The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Compiled and Edited by Virginia Ross
Stronghurst Graphic: Dec. 4, 1924
HE SAVED THEM: The fine large residence on the John Peasley farm 5 miles southwest of Stronghurst was totally destroyed last Friday night by a fire of unknown origin which broke out somewhere around 11 o'clock.
Sleeping in upstairs rooms in the house while the fire was gaining headway and until the whole lower story was a mass of flames were Mrs. Peasley and her four children, Charles, aged 9; John, Jr., aged 7; Kenneth, aged 5; and Donald, aged 2; Helma Swanson, the housemaid and Jesse Royce and Leonard Peterson, hired men. Of these 8 people, it is probably that at least four would have perished in the flames but for the prompt and heroic action of a neighbor, Hugh Smith, who arrived on the scene in the nick of time to save them.
The first member of the household to be aroused from slumber by the fire was the maid, Helma Swanson. Her screams aroused the other inmates of the home and they all rushed out into the upstairs hallways seeking a way of escape from the burning structure. The stairway leading to the dining room below seemed to offer the best means of escape and they all started for this stairway. Peterson, one of the hired men, and John, Jr. reached the bottom of the stairs and pushing open the dining room door, plunged through this room which was already a fiery furnace and escaped through the outside entrance. The burst of flame and smoke up the stairway drove the others back and when the boy, John, Jr., saw that his mother and brothers had not followed him, he bravely re-entered the dining room in an attempt to assist them to escape.
It was at this critical point that the neighbor, Hugh Smith, arrived and by almost upper-human efforts succeeded in rescuing the fire entrapped inmates of the home. Smith who lives a short distance south of the Peasley place on the opposite side of the road was sitting up with a sick child. Shortly before 11 o'clock he looked out of a window and noticed that the kitchen of the Peasley home was brightly illuminated. The light seemed to him too bright to be caused by lamps and he started up the road to investigate. He had gone but a short distance when he saw flames burst from the roof of the Peasley house. Arriving at the scene he learned that none of the family except Peterson and Royce had made their escape, the later having jumped from his bedroom window to the ground, a distance of about 14 feet. Plunging into the dining room of the house, Smith found the boy John Jr. groping about in a dazed manner and apparently about to succumb from the effects of the smoke and flames. Smith grabbed the boy and thrust him outside and then made a dash up the burning stairway leading to the sleeping room above. Part way up he found the boy Kenneth lying in the steps and at the head of the stairway the unconscious form of Mrs. Peasley with the infant boy, Donald clasped in her arms. Quickly gathering up the unconscious carried Mrs. Peasley to the bedroom window through which Royse had made his escape and calling to the men blow to stand ready to catch her, he lowered her by the arms from the window as far as possible and then dropped her into the arms of the men below. He then went back after the baby which had been left at the head of the stairs and carried it to the window and lowered it to safety. The rescue of the boy Kenneth was affected in the same manner.
In the meantime, the maid, Helma Swanson and the oldest boy, Charles, had found a mean of exit on the burning house through a window of the room opening upon a roof of a porch on the west side of the house and from this porch they were also rescued by the men below. Smith remained at the window from which he had lowered the mother and two children to safety until he was assured that every member of the family had been accounted for. He then jumped to safety himself only a few minutes before the whole second story floor of the house crashed into the raging furnace below. His singed hair and eyelashes, burned clothing and blackened face told of his close call to death while engaged in his heroic task. The annuals of the fire departments of our largest cities probably record no greater act of bravery and disregard for personal safety in an endeavor to save other than his.
As all of the inmates of the home were clad only in their sleeping garments when rescued, the first consideration after their rescue was to provide them shelter from the icy wind which prevailed, and they were taken to the Smith home where everything possible was done for their comfort. In addition to the effects of the smoke and flames and the shock to her nervous system, Mrs. Peasley was found to be suffering from severe bruises on the head and body, which she sustained when she was dropped from the second story window. Prompt medical attention was given her and it is not anticipated that any serious results will ensue from her harrowing experience.
The necessity of caring for the members of the family made it impossible for those who arrived at the scene of the fire to save any of the contents of the house as the property loss is practically a total one. Mr. Peasley carried but $4,000 insurance on the house and contents and the home alone could not probably be replaced for less than $10,000. ($143,600 in today's values)
Mr. Peasley was away from home at the time of the fire, having gone to Burlington that evening to look after a cattle deal intending to remain in the city over night. His brothers, Joe and Richard, drove to Burlington after the fire and found him in bed at a hotel there. On learning of the catastrophe which had happened, he returned home.
BROKEN NECK, BUT LIVES: John Anderson, an employee of the Anderson Brothers, who farm a large tract of land in the river bottom opposite Burlington, while driving a team to the corn field to pick corn last Saturday was thrown to the ground when the wagon went into a rut and fell in such a manner as to break his neck. The man was rushed immediately to Burlington Hospital where by chance Dr. Edwin Ryerson, a skilled surgeon from Chicago was present. The surgeon performed a delicate operation to relieve the spinal cord of pressure caused by the fractured vertebra. Anderson was paralyzed from the neck down but since the operation has begun to have some feeling in the lower part of his body and is reported as having a chance for life.
TAKES A PARTNER: J. L. Griggs, who has for the past 20 years been in charge of the mechanical department of the Blandinsville Star-Gazette, has purchased an interest in the business which will hereafter be conducted under the name of Trego and Griggs. "The growth of the business says this week's paper, "makes it burdensome for one person to look after, and the investment of $3,000 in new equipment makes a partner at this time very desirable.
LOCAL AND AREA NEWS: Rev. J. A. Mahaffey and family enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at the house of Mrs. Maffey's parents in Kirkwood. Warren Taylor, famous quarter back of the Monmouth College football team spent the holiday with his friend, Joe Dixson, and family. O. P. Duncan, who has been second trick man at the Santa Fe station here for some time, left for Decorra where he will be station manager. Miss Anna Ahlers is attending Western Illinois Teachers' College.
The farm home of Orville Jones two and one-half miles northeast of Seaton, was destroyed by fire at 1 o'clock Saturday morning. The fire started in the basement of the house. The members of the family were awakened by the smoke, but the time they were aroused, the fire was beyond control. Nothing was saved, all of the household goods being destroyed. The loss is estimated at $8,000 ($114,880 in today's values). The Apt family are enjoying a radio set installed on trial in their home by Edw. Logan (all the neighbors would plan a visit, no doubt). Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Mekemson of Biggsville were Tuesday guests at the C. M. Bell home.
The free motion picture entertainment given by the Henderson Farm Bureau at the Stronghurst M. E. Church last Friday evening was both interesting and educational; it should have been better patronized than it was. In addition to the main feature, the presentation of the film, "The Brown Mouse," there was some spirited singing of popular songs and a brief explanation by Farm Advisor Walker of the plans and purposes of the Farm Bureau organization for the coming year. Mr. and Mrs. E. R. Grandey took their son Gordon to Galesburg for an adenoid operation. Dr. and Mrs. I. F. Harter left for Chicago to attend the International Livestock Show. Mr. and Mrs. Luther VanArsdale of Blandinsville drover over to attend the cattle sale at the local stockyards while his wife visited relatives. Mike Cadel was taken seriously ill Monday evening while at the home of his sister-in-law, Mrs. Rosa Peterson. A physician was called who diagnosed the case as appendicitis and it seemed for a while nothing short of an operation could alleviate the trouble, but the patient is now better and will not have to undergo an operation for the present. (Have a severe stomach ache at this time period and your appendix would be removed).
It was said that the roundup of suspicious characters in a disreputable house in Peoria a few days ago secured evidence showing that the five fellows arrested had been implicated in recent bank robberies at Sciota, Vermont and Secor, Ill. Cashier Hainline is said to have positively identified one of the men as the fellow who held a gun on him when the Sciota bank was robbed a few weeks ago. Gale Stine and wife of Clarinda, Iowa, spent the week with relatives at Kirkwood and Stronghurst. Little Rosa Kamber has been growing worse lately of her crippled condition and is now unable to walk. P. A. Stamp installed Sunbeam Cabinet Heaters during the past week in the D. Prescott and Roy Mudd homes in the village. New 20th Century Heating plants have been installed in the residence of W. H. Bainter and Chas. Fort, Jr. Grover Rehling and force of men are working this week in Biggsville and Kirkwood in connection with the telephone service. H. M. Allison has so far recovered from the recent accident in which he was injured by being struck by an automobile while crossing the street in Burlington, that he was able to attend church services last Sunday. Oscar Beckett was called to Colorado Springs, Colo. by the serious illness of his brother, George Beckett who recently went there with his family from their home in Carrollton, Mo. thinking the change of climate would be beneficial to his impaired health. Grandpa Chase celebrated his 89th birthday at the home of his son, R. B. Chase, in Galesburg. The venerable gentleman enjoys rugged health and is a walking advertisement of the value of tobacco in adding vigor and strength to old age, he having used the weed in an unstinted manner ever since he was seven years of age. Miss Maxine Koll and Mr. David Rohm of Davenport, Iowa, were quietly married in Monmouth on Nov. 23rd. Mrs. Rohm is the only child of Mrs. Will Koll formerly of Dallas City. After the death of Mr. Will Koll about six years ago, the family moved to Davenport where Mrs. Koll went into business. Frank Johnson shipped a car load of hogs on Monday and on Wednesday three car loads of hogs and a mixed load of hogs and cattle for the Shipping Association. He was accompanied by Otto Steffey on Wednesday.
RARITAN REPORTS: Dan Leinbach had the misfortune to break his arm while cranking his car. Miss Gwendolyn Hixson was operated upon for appendicitis at the Burlington Hospital. The Bible class will meet at the home of John Butler. Mrs. Charles Rice has been seriously ill the past few days with heart trouble. The barn on the Alvia Smith place near Kirkwood was destroyed by fire Friday evening. The origin of the blaze is unknown.
MEDIA MEANDERINGS: Misses Frances Drain and Hazel Smith delightfully entertained a number of their friends at a Thanksgiving party Thursday evening at the home of Miss Frances. The rooms were beautifully decorated with the Thanksgiving colors and were very much-admired by the guests. The evening was spent in playing games and with music. At a late hour, delicious refreshments were served by the young ladies' mothers, Mesdames M. D. Drain and Otis Smith and consisted of potato salad, sandwiches and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. All departed thanking their hostesses for the splendid good time. Sunday morning at the U.P. Church the annual thank offering service of the Ladies Missionary Society was held. The meeting was presided over by Mrs. John Pogue, Chairman of the thank offering committee:Harry Norvillle went to Monmouth Hospital where the doctors removed the cast from his limb which was so badly fractured some time ago while he was adjusting a belt to this tractor while baling straw. A new cast which is much lighter than the former one was put on and he is able to get around some with the aid of crutches. The friends and neighbors turned out last week and gathered his corn for him.
Charles Gibson sold his livestock and farming implements at public sale Tuesday. He and Mrs. Gibson expect to retire from farming and move to town March 1st. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Howell entertained Judge Gordon of Oquawka and his daughter, Miss Virginia of Springfield, at a Thanksgiving dinner. J. E. Lawyer was able to again take up his work as agent for the Santa Fe. Coach Dixon of the high school has also taken over the manual training and has a nice class which is enjoying the work. Prof. Shoemaker is still confined to his home at Colusa with an attack of rheumatism. He is better and hopes to be able to resume his work. Mrs. Rollie Wyatt of Lomax is teaching for him.
Rev. Riddington of the Raritan Baptist Church filled the pulpit for the congregation of the United Church Sunday evening. Mrs. Riddington and two little daughters accompanied him. Rev. Lepltek of the Raritan Reformed Church will occupy the pulpit next Sunday evening. A Young People's Society was organized. Mesdames Etta Thompson and F. I. Baskett will entertain the Missionary Society of the U.P. Church at the home of Mrs. Thompson. The topic for study is "Japan: given by Mrs. Harold Graham as leader. The Home Missionary Society of the M.E. Church will meet at the home of Mrs. Florence Mathers (Although the churches combined, they evidently kept their missionary societies).
BIGGSVILLE BRIEFS: An all-day comfort knotting was held at the home of Mrs. Clarence McCormick, fourteen being present. Mrs. Menchoff of the U.P. Church was captain of the bunch. Rev. and Mrs. Wm. Lorimer and two daughters, Frances and Wilanna, left in their Ford sedan for their new home at West Alexandria, Pa. George Millen and family, Steve Graham and family, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Swedland and daughter and Mr. and Mrs. Marion Cleek and baby drove to Mediapolis, Iowa where they spent Thanksgiving at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Bailey. Mr. Will Whiteman who has been suffering the past week with a cold in her head was taken to the Burlington Hospital. Miss Virginia Allaman, who has been ill at her home at Rozetta, was able to take up her school duties. The bake sale at the Wool and Chase Store by the Ladies Aid of the U.P. Church realized $45.
OLENA OBSERVATIONS: The 21st annual reunion of the Lant families was held Thanksgiving Day at the home of Mr. and Mrs. H. S. Lant in Stronghurst. About 30 guests were present who partook of a most delicious dinner served cafeteria style. The afternoon passed only too quickly with music and general talk feast. A most enjoyable time was in evidence. During this 21 years death has left its stamp of sadness with the passing first of Mrs. Sarah Lant, mother of John, Will, Sam, Henry, Edwin and Charles; second Mr. Charles Lant, the oldest of the Lant brothers; 3rd the passing of the young son of Mrs. Ruth Lant Browning; 4th Mrs. Bessie Lant Marshall. "Yet we know He doeth all thing well." Very much remains to be thankful for.
The health of the community is fairly good. Mrs. Jesse Hicks is numbered with the sick. The young child of Mr. and Mrs. Hartman is supposed to be a victim of the whooping cough and quite a few have bad colds and sore throats. Late word of Mr. Wilbur Davis who is in the U.S. Navy reports his fleet as sailing up the Atlantic coast and were then in Brooklyn, New York. Many of our farmers are doing some butchering work. Mr. and Mrs. Gibb of Biggsville spent a few days at the home of the lady's parents, Herman Burrell northwest of the village. Mrs. Burrell is nursing quite a sore finger caused by a bruise. Mr. and Mrs. Lyman Ross are riding in a "spick and span" new Dodge car. Miss Spear, teacher of the Olena school, is assisting her pupils to put on a nice Xmas program to be given in the school room on the afternoon of Dec. 24th. Mr. Charles Fort, living west of Olena, has had a radio installed in his farm house. This will probably help Charles to past the hours as he lives alone. Mrs. Ruth Browning's three children, Joseph, Stewart and Jessie, have been recent victims of chicken pox.
CARMAN CONCERNS: Revival meeting will begin next Sunday evening by Rev. J. B. Seble. The Ladies Aid will have a Bazaar Corn Social and 5 o'clock dinner at their rooms Dec. 11th. Mr. August Rehling had a new furnace installed in his home by Mr. Ford of Burlington, a master workman. Mrs. Fred Crane entertained the Thursday Club at her home Friday afternoon. The members present were Mrs. Mae Emerson, Mellie Dowell, Mary Bradley of Lomax, Miss Minnie Rehling, Mrs. Virgie Mead, Eliza Brown, Pearl Coffman, Ruth Marsden. The invited guests were Mrs. L. Logan of Dallas City, Mrs. Mabel Vaughn of Disco, Mrs. Margaret Mooney of Burlington, and Mrs. Georgia Bowlou of Lomax. A very nice luncheon was served. In the evening she entertained a crowd of 16 at progressive 500 which was enjoyed by all. Lunch was also served. (Neighborhood clubs offered a social opportunity and were faithfully attended by members.
THEY SURPRISED HER: Miss Hilma Swanson, living east of town, was very agreeably surprised last Tuesday afternoon when a number of friends and relatives gathered at her home. Mrs. Hugo Johnson, in a few well-chosen words, presented Miss Hilma with a gift of money. Miss Hilma responded by thanking each and everyone present for their kindness.
A short time was spent in pleasant conversation and music after which delicious refreshments were served and a delightful time enjoyed by all. The following were in attendance: Mr. and Mrs. C. W. Walker, Mr. and Mrs. Gust Swanson and Miss Mabel, Mrs. August Johnson and Miss Sophie, Mrs. Swedelund and Miss Helen, Mr. and Mrs. Wm Ottoson and Agnes Marie, Mrs. Wm. Hartquist, Mrs. H. C. Haben, Mrs.Chas. Lindgren, Mrs. Carl Lindgren, Mrs. Carl Jacoson, Mrs. Leo Sullivan, Mrs. Hugo Johnson, Mrs. Anton Nelson and the Misses Victoria Ottoson, Frances Lind, Lillian Malmberg and Ella Johnson.
NEW COUNTY FARM SUPT.: At the regular meeting of the County Board of Supervisors held at Oquawka, the position of Supt. of the County Farm Alms House and Jail for the ensuing ear was awarded to Clyde Mead of Carman on his bond of $900 ($12,924 in today's values). There were two other applicants for the place and that the vote on Mr. Mead's application was seven to three in his favor.
CARMAN GIRL MARRIED IN MINNESOTA: Little Falls, Minn. "The marriage of Mabel Marsden and Wm. J. Kreitz was solemnized at the American Hotel yesterday morning at 10:30 by Simon P. Brick, Justice of the Peace, performing the ceremony. The couple were attended by Mrs. Lillian Stroman and Frank Gakes. The bride wore an ensemble dress of navy poret twill over a costume slip of Harding blue corded silk. Her attendant wore a suit of pin striped navy-blue twill. Bessie Marsden and Ruth Sargent acted as flower girls.
Following the ceremony, a wedding dinner was served. In the evening the guests were entertained at a supper and dance. Music for it was furnished by the Hodson colored orchestra. Mr. Kreitz is well known in the city as he is employed as engineer by the Northern Pacific Railway and has made his headquarters here for the past 35 years. Mr. and Mrs. Kreitz are planning a trip to Oregon later in the winter.
STONE QUARRY SOLD: The plant and equipment of the Monmouth Stone Co. at Gladstone, Ill. was sold at trustees' sale last Monday, the amount of $60,000 being realized for the property. It is claimed that the machinery alone could not be replaced for less than $158,000 at present prices, which are considerably lower than they were when the company was organized. It is understood that the plant is to be dismantled and the equipment moved to Birmingham, Ala. It is figured that the bondholders of the defunct concern will realize about 20% on each dollar invested and that the loss of the stockholders and common creditors will be total. This is one of the most disastrous business failures which this section of Illinois has ever experienced and it would seem that the promoters of the project were sadly lacking in business judgment.
MORE THAN ONE STRONGHURST: A copy of the Albuquerque, N. Mex. Morning Journal reached the editor desk this past week by our townsman, Geo. T. Chant, who is at present baking in the sunshine of the land of the Pueblos and the Navajos and no doubt a little homesick for the crisp and invigorating early winter climate of Illinois and the company of the old "bunch" which he has been wont to foregather in times past in social and business conferences.
If George has any such moments of nostalgia, it no doubt affords him some relief to know that if he desires, he can still have the satisfaction of living in a place called Stronghurst while enjoying the winter in New Mexico; for we note from the advertising column of the newspaper sent us that Albuquerque has a suburb which is described as having "wide street lines with black locust trees, verdant surroundings, an unsurpassed view of the mountains, plenty of water at low cost and a soil fertile enough to grow flowers, shrubs, berries, vegetables or anything adaptable to the climate."
Sounds good, George. But the lure won't work. Stronghurst has plenty of the finest kind of water at no cost and shade trees in profusion of many varieties. Her surroundings are not only "verdant" in the spring time but also golden and russet during the summer and fall when the harvest of grain and vegetables and fruits are ripening. True, we had no "unsurpassed mountain view," but, honest, George, don't you think that the stretch of landscape which extends westward from the bluffs on this side of the Father of the Waters across to the Iowa hills including the great drainage districts, afford about as satisfying a picture to the eye of the beholder as your New Mexico mountains? We'll admit, George, that there is a wonder fascination about the Rockies with their ever-changing hues, their snow-capped peaks, and their appeal to man's reverence for the subline. We've seen'em and we know; but after all there is a suggestion of peace and plenty in the softer beauty of our Illinois scenery which our majestic Rockies lack.
We'll confess, George, that you selected a right opportune time to entice us to forsake Stronghurst, Ill. for Stronghurst, New Mexico, for it's getting a little chilly up here and the prices of fuel and woolen clothing continues steady to higher, but it's not very long to the time of soft zephyrs, blue birds, dog tooth violets and rhubarb, and we're going to stick. And after you have had your fill of New Mexico sunshine and scenery, we predict that there will come floating to you on the breezes haunting memories of that old refrain, "By the Rivers gently flowing, Illinois, Illinois," and you'll take the first train East.