The Story of Savanna
The First 100 Years
Written by Alice M. Bowen 1928
Contributed by N.P. Eichelberger

Postcard from Alice Horner

P A R T 2

Social Life of the Community

But our story would not be complete without mention of the social life of the settlement and we will turn our thoughts back once more as we try to discover what could be found in the way of pleasure amidst such rough surroundings, We must go back to the beginning and think of the three families who joined their fortunes and founded this little settlement. They had met in the central part of the state, one family arriving there from Massachusetts, the others from Kentucky.

But a common interest, a human feeling for companionship, drew them together and they ventured forth to found a new community. Together they braved the terrors of the wilderness and together they shared each other's joys and sorrows. When, during their first hard winter here, the wolf was not far from their doors, and one family secured a little flour and meal from the Indians, it. was divided among them all, and the brother­hood they formed remained, to the end of their lives.

The next season they gathered the wild fruit which grew abundantly all about, and in the Fall they gathered hickory nuts, walnuts, butternuts, and hazelmits by the bushel, and when in the evening the candles were lit and the neighbors came in, they gathered around the big fireplace and

"Sped the time with stories old
Wrought puzzles out, and riddles told
Shut in from all the world without
They sat the clean-winged hearth about,
While close at hand the basket stood,
With nuts from brown October's wood."

But with the arrival of new settlers from the East, who brought with them their good clothes and their good manners, the social life became quite active, and very early there was a singing school organized and also a dancing school.

The hotels or taverns, as they were called in those early days, were all provided with large ballrooms, and when the invitations to a large ball were sent out the guests came in sleighs from miles around. And the story is told that no man appeared upon the ballroom floor unless wearing his dancing pumps and white kid gloves.

A man by the name of Paddleford was the leading musician in this section. He came from the City of New York and his fame as a violinist went out all over the country He was not an ordinary fiddler but was a composer and violinist of great ability.

There lies before me a manuscript book of his music which was presented to F. P. Bowen by Mrs. Hilsinger of Sabula, whose father, Mr. Scarborough, a violin player, had played second violin for years with Paddleford. These two composed the orchestra. Some titles just noted in glancing through the book "Begone Dull Care," and "Gen Ye How the Piddle Goes" seem appropriate for the occasions.

One of these early printed invitations came to light out of the old box of letters and this is the way it reads:

The company of Mr. David L. Bowen and lady Is respectfully solicited at a Ball to be given at the house of Mr. W. Craig, on Thursday, February 14th, 1839, at 4 o'clock p. m.


J. W. White, John Boweu, Charles Swan, Mason Taylor, Henry Corwith, John How, J. M. McCurtey, A. Drurainond and W. W. Mudd. Wappello, January 28, 1839. It is presumed that young David attended this party in Hanover as he could "cut the pigeon wing" in the very latest style.

A great anniversary such as we are having in Savanna this year will reach thousands who are ordinarily unconscious of past historic associations. During this summer we must compete with a presidential campaign and with the sports of the world in producing reeling matter of sufficient interest to hold the attention of our readers. But this is our year for looking backward and for gathering from out a gradually dimming past, the little stories and the simple heart interest of our pioneer settlers. This is the year in which we review the every day life of the founders of our city and gather all the items of our local history into some definite form where it can be preserved.

Old customs have given way before the results of invention and discovery, but this is one time for us to just look back for a short moment and take a fleeting glance at what once were real conditions. Many are inclined to scoff at the "old things" as they are termed, but perhaps the very articles or methods we are using so proudly, will, in another hundred years be just "old things" to those who are then living.

"With these thoughts in mind I have selected a few pages from some memories of pioneer life written by Mrs. David L. Bowen. In these she recalls many of her earliest impressions and throws light upon that distant time of the early settlers.

When that first family arrived here on the 4th of November, 1828, it consisted of the father, mother and four children, the youngest being a baby girl a little more than one year old, named Sila. This little girl spent her entire life in Savanna with the exception of the times the family lived in Galena. When she had grown to womanhood, in 1844, she was married to David L. Bowen and together they traveled side by side down through the years. In 1894 they celebrated their golden wedding and several friends were present who had attended their marriage. Of these James White from Hanover, who had been best man at their wedding, and also Dr. and Mrs. Elias Woodruff were able to attend?

In 1898 Mr. Bowen passed on to the long journey alone and Mrs. Bowen was left to spend her remaining years among her children and friends, a beloved gentle woman.

With the advancing years Mrs. Bowen was confined more and more to her home and as her thoughts turned to her early life she often wrote down the interesting parts as she remembered them. Being a woman of extreme refinement and sensitiveness she lived her quiet life amidst her flowers, her reading, and her own thoughts.

The following pages are selections taken from her writings and given as a tribute to her memory

My Recollections of Pioneer Life

About the first thing that I remember is being in an Indian wigwam that stood between our house and the river. I was picking kernels of corn out of a wooden bowl of soup that was on a bench, and tasting them, as I did not like the taste, and happened to look up I saw the old squaw who lived there standing in the doorway laughing at me. I was very much frightened and jumped down from the block of wood upon which I was standing and ran past her with all my might toward home, and to my childish imagination, escaping from danger.

A confused memory lives with me of Indians with blankets over their shoulders, with buckskin leggings, and buckskin moccasins on their feet, and with their hunting knives stuck in their belts. They would have feathers stuck in the tops of their heads of coarse, greasy black hair, that hung down to their shoulders. The squaws with woolen petticoats that reached below the knees, showing buckskin leggings and moccasins, sometimes trimmed with beads. Short calico gowns pinned together with large silver brooches, and with great strings of long, white beads around their necks, hanging down to their waists. They would have their little papooses strapped to a board, and hanging on their backs, setting them up beside a tree when not traveling. The little sharp, black eyed babies seemed to enjoy the situation, for I never heard one cry. I also remember of Indians sleeping on the kitchen floor with their feet to­ward the fire some cold nights, when mother's kind heart would not let them be turned out into the cold.

My mother soon learned to talk with them, partly in their own language, and partly in English, with a generous mixture of signs. My father who did not try so much to learn their language, would send them to my mother to do their trading.

These Indians would have their drinking sprees and at such times they always selected one of their own number to keep sober, he to take care of the others. They would give up their knives; guns, tomahawks, or anything else that could be used to injure themselves or others with, into the keeping of the sober one and then proceeded to get dead drunk and lie around on the ground entirely unconscious of surroundings. On one these occasions an old squaw came across an ax that my father had left by the wood pile, and grabbing it up she ran toward an Indian lying drunk on the ground. My father happened to see her and running after her grabbed her arm just as she had raised the ax above the drunken Indian's head. She then fell to the ground as drunk as the other.

Our log house, as I remember it, was a double house, that is two houses of one room each, with an outside entry or space between roofed over. One of these was used for a sitting an sleeping room, and the other for a kitchen or mating room as we expressed it in those days. Both of the rooms had large fireplaces which took up almost one end of the room. The split broom was made by peeling a hickory pole, or shredding it to within a foot or so the end, then the splits were drawn over the end and firmly tied. These made excellent brooms for scrubbing those puncheon floors, and soon wore them smooth. This broom making was evening work for the men of the families. We gathered rushes that grew near Plum river, and tied them in bunches about as large around as your fist, and these were used for scrubbing our tables and split bottom chairs. Over the fireplace were two crotched wooden pins where the gun was kept, the powder horn and other accouterments were hung back in the corner, ready for immediate ate should a wild cat or stray wolf come along, or if chance brought a wild turkey or a wild goose. We were not afraid of the Indians, as they were very peaceful.

A lamp, in shape such as those carried in the hands by Virgins of Bible records "who hurried out to meet the bridegroom," hung by the side of the chimney. This lamp was kept well filled with coon's oil, and had a cotton rag for a wick. But finally something happened to this lamp and in its place we used a saucer filled with coon's oil with three or four rags for wicks stuck around its edge. After a while the saucer lamp was laid aside and the beeswax candle took its place. This candle was made by having the wax warm enough to work with the hands, and rolling it around a rag for a wick To do this we took a board or some smooth surface on which to roll it, and commenced by putting a thin layer of wax along the length of the wick, and then began to work it and roll it smooth and firm, this was repeated with another layer, and another, until the candle was the right size. When we had this candle set in an iron candlestick, we considered that we were indeed getting into the very luxuries of life. We used these candles until we raised our own beef and had tallow, then we had "tallow dips'" which we considered a great improvement on the wax candle. To be sure we had the wax in great abundance, for all that was necessary to do when we wanted honey was to go into the woods and cut down a bee tree and gather the honey from the store inside, carry it home in buckets or tubs, sort out the nice unbroken comb and lay it aside for use. The broken pieces were put in a bag and hung up in a warm place to drip into a pan or jar. Afterward this vessel was set in a cold place for the honey to harden and become candied, when it would become white and could be sliced with a knife and was much esteemed as a great delicacy and was greatly preferred to honey in the comb. After all the honey that would had dripped through the bag, water was poured over the comb and it was allowed to drip again into another jar. This time the jar was placed in a warm place for a few days and it soon began to work and sparkle and from this we had a drink known as matheglon, and it was considered almost as good as cider. After this last was made, the honey comb was made into wax and from this the aforesaid candles were made.

In those days my mother also grated corn and made starch, and in case of emergency made saleratus by burning corn cobs in an iron kettle. I hardly know the process, but the ashes or liquid from these burned cobs made a good substitute for saleratus. We shelled corn in the evenings to send to Craig's mill on Apple River to be ground into meal, out of which we made our corn bread. My father raised wheat one year, threshed it out with a flail on a floor and then took it to Craig's mill and had it ground into flour. Out of this flour my mother made excellent "salt risen" bread which she baked in a Dutch oven before the big fireplace.

We had a spring house in which to keep our butter and milk, a "root house" where we kept our vegetables through the winter, and poles of sliced pumpkin hung over head to dry for winter use. Wild fruit such as crabapple's, plums, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and gooseberries, grew in great abundance all around us. We remained in Galena during the Black Hawk War and while there we made the acquaintance of some very fine people, among them being the Gratiots and the family of Reuben Brush.

My mother took me with her to visit the latter named family one evening. Their little girl, Harriet, about my age, took me by the hand and led me to her little chair, as she said: "Take a chair." This was the first little chair that I had ever seen, as my own seat at home was a three legged stool. I was very much impressed with her politeness and we became good friends at once, and I am glad to say this friendship was kept up many years after.
I think it was at this time that I attended Mrs. Kent's infant Sunday school, where the little ones all knelt around a young girl about 15 years of age, who also knelt and we repeated in unison with her the Lord's Prayer. Once I toppled over against the next one by me and she toppled also, but it did not go any farther, and I was very much ashamed of myself for my great ambition was to keep upright at prayer time. It was a large oil painting of the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve in the midst, half hidden by trees and shrubbery, and looking very beautiful, and ray ideas of Heaven were made to correspond with this picture and the explanation given by Mrs. Kent. I do not remember that she said anything about the serpent, but I am sure there was none shown in the picture.

After peace was declared in the year 1833, the three families moved back to our old home, and took up life and work once more on the banks of the Mississippi. The cornfields were brought Into order again, and we children returned to our old occupation of keeping the birds out of the field, as the black birds came in great flocks in the Fall, when the corn was just beginning to ripen. My brother, Lorenzo Dow, was not tall enough to load a gun, but could shoot it off, after it was loaded, so my sister Harriet would load it for him, then clap her hands over her ears and run back, while he would shoot to scare the birds away. While this was going on my younger sister, Mary Jane, and myself would stay up on a scaffold built, up in a tree and add to the noise by clapping our hands and drumming on tin pans and screaming with all our might, and then watch to see what part of the field the birds would light in next, and so on day after day. It was thus we lived two or three summers, always out of doors, strolling along the bank of the river, picking up the shells and carnelians, wading in the water, and paddling a canoe, but I never "paddled my own canoe" as there was always someone to paddle it for me, and always has been through all my life. We often crossed the river in this little canoe, to the place now called Sabula, but in those days there was not even an Indian wigwam to mark the entrance to the unbounded west. But there was a beautiful pebbly beach where we could find carnelians of great beauty and also some of the most beautiful clam shells, so we made frequent visits to this shore which was one of Nature's beauty spots."

As the little settlement rounded out its second decade and reached the year 1850, the town was well established and the dreams of the Pioneers were coming true.

The citizens, with true aim for advancement had, in 1847, built the little stone school house, and the ladies, as usual, had given entertainments mid solicited subscriptions until they had a sufficient to purchase a bell.

When this bell, which bears the date, 1847, was rung for the first time from atop the wonderful little building, there was great excitement an joy in the hearts of the people. Although the street in front of the new school house was a mud hole in rainy weather, by the liberal use of saw dust from the mill, the pupils were able to reach the door, and within its walls of stone, the youth of the community gathered for the first time in a regular school building.

It served as a social center and also for various church denominations, as well as a place" for holding elections.

The religious life of the community had been fostered and kept alive by the settlers themselves, assisted by an occasional circuit rider, and two years after the school house was built, in 1849, the Methodists undertook the erection of a small frame church in the north part of town. And now, after all these years have passed, we find in an old ledger the entries which tell of the hard struggle the Pioneers made to secure that modest place of worship.

Under "Subscriptions to the meeting house," Vance L. Davidson is credited with $21.53 for the lot and William Blundell with $12.00 for laying the foundation, while Luther Bowen is credited with fifty cents for surveying the ground. Few cash subscriptions were available, the largest sum being donated by John Puller and Reuben Gray who each gave ten dollars. Still others donated material, small sums, or their labor, and the name of Ashby, Thomas Roof, William and Samuel Hitchcock, R. Richardson, D. B. Holt, John Smith, Enoch Chamberlain, George Davidson, E. Wood­ruff and M. Dupuis are among those recorded as having contributed to this first church, and little by little the building became a reality and it stands on the same spot today, although converted into two small dwellings.

With the year 1850 we will end the "Westward March of the Pioneers." The excitement caused by the opening up of the fertile lands of the Mississippi Valley had somewhat subsided, arid only occasionally a pioneer with his axe, his rifle, and his young wife moved out from the East, into the wilderness, to build his lonely cabin home. I am glad that I have been able to delve into the old records and traditions, and bring forth a few echoes from that almost unknown period of our past. So now our story comes to its conclusion, and it is with regret we say farewell to all our old friends. And it is hoped that the historian of our second hundred years will be able to find such staunchness of character, together with such good, lovable citizens as we have met in these early years.

One Hundred Years Later

When the City of Savanna reached her hundredth milestone, it was deemed fitting to celebrate the event in a manner out of the ordinary, and on a more elaborate scale than anything which had ever before been undertaken. As the time approached much interest was manifested, and a meeting was called for the purpose of forming an organization to take charge and prepare plans for the event.

The meeting was held in the Township High School and was attended by many men and women from all organizations and denominations, all enthusiastic in promulgating the project. This meeting resulted in the formation of a Centennial Celebration Committee and the Executive officers were elected, with C. N. Jenks, Chairman, Miss Mamie I. Marth, Secretary, and Bruce Machen, Treasurer. Later, Miss Marth resigned and J. E. King was appointed in her place.

The Times-Journal issued a Centennial edition of thirty-six pages on December 30, 1927, commemorating the founding of Savanna one hundred years before. Many articles were contributed by the citizens on the history of the industries, churches, and local institutions, and the first installment of the "Story of Savanna" appeared. The papers were widely circulated, and many copies were sent to friends and relatives all over the world. This seemed to bring the subject of the Centennial into the foremost topic of the day in Savanna.

With the opening of the year 1928, plans for the celebration began to assume a definite shape. Various committees were appointed (o take care of the work, and a program was arranged. The dates of August 19, 20, 21, and 22 were selected as being more suitable as to time of the year for a homecoming, than November Fourth, the actual date. The city was cleaned, shined, polished and decorated as never before, and a feeling of co­operation was shown on every hand and when the time came, all was in readiness.

The History and Marker Committee had com­piled a book which they called "Savanna, Old and New, a Picture Book." This was the hardest task undertaken by any committee and the town was searched for rare pictures of the old days, and many new pictures were taken. The result was most satisfactory and, when placed on file, will be a truthful record for the next Centennial.

The Centennial Celebration opened on Sunday, August 19th with specially prepared services and programs in all the churches. In the forenoon a ''Pageant of Progress," written by Mrs. Chatincey Ferguson, was given on the lawn and terrace in the Lincoln School grounds, by the members of the M. E. Church.

The Catholic Church, under Father "William McGuire, celebrated a solemn high field mass in Old Mill Park which was attended by more than a thousand people. Special Centennial services were held Sunday morning at the First Baptist Church with the Rev. C. C. Colby, pastor,,of the church officiating, with special music for the occasion.

Rev. D. W. Barclay of the Presbyterian Church took for his subject, "What the Stone Face Saw," and gave an interesting sermon. There was a large attendance at this service. At St. Paul's Episcopal Church, which was beautifully decorated for the occasion, the Rev. Walter S. Pond of St. Barnabas Church, Chicago, preached a sermon on Psalm 77, verse 5, "the days that are past." There was specially prepared, and a large attendance.

Sunday evening hundreds gathered in the Lincoln School yard where union services were held with an especially arranged program. Bachrnan's Band which was here during the Centennial, gave • a sacred concert and a chorus of singers from all the choirs, rendered beautiful old hymns, the audience joining in the singing of "I Love to Tell the Story."

Dedication of Pioneer Monument
Monday, August 20, 1928

The official program called for the opening of the registration of all residents arid visitors at the Public Library. The Trustees had two specially prepared registers for the occasion and during the Centennial year, more than two thousand persons have registered. The librarian, Miss Hattie Greve, with her assistants and extra helpers, was kept busy with the registration and making the Library the social headquarters. The two registers will be filed in the Library for reference for future generations.

During the morning many residents and visitors gathered on North Main Street, which is Savanna's historic ground, to witness the unveiling and dedication of the Pioneer Monument presented to the City of his birth by Frank P. Bowen.

Only one century has passed since the three most primitive log cabins, standing huddled together on the grounds nearby, constituted the only habitations in what is now the City of Savanna, and the only settlement within a radius of many miles.

It was an inspiring and momentous occasion when the friends and descendants gathered with feelings of love and respect, to mark in so fitting and permanent a manner the ground about which so much of our history clings.

The program for this most important event of the Centennial celebration is given in full in order that the words spoken and the tribute paid the Pioneers may be recorded in the history of Savanna.

Note: We are indebted to Miss Mamie I. Martha for her full and accurate report of the dedication and unveiling ceremony.


Selection by Bachman's Million Dollar Band. Introduction by Lawrence H. Miles, Chairman: Ladies and Gentlemen: Girls and Boys:

We are gathered here this week to celebrate the first one hundred years in the life of our city of Savanna; nestled here at the very foot of these magnificent bluffs along the world famed Mississippi. Naturally our thoughts are with the hard adventurous pioneers—the first families of our city— and today, especially, we come to render them honor, glory and reverence.

No Centennial celebration can be complete without this spirit of reverence and worship, so may I ask that you all - the young people particularly —will give evidence of this spirit by absolute quiet and close attention.

Reverend Waller S. Pond, grandson of Marshall Brooks Pierce, oldest son of Aaron Pierce and his wife, Harriet Bellows Pierce, a rector in a large city church, but this summer one of our pastors, will open the memorial service with prayer.

Reverend Pond: Prayer:

Almighty God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who rules all things in Heaven and Earth, we adore Thee as the giver of every good and perfect gift. As the author of all blessings temporal and spiritual; as the best of all civil as well as religious benefits. "We thank Thee for that faith which thou hast extended over the people of this country and especially this part of the country, from the beginning; for the peculiar Providence by which, from the earliest period of their history, they were made ready for the important part they were to perform in the execution of Thy mighty plans in the development of mankind.

We thank Thee especially for that noble body of men and women, by whose heroic self sacrificing efforts in the face of great difficulties, the safety of our Nation was secured and we enabled to enter upon our present splendid heritage of freedom and prosperity.

Ever preserve in us a recognition of their self denying labors and sacrifices.

As we today engage in this commemorative ceremony and unveil and place this monument in the memory of thy servants Aaron Pierce and his wife, Harriet Bellows Pierce, their children, Mar­shall Brooks Pierce, Harriet M. Pierce, Lorenzo Dow Pierce, Sila Pierce Bowen, Mary Jane Pierce Rhodes, Henry Clay Pierce, Lenora Pierce Carson, George Davidson and his wife and his son, Vance Davidson, William Blundell and his wife, and as we have erected this stone as an honorable memorial to those to whom both our State, and especially this part of the State, are indebted for extraordinary services, at a critical time in our history, may we recall with proper gratitude what they and others of a like spirit wrought for us, and may the fire of the same loyalty and patriotism that burned in them be ennobled in us through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who, when we pray, hath Taught us to say:

Our Father which are in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we for­give our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, find the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Chairman, Mr. Miles:

The memorial marker will be unveiled by Jason Pierce Law, the youngest sou of Ives and Louise Rhodes Law, who is also the youngest representative of the fifth generation of Pierces. He will be escorted by his brothers, Richard Rhodes Law and Robert Henry Law, and also by the daughters of Alfred M. Pierce, Fern Marion Pierce and Phyllis Mary Pierce, likewise the fifth generation of Pierces.

Our next speaker is not a son of Savanna's first settlers but a man himself of sturdy stock who already has made an enviable name for himself as a leader and pioneer in his profession and in business as well, Judge Franklin J. Stransky, who will deliver the presentation address.

Judge Stransky:


Ladies and Gentlemen:

On this 100th Anniversary of the founding of Savanna, we meet here for the purpose of doing honor and homage to the first settlers of Savanna, for the purpose of praising them and seeking to emulate them, and for the purpose of dedicating to their memory a monument of granite and bronze, from which we trust and pray future generations may take inspiration and courage.

It has been said that life is a succession of phases, a succession of conditions. This monument which is presented today and which will be gratefully accepted by the City of Savanna, typifies in particular a part of the successions or stages of the history of Savanna.

You will note that the lower portion of this monument, which is before you, is made in the rough, in the state, almost, which nature made it. You will observe that the upper or central part of the monument shows more the marks of the hands of human genius, and you will note at the top the smoothened surface which indicates a still larger amount of energy and effort and refinement on the part of the sculptor. Savanna's history is akin to these symbolic portions of this monument.

In 1828 Aaron Pierce and his wife and four children left Galena, Illinois, in a vehicle drawn oxen, led by Vance Davidson on horseback. Aaron Pierce Lad known of the place, which we now call Savanna, and had noted that it. was a beautiful place surrounded on the east by hills and on the west by the grand old Mississippi River. He had visions of the future for himself and for his wife and children and their children's children. "With bravery and courage he and his wife and children traveled along untrodden roads, blazing their way through the vast forest of timber and thicket until finally, after days of travel and labor and toil, he reached the upper part of Savanna, as nearly as we can ascertain—the Pinnacle—of which we are now in the shadow.

With much difficulty and it has been told me from authentic source) it was necessary to cut trees to blaze a path through the side of the hills, and in order that the descent might not be too abrupt it was necessary to cut a large tree and tie the tree to the wheel of the wagon so that the descent would not be disastrous.

On November 4th, 1828, Aaron Pierce and his family reached this spot and found temporary refuge in an abandoned Indian wigwam which stood, as near as can be ascertained, where this monument, which is being dedicated, stands. Later they were able to build a log cabin and by Christmas time of the year 1828 they were nicely settled. If we could look back a hundred years and see Savanna as it then was we would see something like this: vast forests upon the hills and upon bluffs, no highway that civilized ma had ever trodden, the only thing in the way of arteries for travel were the Indian trails which were hard to locale and hard to keep when located.

A short time later in the day the other two families of these first pioneer settlers arrived in a flatboat, having come by water down the Fever River from Galena into the Mississippi, and landed here joining the other party which came by land. These two families were George Davidson and his wife and William Blundell and wife.

These three families blazed the way for the future of Savanna. Can you imagine the courage which it took for those lone families to travel through unknown regions in order to reach a destination which they could build up as a place they could call their home, as a place that they could cultivate, and develop, as a place in which they and their posterity might live and be happy?

The three families named lived together in peace and harmony and divided the territory. There was a log house established by the Davidsons where the Dupuis house now stands, another log house established for the Pierce family where the old Rhodes home now is, and the third log cabin was located where the Stransky homestead now stands and belonged to the Blundells. Each family was allocated four acres of ground adjacent to their cabins, which they cultivated and used for themselves. In addition to the said land there was land which was grown up in high grass and suitable for farm purposes which was allocated to the families; each person had about twelve acres.

Later on, in about the year 1834, Luther Bowea a young surveyor from New York, came with a party of Government Surveyors to Galena and passed through here, and noting the natural beauty of Savanna and its potential possibilities, he returned later and purchased a part of the main portion of the City of Savanna, which he as an engineer and surveyor laid out into lots and blocks as the original town of Savanna. Later on David Bowen, his brother, and the father of Frank Pierce Bowen, came from New York, traveling down the Erie Canal, and finally arrived at Detroit, Michigan. Having no other means of transportation and having a "devouring" desire (I use the word "devouring" advisedly because) he walked all the way from Detroit, Michigan to Savanna. When he came to Savanna he came out on the brow of this Pinnacle and looking down into the valley below saw the log cabins occupied by the three families referred to by me. Fascinated with the environment, he too settled here. He also was a descendant of that great nobility of this world,— the nobility of labor.

When the Pierce and Davidson and Bluudell families came here there was no such thing as a stove; there was nothing but an open hearth to furnish heat for the log cabin and to furnish the means of cooking the food for the table. At that time kerosene was unknown so that it was impossible to light even with lamps burning kerosene oil

The light which was furnished was from the oil of coon, because coon were very plentiful at that time and made an excellent fuel for burning of lights. The method employed was to take a rag and soak it in the coon oil. Of course it made a poor light, but it was a light which guided these people; a light by which they sometimes read the Holy Bible. It was a light by which they acquired their meagre knowledge of the outside world. It is particularly fitting today to know that the man who is presenting this monument has done more to light the streets of the City of Savanna than any one else in our community.

We are very, very grateful to Mr. Frank Pierce Bowen today because of his gift to the City of Savanna. Mr. Bowen, with the love and devotion which he had for his mother; Mr. Bowen, with patriotism and loyalty to the City of Savanna, has presented this monument in granite and bronze, hoping that it will be an inspiration for future generations that they may go on with the good work which his grandfather and grandmother nobly started on this spot.

I have often thought how much courage and bravery it takes for any person to leave the laud or State of his birth and go to foreign countries to mingle with the people of foreign countries or foreign States, but bear in mind that Aaron Pierce and his family, and the first settlers of Savanna, were not going from their own homes to other homes which had been theretofore established among other people, but were going out into the arms of nature to blaze a trail for themselves and for their posterity, with no companions excepting the wild animals, which I dare say, at night, made the welkin ring with their cries. At that time wild cats and wolves were in abundance in this vicinity Deer and occasionally bear were to be seen here but these families, with all of their courage and of the stamina which mark the early pioneers 01 America, came here unafraid, undaunted, with faith and trust in their hearts; faith in themselves and trust in the Almighty who created them.

This spot is particularly well known to me. Mr. Miles in his introduction said that I was not one of the first families of Savanna, but my ancestors date back to the year 1838 when my grandfather settled on a farm in Jo Daviess County.

When 1 was two years old my father bought a little house which is located in this same block and which has an American flag hung on the little enclosed porch. Here is where I lived from the time I was two years old until I was ten, and I knew, as a boy, every place in this community. I knew every hole in the rocks in the bluffs; I knew every vale and hill, especially the Pinnacle. I knew the place where the flowers grew in the Spring, and I knew the places where I could find the fruit in the Fall. This was a paradise to me, and even then —and that is nearly half a century ago,—even then this place was so much different than it is now. There were only a few houses; the house in which I lived; the old Dupuis homestead and the old Rhodes homestead.

Civilization is one step after another. The pioneer paves the way for a succeeding generation. The succeeding generation and succeeding generations gather knowledge and experience and happiness from the experience of those who have gone before. The pioneers of 1828 who paved the way were composed of hardy stock whose courage, stamina and trust and faith were the monuments upon which they built. The people of Savanna today can take increased devotion in the cause to which these people dedicated their lives. They dedicated themselves to the home, and we, our­selves, can dedicate anew that ideal and make Savanna a wonderful place in which to live.

Today I am thinking particularly about two individuals who are my friends. I refer to Mr. Prank Pierce Boweu and to his good wife, Alice. The name "Bowen" and the name "Pierce" are most familiar names in the history and progress of Savanna. The youngest of the four children of Aaron Pierce, who came with him in 1828, was the mother of Prank Pierce Bowen; she had the burden and the responsibility of the Bowen family and the moulding of their future character, and the teachings of that good woman are shown throughout the successive generations and are shown in my good friend, Frank Pierce Bowen, who it is my pleasure to know full well as a friend and as a companion.

The Bowens, the Pierces, the Rhodes, the Blundells, the Davidsons, and many other families— their names are written indelibly upon the pages of the history of this community.

Mr. Mayor and Citizens of Savanna: In behalf of Mr. Frank Pierce Bowen, I present to you this monument in granite and bronze, and hope and pray that its inspiration may lead us on to better things and happier lives and more wonderful homes.

Chairman Mr. Miles:

It is customary that such a splendid gift should be accepted by the Mayor of the City, but in this case it is most appropriate in that the Mayor is the son of one of our early merchants—a Savanna boy educated in our schools, then an instructor in the same schools, a capable business man and for many terms our efficient city manager—Mayor Charles Jenks. The dream of Aaron Pierce, the grandfather of Frank Pierce Bowen, was to blaze a trail into an unknown country where he could worship God as he pleased and have a home for his children and his children's children. The dream of Prank Pierce Bowen, the grandson, ever since I have known him. has been to make the community which his grandfather founded the best lighted community in the United States.

When we are talking of our loyalty to the pioneers, let us not forget those who in the successive stages of life took up the burden of making the ^ world a better world in which to live. Everything in the history of the world, and of men, has been a history of successive stages. The steamboat, locomotive, automobile and airplane, in their original conceptions were but ideas and crude pieces of mechanism. The pioneers of the early days planted the idea for the future generations to take up and carry on and to refine. The pioneers who sought temporary refuge and abode on the spot where this monument marks, blazed the way for us so that we might carry on the work which they originated. Each successive generation profits by the experience of the generation which has gone before. Since Aaron Pierce and his family first occupied this spot, five generations in Savanna have come and some of those generations have gone. Today we pledge anew our loyalty and our devotion to the interests of Savanna and affectionately bow in respect to those sturdy pioneers who made this City possible.

Acceptance of Gift

Response by Mayor Jenks: Friends and Citizens of Savanna.-

I do not know whether I'm going to be able to say just the right thing or not this morning. What with parades, decorations and fire works and celebration details in general, and the emotions which have arisen within me at this ceremony, words are hot going to come very easily. "When I think that a hundred years ago a little baby girl about a year and a half old came here to this very spot, approximately where this stone stands, and lived in this vicinity all her life. One cannot help but feel a thrill of emotion, and with me it practically stops a fluent flow of words and any connected line of thought. 1 hope you feel the same way that I do so you can sympathize with me, and I want you to understand that if I don't say the right thing (and it is going to be very brief, you will know that my heart is in the right place anyway.

It is more blessed to give than to receive, we have been told. In this particular instance I think it is about fifty-fifty with the giver and the receiver, because I know the full satisfaction of a tiling well done and one that is worthy, and I know the recipients have the same emotions.

We are particularly happy today in being able to accept this magnificent monument which rises on this spot—and we hope and trust and pray that what this stone symbolizes now will reach your innermost hearts, and will guide your future actions so that -whenever you pass this place may it cause to rise within your hearts and minds just the thoughts of the things our forefathers went through in settling this country, and I know if you will permit it to. do that, you will all become better men and women and have a better community in every respect.

I am going to tell you a happy secret—this is my birthday; I am fifty five years old today. I am very happy to be able to accept, on behalf of the City Council of the City of Savanna this stone, and I want to add this to all of the very fine things that have been said about Mr. Boweu and his wife, Alice Bowen, and they are well deserved and merited—that in the fifty five years I have lived in Savanna, I can remember back when I was four years old, but I do not ever recall where the City of Savanna has ever received a single, solitary thing from anybody that amounted to over a dollar or a dollar and fifty cents, except the library; every piece of paving, every thing we have in this town the people have gone down into their pockets and have paid for and this is the first occasion in the hundred years of our existence that anybody has seen fit to donate or give this town a single, solitary thing outside of the Carnegie Library and we had to give Mr. Carnegie about fifty-fifty, when we got that, and "Uncle Sam" the same way.

We can he particularly grateful to these folks who have given us a monument which will endure for years and which is worthy of our whole hearted acceptance, and I again say, on behalf of the City Council, which I represent, and the Citizens of Savanna, we graciously and gratefully accept this marker, and 1 hope we promise to maintain this spot forever in its beauty and in its security. I thank you.

Mr. Miles:
I am sure that everybody here, just like me, would like a glimpse of the man who has made this marker possible. It is a splendid addition to Savanna beauty spots and in years to come will be a shrine for beauty lovers. This man has a wife, and she has been the historian for this Centennial and gathered the early recollections of the history that has been given to her. Mr. Bowen and his wife are so modest that they have been given no place on the platform or on the pro­gram, but I am going to ask them to stand up, and perhaps Mr. Bowen will say a few words to us all.

Response by Mr. Bowen. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen:

You have perhaps noticed that my better half is a little bit more modest than I am, but I just want to say this, that I am very grateful for your presence here today to attend this ceremony; that I want to thank the people who have taken part, who have helped me to bring about this occasion, and, particularly, do I want to thank the adjoining property owners and the officials of the City of Savanna for the co-operation in my behalf in securing this site. It was necessary, as you probably know, to have this spot vacated in order that it might be turned over to the Park Board, who are to keep it in perpetuity, and that was the object of locating the monument as it is now located, and, fortunately, upon the spot where my mother, by a little sketch and also by word of mouth, told me of the wigwam that her parents lived in.

There is just one more word I want to say in regard to the monument. While it is erected in the memory of my mother, I feel that it is dedicated to all of the Pioneers, not only of Savanna, but of the entire Mississippi Valley. Those people who with that indomitable courage, who with toil and sacrifice laid the foundation (as I look at it) for the prosperity that we are of the present generation now enjoying. I thank you.

Mr. Miles:
Friends, one of the strongest words in the English language or any other language, is that of "home". Most of us here, now or at some time in the past, have been brought to call Savanna our home, and so it is very fitting that the next number on the program is that lovely little poem by Edgar A. Guest, "It takes a heap o' living to make a place called home," read by Mrs. Virgil Martha.

Mr. Miles:

I am sure that everyone here has greatly enjoyed these impressive dedicatory exercises. Savanna will ever be proud of this memorial marker and long remember its donors. We hope that the words here spoken and thoughts here expressed will be as seeds sown in the minds of those present, that will ripen into full bloom and fruit, in our actions and in our lives in the golden days yet to come.

Prayer by Rev. Pond. Selection by Band.

Descendants Attending

Many descendants of that first family who occupied the old Indian wigwam were present at the ceremony of the dedication of the Memorial Marker. Of the other two families who arrived here same day, the Davidsons and the Blundells, no representatives of either family could be present, although there are many of them living in California and the other western states, even unto the sixth generation.

The first family and the descendants and those in attendance are given as follows:

Aaron Pierce - Born 1793, Massachusetts: died 1856, Savanna

Harriet. Bellows Pierce—Born 1798, Massachusetts; died 1860, Savanna.

Children - Marshall Brooks, Harriet, Lorenzo Dow, Sila Caroline, Mary Jane, born here, Henry Clay, born here, Lenora, born here.

Those attending from the family of Marshall Brooks Pierce were Orrin Pierce, of Minneapolis, Mrs. Harriet Pierce Pond of Chicago, her son, Rev. Walter S. Pond, her daughter, Sara Pond Torranee and granddaughter, Harriet Pond Allen.

Also from the family of Marshall Brooks Pierce were Mrs. Belle Pish Hammond with her daughter, Mrs. May Hammond Wolf of Mount. Carroll and Ira Fish of Savanna.

The family of Lorenzo Dow Pierce was represented by Alfred M. Pierce with his wife and two little daughters.

The family of Sila Pierce Bowen represented by her son, F. P. Bowen and by her only grand­daughter, Mrs. Louise Bowen Hyler. The Rhodes family, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, was well represented. Henry C. Rhodes, his daughter, Mrs. Louise Rhodes Law and her three little sons, Richard Rhodes Law, Robert Henry Law and tiny Jason Pierce Law who unveiled the marker.

John B. Rhodes and his grandson, James Chambers Jr., represented that family. Thomas B. Rhodes of Mount Carroll was present and with him his daughter, Mabel Rhodes Miles and her little daughter, Mary Jean Miles, and his grandsons, Fred Rhodes Jr. and Thomas, all of the fifth generation.

Monday Afternoon

An immense crowd gathered in the Lincoln School grounds to hear an address which was given by former Governor Harding of Iowa. The speaker touched upon subjects uppermost in the nation's minds today, and with humorous stories and comments compared the present times with the time that is past. This speech was much enjoyed by all who heard him.

This was followed by a concert given by the Bachman Band, and other entertainment provided for the occasion.

In the evening there were vaudeville acts in the school yard and many attractions on Main Street. But a severe storm came on and the strong wind and downpour of rain sent every one scurrying home and thus ended the second day of our Centennial celebration.


Tuesday, August 21, dawned bright and fair after the storm and activities began early. The forenoon was given over to general visiting and homecoming wherever people met and the Library was the gathering place for visitors and friends.

Large crowds passed up and down Main Street during the morning looking at the wonderful display of curios, antiques and relics which were being shown in all the store windows. No one ever dreamed that such a rare collection could be found within our own city.

Products of the looms of the Pioneers, also the looms themselves, articles of great antiquity displayed by citizens, which were brought here by foreign born parents, crude farm implements and household articles; there were so many valuable articles brought to light, it would take a whole book to enumerate them.

All day and evening during the four days of the celebration the display was a drawing attraction, and gave the present generation a glimpse of the past in many relics of the household.

There were books, especially rare Bibles, more than a hundred years old, rare old pictures and pieces of furniture, together with old fashioned clocks, watches and jewelry. There were guns and pistols and swords for war times, and pots and pans and kettles for times of peace. The Pioneers did not neglect the comfort of their children as the display of homemade cradles, buggies and .sleighs would indicate.

The Library had an interesting collection of pictures of the old settlers, rare old dishes and many valuable old books. Such a wealth of keepsakes as was displayed would fill a museum.

But as the morning advanced, from behind closed doors came much mysterious hammering and silent figures were seen darting in and out of backdoors and alleyways as preparations were made for the grand Historical and Civic Parade to be given in the afternoon.

The Parade

As the time approached the hour set for the Historical Pageant, the streets were thronged with spectators the entire length of the line of march. Boy Scouts were everywhere in evidence, directing traffic.

When the Parade got into full swing headed by Patrol Officer Eber Shephard and by Chief of Police Henry Truninger, the citizens and visitors realized that never before in the history of Savanna had such a magnificent affair been attempted. Nothing but co-operation and concerted action could have produced such a beautiful and harmonious result.

It will not be possible within the limit of this book to give each and every one the praise due them, but the Times-Journal of the date August 22 has been filed in the Library, and, also the article describing the Parade has been placed in the Centennial scrap book and will also be on file. As the Parade marched slowly north on Third Street it was greeted on all sides with enthusiastic cheers and handclapping.

The Indians on horseback, the Indians walking, the Pioneers in wagons, Pioneer ladies in historic costumes, the circuit riders, the old log cabin, the little stone school house, Father Marquette, and Pioneer belles in hoopskirts and wearing little hats of olden times, had all been reproduced with painstaking care.

The industrial floats were all designed to represent the changes which one hundred years have made in occupations, mail carrying, farming, lighting, costumes, firefighting and building, and were all artistically and harmoniously decorated.

The railroads took an active part in the Pageant. The C. M. St. P. and P. employees prepared an engine bearing the date, 1862, which was the date of the completion of Plum River bridge and the first train to run into Savanna.

The C. B. and Q railroad produced a miniature train from somewhere and created quite a sensation when it formed part of the parade, loaded down with children.

But the surprise came when Washington Township, whose history is so closely linked with that of Savanna, came into the parade with a real "prairie schooner," pioneers with children, Indians, and not forgetting the dog tied under the wagon. This was carried out by the Washington Community Club.

A special feature of the parade which appealed to the throngs of spectators, was an automobile carrying the last surviving members of Savanna's corps of the old Grand Army of the Republic. Only five of the "Boys of '61 were left to receive the applause as their car moved along in the line. Those veterans who occupied the car were J. P. Plattenherger, Bernard C. Holland, John Handel, John Albright, and C. Dickinson.

Another car which received much attention was one in which were seated the four oldest living descendants of the early pioneers. They were Thomas C. Jenks, Henry C. Rhodes, L. S. Bowen, and Orrin Pierce. Dressed in old fashioned broad­cloth suits, with high silk hats and other ancient adornment, they made an imposing representation of the aristocracy of the days of long ago.

The American Legion float with its field of poppies and the Red Cross nurse, the fire truck from Mt. Carroll carrying members of the band, the float of the Commerce Association, carrying the key to the City, and lastly, the boy with the goat and the cart were cheered all along the line.

As the long Pageant proceeded down Main Street where they disbanded, nothing but praise was heard on all sides, and the event passed into the history of Savanna as the Day of the Big Parade.

Wednesday, August 22

Wednesday morning had been set aside for the Pioneer memorial which had been arranged to be held in the Savanna Township Cemetery.

As the hour arrived, a large number of relatives and friends gathered in the cemetery to take part in honoring the memory of the founders of our City who are sleeping in the quiet of their last resting place.

The History and Marker committee had marked the graves of all the Pioneers who had settled in Savanna before the year 1850.

The white ribbon markers which bore the inscription 1828—Pioneer—1850 gave silent tribute to the memory of those early Pioneers who struggled through the first hard years of the settlement and then passed the work along to those who came after.

And as the descendants of those brave old settlers looked around at the fluttering little emblems, and read the names carved on the timeworn stones, they greeted as old friends the names of the long list of Pioneers whose fortunes have been told in the early story of Savanna.

Many graves were remembered with the little markers whose occupants had been forgotten for many years.

With feelings of reverence and awe, the visitors to the cemetery that morning, gathered near the Chapel and listened to the program which had been arranged.

The program opened with the singing of the song "Crossing the Bar" by a male quartette consisting of J. L. Brearton, Paul K. Miles, E. G. Fuller and Will Kauck.

Prayer was given by the Rev. Walter Shoemaker Pond.

Mrs. B. E. Fuller gave a short reading from the poems of Angie Fuller Fisher, called Wondering.

This number was followed by the names of the Pioneers whose graves had been marked, read by Mrs. F. P. Bowen.

The list of names numbered about one hundred and thirty-five; and it had taken the committee several weeks to compile the list from old cemetery records, the old Carroll County history, and from relatives living in this vicinity. This number did not include the names of many children born to the families and who died in infancy.

The memorial address was given by the Hon. John L. Brearton and is included in this record of the Centennial celebration.

Mr. Brearton said in part:

We are engaged in celebrating the completion of the first one hundred years of the history of the City of Savanna. It was fit g that the first of the four days of this celebration should be the Sabbath Day, because any community that has prospered and is happy at the end of its first century owes much to the religious activities of its people and the God whom they have worshiped.

It was also appropriate that last Monday morning we gathered at the monument erected to mark the spot where the first settlers established their abiding place, and conducted a program which recalled that incident vividly to our attention.

Now, on the last of the days set apart for these anniversary programs, we are met at this chapel erected in this beautiful cemetery, to do honor to the memory of these who first came to Savanna and proceeded to lay the foundation on which this community has been established, and who have passed to the Great Beyond and whose burial places are in this City of the Dead. It was a divinely inspired thought that brought us to this place on this day, during the hours of the morning, when all nature seems to join with us so perfectly and so beautifully, to conduct this Memorial service. Our words are being translated into the songs of the birds in the trees surrounding us, and are wafted on the breeze, warmed by the glorious sunshine of this morning, to the place where are the souls of those whom we honor this hour.

No structure can be more enduring than its foundation. No community can be better than its average citizen. We are what we are today, therefore, because those who came here and laid our foundation built wisely and well.

From 1828 to 1850 is a span of years about equal in number to the years during which a young man is preparing himself to assume the duties and responsibilities of manhood. As, during these years of preparation, the growing boy determines by industry and education the character of the man he is to be, so these early settlers, by enduring hardships and overcoming every difficulty during these first years, shaped and charged the future of Savanna. Each one either wrote a line, a paragraph or a chapter in the story of our first century. There was work of all kinds to be done, and there was some one to do it.

In my work as a lawyer it has been necessary frequently to examine the record of the land titles as they appear in the books in the Recorder's office at Mount Carroll. Through this investigation we find prominently identified with the beginning of the titles to the lands on which we have built our city such names as Vance L. David­son, Elijah Bellows, Luther H. Bowen, William Blundell, Royal Cooper, Reuben H. Gray, Henry B. Harmon, Nathan K. Lord, John Puller, Henry Clay Hunter, a surveyor, and many others. This circumstance is mentioned to show that one who has lived among you no longer than the last twenty-five years of the century just closing, knows some­what of the importance of these men to this community in which they labored so many years. You can recall the names of many other men, as easily and as pleasantly, who are entitled to our words of appreciation on this occasion. "We are not unmindful of the women of those days who served so faithfully in their homes. The character of the women who makes the home determines, to a great extent, the kind of home over which she presides. The character of the homes in any community determines the height to which such a community can go morally, socially and in its civic life. We can here and now truthfully pay a glowing tribute to the women of the early days of Savanna.

As the years have rolled by, many honest differences of opinion have arisen between us, but the inherent common sense, good judgment and fairness of our people have been such that the rich and the poor, the native and the foreign born, the white and the black, the old and the young, have lived together in peace and harmony, and I call to your attention as evidence of this condition, the fact that, the fence which stood for many years between these two cemeteries, Catholic and Protestant, has now been removed, and all is peace between those who are here to sleep eternally as it. was in the days of their active life.

The founders of our City selected with great wisdom the location for their future homes when they decided to remain under the shelter of the imposing bluffs beside the mighty Mississippi.

During all the intervening years, tho Great Father of those who preceded them here has caused a sentinel to remain near by to watch over them, and proudly and majestic-ally has this sentinel held aloft his "Indian Head," while beside him. carved from the everlasting rocks, stands the "Twin Sisters," who now suggest to us we cultivate such a spirit of friendship as will con­tribute to our mutual welfare. Beside them is the "Open Bible" from which, just as the Father of Waters flowing close by to the Gulf has drawn from an inexhaustible source, we have received an inspiration for righteousness that has made us what we are today—a God loving, happy and prosperous Savanna.

We are reminded Longfellow said:

"Lives of great men all remind rue,
We can make our lives sublime.
And in parting, leave behind us,
Footprints on the sands of time."

So as we leave this place, sacred to the memory of other days, let. us remember that we, too, like those who have gone before us, will sooner or later be (in the words of a song we learned in our youth):

"Fading away like stars of the morning,
Losing their light in the glorious sun,
Thus will we pass, from the earth and its toiling,
Only remembered by what we have done."

After the address the audience joined in singing Auld Lang Syne, which was followed by taps sounded by Dick Fuller, after which the Rev. Walter S. Pond dismissed the assembly with the benediction.

And thus came to an end the most impressive and heartfelt ceremony ever held in the cemetery, and the only tribute ever paid the Pioneers themselves alone, in the century which has passed.

As the friends left the grounds in quiet, and subdued little groups, and passed out through the beautiful new gates which have just been erected, there was a feeling that the Pioneer Memorial had been one of the outstanding features of the Centennial.

Closing Events of Centennial

Continuing the program which had been planned fur the grand celebration, on the afternoon of this fourth day, Richard Yates, former Governor of Illinois, delivered an address in the Lincoln school grounds which drew forth much praise from the large assembly.

The Lamarck community school band, under the direction of Miss Beth Hower, was a feature of the afternoon.

As we neared the end of the celebration in honor of our hundredth birthday, the people were still untired, as they thronged the streets until a late hour on the last night. Visiting, dancing, and merrymaking held sway and the entire population was loath to give up the festivities. And thus ended the Centennial ceremonies to which all had looked forward for many months.

There could be no finer eulogy written of the Centennial than that which appeared in an editorial in the Times-Journal of Monday, August 20, 1928. In this article the former editor and resident of Savanna, Wm. H. Gharrity, forcibly ex­pressed the importance of observing such a vital date in our history. We will let it speak for itself.

A Tribute and an Obligation

Savanna's Centennial, which opened so auspiciously yesterday, has a two-fold objective.

During the four days of Centennial ceremonies, this community is proud and happy to pay sincere tribute to the iron-souled men and women who blazed the wilderness trails to establish the first settlement here.

And during these four days, this community will find fresh inspiration and renewed civic spirit to face the problems of the Savanna of tomorrow.

The pioneer settlers of Savanna were part and parcel of that sturdy and independent race who pushed across the Blue Ridge mountains and down the Cumberland gap, or who followed the Ohio and its tributaries into the great Mississippi valley. They were part and parcel of that race of empire builders who wrestled this vast inland domain from the wilderness and laid the foundations of the United States of America of today which is the hope and the inspiration and the envy and despair of civilized man all over this world of ours.

They were a race of strong men and strong women. They were strong of body and strong of soul and the weak had no place in their ranks. Privations and hardships which would wreck the modern man and woman were commonplace events in their lives. They knew high adventure, where the stakes were human life and death was the penalty for any mistake.

These men and women did not seek the perils of the wilderness for material comfort or wealth. On the contrary, they left these things behind when they set their faces toward the west. What they wanted was "elbow-room" and homes of their own where they could enjoy individual liberty and equal opportunity to live their lives as they saw fit.

But there must have been something more than even the love of free souls for freedom in the urge that sent these pioneers out into the wild places of the open west. Down deep in the hearts of all was the earnest desire to break the trail for their children and their children's children that they might enjoy the richness of life and its abundance in the new places made ready for them

Here in Savanna, the children and the children of the children n of the pioneers are expressing something of their sense of obligation to the fathers of this community in the Centennial celebration this week. One hundred years is only a short time in the life of a nation. It is merely a passing milestone in the history of the race.

But in observing the Centennial of its birth this week, Savanna is also taking stock of the richest and most extraordinary century of all human progress. The men and women of early Savanna had the faith and devotion which enabled them to glimpse something of the tremendous future of this republic. It was this splendid vision of theirs that carried them through the perils and privations of pioneer life and it is to this faith and vision that the Savanna of today does homage this week.

When we look back on the century that has closed, when we realize that we have progressed further during the last hundred years in the material comforts of life than in all the centuries that man records, we are able to turn to the future with renewed inspiration and courage and confidence. If the last two or three generations have been able, despite all their handicaps to build a mighty empire out of wilderness, what may their sons and daughters accomplish in the next two generations. And this is particularly true here in Savanna, where real community spirit abounds despite occasional neighborly differences.

Let us take stock of ourselves this week. Let us look back and measure the things that have been accomplished in the century whose close we are observing so fittingly. Let us realize that our fathers and their fathers could never have built this thriving and prosperous little city of five thousand people unless they had possessed abundant courage and real loyalty each to the other. And let us realize, above all, that when these sturdy pioneers were building this city, they were building for themselves, but they were also building for us. We are trying this week to pay them the tribute due them but we are also renewing our sense of obligation to them. We have inherited from them the material comforts they gathered for us. We have inherited something of their fine devotion and splendid vision. And we have also inherited a debt, and an obligation to carry on and build a better and finer Savanna in the years to come. By doing that we can best prove worthy sons and daughters of a race that has passed with the opening of the last frontier.

With the rounding out of the first hundred years of Savanna's history we reach the end of the story. Having chronicled, the first few years of her settlement and growth, it appealed to me to give the end of the century which culminated in the Centennial celebration.

The "years between" were filled with many events of world interest and it is hoped some one will preserve this part of our history for the generations of the coming years.

" A century from now
Whose lips will peak our name?
Whose heart exult that we
To earth as dwellers came?

Time will move on the same
The sun will rise and set,
And others praise or blame,
Remember and forget."

T H E    E N D

Savanna 100 Years - Part 1