burn in it.
In September, 1867, when I was 12 years of age, my uncle, William A. dickey and family came down from their home in Gallatin county near where Ridgway is now located, to visit our folks, and as he had no boy, proposed that I go home with him. As my father had three sons, of whom I was the youngest, and as none of us were of any assistance to him, he said I might go hoe with Uncle Will if I wished to do so. So I went to my uncle's and as he was one of the most prosperous farmers in that country, I had a good chance to learn to know what farm life was. I lived with my uncle three years and then returned to my parents. Although I received only my board and clothes, and the clothes were homespun, yet the training I received during the three years stay with my uncle I consider was worth more than any three years' salary I ever earned.
The Shawneetown and Edgewood railroad, now the B & O was built during my stay in Gallatin county, by the late Thos. S. Ridgway, and I was on the first train that came as far south as where Ridgway is now located and bought peanuts and popcorn in the first shack that was built in the town, it being located where the band stand now stands.
The last of my school days were spent at the Willis school which is to this day located on the same school lot one mile west of Ridgway, which was 57 years ago.
In October, 1870, I went back to my parents who still lived in the Hodgeville school district in Pope county. Here the old Mill Creek Baptist church was located in this neighborhood, it being the home church in which Elder W. E. Baker was brought up. We were boys together and I heard him preach his first sermon at the old church about 54 years ago. On the Sunday night of his meeting, as we had it then (not church' I had the courage to ask a young lady to accompany me, or as we would say today, asked to escort her, and she said "Yes, sir." I have not forgotten yet how I seemed to have risen in the estimation of the ladies so suddenly.
When I was 17 years of age, my parents moved to Old Brownfield, at which place I spent the next six years of my life, and as is natural with most boys, thought I was one of the leading lights in society. My father being a cooper in trade, on moving to Brownfield, went to work at his trade for John R. Brown who was one of the big potato merchants of Pope county.
I worked in the cooper shops for five years. We had a Cooper's Union, and one of our rules was that there were no barrels made on what we called blue Monday. We simply ground our tools and put them in shape for the week. The barrels made were mostly for potatoes, but we also made barrels for pork, lard, whiskey, and win and also made kegs.
During my first three years which included by seventeenth to twentieth birthdays, I made good wages for those times, and when it came to a Fourth of July picnic and barn dance, I was "hard to lead," along with Penn Trovillion now of Golconda and Grundy Lewis of New Brownfield. We all wore very high heeled boots and had more striped candy than most of the other boys.
During my three years of courting days with the young ladies, at Old Brownfield, I concluded Miss Mary J. Dill was the one I needed for a partner through life, so on December 25, 1874, we were united in marriage by Justice of the Peace W. S. Hodge. We spent the first two years of our married life at Brownfield, but in the year 1876, we moved to Samoth which is located in the northwest corner of Massac county. We lived there nine years, during which time I worked six years for W. T. Cagle, who operated a flour mill. Most of my work was making flour barrels and the remainder was at a saw mill and at other labor which I could find. During this six years I built my first home on a plot of ground which I brought and which had on it at the time a one-room box house, sixteen feet square, in which we moved. At the end of the six years time, I built an addition to it, and when it was completed, we had a nice four room house, all built of good yellow poplar, well painted, with a brick chimney, the first of the kind in the town.
The next three years, I was in partnership with the late Moses Johnson, and we ran what might be called a general repair and blacksmith shop. We also did the undertaking for the neighborhood, but in place of carrying caskets in stock as is done now at from $50 to $1,000, when we had a call for a burial, went out to the lumber yard, got lumber, made the coffin and covered it with black alpaca cloth. Or if the family was called well to do people, we would use black velvet which would cost the family $109. The cheaper funerals cost from $2 to $6.
I spent the first 12 years of my married life as mentioned above and during the ten years in Samoth had built my first home and as my plot of ground was 120 x 300 feet, I had room for quite a lot of fruit and shrubbery. I never forgot one salesman with whom I placed an order for some shrubbery, who advised me to include two horse chestnut trees in my order, as he said they were very nice shade trees and the nuts were three times as large as the ordinary chestnuts. So when my trees came to bearing age, I found I had two nice buckeye trees. So, I might say, to my Harrisburg friends, beware of our old friend Tim Ledford.
At the end of 12 years married life, I had a wife and four children with a nice little home, but as my responsibilities were getting greater and my opportunities were not any better. I mentioned to my wife that we should sell our home and find some place where we could have greater opportunities to make a living. Of course this did not seem to meet with her hearty approval, but we came to an agreement as to the question of looking up a new location and after hunting a purchaser for our home, finally sold it at $375. As Metropolis was our county seat and we had friends there, we decided to look over conditions ther but I could not see anything for me there.
At this time New Burnside was said to be a very flourishing little town, and although I had never been there, I had a friend there who was in the mill business, having what at that time was called an up-to-date mill. Not knowing anything of the place, I told my wife I would get on my pony and go up to Vienna and take the train o see the place. So about sundown there came the old "cannon ball" which was soon up to the new prospective town of New Burnside. Getting there after night, I put up for the night, and next morning looked up my old friend H. Choat who was the head of the milling business. I soon made my business known to him and he said at once that I had come to the very place I was looking for. He and I spent the day looking around and he said the great chance to do things was there, but I took the train home that evening, fully satisfied there was nothing in that place for me.
Time passed on until I had but three more weeks until we had to give possession of our home, and I began to get anxious as to where we would go.
I had some information that Harrisburg, up in Saline county, was a good town, I also leaned that there was a man there by the name of Nathaniel Johnson who was in the general repair business and who had a partner who wished to sell his interest in the business.
The following Sunday evening, I caught up my pony, went to Vienna, took passage on the same old "Cannon Ball" train and went to Harrisburg, where I made inquiry as to where Mr. Johnson lived It was 7:30 o'clock and someone told me to go up to a street which was called Poplar, and when I got to the square, to make inquiry as to where he lived. When I got up to the square, I was referred to the house which stood on the log now occupied by the Horning hotel, which was known as the Newell house.
On arriving there, I found no one at home, but was told Mr. Johnson and his family likely were at the Baptist church, which proved correct, and they soon came in. I told him who I was and my business, so he told me I should stay all night with him, which I did. This was my first night in Harrisburg.
On Monday morning, we went to his shop which was located on the Seten lot on Vine street, which is now used as a hitch lot. There, I met J. B. Ford of our town, whom I found to be a nice appearing gentleman, and I have never had any cause to change my first opinion of him.
We spent the day together, talking over our trade, but could hardly get together and in order to catch my train back to Vienna , I started to leave without making a trade. However, after being seated in my train, Mr. Ford walked in and said I was traded with at my proposal, so I handed him a $10 bill. He was to mail copies of the sale contract the next day and I was to sign them and return a copy.
This was November 16th, 1886, and on Thanksgiving day I with my family landed in Harrisburg, Illinois, which will be forty-one years ago the following annual Thanksgiving day. My first home in Harrisburg was out on West Poplar street in a small house I rented from Uncle James Macklin, for one month. The house is located about where Mrs. Gaines now lives. The rent price was $6.00 per month.
By the assistance of Uncle T. Y. Reynolds who was a friend to any and all, and one who I shall always hold in my memory as a friend in need, as also a friend indeed, I bought of the late R. W. Goodrich in the month of December, his home which was located on the southeast corner of Poplar and Jackson streets where the building known as the Raley building is located, being now occupied by the Harrisburg Dry Goods Company and others. The price for this property was $550.00, the lot being 67-203 feet with a good three room house. Mr. Goodrich built a new home out on the William M. Christy addition, it being the first house in this addition, at that time being outside the city limits.
On December 1st, I went to the Johnson and Ford shop as per agreement, took inventory of the stock and went to work as a mechanic with N. Johnson. At the end of three years the south two thirds of this block of ground which was owned by W. F. B. Hibbets, deceased, was offered for sale by T. Y. Reynolds as administrator of his estate, and I became the purchaser at the price of $1,100.00. There was located on this plot of round a two story workshop 40 x 60 feet where the Register building is now located and a buggy repository of one story, 40 x 60 where the Standard Oil station is now located. Now the terms of this property sale was $100.00 cash and twelve months time on the balance of purchase money. So on the day of sale I went to my old times friends, Dr. Parish and Major Pickett and asked them if I bid on this property would they go on my note for the $100.00 at Uncle Bob Mick's bank. They said certainly they would, and by their aid I made the purchase.
Now to show the people that we speculated somewhat back in those days, I sold, the same afternoon, to my old-time friend W. T. Skaggs the south lot now occupied by the post office and Standard Oil station, for $600. Making this $50 in one Saturday afternoon I thought was enough. I think the present occupants paid about $20,000 for this property I sold for $600.
On acquiring the Hibbets property, Moses Johnson and myself went into business as Glass and Johnson, doing a general line of repair work. We also made wagons and took up a line of farm tools and machinery.
Thirty and thirty-five years ago, there was three or four times as much smithing and farm machinery sales as there is at this day. We had a Mr. Anderson and Freeman Johnson. Thos. Richardson, of our city and his brother, Ed, making six of us in the business in addition to our painter, Thos. R. Clack, and we all had jobs the year around.
Mr. Johnson and I were together three years, and at this time the late G. W. Robinson came to our town from New Haven, Gallatin county, and purchased Mr. Johnson's interest in the business which was continued as Glass and Robinson.
Up to this time, I had always made a hand at the work bench, but one day I was at work putting in a plow beam in an one-horse plow which was worth, when done, 75 cents, the job being for our old department friend, Cap Sloan. When I finished the job, Mr. Robinson took the matter up with me, and said I should get a man to do the bench work and give my time to me trade in the warehouse. He said at the end of 30 days if I didn't think I had been worth $5 or $10 more than at the bench, I could go back. I never returned to the work bench.
During the business career of myself and Mr. Robinson, we opened an undertaking business, as there was only one other in town, being operated by Uncle John Pruett.
The business of Jess Rude is now the continuation of the one we established.
I will relate one incident that I will not forget in connection with this line of our business. We had a very prominent man call in to get a casket for his son who had died. He selected the casket and had the price quoted to him, which he said seemed to be reasonable, but he said it looked as though he would soon have another death in his family, and asked if he made two selections then if he could get a lower price. What do you say to this as to economy?
In 1894 I bought the old Dorris farm of 120 acres, located four miles south of Harrisburg in Independence township, paying $23 an acre. It was sold at a Master's sale on the same day as the Uncle Sol Ledford farm of 80 acres which is the land on which our Township High school is located, also the High school addition extending west from the corner of Sloan and Granger streets to the city cemetery.
This land was purchased by the late W. H. Parish, Jr., at $40 an acre, and I thought at the time of the sale that afternoon that I had the best bargain of the two, but found later that my judgment was very limited as to bargains in real estate.
At the time I made this purchase, the late R. H. Marsh was the sale agent of the Newton Anderson farm, now the John J. Parish farm west of the city, and he used all his persuasive power to get me to buy this farm at $0 an acre. I told him if I failed to get the Dorris farm at $25 I would buy his place, and as I did not buy it, Uncle Bob Land and J. J. Parish took it as soon as I released it. You can see that I had very poor judgment as to values of farm land.
In the spring of 1895 I moved to my farm I bought, and at the same time kept my interest in business here in town, and during the time, had Moses Johnson and G. W. Robinson, as partners, and after their retirement had George B. Dodd, Thos. Marron and John W. Ingram as partners. I lived on my farm until the fall of 1906, but quit business here in 1901. I was in business on south Vine street fourteen years, and in those days it was called "Whiskey Chute" and so it was. I have stood at my place of business on Saturday and show days when the Colberts from Eagle Creek and the Bishops and Hales from Raleigh were in town with a few of our natives mixed in with them, and the whole bunch would get mixed up with booze. So Uncle Ben Page, Jim Jasper Baker and James Waddell would close in on them and Vine street from Poplar to Chruch streets was the battle ground, but the three old heroes always came out the victors. (Yet, some say prohibition is of no avail.)
I lived on the farm I purchased 14 years, and will say that if I had my time to live over again, it would be on a farm, for as I see it, it is about the only life a man can live as a free and true American citizens. During my residence on the farm, I acquired 100 acres more land, which gave me 220 acres. During the 14 years, I had with me my wife and seven children. At the time in fact they had virtually all become grown, my son Theodore, the youngest, was 15 years old.
The expense of supporting my family never entered my mind as the products of the farm give us an abundance such as breadstuff, meat, lard, milk butter, poultry, eggs, potatoes, vegetables, fruits and berries and enough surplus to buy all the sugar and groceries needed. I have sold as much as 14 barrels of 40 gallons each of sorghum in this town in one season, and the wool from a flock of sheep I kept could be exchanged for much calico and such dress goods as the women wished to buy at the old George Mugge store.
During my residence on the farm, I served the people of Independence township three years as highway commissioner, two years as justice of the peace and four years as supervisor. So with my business in town, my public duties and my farm work, I was kept busy, and in addition to this, I had a threshing and clover hulling outfit, but my friends, Billy Warren and Ivery Armstrong usually took are of this part of my business. They threshed wheat in Eldorado on the spot where the High school now is located.
On selling out my business in town, I took in trade for my stock 160 acres of farm land one mile southwest of Independence, known as the Ann Mitchell place, which I should have retained, but as usual, I let it go, selling to the late Jesse Rude, for what was known as the Major Pickett stock of general merchandise, which was in the building now occupied by the Thomas L. Ozment Company. I put the stock in at Independence in charge of S. D. Golden, now deceased.
While living on the farm, I bought of Joel Gillespie the 80 acres of farm land lying west of Independence school building, which farm is now owned by Dick Hart. I sold for the price of $1300 and believe the land now is worth between $6000 and $7000.
On selling out my shop located here on Vine street I traded to G. W. Robinson the west one-half of the center lot on which my shop was located for 160 acres of land six miles west of town in Carrier Mills township, known as the Lemuel Lewis farm and this land was north of Lucian Nolen's farm, and I took this land at a valuation of $1400. I had already learned how to make deeds, so I sold it out in two parcels of 40 acres each and one of 80 acres. In the course of a few years the mineral right under the land was sold for $40 an acre with the surface still there well worth another $40 an acre. So I guess there is no doubt as to my inability as to handling farm land and other real estate. In fact, I made too many deeds.
In 1905 I sold my farm in Independence township to Gray Brothers, who were then and are yet large land holders in this county. The main cause of my quitting the farm was the coal industry starting up, causing all farm helpers to quit the farm and starting to work in the mines at from four to six times more than the farm wage. And in looking over my success as a farm, I am reminded that much of my success was due to my friends, John P. Butler, Peter Gibbs and my son-in-law, Morris Gaskins, as through their helped and management I gained much of my success.
In the spring of the year of 1906, I bought twenty acres of land at Pankeyville, it begin part of the uncle Wes Ingram old home place, and that year I built a home which is now owned by the heirs of the late Chas. Dixon.
I moved from the farm to my new home in Pankeyville on the last day of October, 1906 and on the following November 27th, my wife, Mary J. Glass died of typhoid fever. So as we see, man can lay his plans, but God rules and eventually we must all answer His summons, and the vital question of life should be: "Are we ready for the call?"
December 1, 1907, I was united in marriage with Mrs. Georgia A. Rude, by the Rev. F. E. Birket, then pastor of the Presbyterian church of this city. We made the Pankeyville place our home until the summer of 1907 when I sold this house to the late Asa Parker.
At the time I sold my Pankeyville residence, paving in Harrisburg had been completed on Church and Granger streets and our fellow townsman Grant King who lived at the corner of Church and Granger was dissatisfied and placed his new home on the market. It being on two paved streets, I thought it very desirable an bought it and moved in July , 1908. This was my second home in the city, and as I think now, Harrisburg will continue to be my home town. I wonder if from every point of view if it could be excelled. We have good farms surrounding our town and we are in the midst of as good a coal field as is found on this mother earth. We have a lot of good fruit land; also a lot of as good people as can be found anywhere.
During my residence here from 1908 until this time, I have had various occupation. I was in the plumbing business with E. F. Talley who sold his shop to Heister brothers, and later in the grocery business. In the year 1915, I built the brick garage building known as the Jenkins garage and later sold it to Jenkins brothers.
I then bought of C. Wasson my present place at 19 West Church street, and while I paid Mr. Wasson $6,000 for this property, I could have bought it when I came to Harrisburg for the sum of $300 with fair improvements on it.
After locating at 19 West Church street, I went into the automobile business with my son, Theo, taking the agency for the Reo and Dart cars, which business we operated until five years ago. Since that time, I have not been in any line of business, and as I am now 70 years old, I feel I have done my little bit in a business way, but hope to be here quite a while yet to help boost the younger fellows.
I have given a meager history of my meanderings through life and could have related a great many more happenings, but I will close this part of the story as to my business life and I shall tell something as toy life along other lines. As already stated, on December 25, 1875, I took as my wife Miss Mary Dill, who departed this life after 31 years of our wedded life. During this time we had born to us seven children as follows:
Mrs. Rhoda Gaskins, Eva Ingram of Harrisburg, Mrs. Lulu Horning, of Urbana, Illinois, Mrs. Mabel Meacham of near Golconda, Illinois, Mrs. Ester Wiley, Mrs Bessie McCormick and Theo Glass, all of Harrisburg, Illinois.
I now have living 27 grandchldren and one greandson dead, he being W. T. Meacham the oddest son of my daughter Mabel Meacham. I have living three great grandchildren and have one dead, it being the son of my granddaughter, Mrs. Reba Signor (nee Horning), of Kirkwood, Mo.
My first lodge affiliation was an Odd Fellow, as I joined the Hurricane lodge No. 617, New Columbia, Illinois, in the year 1882. In the year 1886, after coming to Harrisburg, I had my membership transferred to Harrisburg I. O. O). F. and at that time Saline Valley loge was organized. I was living on my farm and took my membership to Saline Valley to assist in organizing the lodge. I never moved my membership from there.
In the year 1885, I took the Entered Apprentice degree in New Columbia Masonic lodge, and after moving to Harrisburg in the fall of 1887, I was made a Master Mason in Harrisburg Masonic lodge No. 325, in which lodge I have held membership. In April 1925, I took the degrees and was made a 32nd degree Mason in the Mississippi Valley consistory of East St. Louis, also the Shrine in Ainad Temple and I would say right here that I advise any Master Mason to take the consistory and Shrine work. The class meeting comes semi-annually and I don't know of any four or five days recreation any Mason would take that would afford him as much enjoyment as attending.
I must not forget to relate for the benefit of my Masonic brethren about my work. As above stated I took the Entered apprentice degree at New Columbia lodge. I was balloted on, elected and notified to appear at lodge to be instructed in the mysteries of the Fellowship degree, and had to pass the scrutinizing eyes of the committee on examination of which our departed brother Capt. J. H. Pearce was spokesman, and I remember distinctly that one question, "Where were you made an Entered Apprentice?" and I answered "At New Columbia, in Massac County, Illinois."
I wish to say that as far as I know from my affiliation with the fraternal societies I think the Masonic order the base of all fraternal organization, and man can life the life of a Christian without being a member of his society, but he cannot be a Mason and not be a Christian and give reverence to his almighty God.
Now as to my political views, I have always affiliated with the Republican party as I have always and am still of the opinion that the principles of the party are the surest and most safe of any party principles in maintaining the perpetuation of this government. Yet. I have never allowed my political views to come between me and my fellow man, either in a social or business way, and today, I have as good and close friends of the Democratic party in and outside of this town as I have on earth—men whom I feel and know are friends in deed and in truth.
Since I have lived in this town for the last 20 years, I have served the people of this township six years of three terms as assessor and two years as deputy, and will mention here, that when I was doing this work, I could set in my home and tell where each farmer resided, what section he lived in and what one-quarter section he lived in.
In addition to being assessor, I shall have served as assistant supervisor for this township, as a member on the county board for four years, or eight years, when my term is up in April 1928. At the present time, I am serving as chairman of the county board an at this tie I am also at work on the Board of Review with Mr. A. M. Berry of Cottage Grove and Mr. Harry Butler of Eldorado as my associates with Mr. C. H. James of Raleigh as clerk.
So far, I have tried to do my duty as an official to the best of my ability, and stand ready and willing today to face any act or vote I have cast as to the business pertaining to the county or township in which I have participated. Now as to my church affiliation. My grandfather David Barnhill Glass was a member of the First Presbyterian church of Golconda, Illinois over 100 years ago. His family, which included my father were all members of the Old Bethany Presbyterian chruch, which is located four miles West of Golconda on the old Golconda and Vienna road, which neighborhood is known as Hodgeville.
My first memory of church and Sunday school was at this place in my boyhood days. In this old church yard lies the remains of my dear old mother, who died when I was six years of age, and this had been quite a while ago, yet, the teaching she gave me and brothers and sisters, is as vivid in my mind as though it was yesterday.
I have also in the old grave yard, one brothers and one sister who died after reaching manhood and woman hood: also at the same place grandfathers and grandmother, aunts and uncles, cousins and boyhood friends too numerous to mention.
It is but natural this church should be one of the sacred memories of my life, as I yet retain the very image of the man who was pastor at the time of my first recollection—Marcus Randolph. i attended this church up to the time I left Pope county. There is one other pastor I remember at this old church an he was Uncle Peter Well, he being pastor at the time I left Pope county.
At the age of 30 years, during my residence in Samoth, Massac county, my brother-in-law Rev. Leroy Clannahan of Metropolis, Illinois—a Methodist minister, held a series of meeting in our village, during which meeting I was convicted of my sins and at that time in life accepted Christ as my personal savior. Yet, let me say to the younger generation, don't take my life along this line as any criterion to copy, but accept in you youth your Christ and be the better prepared to fight the battles of life, and always be ready to meet you God in peace.
At the time I came to Harrisburg to make my home, there was under way of Construction on the northwest corner of Poplar and Jackson streets where the Texaco filling station is now located, a building being erected by the Cumberland Presbyterian people, who were very weak as to membership, and accordingly finances. So I cast my lot with this church, and found therein as devout Christians as I ever met. Among them were Uncle Henry Goodrich, Uncle John Ferrell, Uncle Charley Wilgus, Father Patton, Father Ramsey, Grandma Sallie Pearce, Mrs. Lou Stiff, Mrs. Kate Choisser, Mrs. Nell Sloan, Mrs. Mollie Wilgus, Mrs. Moolie Martin and a great many others too numerous to mention. I have a session record of this church, and expect it to be preserved as long as I am here.
In the year 1902, the Synods of the two bodies voted to unite into one body, and while the proposition was opposed by a goodly number of both churches and quite a lot of our church members were opposed to the move yet individually I favored the move as I thought it would be for the betterment of the cause of Christ and especially in this town, which had two branches of the church, the one located as stated, and the other on the lot now occupied by the Orpheam theatre.
The churches sold each place and purchased the lot which was midway between them and built the present house of worship—the First Presbyterian church building. I was selected from my church as one of the ruling Elders, and served in this capacity until the uniting of the two bodies, since which time I continue to do as my grandfather and father had done before me, making over 100 years service for the three of us; and if my only son should ever be counted worthy by his church, there could be no greater reward to me than this to fall to his lot also.
Now I am a Presbyterian by faith and practice, yet I do not think that there are not as good Christians among the sister churches. I am glad to know that my ancestors for the past century have been identified in the pulpit of the Christian religion and am further pleased to know that at least some of my own children and grandchildren have taken an active part in their church work.
This brings to a close my story as to my journey through life, and I have narrated in a general way my activities. As I have spent the major part of my time here in Harrisburg and this vicinity, having been here 41 years this coming November, I feel my lot has been cast with as good people and in as good a town as I could have selected in Egypt.
When I came here at the age of 30 years about all the assets I could call my own was my wife and four children, and about all I have now is my wife. While I have never gathered much of this world's goods, yet I have no complaint to make. I have had great opportunities but did not grasp them as some of my fellow townsmen did, yet I have no one to blame but myself, and I am glad to say I did not envy many man's financial success, as I had the opportunities and let them pass.
If I had the finances I have spent to enjoy this journey through life, it would make a nice bank account, but I had rather have the knowledge and pleasure my money has brought me than the money.
I have been in Canada and over a greater part of 25 states of our union as follows: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Wyoming, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and in nearly every county in grand old Illinois. And, as I stated before, I think the pleasure and knowledge gained in my trips over the country have been worth more than my money.
A brief description as to our town when I came here is as follows: The east boundary was the Big Four railroad; south, Gaskins and South streets; west, McKinley Avenue; north, Logan street,
So you see our town today is quite larger than it was at that time. I have seen Poplar and Church streets so muddy as to be impassable with a wagon and team. The mail was taken to and from the depot in a wheel barrow, and it did not take a very big "Irish buggy" to haul it. At this time there was nothing in the way of sidewalks, except the board walks. The business was about all located around the public square, and all the store had sheds or porches in front of them. There is not a building, except Setens' Hardware store on the east side of the square, which stood on either side of the square 40 years ago, and the home of the late Grandma Mick is the only home having the same general outline as 40 years ago.
There are but two men now living who lived on Poplar street when I came here. They are W. L. Dorris Sr. and C. P. Skaggs. Of these Mr. Skaggs is in the same house he lived in at the time. Mr. Dorris lived at the J. C. Wilson home.
The leading hotel of the time is now the home of the late Wm. Gregg, and was known as Durham's Repose, it being owned by Uncle A. Durham and operated by John Norman.
The officials at of Saline county at that time were: Cap Largent, sheriff; T. Y. Reynolds, circuit clerk; Capt. Jas. H. Pearce, county clerk; W. H. Parish, Jr., county judge; J. E. Jobe, superintendent of school; Dr. J. R. Baker, coroner and John J. Parish, state's attorney.
Some of the men living with us now who were citizens of the town at the time I cam here are: Father Mallonee, Chas. Wilgus, W. L. Dorris, Sr., C. P. Skaggs, W. T. Skaggs, John T. Gaskins, Clint Otey, John J. Parish, Dr.. Parish, Dr. Swan, Oliver Ferguson, Alex McKenzie, Chas. Tate, James E. Jobe, J. B. Ford, John H. Nyberg, Will Gaskins, Sr., Oscar Gaskins, Doc Hallock, Frank Lott, Doug Norman, Gold Hughes, and James L. Cook.
The following were men who were residents of Harrisburg at the time I came here who have passed beyond the great divide, and you see the list is much greater:
Dr. Mitchell, Dr. Rathbone, Dr. Rose, Dr. Provine, Dr. Chancy, Dr. Hudson, Dr. Powell, W. H. Parish, Sr. , Atty. W. H. Parish, Jr., Atty. Harry Boyer, Atty. W. V. Choisser, Atty. Lonsey Choisser, Atty. Wm. M. Christy, Atty. W. F. Scott, Atty. R. S. Marsh. Atty. M. S. Whitley, Atty. Capt. Largent, Capt. Pearce, Capt. Sloan, Capt. Pottsw, Capt. Forgy, Mr. Ross Seten, Mr. Barnett, Hall, Mrs. Dan Seten, Mr. W. P. Hallock. Mr. George Seten, Mr. Thos. Y. Reynolds, Judge Warfield, Will Reynolds, Mr. Otto Heineman, Mr. Bine Ingram, Mr. John McCormack, Daddy Winkleman, Turner Ware, John Hull, Robt. Mich, John Slaten, Jack Davenport, John McIntyre, Wm. White, Ed Dewery, Frank Rice, Will McHaney, Mose Stiff, Will Campbell, Dan Stiff, Will Huddleson, Louis Bowman, John Tate, Henry Compton, Daddy Parker, Henry Goodrich, J. O. Vinson, Robt. Goodrich, Noah Feazal, John Ferrell, Zack Beal, Martin Ferrell, Samuel Conover, Jas. R. Martin, Verheese Conover, Robt. iking, Walter Rathbone, Daddy Patton, James Crank Lofton Price, William Hibbets, Alex Stunson, Nathaniel Johnson, Peter Albinger, Moses Johnson, Jonathan Gaskins, Freeman Johnson, Wilson Gaskins, Thos. Richardson, Riley Gaskins, J. W. Richardson, Geo. (Chick) Gaskins, Matt Miley, Talt Gaskins, Pleas Taylor, James Macklin, Mitt Baker, Wade Hughes, Hi Jones, James Metcalk, Joseph Towle, Steve Jones, John Raley, Thos. Jones, Joe R. Peace. F. J. Ockett, Joe E. Pearce, Jas. Elder, John Pruett, Acel Durham. M. Demoski, Wesley Horning, Daddy Oschman, H. C. Wheeler, Godred Wiedeman, Phil Wiedeman, E. W. Wiedeman, George Mitchell, Wm. O'Bryen, Teo Parrish, Carrol Carl, Ben Page, Pryor Skaggs, Wm. Pankey, John C. Norman, Chas. Messer, Thos. Shelby, Thos. Hayes, Will Gaskins Jr., J. S. Ferguson, W. M. Gregg and Doc Hallock who has just passed beyond.
Of the 140 men who were here at the time I came to Harrisburg 117 lived here until their death and 23 are still living.
We now have but one attorney John J. Parish, two physicians, Dr. Parish and Dr. Swan and two ex-county officials, Jas. E. Jobe and John J. Parish, and none who were captains in the Civil war, who were with us 40 years ago.
O gracious Savior we confess
Our poor cold love and nothingness
Yet Thou wilt own and Thou wilt bless.
Created May 1, 1998 by Jon Musgrave