The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Compiled and Edited by Virginia Ross
Registrar for Daniel McMillan Chapter, N.S.D.A.R.1919
Stronghurst Graphic, Sept.18,1919
DISASTROUS FARM FIRE: One of the most destructive and costly farm conflagrations which has ever occurred in Henderson County was that which early last Saturday morning reduced to piles of ashes and debris the big barns and other out buildings on the H.N.Vaughn farm two miles southwest of Stron-ghurst.(Currently owned by the Fort Family) The loss included four head of pure bred Hereford bulls, one of which was considered by a number of expert judges to be the best bull of his age and breed ever produced and which Mr. Vaughn intended to enter at the coming International Livestock Show at Chicago. A milch cow, a span of fine work mules and a good mare also perished in the flames. A large amount of farm machinery and equipment with which the Vaughn farm was especially well supplied was consumed or transformed into twisted and broken piles of junk. About 45 tons of hay which was stored in the main barn was burned and several thousand bushels of oats and 800 bushels of wheat in a granary damaged to such an extent as to make it unfit for anything but feeding purposes.
The fire was first discovered by Mrs. Vaughn, who was awakened at about 12:30 a.m. by the bright glare in her room. She quickly aroused her husband and the rest of the household. At this time the flames were leaping skyward from the roof of the big stone barn and pouring in an Mr. Vaughn and his sons and hired men rushed to the barn to liberate the horses and cattle which were in the basement stalls and although the fire was already dropping through from the floor above, they succeeded in freeing all the animals expect the five head of cattle, the span of mules and the mare already mentioned.
Mr. Vaughn made a desperate effort to rescue the valuable young bull going through the fire and smoke into the box stall and attempting to force the animal through the doorway. A mass of burning hay had, however, fallen just outside this doorway and through it the frightened bull refused to pass. Mr. Vaughn himself barely succeeded in reaching the outside of the building before the floor over the basement gave way and buried the animals which were left in the stalls under the mass of burning material from above.
By this time the brisk east wind which was blowing had carried the burning embers from the large barn to the dry shingle roofs of the other outbuildings consisting of stock barn, implement and scale houses, granary, chicken house, etc. and although help had begun to arrive, the spread of the flames was so rapid that it was impossible to save but a small proportion of the contents of these buildings. The progress of the fire was finally stayed at a small storage and work house situation a short distance from the big dwelling house, which had the wind been in a little more northerly direction would undoubtedly have been included with the other buildings burned.
The barn in which the fire originated was one of the largest and most substantially built structures of its kind in the country, and was one of the familiar land marks in this section. The ruins of its massive stone walls remind one of the photographs which appear in the newspapers of the ruins of some of the big stone structures in the war devastated regions of Belgium and France. Mr. Vaughn had recently gone to a big expense in fitting up the building for the accommodation of his fine Hereford cattle herd and the adjoining buildings comprised one of the most complete and up-to-date farm and livestock plants to be found in Western Illinois.
Soon after the fire was discovered, the message was sent to Stronghurst for aid and the clanging of the fire bell soon aroused practically the entire village. A stream of speeding autos soon filled the two mile stretch of road between the village and the Vaughn farm. The occupants of the vehicles, however, found that there was little they could do after reaching the scene of the fire except to stand and watch the flames complete their work and destruction.
Although it is as yet impossible for Mr. Vaughn to estimate the full extent of his loss, it will from the very nature of things be exceedingly heavy. While $25,600 would be a low estimate of the amount necessary to replace the property destroyed, he was unfortunately, carrying only a little over $5,000 (figure is unclear on microfilm so this is best guess) insurance on the same. This is less than the value which he places upon the livestock destroyed alone.
The origin of the fire is not and probably never will be known. There are two plausible theories. One is that it resulted from the sparks from a passing train on the Santa Fe road, which runs only a few rods from the premises and the other is that the tramps that had stopped to sleep in the barn might have been careless in the use of matches and set fire to the hay in the mow.
1894 GRAPHIC: The Henderson libel case from Raritan, which had attracted much attention, was decided in circuit court at Oquawka in favor of the plaintiff and $10,000 damages awarded. Joseph Campbell, a 33 year old unmarried man of Raritan, hanged himself in the home of Louis Hock of that place on Sept.10 during a fit of despondency. Hock was away from home when the deed was committed and Campbell had been dead several hours when found. C.W. Dougherty of Monmouth opened a shoe store here during the week. Santa Fe train No.5 was held up by a band of farmer bandits near Gorin, Mo.on the morning of Sept.18th and the engineer, Wm. Prescott, shot and seriously wounded. The plans of the bandits for robbing the express cars were foiled by the prompt action of detectives, who had been tipped off to the proposed hold-up and were riding on the train. Two of the holdup men were captured-one of them being seriously wounded.
**OBITUARY*** The remains of Miss Elnora Erskine arrived from Burley, Idaho and was taken to Hunter & Regan undertaking rooms and kept until Thursday morning when they were taken to the North Olena Cemetery and interred.
PICNIC AND PIG CLUB SALE: The Henderson County Farm Bureau is completing arrangements for a big picnic, Pig Club Contest and sale to be held at Biggsville on Oct.2nd. The program will include the following speakers: Dean Eugene Davenport of the College of Agriculture, University of Illinois and D.O.Thompson of the Illinois Agricultural Association. Music for the affair has not been decided but will consist of a good band or a quartette of good vocalists. Contest for each township consisting of tugs of war, nail driving, potato races, etc. will be held.
One of the main objects of the picnic is to increase the interest in the Boys' and Girls' Pig Club and each member of this club will be asked to consign two pigs to the sale. These pigs will be judged by competent judges and the club member who has the best pig will receive a cash price of $15; second $10; and third $5. Each contestant will also be required to submit an essay; a loving cup will be given to the winner with the best essay. This cup will be contested for again next year and the next year succeeding; and if won by the same person for three successive years, becomes that person' permanent possession.
HOMECOMING AT RARITAN: A soldiers' Welcome and Home Coming is to be held at Raritan on Sept. 25th under the auspices of the Red Cross Society. The affair is to be held in honor of the soldier boys of Raritan Township and the promoters invite the general pubic to come out and join in the welcome...The popular Orchard City Band of Burlington will furnish music and there will also be vocal and instrumental music by home talent. Prominent speakers, a company of acrobatic performers and refreshment booths will be among the attractions. A special free dinner will be served the soldiers. The day's festivities will close with a public dance in the Raritan Opera House.
LOCAL AND AREA NEWS: Fred Johnson and Vere Curtis departed for Wisconsin by train to view over the land situation in that state. An aeroplane passed over the city going in a southeast direction and was viewed by a number of citizens. A sugar famine is prevailing in Stronghurst at present, only one firm having any on hand and not more than 25 cents worth being sold to a customer at one time. Rain has been falling at frequent intervals in this locality for the past two days and the grass and other vegetation is responding wonderfully to the much needed moisture. The artistic display in the Beardsley Bros. windows, which was arranged by Mr. Earl Beardsley, is a display somewhat similar to a decoration he received the blue ribbon for in the window decoration contest conducted at Tulsa, Okla. Miss Iva Cisna of Gladstone was visiting at the home of James Sutliff in the village. Miss Ruby Hicks of Peoria was visiting home folks.
Frank Lauber, manager of the Farmers Elevator at Lafayette, Ill. visited friends; he reports good crops of oats and corn in his section. Miss Lois McKeown, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W.J. McKeown, was operated on for appendicitis at the Burlington Hospital. W.C.Regan underwent The editor of the LaHarpe Quill was up in the air in LaHarpe's new flying machine and says he now realizes the insignificance of every thing mundane. R.M.Cassell, the LaHarpe Poland-China hog breeder, recently sold his residence and small farm on the outskirts of that city to Fred Bevins of Raritan for $15,000 and then bought an 80 acre tract adjoining known as the Coquillette place for $25,000.
Mr. Frank Butler of SanFranciso, Cal. arrived here for a visit with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hez Butler. Mr. Butler is office manager of the San Francisco branch of the Overland Automobile Manufacturing Co. The ladies of the Stronghurst U.P. church will hold their next tea at the home of Mrs. H.M.Allison. The ladies who will serve are Mrs. Mary Thompson, Mrs. O.A.Rankin, Mrs. G. W. Beckett and Mrs. R.N. Marshall. Miss Martha Doug-lass was appointed assistant at the Biggsville post office. H.F.McAllister of Oquawka is disposing of his household goods at private sale preparatory to leaving for California. The infant son of the late Mrs. Clayton Kemp of this place has been adopted by its grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry France of Oquawka. Mrs. May Felton of Regina, Mont. is visiting Mr. and Mrs. Frank Painter of Terre Haute neighborhood. Mr. R.R.Davis arrived from Dalhart, Texas with 140 head of cattle which were to be sold at the stock yards at this place. Mr. and Mrs. G.Q.Fort of this place and Mr. and Mrs. W.F.Shain of Dallas City are enjoying an auto trip through Missouri, visiting friends at Appleton City and other points in that state.
Mr. Maurice Lee attended the Eckhart sale of big Type Poland China hogs at Dallas City and reports 41 head sold for the total sum of $6,660, the top being $775 paid for a tried sow. Another sow brought $650 and a spring boar, $500.
Over 40 car loads of grapes have been shipped out of Nauvoo this seaon and it is said that more would have been had the growers been able to obtain baskets. An immense amount of grapes were sold at home to purchasers from the surrounding country at 5 and 6 cents per lb.
The hay barn of Will Galbraith of Gladstone burned; the loss is a very heavy one as there were 25 tons of good hay besides a new corn planter and numerous other implements. In Media the United Presbyterian parsonage is being painted and shingled. In Lomax Robert Scott and wife will move to the Waggoner building.